Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar


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Rent or buy

The word is that second-hand cars have recently become very difficult to sell, and if you do get an offer, that prices are ridiculously low. There is, apparently, a glut of cars on the market due to lay-offs in the oil/gas industry.

We bought a new car 2 months after we arrived in Qatar. We spent 74,000QR (around £12,200 at the then exchange rate) on a base model Nissan Qashqai. Instead of buying, we could also have rented long-term or leased as many people do. Car rentals start around 1,500QR per month for a small hatch. A Nissan Qashqai like mine is listed at 3,295QR per month or £575 from one of Doha’s rental agencies.

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We have always intended to stay in Qatar for at least 5 years. I have owned the Qashqai since December 2012. If we had rented a similar car I would have already paid out over 100,000QR. The longer we live here, the larger that cost will be.

Break-even point was after two years when I would have spent the same on rental as the original purchase, taking into account that I also have to pay for servicing and insurance… the difference is that I still have equity in the vehicle, even if it is slightly deflated by current over-supply.

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Seeing the road ahead

It is estimated that myopia – short sight affects between 30% and 50% of people. Reports imply that the number of near-sighted people is increasing. I have worn glasses since I was 13 years old. I wear glasses all day every day. Without glasses anything a little way from me becomes blurred.

A rudimentary eye test is part of acquiring a Qatar driving licence. I passed wearing my glasses. If I took my glasses off when driving, I would be able to see the road ahead and the cars, however any detail would be completely out of focus.

Try counting the number of people driving vehicles who do not wear spectacles. Lets ignore contact lens wearers… we should expect at least one-in-four drivers wearing corrective lenses… but it’s nowhere near that.

Does this contribute to Qatar’s high road accident rate?