I am now in possession of my Qatari RP and driving licence and it was really quite painless to be honest – I think I was quite lucky as I went to tower 2 Qatar Airways to be fingerprinted etc, once S had completed a form with Qatar HR, we went next door for finger printing. The ladies scanners had broken -(surprise surprise) but as S was with me, a very nice Qatari gentlemen brought me to the front of the queues and did them for me, with S as my chaperone..and it was all done in 2 minutes! 2 days later we return, get a form stamped then across to immigration next door to collect my RP. I had my eyes scanned for the e gate pass (which allows me to pass easily through immigration at the airport ) and within 5 mintues I had my laminated RP card..easy peasey!!!..
Sad news….I awoke 2 days ago to a very empty window sill…looked down and saw the remains of my pet Dove’s egg smashed on the ground…I decided to help my little birdie make a nest so this wouldn’t happen again.
I dutifully collected as many twigs as I could find, fashioned them into a nest like shape and waited till she had flown off, I placed it lovingly upon the sill for her return… she took one look at it and swiftly tore it to pieces and pushed it off..Hmmm…fair enough, nature is obviously a bit thick..
This morning when I look, she has laid another egg…this one however has a rather large hold on the top…I don’t hold out much hope for the sound of chirping soon…
After being here in Doha for a while I knew I had to eventually sort out my Residence permit, the first port of call is the medical commission testing. Everyone wanting to live here must have blood tests, chest x’rays and finger printing done, mainly to stop any unwanted diseases coming into the country and to ensure everyone is known, ( which I think is a great idea and fully recommend other countries to do the same!!). Anyway after hearing lots of horror stories about friends visits to the commission which included waiting upto 5 hrs to be seen, having their ticket taken from them and given to someone else, and the worst so far, a 19yr old having to strip naked, I decided that I was not going down that route, so, having google as my friend, I discovered you can actually have the tests done privately at 3 hospitals. Yes it does cost you more money, 100 riyals for the government and 630 riyals for the tests (about £130) but it was so worth it!!
I went to Al Ahli hospital and the whole process only took about 30 minutes and was completely stress free!
You go to the medical commission office in the hospital and visit with Mr Khan ( remembering to take your passport, a photocopy, your visa, a photocopy and 2 photo’s) and he completes all your paperwork, you are then shown to the relevant departments, where you are greeted by a smiley faced nurse who escorts you through everything, heaven!
Once you are done there, you then have to wait a day for your results to be sent to the Medical commissions office, where you do actually have to visit..sorry.
I set off the next day via taxi as S was working, the car park was not very busy , a good sign I thought..a very helpful security guard told me which booth I must go to, I was taken to the front of the queue (of about 15 women) and told to see the doctor, again I was escorted to the doctor and again queue jumped to the front (of about 20 men) and seen straight away..however the computer systems were down..( this is something you get very used to here), he showed me into a 2nd doctors office to have a seat to wait. After a further 15 minutes, the very nice doctor informed me to go home as the system would be down the rest of the afternoon, cest le vie!
So again I got in a taxi the next morning, this time the car park was heaving, cars abandoned everywhere, queues of women outside, it seemed pretty chaotic..great…but yet again, a security guard came straight upto me, I showed him my paper and I was whisked away to the front. I was only there 10 minutes, papers all signed and off home again. I must say, my experience here was really good, everyone seemed eager to help me and I felt I was given first class treatment.
The next step on my journey is to get fingerprinted, which I will be doing with S, as he is my sponsor on Sunday….
We have a little pet Dove, she has made her ‘nest’ on our living room window sill, I say ‘nest’ in a very loose term, as it consists of just 1 twig – each morning it attempts to make said twig into a nest shape, moving it up then down, right then left preening itself in between its efforts. She then proceeds to sit on the nest for a few minutes, then begins to coo contentedly.
This morning when I awoke to check she was ok, there was a little surprise..yep, she’d laid an egg!.Goodness knows how it isn’t turning into scrambled eggs as I write this, as the temperature outside is about 48 degrees…
at least she and the egg will not be found by any cats as we are on the second floor..fingers crossed I’ll have a little chick to look at soon!
In the short time I have been here, I have come to the realisation that the majority of huge, very expensive 4×4’s are not fitted with an indicator or that no one knows what an indicator is for…its a huge shock to the system coming from a country that, I have now come to understand, has really good drivers, to a place where I think no-one has had to pass any driving test what so ever, as long as they have money to buy a car, thats ok.
Drivers, over take, under take, accelerate at impossible speeds behind you to within an inch of your back bumper, flashing their lights continuously, completely oblivious to the fact that you can not actually move out of their way!! I have seen some really insane manoeuvres, undertaking 3 lanes of traffic to then zoom back across the 3 lanes to do a 180 degree turn, or stopping in the middle of a lane as they don’t want to join the queue of standing traffic that are turning to the right..and during all of the above, they are constantly on their mobile phones…classic!!
I have been know to ‘do a mother’ as S says, numerous times, this involves grabbing onto the door handle for dear life whilst swearing loudly..( yes Mum..you know you do!!), it does not really help that we currently have a rental car, its more than sufficient for an English road, but out here I feel quite vulnerable, and very low! S has promised that once he has passed his line training, we will buy a new car, a larger, higher, and more tank like vehicle..then I will get my driving licence and feel safe!! Phew!!!
I sit here writing this in my new home of Doha, Qatar. I arrived 31st July and its been fantastic since!
I knew a little of what to expect after visiting friends here a couple of times but I can’t believe how easily I have settled in so far ( yes, I know its only been 12 days, but hey..) it really helps being on a compound, its like a little village. We live in Ain Khalid Gate
It has everything you would need for day to day life, a supermarket that delivers, restaurant, 3 pools, a cinema, a beauty salon, laundry, tennis courts, 2 gyms, a snooker room and even a Costa Coffee – which S is very pleased about as he is addicted to Skinny Lattes!!. We are also only 5 minutes to the Vallaggio mall..which has a venetian canal running though it with boats!..what more could you want??
We brought alot of our own housey stuff out, as I wanted it to be a home from home, I know you can buy anything and everything you wanted out here, but you can’t beat your own stuff around you.
We live in a 3 bedroom apartment ( big enough for all our friends and family to visit) and are on the waiting list for our 4 bed villa, but this is perfect and I think quite large for just the two of us.
I’ve met some great new friends and had a fantastic evening on Thursday where we invited 13 of them round for a curry and beers..much fun had by all, especially when we got out the Wii and everyone got involved..planning a Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding night soon!!!
I have just returned ‘up North’ from a few days in our great capital city of London..well, what can I say..this was my 3rd trip ‘darn sarth’..and hopefully my last..I have never met so many rude people in my life!!! ( please note Nikki, Nicole and Scotty – Essex doesn’t count,and Rebecca and Joel – not really Londoners are not included in this tirade!)
It started at Heathrow airport..yes I know that it is quite customary at airports to barge into people with your trolleys, but Londoners have it down to a tee..they seem to completely zoom in on your ankles, then manage to glare at you in such a way, that you end up apologising for your ankles being in the way…then there is the queuing ..or lack of it..us ‘Northerners’ can easily stand in a queue for hours, and yes, we expect that certain ‘nationalities’ find it difficult to form a queue..but Londoners just don’t do it!, they seem to swarm forward, shove and barge their way to the front..all the time huffing and puffing at everyone ..it seems that the ‘business people’ are the worse…power dressed individuals, whose needs are sooo much greater than anyone else to get that seat..they don’t care if you are old, disabled, pregnant, they paid for the seat, they are going to sit in it!..
The next day I had the pleasure of an hour train journey into the city..it was packed..it was boiling..we managed to get a seat ( thank goodness)..however the lady sharing our 4 seater table had spread her paperwork all over the place, ( she seemed to be copying something from her laptop onto about 6 sheets of handwritten A4 paper..hmmm I think thats known as Cheating!..plus every 10 minutes she sat back and cracked all her knuckles..nice)…she had her very expensive breifcase on the seat beside her..and there was no way on this earth was she going to move it!! She kept her head down, managing to avoid the twenty or so dirty looks she was receiving. Eventually a brave young man dared to ask her if she would move said bag so he could sit in the seat..she huffed, she puffed, she groaned..it could have been a vey cheap pay as you go movie..but she eventually moved her bag..muttering under her breathe…how rude!!!..If that was a train from Manchester Piccadilly..it would have been moved swiftly with an apology and a smile and then they would have had a great chat the rest of the journey!!.. Thats another thing that people in London don’t do..smile…or even talk to anyone else..just try to say ‘hi’ or even ‘excuse me’ ‘thank you’ or anything what so ever to someone in London, and they look at you as though you are an axe murderer, unless, that is, that they are on their mobile phones..then they want everyone to hear their private conversations about their dreadful boss / husband / wife / life arghhhhh.
I did actually meet a really nice lady who was staying in our hotel, we shared a seat on the ‘smoking bench’ and had a good chat, she was lovely, she was friendly, she was chatty, we spoke about our family, we met for coffee, she had an Essex accent..but she was originally from Bolton..shocker!!!