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    11 September 2006
    What exactly do you mean by that?
    Yesterday I decided to take advantage of my ridiculously expensive club membership and actually go use it for once. I went to the beach at the Intercontinental. Now the club there is quite nice. There are better, but Intercon is more than adequate. Good facilities, good service, new fluffy towels. Gym, sauna, not a bad pool and a beach. People who are lazying by the pool or on the beach can usually be seen in swimwear. They get in the water, swim around a little bit, jump up and down, or maybe even sit on the bar chair half immersed in the water and have a drink. In order to enjoy a splash in the pool people would normally change their clothes in the changing room. Like, you know, take off the jeans and put on a bikini. That's what changing rooms are there for. Right? Changing rooms are naturally separate, one for ladies, one for gentlemen. Intercon is no exception. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw THAT on the wall of the changing room:





    That made me think. I mean I don't want to offend any local customs with my Western infidel ignorance. So here are the options I came up with for ladies who wish to use the Intercon pool and beach.

    1. Don't go to the Intercon beach. By frolicking in your bikini on the beach you already offend local customs. Play safe and go swim in your bathtub instead.
    2. If you absolutely have to go to the beach, fine, but keep your clothes on (very popular option here by the way). There is also no need to get in the water. It's probably just as hot as air anyway.
    3. If the fully clothed option doesn't cut it for you - fine, wear your swimming suit, but put it on at home. The drawback is that you'll either have to wait till your bikini dries out before you dress up and leave, or you drive home dripping wet. I suggest you nick one of those fluffy towels to put on your car seat.
    4. You may also change in the total privacy of the toilet cubicle. Of course your stuff may end up IN the toilet but that's a minor drawback - at least you're not offending any local customs. And you don't want to mess with local customs, trust me.
    5. Now if you still insist on using the changing room to change your clothes, make sure that you are the only one there. It's ok if there are other foreign ladies in it as long as they are not wearing abayas/headscarves. Abaya is a dead giveaway that the lady may have customs which will be offended by your blatant display of body parts.
    6. In the presence of abaya clad ladies you'll have to discover the muscles in your body you never knew existed. Why? Try taking your underwear off and putting your bikini on fully clothed.

    7. Or maybe the ladies with sensitive customs could simply TURN THE OTHER WAY?? That's what we do when someone else is changing in the same room. How hard is that?

    Then of course maybe that's exactly what the notice means? That we shouldn't stare? Somehow I don't think so, but I'll give it a benefit of a doubt ;-)
    posted by Bravecat @ 5:47 pm  
    20 Comments:
    • At 11/09/2006, 19:01, Blogger Susanne said…

      Wow, that is really strange, especially when you consider that the change room is more private then the beach.

       
    • At 11/09/2006, 19:34, Anonymous Jason said…

      Or if you go to City Center sometimes where a number of people are wearing clothes that are as skimpy as bathing outfit.

       
    • At 11/09/2006, 20:42, Anonymous Marjorie said…

      "Or maybe the ladies with sensitive customs could simply TURN THE OTHER WAY?"

      Or they could, you know, not hang out in a changing room if they don't want to see people changing.

      Just a thought.

       
    • At 11/09/2006, 22:53, Blogger >>Sama Oman said…

      :D

       
    • At 11/09/2006, 23:08, Blogger confused arab chick said…

      Is it just me, or don't they have those private changing cubicle things in Doha.. I know they have them at the Sheraton and the Ritz, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what the changing room at the Intercon looks like.

      Bytheway, I say change and tell the abaya ladies to.. well.. ehm.

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 10:23, Blogger Dohagirl said…

      I'm kind of shocked by this. People in North and South East Asia are very modest and conservative when around people of the opposite sex, but when in a same-sex environment they have absolutly no modesty. You walk around stark naked and offer to scrub other womens backs at the sauna. Which I find very uncomfortable. I thought it would be similar here.

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 11:54, Blogger Mise said…

      Eh, no! Dohagirl...lol ....next time you're in there QC, why don't you turn the camera around a bit and let us all judge whether the modesty rules are being broken. It's such a subjective thing you know! ;-p

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 12:16, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Hmm..That’s intriguing!
      I thought those warnings are hanged only on Men locker rooms. Well I understand from where that comes from, since I’m Qatari. Being fully naked in Men locker room offends some, I’ve witness a Qatari father once complaining to the Ritz health club reception about how offended he was to encounter ‘with his children’ naked club guests.
      It might be a culture taboo, but I think it will disappear eventually.
      I’m a gay guy, and I don’t mind those signs. I had my ultimate ‘cruising’ moment on those locker rooms ;)

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 14:06, Blogger { 13 } said…

      wear a cape :P ..

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 14:19, Blogger GIASI said…

      ive never used the intercon beach club... or any beach club actually. Firstly, my swimming skills comprise of a splash and a raid descent to the bottom of the pool. Also, they wont allow me in the kiddies pool because i apparently scare small children.

      Anyways. If its such an issue why dont they just have individual changing rooms. I wouldnt mind that because i do feel bad when i realise i have shaken some other guys self confidence because he caught a glimpse of my Boa Constrictor. I guess some of us are just blessed AND sensitive :P

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 15:47, Blogger Sever said…

      Thanks a lot, Auntie.

      I'm laughing 1st time today.

      So nice.

      Sometimes it seems to me, that all are crazy. Not only me.

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 18:28, Blogger Lym said…

      Hahahaha! You crack me up ;)

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 20:52, Anonymous jack said…

      If they catch you with that camara in there ...

      I don't want to even think about what priveleges they will "CUT" off!

       
    • At 12/09/2006, 23:29, Blogger SugarComa said…

      i'm local and u know what it takes more than naked ppl to offend moi!

      that's just silly and funny @ the same time :P

       
    • At 13/09/2006, 12:06, Blogger Ella said…

      LOL !!
      thats really strange though that they'd put up a sign like that there .. I've been sun bathing at 1 on the hotels here and i havent seen a sign like that anywhere - i'll keep a look out for it though.

      some people are just strange sometimes. i mean who cares if u see a little skin of some other womans body - arent we all the same! lool , i loved ur options !!

      u should print it out and pass it down to the hotel !

       
    • At 13/09/2006, 15:00, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Susanne,

      According to local customs you are not supposed to see even members of your own gender naked.

      Jason,

      True, true.

      Marjorie,

      That was the point of my entire post. What would they do there anyway? They don't use the gym and sure as hell they don't swim in the public pool. And this particular changing room is off limits to children so they can't be there helping their kids (who can use the pool) to change either.

      Sama

      :P

      Chica,

      I went there yesterday and in the changing room there was a covered lady with a son who was at least 6! I asked them to leave and she told me to go outside and wait in a loud voice. Haha. I went outside and got an attendant in who kicked her out. It's apparently OK to bring a boy that big into the ladies changing room, but it's not ok to be immodest while changing. I love these customs.

       
    • At 13/09/2006, 15:05, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Midge,

      I believe it's a taboo only in Islam. Nowever else in the world it is immodest to strip naked in the changing room while changing.

      Anon,

      Woo hoo details details! :P

      13,

      Thanks! Will think about that hehe.

      GIASI,

      Boa? Prolly a milipede under a microscope. :P

      Sever,

      Anytime, dumpling.

      LYM,

      You were cracked up to begin with, so don't blame me :P :P

      Jack,

      They won't do anything. I would not use it when other girls are in.

      SugarComa,

      It is silly and funny and I am glad you see it this way. Not everyone does :-/

      Ella,

      It is strange, and I think it's stupid too, but what can I do? Only share and laugh :^)

       
    • At 13/09/2006, 15:54, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Mise,

      I won't do that as I am terrified of "cutting off" options, as mentioned previously by Jack :P

       
    • At 01/10/2006, 14:48, Anonymous Ariel said…

      Hi,
      This is my first time here; pretty interesting post. Having been to the men's changing room at the Intercon, I can vouch that they have a similar sign over there as well. As I have seen numerous kids walk in there, I think this sign is apposite. However, I agree with the others who have commented that this would be unnecessary if they had proper "changing cubicles" like at the Ramada for instance. I have also seen a sign at The Doha Club changing room, that asked members (paraphrasing here!) not to walk around in the buff when kids are around.
      From a practical point of view, I think guys can get away with a towel wrapped around their waist and easily slip their undies up without exposing themselves:)
      As for women... now that could be a problem:)
      Peace

       
    • At 01/10/2006, 16:04, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Ariel,

      Welcome to Life in Qatar and thanks for the comment :)

      I am all for cubicles if the customs of the country require people not to expose themselves. But it's weird to NOT have cubicles and yet insist on people being "modest" while changing :D

       
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