17 August 2006


More factoids:

1) No Qatari pays for electricity or gas or local phone calls. Bear in mind that they also have no income tax, free education, (right up through university), and full free health cover. Oh and every Qatari gets US$18,000 to buy property (when they turn 18 or something). And petrol is AU$0.20 per litre. Pretty good standard of living!

2) It's almost impossible to be become a Qatari if you are not from a Qatari family. So even Arabs, like Palestinians or Lebanese, if they were born here, will never get true citizenship. And definitely not Indian and Nepalese. Forget it if you're Christian. And if you're Jewish you won't be allowed in the country at all.


Went to the ultra posh and exclusive Diplomatic Club last night for dinner to celebrate Eamon's birthday. Massive place in the posh part of of town, very chinzy. There were about 20 of us at one long table. The food was fantastic, about 6 courses, and you could drink booze.

In the bay that the club faced onto they are building The Pearl, sort of like those wacky palm tree islands of reclaimed land in the UAE. They are also building two very odd zig zag lopsided buildings. I can't see how they will look attractive.

It was good to eat some really top class Arabic food. How do they get lamb so tender? And the tabouli was the best I have ever had. We all ate too much though, as it was a set menu banquet type arrangement, so the courses just kept on coming.

Behind the restaurant is an annex purely for smoking shisha. It was full of people just sitting around enjoying a glass of water and pipe. No meal or anything, just company, entertaining.

We all waddled out to our waiting cars as a huge red half moon rose over the construction cranes.


Our work compound is using the NSW OH&S regulations as its standard. All the inductions that need to be done are boring for us and crazy to the imported labourers. But one of the unusual quirks is seeing some volunteer women in full black abaya, just a small slit for the eyes, but with a high visibility fluro yellow safety vest over the top. I'd love to get a photo, if it didn't seem rude.


It's late, I'm sleepy. I've been sleeping really badly all week, I don't know what it is. Plus really intense, epic dreams. It's the kind of sleep where you're actually waiting for the alarm to go off so you can have the relief of getting up. I've had the runs pretty bad too, so it's probably got something to do with the change in diet, or water or something. Also, sleeping in air-con every night is not normal.

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