Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar


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Number plates

There are two types of car number plates on vehicles in Qatar… the old and the new.

Old number plate

The new design comes from a decision taken by Gulf Cooperation Council to unify specifications across the region.

New number plate

Although the regulation came into effect 12 months ago, the Traffic Department has announced that vehicle owners will be granted one month’s grace period as many drivers had still not yet yet changed their plates during the one year allowed.

The new plates will make the plates much easier to read by the seemingly unpopular speed cameras which are now cropping up along some of the main roads.


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New favourite drink

As well as the usual colas and other fizzy drinks, cafés all offer fresh juices. I really have got a liking for lemon with mint.

Lemon and mint drink

It’s fresh lemon juice, fresh mint leaves, some ice and all whisked together. It’s a really refreshing drink to be enjoyed sitting out in the warm sun in a café… try it yourself at home in the UK… mix the ingredients pour into a glass, turn up the central heating, shut your eyes and pretend you’re in a sunny place.


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A long walk

Yesterday afternoon and again this morning we walked along the Corniche and round the entire length of the bay.

View of the bay

The walk is just under four miles, along the waterfront and without crossing a road. The temperature is 34c with a cooling breeze

Along the Corniche

Half way round the bay are these three pieces, and a little further on another saying ACHIEVE… I’m not sure what the Arabic one says.


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Plenty more fish in the sea

The waters of this part of the Gulf are clean and full of fish. As in many areas, there is the threat of over fishing, and I think the Qatari government are trying to exercise some  control over how much is being caught.

Looking over the walkway into work as I leave in the afternoon, I can see loads of large fish, including some stripy ones and a pipefish.

Fish

Not sure what this is… about 9 inches long and there were nine or ten of them swimming around the seawall this afternoon.


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The desert trip

The trip out to the desert in the south of Qatar near the Saudi border was just brilliant. We were picked up from the hotel in a Land Cruiser and took the highway out of the city.

On the highway

About 45 minutes later we stopped by some camels while our guide deflated the tyres from 45PSI to 14PSi ready for driving on sand.

Deflating the tyresJ and camels

Then it was off across the dunes. It is hard to describe the landscape. The dunes run up to the shoreline and away inland, interspersed with flat areas of hard sand…. all very Lawrence of Arabia.

The dunes

J and I

It is even more difficult to describe ‘dune bashing’… that is speeding across the tops of the dunes, at 45 degrees along the sides and at even steeper angles down one dune and up the other side.

Here is a short clip going across the dunes. Unfortunately there is no footage of the more roller-coaster bits as I needed both hands to hold on.

Sunset

As the sun went down, we got the tyres pumped back up and headed back to the city along a highway lined all the way across the open desert with street lights.

Desert highway at night


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BBC Travel

It’s Saturday and after 10 days off work I can’t really be bothered to write a blog post today… so here is a link to an article from 31 October on the BBCs Travel website about Living in Qatar.

It is pleasing to read that Al Sadd, where we are going to live, is down as a desirable location.

This afternoon we are off for a trip into the desert… I will report back.


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Red light

Most of the main roads in Doha are two or three lane dual carriageways. Traffic travels fast.

Whilst vehicles seem to obey the red light at major intersections, pedestrian crossings appear guided by different rules. Cars will carry on through the red light. Motorcycles have been known to weave around the traffic and carry on through the red light. An English expat was killed by a motorcycle in these circumstances last year.

Zebra crossing

The safest method of crossing is to ignore the green man and wait until all cars in all lanes have actually stopped, and possibly a row behind if there are large vehicles still moving. Once everything has stopped it is safe to cross.