Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Please Bring Your Sir

Doha isn't perfect. Not by a long stretch.
It has indeed caused me more than one headache on occasion. The constant construction, the crazy driving (refer to last years post on that one!) the heat, the sand storms, the traffic, the grocery shopping, the lack of labour standards for many of its workers, the idiosyncrasies of the Qatari people... my list could go on.
But, I must say that I have found my Doha groove these last few months, and generally speaking, its been smooth sailing lately. Fun even. Someone please touch wood for me.
I didn't think it would happen, but folks, we have settled in rather nicely. House is lookin' more like a home, we have favourite restaurants, have made some genuine friends in our neighbours, my shelves are stocked with ample whatnots because I now know where to shop, picked up a few arabic phrases to get us by in a pinch, the garden is...passable. My point is - we've acclimatized.
Every once and a while, however, something - maybe not even a 'big' thing - will happen, and it shocks me back into the reality of where I am and how absurd this place can really be at times.
Doha has laws and regulations, like any major city. Do they make sense? Sometimes. I think seeing 'sense' in certain laws is entirely dependent on WHO you are and where you come from.
I try to make a point of not getting too much into various customs, religions or politics when I write (there are enough blogs out there for that), but I must chat about my morning at Qtel for just a moment.
Qtel has the monolpoly on telephone, internet and cable services in Qatar. We therefore have our mobile phones, home phone, internet and cable accounts with them. Fortunately, most of what we have had to do with our accounts has been able to be accomplished online.
But, this week, I had to go in for two reasons:
1. Our monthly statements have been coming to our house addressed to the C. Ghisholm. Colin got a kick out of it, as I think he is fairly used to people misspelling our last name, but it irked me and I said if I ever had to go into Qtel personally, I would fix it (it's only taken me a year!).
2. We want to upgrade our internet speed.

Easy enough, right?

Well, after a 15 minute wait in the line up, it is my turn (by this time, Ella is yelling at people walking by from her stroller, just to pass the time). The frazzled looking Filipino guy behind the counter listens to what I want to do and shakes his head sadly. This is what follows:
"You need to bring your Sir, Ma'am."
"Your Sir... umm, husband... please bring him in to do this"
"Well, my Sir  will never be able to get down here during business hours just to fix one letter in our name and upgrade our internet speed, but I am here now, so I want to do it."
"Sorry Ma'am."
"Please get me your manager".

So, after another wait, an impressive looking Qatari saunters over to our counter. I explain what I want help with. He takes a hard look at our phone bill, and then at my Qatari ID card (with Chisholm clearly spelled out on it), and I sweetly repeat my request to have the letter changed from a G to a C in our family name. I tell him I understand the account is in my husband's name (with mine as a secondary), but he has asked me to do this for him (seriously - I said this).

He didn't bat an eye - "No".
What does he mean, NO?

I ask why and he says that my husband needs to sign a form. I repeat how I am here now to sign the form for our account.
It went on like this for a few minutes, and finally, against all odds, I partially win.
The Qatari manager instructs the customer service guy to photocopy my drivers license, my Qatar ID, and one other form of ID, and I have to fill out an official looking form requesting their error be corrected. Their error. My customer service guy said he would follow up, but who knows if the G will ever get changed. He said it could take weeks.
As for the internet speed... well, I came home with not one, but three different forms for my Sir to fill out and return in person.
C had a big laugh at this. How I needed my Sir to get it done. I guess our internet will remain slow for a little while longer... *sigh*... Ahh, Doha.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


It's Thursday in Doha, which means that it is the official start of our weekend. I have come to love Thursday's since we moved here. I guess it's exactly that 'Friday feeling' that I used to get when the week is done, and you let out a big sigh of relief... ready to ease into the weekend with no specific plans and a smile on your face.
I think I am giong to start a new blog ritual. My TGIT pick of the week song. I follow some great blogs that post songs from time to time, and I always enjoy listening to them & finding out the author's reason behind the song selection.

My first song: Can't Keep It In - Cat Stevens

My reason: I used to love this song when I went through a serious Cat Stevens phase in college (thanks for that, Dad). I hadn't heard it in a very long time, and when Ryanne was staying with us earlier this month, I was in a hurry one night heading to the gym & couldn't find my iPod, so she lent me hers as I rushed off.

While I was jogging on the treadmill, I browsed her tunes, and lookie lookie... Cat Stevens! Yeah!
Ever since, Can't Keep It In has been stuck in my head on repeat.

So today, I was driving in the car with Ella, having just picked up some yummy Portuguese food for dinner & heading home (note:  house rule is I don't cook on Thursday nights)... the sun was shining, there was a great breeze coming in through the window, and we are cruising down the desert highway (literally).
You can picture it, can't you?
I turn up a little Cat Stevens to keep us company, and Ella & I proceed to rock out together. She is a serious music lover. Life is good.
Great day today.
Welcome weekend!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nana Murphy and Aunt Iyaa in Qatar

It's been a busy month with my mom & C's sister delighting us with visits from Canada & South Korea. The sun shone, the sand blew, and we had a blast. Must share some highlight pics:

Hello Nana


Doha Pearl

Hello Aunt Ryanne

Al Ruweis

caught actin' crazy

Saffron Indian Restaurant
Robot Camel Jockeys - Doha Camel Races
Fun in the sand @ Sealine Beach

Night Dhow Cruise