Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar

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After 4 years

It’s now been over a week since I made my final exit from Doha. I don’t intend to now use this blog to criticise Qatar from a safe distance. I will remember most of my time in Qatar with affection, however only a few days after leaving, whatever bonds I felt with the country are rapidly evaporating. 

The UK that I returned to was a very different one to the country that I left. Although I applied for a vote in the Brexit referendum, the forms were lost in the Qatar postal system. Either way, my vote would not have affected the disastrous outcome. I was only in the UK for a few days, and I am now in Cyprus for the next 7 weeks, watching from a distance to see what can be salvaged from the Brexit debacle.

This really ought to be the final post in my Doha blog… it probably will be, unless Qatar throws something unexpected in my direction. Thanks to all of you who regularly dropped by. If I decide to write again in a new space on another topic, I will provide a link. So bye for now.

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Somewhere to stay

We were due to leave our flat on Sunday, after having emptied it of all belongings. At the same time, the final utilities bill was paid, and the electricity and water were due to be disconnected. The remaining items – bed, fridge, cooker etc were to be collected throughout the day and evening.

We planned to stay in the Movenpick Hotel for our last three days in Qatar, however Sunday was a day before our check-in and we needed a bed of the night, and had to be near the flat so that we were available when things were collected.

A good friend who lived five floors beneath us kindly offered us his bed for the night. He was the first person I got to know when I first arrived in Doha. He was full of advice and practical help, which made acclimatising to the idiosyncracies of Qatar life so much easier.

Our friend is Syrian, from a country he cannot safely return to, and if he could to a house that has been destroyed in the war. He is one of a number of Syrians I have met here. Whilst, of course, we were not homeless, we were charitably given somewhere to stay for one night, unlike the millions of his fellow countrymen who are seeking refuge in safer parts of the world. What is needed is a little bit more of the kindness and generosity of our Syrian friend from western people and nations.

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336 kilos

This week, we shipped our worldly goods back to the UK. They weighed 336 kilograms, made up mainly of an assortment of domestic items and clothing.


I had spent the previous few weeks gradually packing away things that were no longer needed into cardboard boxes. The flat is now almost empty, with only the bed, a couple of chairs, cooker and fridge. These will be going tomorrow.

We had quotes from several  local businesses, eventually selecting Emovers to ship our possessions back to the UK. They defied the usual standards of customer service in Qatar, by providing clear quotations, all the information we needed, replying to emails by return, and by arriving on the agreed day and at the agreed time.

They then worked efficiently and quickly to ensure the boxes were correctly sealed, weighed and the inventory of contents of each box recorded .


Within two hours everything was gone, heading off to the cargo centre at the airport.

It is important to provide the correct shipping documentation, which is a QID (not a copy), a passport copy, and an NOC from your employer which generously permits you to export your own belongings out of Qatar.

If you are leaving Qatar, I can recommend Emovers.

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When the real and virtual worlds collide

This morning we did our Friday shop at Monoprix. As I was buying bread, a woman asked me if I was Ian, which clearly I was. She introduced herself as Cynthia.

Cynthia is an avid reader of my blog and one of my early followers… she recognised me from pictures I have posted over the last four years.


I should point out that Cynthia lives in Canada and is a regular visitor to Doha, staying with family who live here, and was not in Qatar specifically in the hope of seeing me.

It was really nice to meet her, however briefly, in person and know that people out there are actually reading and enjoying what I have written.


All good things…

A couple of weeks ago, I handed in my letter of resignation to my employer. Over the coming couple of months, I will have to go through the byzantine bureaucratic processes that will allow my work contract to formally end, my visa and residency to be cancelled and permission to leave the country approved. Towards the end of June we will be boarding a Qatar Airways plane on a one-way ticket to London, and leaving Qatar for good.

In the meantime, we have started to sell the belongings that we won’t be bringing home… that is all the furniture and the car, and packing boxes with the things we are shipping back to the UK.

The exit has been planned for a while so we got a head start. Two beds, two wardrobes, a chest of drawers, 8-seater dining table and chairs, sideboard, coffee table and some small items have all be sold. The flat is looking very bare. You can see what’s left for sale on Qatar Living.

Selling furniture has been an interesting exercise. There are two types of buyer. The easiest is the expat who arrives at our apartment at the appointed time, looks at the item, says yes I’ll take it (or occasionally no), and pays exactly what I asked.

The other type of buyer sees the listed price as the starting point for negotiation, often by WhatsApp or SMS. Once the sale is agreed, they invariably arrive at our apartment a minimum of an hour after the agreed time.

The conversation (all actually happened) goes like this…

How much is the wardrobe?
Me: It’s 500QR
What’s your last price?
Me: My last price is 400QR. Please don’t ask for less as I will say no.
I can give you 300QR

What is the last price for your car?
Me: I have it listed for 48999QR but I will sell it for 46000QR
I will give you 44000QR
Me: No, I said 46000QR
But it’s only 2000QR
Me: Yes but it’s my 2000QR

If have been asked for heavy discounts because
it’s a present for my son‘.
Me: But it’s not my present to your son, so pay the full price.

How much is the bed?
Me: 700QR
What is your last price?
Me: 500QR
But I will have to pay 200QR to have it transported to Al Khor (a town outside Doha), so can I have it for 300QR.
Me: No, I will sell it someone in Doha for 500 who doesn’t have to pay the transport costs.

I sold the car for 46000 which was what I wanted. With the change in exchange rate between the Riyal and the Pound over three years and three months that I owned the car, means that the total cost of ownership was only £3400. A rental car for the same period would have cost £18500.

The buyer paid for the car to be examined at one of the testing stations on the Salwa Road. They pointed out the paint job on the doors, but as I had already told the prospective buyer there were no surprises.

He paid in cash with a block of 500QR notes. Using the Metrash 2 app, we transferred ownership at our soon to be sold coffee table. It was as simple as that.

So we still have a few things to sell, some of which, such as the bed, fridge and washing machine that we’ll need to keep until the day before we leave. So why not make me an offer!