02 August 2006

1/8/06 - One day in Doha

9:12 pm

Funny how two beers after work will wipe your mind of all the things you wanted to record from the day. i decided to start a blog today, and to write my first entry tonight, now. But my flatmate and I ended up at out neighbours for a couple of drinks and by the time i have got to this I can barely be fucked.

Going around for drinks seemed like a good way to get to know some more people. In fact I ended up being bored as hell as all they talked about was workmate gossip. something to be avoided at the best of times, but when you don't know any of the people they're talking about it's truly a waste of time. I exited as soon as was polite.

*Nerd alert* A couple of people had said that the government here fudge the temperatures lower because if all the Indian workers knew it was about 40 (or something) they would be able to walk off the job. It seems plausible as the temperatures do seem hotter than the 38 or even 44 my weather widget tells me it is every day. So after another of these discussions today I took my little keyring thermometer (thanks Cel and Tess) and put it in a shady spot behind our offices. 20 minutes later it read 42 degrees, while the official temps said 33. Taking into account the high humidity (it really felt like a sauna today) and having to work in direct sunlight, and it's the kind of temperature no-one should rightly be out in. Let alone performing manual labour. For a pittance probably.

I took advantage of my continuing jetlag this morning by getting up at 6:30 and going out for a run. This was the first time I had actually be on the street at all since i arrived. In the heat and humidity (and supreme unfitness; I think I've jogged less than a dozen times this year) I didn't last long. But i did get to see the lanes around out 'Twin Mansions' apartments. They're nothing special probably, typical Qatari city suburbs, but I do enjoy the stark colours and brutal lines of the buildings, purely for their unfamiliarity. Everything is painted white or light pink (the colour of the earth/dust here), finished in rendered concrete and there are no trees to provide a respite. Whenever I get around to taking photos, they'll show a particular 'Arabic minimalist' style.

Tomorrow morning I will give some money to a guy in the office who is organizing a 'safari' 4WD trip on Friday night. This seems to be one of the few activities there is to do around here and my first. The idea is that you're driven into some sand dunes out of town after work in a 4WD but an expert driver. He fangs you up and down impossibly steep and high dunes for thrills (in the dark, it would be too hot to do it in the daylight hours). After that they put on a BBQ between the dunes and if you bring your own booze you can get pissed. Then come back to town. Should be fun and a good way to hang out with people.

According to those that have been here longer, the only other things to do are: fly to Dubai for the day and go shopping; do scuba diving (its murky and there is no coral or even features other than sand, except where they sink a boat or truck); visit the 'inland sea' which I think is a massive set of dunes; visit the Old Souk, which are the traditional markets (not actually old of course, they're new, but made to look like a traditional Arabian market with porticos and stuff. They probably never had markets like this as they were all nomadic bedouins up until the moment they all turned into millionaires). And that's about it. I'd go troppo too if I had been here more than a year already...

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