I have, quite sensibly, tried to find out as much as I can about the country I will be living in for the forseeable future.
Sifting through the vast array of information from blogs, forums and news websites has provided hours of fruitless reading as well as a few online gems which give a real insight into life in Qatar and the things we need to be aware of.
I know that Qatari drivers do not have a great reputation for road safety, so that defensive driving in an essential skill.I know that Qatari bureaucracy means that official business can be lengthy. I know the weather will be very hot in the summer. I have learned a litttle about customs and appropriate behaviour.
What has been evident is the amount of information on websites which is well passed its sell-by date. Cost of living information, for example, has proved of little value as Google searches most often point to forum posts from several of more years ago. Owners of these sites really need to start housekeeping to remove the out-of-date content or their websites will begin to lose their value.
Over the last seven months I have been reading ‘the Peninsular’, one of Qatars’ English Language Newspapers. It’s a free pdf download which is everyday breakfast reading on my iPad. It’s been a very easy way to get a feel of the country, its political and social attitudes. It’s not just what’s happening but more the way it is being reported.
I leave for Doha in two days… it will be interesting to see how many of my perceptions are accurate, but it’s more exciting to think of all the new things I am about to experience.