Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar


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Ships of the desert

I know that one day I will not stop to give these animals a second glance.

Camels outside Souq Waqif

But for now having camels by the roadside is still a novelty.

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No problem

We’re getting a few thing fixed in our flat before we move in. The building has onsite maintenance. A freephone call to the maintenance company to make an appointment is followed up with an SMS confirming and a job number.

The workmen, all from the Indian subcontinent usually turn up on time. Their English speaking skills are often limited.

If they can fix what is broken at the time all is OK, but problems arise when something needs to be replaced.

The doorbell took three visits. One to agree that it wasn’t working and couldn’t be mended, then a second by two new guys who appeared unaware that they need to bring a new part… so a third visit before we could hear the doorbell ring.

A visit by plumbers yesterday was to replace a leaky tap and check why water from the taps first ran fast, then slowed, then faster and so on. They turned up without the new tap, took everything apart yet again and confirmed the tap needed replacing. I told the guy I already knew this and I was expecting them to arrive with the new tap.

His colleague disappeared onto the roof of the building to check our water supply… he came back, however the water still had the same slow-quick-slow stream.

I asked when the new tap would arrive and when the water flow would be fixed. His answer was ‘no problem’. I tried to ask the same questions in a different way. Again ‘no problem’.

It was at that point I explained that it was a problem… so now I will have to book another appointment… maybe they will turn up with the tap, maybe not.


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Eid Day 3

It is now Saturday and the third day of the the Eid holiday. Other than shop workers, most people are off today.

Our day started with a trip to the Villagio Mall. It’s a short taxi ride of about 6 km into the suburbs costing about £5. It has a Venetian theme, complete with a canal and gondolas. The canal has shops either side. The shops are exactly as you’d expect in any shopping centre including a number of familiar UK brands such a M&S.

There is also an ice skating rink and Imax theatre, huge food court and a large indoor theme park.

Some months ago there was a serious fire in a nursey in the building. A number of adults and children died in the fire. Allegedly fire safety was compromised by locked exits amongst other things. The mall was closed for months while safety improvements were made. Court cases are still pending.

In the afternoon we went to the MIA Park which is next to my work place. It is a short walk down to the waterfront cafe where we sat for an hour. Then a walk around the park.

Ian at MIA Park

It has a large childen’s play area and acres of green grass. The park, grass verges and other large green spaces maintain their verdant ground cover in a country where the daytime temperature rarely falls below 30C and can reach the mid 50Cs by frequent and copious watering.

MIA Park

At dusk as we left, the park was still filling up with people bringing in picnics.


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Waiting for the bus

There is a local bus service in Qatar. It is only a fairly recent transport innovation. Construction has begun on a city-wide metro as part of transport improvements in the build-up to the World Cup in 2022.

Doha is a hot country and waiting for a bus in the blazing heat of summer would not be pleasant. The solution in Dubai is the air-conditioned bus shelter.

Air-conditioned bus shelter

I didn’t get a bus, but cooled down for five minutes inside. Clean, tidy, not smelly and a good temperature, quite unlike a railway waiting room in the UK.


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10 days off

Today is the first day of the Eid Al Adha holiday. For me that means ten consecutive days off… which will give us time to get ready to move from the hotel to the new apartment.

Living Room

Almost all our Living Room furniture is now in the apartment… just waiting for curtains before we move in. As it gets light at around 4.30am we really need to be able to keep the bedroom dark until it is time to get up.

And this is what we will see when we open the curtains… a view across to West Bay.

The view from our window


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Air safety film

I have sat through numerous air safety films on aircraft. Each one has its own style, and despite the recommendation to watch and learn as all aircraft are different, all say much the same thing, and mostly like everyone else I ignore the instructions.

I really do know how to open and close a seat belt.

If my life jacket doesn’t inflate after we’ve crashed into the sea, I really don’t think I will have breath to blow into the tube.

I will leave my high heels behind when exiting via the emergency slide.

It would be much more helpful to know what you should do to escape quickly if you are in the window seat and there are two fat people wedged into the next seats.

Anyway Fly Dubai had a film which actually made me watch. I have added an extract for you to enjoy.