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    9 October 2006
    Living in Qatar: Love or Hate? Part II
    I was actually hoping that I could skip this, but you insisted, lol. So here is my (not very comprehensive) hate list. Mind it, it's more of a pet peeve list than hate list, I don't hate Qatar at all. Feel free to add to it or challenge anything on the list!


    Qatar is a desert. My least favourite landscape of all, save perhaps glaciers. I so miss the trees! I love rivers and lakes and forests and mountains... and I miss all the seasons. Weather in the summer is deadly.

    I can't walk in Qatar. I am not talking about driving to Corniche for the sake of strolling, I am talking about walking to places. I guess it's the European in me, I love walking. Absense of decent public transport and pedestrian areas is hard to cope with. I have to drive absolutely everywhere.

    Which brings me to the next point: driving in Qatar. What with constant construction, traffic jams, imbecile drivers, suicidal road crossers, non-existant traffic police, horrible round abouts and generally very bad urban planning you can imagine what a joy it is to drive in Qatar.

    No good bookstores, museums, galleries, video stores and generally very very little in terms of culture, art and adult entertainment. Heavy censorship of internet sites and printed materials.

    The arrogant and annoying minority which gives the rest of (otherwise really nice, educated and friendly) Qatari people a really bad image. Expats generally don't get a lot of oportunities to interact with the locals, and those locals that we happen to interact with - on the roads, in the queues, in the governmental offices, etc. - could learn some manners and social skills.

    Seeing the conditions in which the labourers work and live :(

    Certain laws and practices which I don't agree with. I believe that what happens between consenting adults is their own business, not the government's; that eating in public during Ramadan should not be prohibited for those who don't fast; that flogging/lashing is barbaric. Lots more, but enough about that.

    I can't understand why it is so difficult to find out what the laws and regulations are. The lack of proper procedures that apply to one and all. I do have to admit this is slowly changing for the better, but it is still there.

    Being a woman in the Middle East. This means so many things I don't even know where to start. How about needing a husband's signature everytime I want to do something? Oh well, lets not go there.

    Monopolies like Q-Tel. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh oh yeah and the services (or lack of them).

    I hate my smelly coworker (she's alright otherwise, just REALLY smelly) and my neighbour who can't park her car properly.

    :P

    I guess this pretty much sums it up. As I have said the list is not comprehensive and there are a lot of other things that could be improved. So, what do you think?
    posted by Bravecat @ 2:17 am  
    34 Comments:
    • At 06/10/2006, 15:38, Blogger Snooky said…

      This with no doubt my ultimate blog entry in the whole blog world.

      Landscapes: It really is a desert. It didn't really matter to me until I visited Europe and saw what green really means.

      Walking: I wish this country could be like all the other countries where people actually walk. I'm certain there are two reasons, the first is the weather, the second is still unknown. =p

      Driving: Driving in Qatar took away the lovely spirit of driving. Sometimes its fun though to drive here when you are in an adventurous mood, but not generally, its a total shut down.

      Book Stores: I swear this is getting serious with me and the country. I'm so sick of not finding the books I want. I either have to order them online, or order them from this crappy bookstore and wait for them 6 months to arrive.

      Q-Tel: Monopolization -_- . If you know me well, you'd know how much I always talk about Q-tel, not in the best way.

      I've always wished to leave and study abroad, but education here is awesome and I'm enjoying it =p . Besides, its exactly like you travelled if you enetered Education City.

       
    • At 06/10/2006, 20:45, Blogger 3anooda said…

      excellent post.

      totally agree with, and am currently going through, almost everything here in Muscat except the smelly co-worker. Thank god i dont have that.

      otherwise there are no reasons that really make u leave qatar. its stuff that u can live with.

       
    • At 07/10/2006, 00:09, Blogger { 13 } said…

      at last she spoke..:P ...but its nOt enOugh ..!..mOre...mOreeee.. so it wasnt just me ?!..whenever i say hate the desert they tell me its a coastal city..!
      locals love to shOw their cars..! thats why No walk...!
      traffic...jam.....Ohhhh..& big fat policeman blocking the rOads..:P..
      boOks..arts...??!..talk tO sh.Moza (wink)...she talks abOut the big education plans..while most of ppl here hardly can read the newspaper :))))
      the annOying minOrity...! tell me abOut it ..i hate it when im shOpping and they well lOok at what im buying !!?? whats with that ???
      LabOurers...!the stigma:(
      fOr the laws...well i dOnt think a muslim will dare to eat in public & ......where??..nOn muslim will be ask nOt to eat in public..respect fOr Ramadan !
      Its hard living in here ...wOman...............& man:P..its the system !
      Q-Tel....they gOt great deal ...25% less mOney in the wOrld ...50% mOre chance geting brain stroke !!cuz bad service..:P...and yeah...its much easier to find sex sites..!!
      fOr the smelly ....welcome to dOha..:P...I use straw to breath (^_').

      I think u gOt mOst of it ..
      PS:....yeah its me..

       
    • At 07/10/2006, 05:15, Blogger [m]attâ„¢ said…

      Yea, a lack of culture is definately a problem I can remember, and driving for hours to get to a GOOD bookstore. So sad, I think its a basic human right to have access to an uncensored, row-after-row really nice bookstore. Preferably in an old brick or stone building with crazy anti-social employees. Yes, that is truly my love, amongst other things.

      Walking is nice too. So are carriages.

       
    • At 07/10/2006, 11:53, Anonymous salam said…

      dont you hate having to have a license to buy and consume alcohol?and buying it from one place only and dealing with it like you're smuggling drugs..or that's not the case anymore?

       
    • At 07/10/2006, 23:31, Anonymous fish said…

      i hate another aspect of censorship. it really bothers me knowing that each and every dvd or book i get shipped into the country has to opened and A-okay-ed by some random customs official.. :(

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 00:19, Blogger Reem said…

      One of my first posts a while back mentioned the lack of walking opportunities in Doha,and how I missed walking from place to place. I consider it a big problem. Apparently though, they are preparing to make cycling routes around Doha. Strange.

      And being a woman in the Middle East...so true! Try being an ARAB woman in the Middle East...that's frustrating. But I like to believe it's getting better.

      Conditions for laborers... appalling.

      I think it's a fair list, Cat. I can agree with a lot of these.

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 04:12, Blogger omy maki said…

      good list. i would add: people in the city center who re-press the elevator button hoping that it will make it arrive faster or even worse press both directions, 'up' and 'down' regardless of where they're going because they can't wait. also, when people order food and add the words 'quickly huh?' as if that would make a difference. and my personal fav, diva abaya girls who think it's their absolute right to skip every queue. still wouldn't trade doha for anything though...

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 05:38, Blogger Susanne said…

      Fascinating stuff Cat. I know very little about Qatar, so it's great to have an 'insiders perspective' on it.

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 13:15, Blogger 3anooda said…

      omy maki said: "diva abaya girls who think it's their absolute right to skip every queue"

      HAHAHAHAHHA i love that.

      reem said: "Try being an ARAB woman in the Middle East"

      Sooooooooooooo true. so much will be passed up for a non arab but an arab doing such things!!! tsk tsk tsk.

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 13:29, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Snook,

      Thanks! And yes, you won't know what green is until you visit Europe! Of course there are rainforests elsewhere, but European green is much dearer to me.

      3anooda,

      No reasons at all that would make me leave - I love it here. I can get my fix of the things I miss when I travel, and I travel a lot.

      13,

      I know it's you, lol. I am sure you would have more reasons to dislike Qatar, but these are my reasons, and I don't have to put up with many things you have to go through.

      Matt,

      I have the same love for the row-after-row bookstores filled with everything ever printed. I have a wider selection of cookbooks here though, lol.

      Salam,

      No, actually, I don't hate it at all. It doesn't bother me. I can still buy what I want to buy, and I can have alcohol in the restaurant if I want to. My licence allows me a general supply of alcohol. Why should I complain? It's not my country, and they already accommodate my needs of having alcohol, in fact I am grateful for being able to buy it.

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 13:36, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Fish,

      Yes, that too, but parcels are opened the world over. I always get everything I order, so no complaints there for me yet. Laws are laws, and if they say some things are illegal - I can't complain if they stop them from being shipped.

      Reem,

      I don't even want to THINK about being an Arab woman in the Middle East. It's bad enough being a Western woman.

      Omy,

      Haha button pressing is not really Qatar's fault, and it's mostly people from the subcontinent that press it that way! I never understood why. Diva abaya girls rock though :-P My personal fave is those who cover their face with very thin veil yet wear so much makeup! They are usually the pushiest.

      Susanne,

      I guess it goes both ways - I am learning about Oz from you! :^)

      3anooda,

      It must be hard for Arab girls here, especially locals. They have so many limitations and rules to follow! Local girls prefer not to drive out of the fear that they will be chased by local guys (apparently it's a shame, too).

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 14:46, Blogger Mai said…

      Great List Cat, may i just reconfirm or add;
      - Walking... MAJOR MAJOR problem, makes u feel completely restricted and tied up esp when, for me for example, walking is an instant stress release remidy.
      - bookstores/videostores dont get me started on how i would love to wake up one day to find one huge waterstones/borders and an HMV/virgin mega store just down the road or on the other end of town for that matter.
      - Sales people are CLUELESS, and to top up their gibberish talk, you get ignored, dismissed and if they are listening, corrected!!!
      - Customer servies...I cant stand it, when with absolute no minimum effort in stores you get the :" No mam, we dont have (habe)" only to find it around the corner from where he/she stands, if u were bothered to look that is.
      -yes,lines/queues do NOT exist in Doha, esp in the streets.lol omy its these divas that get to me...all the time!
      -Laborers living conditions here are inexcusable!!!!
      -lack of good,well informed,Travel agents/agencies, and the availability of affordable custom made packages.
      - i hate how i cant google ;-) most things/issues in town, and its not like we have a comprehensive monthly/weekly publication that really targets whats on in Doha? we need a large online information database ASAP.
      - i agree, very limited oppertunities for any cultural gain!( but i have faith that Doha will improve in this aspect!i actually look forward to all the new galleries/museums)
      - an ARAB woman in this town (as reem said) is a key issue/concern and might need a whole blog site on its own.
      -For me the negative social aspects of Qatar/gulf region can be summerised in one quote " In this town, its not about what's right or wrong, its about what's common and what's not."

       
    • At 08/10/2006, 21:36, Blogger Dohagirl said…

      I can't actually think of anything good to say about Qatar at the moment. Any place where you can't even write a blog that doesn't almost get you fired from work for its "inflamatory" comments is a crap place to be.

      Also, the dating and social scene suck.

      If it wasn't for Cat, Fish and Giasi, I would have left months ago.

       
    • At 09/10/2006, 10:00, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Mai,

      Welcome to Life in Qatar! :^)
      Yes I do have issues with customer service and sales people, but I don't find significantly different attitudes back home so I can't really complain, can I? Actually, I think salespeople here are better than in Europe. Provided, of course, they know what they're selling. The will is there - it's the training and the knowledge of the product that they lack.

      DG,

      Yes, yes, yes, small town + small town mentality of certain small town dwellers. Bites you on the ass every time. But thanks, I didn't know you stayed here for me!! :-*

       
    • At 09/10/2006, 11:27, Blogger Degoat said…

      LoL - nice one QC.. if i was you i would spend most of my off days traveling the world..

      G

       
    • At 09/10/2006, 11:29, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      G,

      That's exactly what I do!

       
    • At 09/10/2006, 19:54, Blogger Mise said…

      Lotta stuff there Cat, and some that's generic in the Gulf.

      I love the desert, though. Not as much as I love green fields and trees, but it is gorgeous.

      I can't wait to do my own list of good and bad about the UAE in a month.

       
    • At 10/10/2006, 13:58, Blogger mimi said…

      Hey Q.C. It's been a while but I have missed reading your blog. Seems like I've missed quite a few posts but I'll have to comment on this one for now.
      I think that when you're brought up in the Middle East and you're forced to enjoy whatever is available, u pretty much don't realise that you're missing out on anything! But when you're brought up in a foreign country and you're surrounded with different luxuries, and THEN you're forced to leave all that behind n come to the Middle East, THAT'S when u start regretting ever having to leave ur country behind. So for me.... It's true that I have to go back home every now n then, but atleast I have the privilege of experiencing life beyond the Middle East! Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for what I have back home, but yeah.... we could do with some changes!!

       
    • At 12/10/2006, 08:46, Blogger Wanderlusting said…

      I love your blog...yay, more living vicariously through other people's blogs.

      Think my blog would be a bit more interesting too if I lived in Qatar. Hmmm. I'll sleep on it.

       
    • At 13/10/2006, 01:07, Blogger 3anooda said…

      tagged

       
    • At 13/10/2006, 13:53, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Mise,

      Yes I realise that most of this stuff is generic to the Gulf, but that's what I don't like about Qatar and I listed it here. I forgot to add pathetic excuse for the traffic police. What a waste of air.

      Mimi,

      I missed your blog and your comments, don't disappear again! :^)

      Wanderlusting,

      Welcome to Life in Qatar, glad you like it here. It's funny that you find that the actual life in Qatar could be interesting :P

      3anooda,

      I don't do tags, but in this particular case you're lucky cause I've done this one, and I posted a link to my answer on your page :^)

       
    • At 13/10/2006, 21:53, Blogger Kazablanka said…

      I am waiting for your next blog post with the title: Kaza, Love or Hate? (I want a part I and part II) :D

       
    • At 14/10/2006, 08:48, Blogger the cowlick said…

      I abhor smelly people too.. I think they should be the ones getting the flogging/lashing if one has to have such a custom :p

       
    • At 14/10/2006, 10:05, Blogger Twix said…

      lol!! I actually loved the list. I thought it would be much worest. I have to agree with everything u said.

      But im guality of being a manic driver who enjoys driving so close to expats.. the confusion look on their face as they drive their tiny hondas. hehe...

      I was very suprised a couple of weeks ago reading about a person being lashed, i seriously never knew we had lashing as a legal punshiment in qatar. I agree we are well past those days.

      Social life, doesnt exist, at all!! Unless u think starbucks is the centre of the universe.

       
    • At 16/10/2006, 09:24, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Kaza,

      No, it will be "Who's Kaza?" and "Is she alive?"

      Cowlick,

      I so agree. Sadly, I am the one lashed by the odour!

      Twix,

      Why did everyone expect me to write some horrible untrue stuff?? I don't get it. Do I sound really mean? Or is it such a common trend to diss Qatar? Hmmm....

      One thing I forgot to put on the list is noise. People have absolutely no idea what being quiet is. Yesterday I was subjected to a buggy race noise in the compound, at midnight. I wanted to shoot the bastards! Oh, and kids running around paying no attention to cars, with no adult in sight. Oh well...

       
    • At 17/10/2006, 16:02, Blogger Snooky said…

      "suicidal road crossers"

      Sorry but had to mark this. XD

       
    • At 17/10/2006, 17:46, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Snook,

      One day I'm gonna go lethal on their asses and help them out, I swear. I've had it up to THERE with people who have no concept of a "road" and a "car".

       
    • At 22/10/2006, 20:47, Blogger Snooky said…

      I swear I almost flattened 20 - 30 Indian army at this kahraba something street, two weeks ago.

       
    • At 11/11/2006, 02:33, Anonymous geez said…

      I am qatari and Qatar sucks! SUCKS!
      Can't wait for part III :)

       
    • At 11/11/2006, 16:38, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      There will be no part III, it's 1-Love and 2-Hate. I'll have to come up with something else for the third part.

      :^)

       
    • At 12/03/2008, 21:45, Blogger Arslan said…

      Hi everyone!
      I am thinking of moving to Qatar from London...i really need some inside info..what is the place like in terms of sociability, nightlife, things to do, local culture and customs, prices (i heard rents for flats are really expensive!), places to see, ability to mix with expats and local population etc? How long does the average expat stay? what are the pros and cons of living in Qatar as compared to say Saudi, Dubai, Abu Dhabi? Any help and advice would be really appreciated...
      Thanks

      A

       
    • At 27/05/2008, 22:20, Anonymous Kei said…

      Hey there Arslan,

      you can find a great resource on ILQ check out http://www.iloveqatar.net :)

       
    • At 18/10/2009, 19:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      If u hate qatar dont come to it againg and we dont want any eurpoean here I know it sooo hot but where ever you go there is an ac!!!
      and if you wanna walk as a sport walk in the corniche at 8 am in the morning it`s the best time in the day and it`s not nicessory to walk all the daaaay!!!!!!
      and now we are 2009 just go to any maal you will find wut do u want and moooore!!! and there is a good bookstores and museams and manny many else and just not to montion the towers when you look at them you feel youre in NY not qatar and do you know that Doha is the cleanset city in the world sooo my point is before you gudge seee and Qatar is the best plce I have ever seen and am proud to be qatari!!

       
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