qatarperegrine: (camel)
Alright, it may not actually be spring yet, but it's already starting to warm up here in Doha. This weekend we switched the air conditioning back on in our apartment, and Qatari men everywhere are breaking out their white thobes again. Of course, by "warm" I mean it's breaking 80 Fahrenheit, which means we still have another 25 degrees to go before it's really summer.

The heat was one of my main worries when we moved to Doha. In fact, if someone had asked me what my biggest worry was, I would have been torn between "Getting kidnapped by Al Qaeda" and "Dying of heatstroke." Happily, I've avoided both so far, and the climate has been less problematic than I imagined. There are definitely things we can't do in the summer -- say, anything that involves being outdoors during daylight -- but summertime brings other pleasures, like snorkelling in a warm ocean, and joining all our neighbors in the outdoor pool at 9:30 p.m. every night. Our goal this summer is to learn how to scuba dive, which can be done here without wetsuits.

I feel like seasons are something I'm still trying to catch onto. I grew up in a climate where average monthly high temperatures have a range of less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit -- from 55 degrees in January to 64 in August -- and where almost all the trees are coniferous, so there aren't blossoms in spring or falling leaves in the autumn. The only real seasons are "rainy" and "somewhat less rainy." It was quite a shock to move to Pittsburgh, which careens from an average high of 37 degrees in January to 85 in July, and which has the kinds of seasons I'd only read about in books: leaves falling in autumn, snow in winter, crocuses and daffodils in spring, hot summers. In many ways, in fact, Qatar's weather is less foreign to me than Pittsburgh's, but still seems strange that there are activities that can't be enjoyed year-round. I kind of miss the changelessness of coastal northern California.
qatarperegrine: (coffee)
This weekend, I rented a DVD for the first time in Qatar.

"It's due in two days," the man behind the counter said.

"At any particular time in two days?" I asked, thinking of the video rental place in my hometown that required returns by 7.

"OK, three days!" the clerk replied.
qatarperegrine: (Default)
I am happy to report that, contrary to my statement in e-mail to Dad yesterday, I have now seen three construction workers wearing hard hats. (Doha is in the middle of an incredible construction boom which is being carried out almost entirely by immigrant laborers with hand tools and inadequate protective gear.)

The three construction workers in question -- the most adequately protected workers I've seen -- were planting a garden.

I guess the flowers around here are pretty fiesty?
qatarperegrine: (women)

Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
The echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine.


Nope, not a description of the Arabian Gulf; it's the lyric of a Pink Floyd song that was playing in the grocery store yesterday. I started hearing a familiar ping noise as we were waiting for our cab, and I turned to Justin and asked, "Are you hearing the opening of Pink Floyd's 'Echoes'?" Sure enough.

I've decided to talk a bit about one aspect of living in Doha every day this week, and I'm starting with shopping because that's how I spent my weekend. I'm not generally much of a shopper, but between setting up a new household and trying to find appropriate work clothes, I had a lot of shopping to do.

Groceries )

Malls (and people-watching) )

Souqs )

I'd planned to talk about food, too, and maybe church, but I can see I should leave those for future days! Please let me know if there's another aspect of life in Qatar that I should write about.

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qatarperegrine

August 2011

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