Even though I have been away from Qatar for well over a year, I am still following news of the country. I read the online versions of Doha News and the Peninsula a couple of times each week. Now it’s also reports about the problems between Qatar and many of its close neighbours in the mainsteam media.
I find myself siding with Qatar, not just because of the unfairness of the blockade, but also from a residual loyalty to the country that was my home for 4 years. The recent publication of ‘God Willing: How to survive expat life in Qatar’ by a former expat reminded me of those 4 years.
The author, Mikolai Napieralski, gives a vivid description of a single forty-something expat arriving in Doha and making the most of what the country has to offer. He also dispenses sensible advice on the do’s and don’ts of daily life. There is also, what might best be described as exposés of life within a particular government organisation and the seedier aspects of Qatar nightlife, which, I think, will guarantee that the author is unlikely to find work in Qatar again. Being a well over forty-something and usually asleep by 10pm, I cannot verify the accuracy of the seamier side of Doha.
The book is an easy and very amusing read, although it could have done with some editing for a few typos, and some repetition. It is certainly worth reading if you want to avoid the more anodyne publications on life in the Gulf.
Before we moved, I read the The Expat’s Guide to Living and Working in Qatar which provided answers to many of my questions about what I’d let myself in for by uprooting to Qatar. Once we were settled, Qatar: A Modern History by Allen James Fromherz offered ‘a multi-faceted picture of the political, cultural, religious, social and economic make-up of modern Qatar, its significance within the GCC states and the wider region.’ I guess a new chapter to review Qatar’s current situation will need to be written sometime.
All of these publications are available from Amazon.
- God Willing: How to survive expat life in Qatar
- The Expat’s Guide to Living and Working in Qatar
- Qatar: A Modern History