Day 15 in the Big Doha House..

Friday, 16 August 2013

Hello! Haven't updated in forever.. The last two weeks have literally been a repetitive whirlwind of work, hotel, work, hotel. We are yet to see any of the city at all! My first day off is looking like next Thursday, so few more days of Big Brother house syndrome to go!

Literally the majority of my time has been spent working and then unwinding for an hour by the pool...
Iv even been too tired for the gym...which is bad as I keep eating monsters like this...!
The other night, the company laid on the most impressive feast for the English and Arabic studio guests, all catered for by the Movenpick hotel. Literally never seen anything quite like it. I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I wanted to but this will be a regular occurrence on our huge studio nights so hopefully il take some another night. We were invited to dip in...and we didn't need asking twice. Never seen prawns quite so big!!

I also bought a Qatari mobile phone which has proved so useful. And it's pink! Although I have no idea how to work it..

Week far

Monday, 5 August 2013

Today was my second full day of work, and it started out badly.

As part of our relocation, my company pays for a car to take us to and from work for the first two weeks. In theory this should be wonderful, in practise its more trouble than its worth. I phoned the number last night to pre book my car for this morning, which it transpires is not possible. They told me 'call back tomorrow morning at 6am' before rudely putting the phone down on me.

So I set my alarm for 6am, make the call, and get told to call back at 7am, before rudely putting the phone down on me once again.

So I set my alarm for 7am....and they ask me why I want a car, so I tell them it's for work, ask for a 9am pick up...wait patiently at reception, and does my car show up? No of course not. Yet my male colleague had a car pick up for half 9, no problem. Infuriating! So I had to ask the hotel to hail me a blue cab (super cheap - I paid 12 riyal, a little over £2) but I could have saved myself the hideous early start (and the phone charges from my hotel phone!) Although it did get me out of bed and up and in the pool for a lovely early morning swim.

We went to a colleagues house earlier in the week to see his apartment in the luxurious Beverley Hills tower. I had a glass of wine, the guys had bottles of beer, and we watched the news (riveting, I hear you say)..all things I strangely missed despite not even being gone for a whole week. He gave us the grand tour, including the pool which looks lovely...

We walked the short but incredibly warm journey back to our hotel and I took a few snaps of the city (il take better ones on my Lumix cam when I settle in a bit more)

Last night I had a little bout of home sickness and decided to work it out in the hotel gym, which helped so much. The view from the treadmill isn't half bad...

Before heading back to my 'home', which I must admit I'm pretty fond of!

Ramadan finishes on Thursday so I'm hoping a group of us will be heading out after work to find a bar that's open - it's been absolutely surreal taking part in the 'fasting' - although we cheat and go for 'meetings' (lunch) ! Not being able to sip water all day isn't great skin isn't thanking me for it one bit.

Eid is the next holiday, and I hear there are fireworks so me and my trusty camera will be heading to watch these, work permitting!


First impressions...

Friday, 2 August 2013

Greetings from Doha, Qatar!

Today is the start of my second full day in Doha. We landed on Thursday night after a very smooth and pleasant 6.75hr flight with Qatar Airways. It was an economy flight, but to be honest I felt pretty pampered compared to my usual budget airline flights with the likes of Easyjet and Monarch.

Not only was the queue at check in non existent, but the check in man was very helpful in terms of helping me with my second suitcase. At heathrow they charge £9 per kilo of extra luggage and I had a full on second suitcase weighing about 21kg. He charged me for 13 of my kgs but let me off the rest..lovely chap!

After a tearful goodbye (on my part) with my mum and dad (hello! I know you're reading this!), my friend Matt and I hit the shops in duty free for Sunglasses (for him) and perfume for me.

Once it was time to board, we made our way to the boarding gate where you are offered free newspapers as you board the plane (I don't recall free anything on any budget airline flight!) and once on the plane I immediately noticed the difference in aircraft quality, from the seats (cosy blanket and pillow which I made full use of!) to the pristine image of the cabin crew. They were full of smiles and served free drinks throughout the flight - water, juice, fizzy drinks. Even the in flight meal was really good - I opted for chicken, veg and sticky rice which came with a chick pea salad starter, bread roll, cheese, dessert and a chocolates. May not look it but it was very nice!

Matt and I did a compulsory airplane selfie...has to be done!

It took me about 3 and a half hours into the flight to realise I had put my headphones in the wrong hole which is why I was struggling to get more than minimal volume out of the in flight entertainment system (blonde!) but once I had this revelation I popped on The Bodyguard and was happy as larry for the rest of the flight!

Landing at Doha international airport was very smooth. We joined the queue at arrivals and had no trouble at passport control. We hadn't even left the airport when a very lovely Syrian chap visiting his mum in Doha asked for my number!

Stepping outside was a surreal experience after the heavily air conditioned airport. It was like stepping out under a large fan blowing 38 degree air. 38 degrees!! I finally understand the meaning of dry heat now. It's hot but not that sticky sweaty kind of hot that you get in England. It's like when you first get into your car on a (rare) boiling day in England and then turn the fan on and it blows hot air. Just on a much hotter scale. And it's like this 24/7!

We had a car pick up to take us to our hotel which is to be our new home for a month. I am so happy with my room, it's huge and I have the biggest bed ever. Even if I starfish out on it at full capacity I can't reach the edges! Il do a separate post with pics of my room once iv finished unpacking.

The driver was really informative and told us also about the buildings and sights we were passing. The view of Doha city (west bay) was incredible as we looked out across the bay towards it...almost like a Tokyo skyline, all lit up with incredible buildings. I took a picture on my iPhone but its not clear at all so il be taking a trip across the bay with my Lumix camera to get a better snap that does it justice.

We spent the first evening by the pool after meeting up with two more friends and colleagues Dave and Ami in the hotel lobby. It was beautiful being able to sit out by the pool in the hot fan weather.

This is the view from my hotel window which I took the first morning, lots of buildings and a four line highway that is home to speeding super car and super bike drivers at all hours, tearing it up along the ridiculously straight roads!


The first day at work was spent meeting some of the team, having the grand tour of the studios and sampling the delights of the canteen. It's interesting because we've come right in the middle of Ramadan where we can't be seen to eat or drink, even water, in public places. This includes drinking water in the office, not pleasant when you are living and working in the dessert! Luckily only a week of Ramadan left and then I will be drinking water at my desk like a camel!

After work we went to Amis hotel and ordered a spot of room service..

...before heading to the mall, where we found Fun City, a children's 'arcade' with some pretty awesome rides. Needless to say we bought ourselves a pass and got involved!

We then stopped by the Carrefour supermarket attached to our hotel and I was in Oreo heaven

Today is our first day off for probably the foreseeable future. It is the Doha equivalent of our Sunday today so we are going to hopefully grab breakfast, swim, and then go and explore this crazy new city :)