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Realistically idealistic daydreamer, seasoned procrastinator, atheist and monarchist with a secret agenda and a slight inclination towards voodoo practices.
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    30 August 2008
    Hello, Doha, been a while...
    When a year or so ago I told someone here in the UAE that I kinda missed Doha and preferred it to the hectic hustle and bustle of Dubai, they just laughed at me and recommended I go and visit Doha after spending some more time in Dubai. They reckoned I would find that Doha is years behind Dubai in its development, and in the lifestyle it can offer. And you know what? They were absolutely right. I can't believe just how different the two cities are. And the comparison is not in Doha's favour. Small, provincial, with poor infrastructure and no visible improvement to traffic congestion, with suicidal drivers and a total lack of nightlife, Doha has indeed a long way to go if it strives to become interesting to tourists and expat residents alike.

    The construction in the Corniche is spiralling out of hand, yet I haven't seen any parkings or connection roads being built. When all those towers are ready, how will the people reach them, and where will they leave their cars? The Lagoon (Zigzag) Towers must be the ugliest modern high rise structures I've seen in a long time, and there is a total lack of accommodation to suit middle class pocket. The area I used to stay in is flooded with sewage - I wanted to see around the compound but couldn't approach it as the pools of sewage were blocking the road. So much for improvement. Ugly ass compounds are sprouting all over the same area, who will inhabit them, I wonder? Someone who doesn't care about the health hazards of sewage pools in their back yard, no doubt. The Red Brick Cafe, Ras Al Nasaa, the one place that could actually offer a tourist some taste of Arabic traditional atmosphere, food and sheesha is now being knocked down. Why on Earth?? It was so nice.

    Anyways, I wasn't going to write a post about how bad Doha is (it's not that bad), it's just that the difference between Doha and Dubai really hit me this time. In Doha I had a lot of free time on my hands (rather too much for my own good) and could socialise with people and make friends - which I did. In Dubai I have a hectic job which doesn't allow me any free time for myself, leave alone for friends. Believe it or not, I haven't made any friends in Dubai as yet. I rely on my Qatar export Fishy and internet for social interaction outside home and work. This was the main reason why I decided to come to Doha for a weekend - to meet my friends who I like and miss a lot. So I don't care how lousy the town is - there are people who like me and are happy to see me in that town, and that's all that counts. Thank you so much guys! You are all amazing and we had such a great time! I promise I will post the pics at some point (Belish posted the ones she took on her Facebook, so you can ask her for the link), and I will post mine on my Picasa web album so don't forget to check it from time to time.

    So to retract my steps a little bit, this is what happened during the weekend:
    2.15pm: EK flight out of Dubai to Doha. The flight was delayed, we didn't get to Doha until sometime around 4, and discovered that the mobile network didn't work. Great! The queue for the passport control was long and uncomfortable. There was this Asian family behind us, parents and two kids, who had no experience with queues and what they do. They thought that if they come close enough to lean on us, they would get through the control sooner. Had to tell them off for not respecting personal space. Honestly, what is wrong with these people? Is this really the way of life? As soon as the plane touches down, they are already bundled all together in a moving, rather smelly, homogeneous mass aiming for the exits. I am not surprised anymore when I read about stampedes in Asia, that's just what they normally do.
    We stayed in the new Ramada. It is truly awesome. The room was enormous and very very comfortable, with the softest, most amazing bed EVER. Needless to say, spent a lot of time in it! I love soft beds. Very bad for my back so I can't actually have one, but in the hotel anything goes, and I really enjoyed it. I took some pics of this bed and they will go into my album as well. Beautiful, well lit room (I could never quite figure out why most hotel rooms are awfully dark), with fantastic bathroom and great telly. Just what I wanted to find in the room. Although I booked a standard room, we got a complimentary upgrade, and that was simply awesome.
    Around 6.30 FINALLY got hold of Frenchie who picked us up and took us to his apartment, where Bully was already half way through the cooking. When everything was finally served, 10 or so hours later, :P we enjoyed unbelievable pasta with mushrooms, steak and shrimp. It took the others maybe 3 hours to arrive, there were Snakie's friend BoyToy (ROFL), PM, Ballz and Boobz, Belish, Dulce, hosts and us. 5 happy couples, haha. We played murder mystery game, I haven't had that much fun in years, probably not since our Blah awards. For more information on the game and the preparation that went into it check the Shotgun Mystery thread on Blah. Not that it will enlighten you much! :P
    Didn't go back to the hotel till something like 1am, dead tired.
    Next day, got picked up by Frenchie again, spent the whole day with them. Finally got to meet Soon (and his gorgeous girlfriend), and watched two weird movies, Goodbye Lenin and Pan's Labyrinth. I did enjoy the Lenin one. We must have consumed weekly ration of food in one day. Bully, you ought to stop cooking! Sorry about the blender, we heard Frenchie's watermelon shakes were good, now we will never know just how bad they really are :P :P
    We drove around Doha that day too, been pretty much everywhere, visited PM's new place at Qatar Decoration R/A, tried to visit our old place but you already know what happened. Seen the development at West Bay. Left for the airport around 9pm, my sides hurt from all the laughing.

    I didn't realise just how much I missed my friends, and what a great bunch of weirdos they are. Thanks, guys! You made this Cat very very happy. Now I can concentrate on my work again for a while, but I'll be looking forward to the next time we meet! How about another murder mystery? Only I don't want to be Frau Pumpernickel again! ;-)
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:02 pm   13 comments
    23 August 2008
    Pics from Shanghai

    You can see them here.
    posted by Bravecat @ 3:56 pm   2 comments
    16 August 2008
    Woo hoo yes I am coming to visit! Haven't been for ages, can't wait :)

    AND AND AND we're gonna have a party! How awesome is that?

    Thanks goodness for friends. Really.
    posted by Bravecat @ 6:54 pm   1 comments
    8 August 2008
    Birthday list
    As always this time of the year, now is the time to post my birthday wish list. I am getting fed up with people giving me useless things like designer bags and diamonds (I wish)! This year I will be more creative in what I hope I could have for my birthday :

    1. First class round trip to New York (including a week's stay in one of those swanky hotels you see in the movies) on the new Emirates superjumbo A380. Honestly, this plane is so big I think it would be more practical to lift it up and rotate the planet underneath than make this plane fly all the way!

    2. Someone to shoot my neighbour who kicks his dog out every morning at 6am. I have to wake up to the sound of very loud and distressed barking every day!

    3. Get the Minister of Magic to come in and enlarge my living room to fit a couple more armchairs.

    4. All seasons of Weeds on Blu-ray.

    5. A new mobile that will be fun and do the job - I have no idea which model, it seems the longer I spend choosing, the worse the final choice is. Surprise me!

    6. A device that makes you lose weight while you eat - i.e. the more you eat, the more weight you lose! This weather does not inspire me to exercise!

    7. Trips to either or all of the following: Riverdance, Cirque Du Soleil, Grand Slams, F1 in Monaco (been already, loved it so much, wanna go again!), carnivals in Venice and Brazil, Bolshoi Theatre, any opera or ballet at Teatro alla Scala.

    8. A pocket full of sunshine.

    posted by Bravecat @ 1:01 pm   8 comments
    5 August 2008
    Would you like to stroke my ... cat?
    Saudi Arabia's religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday. Othman al-Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa, told the Saudi edition of al-Hayat daily that the commission has started enforcing an old religious edict. He said the commission was implementing a decision taken a month ago by the acting governor of the capital, Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, adding that it follows an old edict issued by the supreme council of Saudi scholars. The reason behind reinforcing the edict now was a rising fashion among some men using pets in public "to make passes on women and disturb families," he said, without giving more details. Othman said that the commission has instructed its offices in the capital to tell pet shops "to stop selling cats and dogs". (Source)
    Makes you wonder, doesn't it? I can hardly imagine a man using his pet cat to disturb a family in public. On the other hand, how socially deprived people should be in order to do something like that? Imagine families stuck at home because they can't venture outside without a man present (who is at work), and kids won't even be able to enjoy the companionship of a family pet! This is just cruel. And what will happen to the animals which were for sale? Will they be put down?
    What else will the authorities take away? How about forbidding families from appearing in public altogether in order to prevent anyone harrassing them?
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:24 pm   9 comments
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