Tuesday, May 30, 2006

 

Week 4

Al-salaam alaykum,

What an interesting start to the week. It was the first day of the week, the day after our first home cooked meal, and everyone in the building woke to find that there was no water. Honestly I am not so surprised, after all I am in the middle of the desert. It turns out that the building is on tank water and not mains water. Unfortunately the tanks were empty. It also wasn’t the first time. It also ran out on Friday night. I also found out that the power is from a generator, not mains power. Interesting building, that’s for sure.

We went out for dinner at a restaurant on the Corniche for Rachel's birthday, one of the girls in fleet (a surprise party in which nearly 30 came out). The Corniche is the road surrounding the harbour. The restaurant overlooks the city sky line. It is one of the most unbelievable restaurants I have been to. Dinner cost 65qr, or around $25. You will never in your dreams get food as amazing as there for the price in Melbourne, yet alone the view. One hard thing to get used to is that all restaurants don't serve alcohol, so a nice glass of white with some fish is not available, but it is still great.

The weekend was amazing. Had fun on Thursday night having a couple of beers on the roof of the apartment, listening to music and relaxing. Friday was a whole other story. We went on a desert safari. It was unbelievable. I had an absolute ball. We went sand dunning in 4WD's, the drivers were amazing, some of the stuff we did was crazy. We went to the inland sea, which overlooks Saudi Arabia, then went to the camp site. The place was amazing. We played beach volleyball, went for a swim in the warm ocean, had a beautiful BBQ dinner, enjoyed a few beverages and danced and sang the night away on the dance floor. I didn't bother going to be as I wanted to wait up and see the sun rise. A sunrise in the Arabian desert is truly something to behold.

We finished off Saturday with a bit more dunning and then home. It was great, I loved it.

I hope you are well.

Be good!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

 

Our Apartment

Our lounge and dining room, with Loz kicking back on the couch after a hard day in the office, if there is such a thing

The entry, kitchen on the left, bathroom on the right


Our building, we don't have a driveway, power is from a generator and we have a water truck filling the tanks from 6.30 in the morning until around 8 pm each night

My room, nice and big, you can only see around 40% of it, it is huge


The entry to our fantastic apartment


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

Week Three

Al-salaam alaykum (That means Hello!),

Third week down, who knows how many more there are to come. This week has been the most the most productive of all. A few of us went to Rydges for a couple of beers and to do the trivia. We had a pretty big improvement, we came equal 5th out of about 12 teams, a good result I think.

The rest of the week involved more bus route testing and meetings. The weekend brought a good surprise, our apartment was ready for us to move in. I took the keys on the Wednesday night and moved in on the Thursday night after work. We spent much of Thursday evening cleaning. The apartment is great. The bedrooms are huge, a very spacious lounge and dinning room and a reasonable sized kitchen. There are two couches and one arm chair, coffee table, a dinning room set, plus more. It really is a very tasteful apartment, extremely livable and really comfortable. I must say it is a really nice place to live. I will include some photo’s soon.

Once done, I went out for a few beers with Rich (one of the Village VTM’s) to a place about 20 minutes out of Doha, pretty much in the middle of a heap of sand. The place was really nice. They had a band, a pool, cabana lounges, it was very relaxing. We left there after getting a phone call to go to the Scottish Ball at the Marriot.After returning to the apartment, Rich and I quickly got into suit and tie and went and joined the games people at the ball. We enjoyed a few beers, a couple of wines and a little bit of whiskey, on the house, so obviously we took advantage. In true Doha and transport style, instead of paying for a taxi, we had a private coach to bring us home. Unbelievable.

Friday didn’t involve much, had a bit of a sleep in which was good. Did a bit of shopping for more cleaning stuff, frozen food, bed sheets etc. It was a pretty small shop so we didn’t get much. The rest of Friday night involved going to a party at a friends villa, a bit of a swim (fully clothed), a couple of ales and once more, some relaxation. It was a really good night. Hit bed around 1 am, it was great. Poor Loz spent the weekend pretty unwell. Thankfully she was feeling much better by Saturday afternoon ready for the shopping effort.

Saturday was the biggest day of shopping so far. Did the first big shop to buy all of the basics you need to live, eat and cook. Basically, it was a shopping trolley full of food, condiments, you name it. I had a ball. Once home I gave the kitchen a really good clean and cooked my first home cooked meal in three weeks. It was great. Mashed potato, carrots, beans, crumbed chicken fillets with sweet n sour and sweet chili sauces. It was great to have a home cooked meal and some vege’s (I thought I would never say that). The week was over and now it is the start of week four. Here we go again.

Take care boys and girls.

Monday, May 15, 2006

 
This is Al Gharafa Stadium, the place was around 3/4 full, approx 15,000. For a country of people who don't like going to sport this is a pretty good turn out. It cost 10qr, or $3- Oz.


The place had a party atmosphere. Drums, bloke on a megaphone yelling stuff we couldn't understand, sounds just like a Collingwood v Carlton match.


The red team won. They are Al Rayyan. They weren't the favourites. Great game.


A couple of locals. Good blokes. They love having their photo's taken. Good value.


This is the stadium empty. The other guy is Pierpascal. He is Italian and has just joined the team. Good bloke. Provides many laughs.


 

The Golf Club and Athletics

The amazing Golf Club
That is Tatiana pole vaulting
A packed stadium, only half of it though
Um, just me with my Aussie Flag (Cheers Harley)

 

The City of Doha

This what Doha is really like
Possibly the world's biggest shopping trolley
The actual city of Doha

 

Week Two

G’day all,

Week two is over and what a week it has been. This place is so relaxing. I think it’s because during the week there is nothing much to do.

At work we have been doing bus route timings, heaps of reading of ops plans, talking to as many people as we can. It isn’t too busy at the moment, but I can tell the pressure is going to rise, and rise fast. I’m looking forward to it. It is too slow for my liking at the moment. Then again, it is giving me a chance to relax and catch my breath.

Have found a few new restaurants. I’m loving it. Been going to the place around the corner. They think of us as locals now. I think it’s because we always eat there, in fact just about every day. They know exactly what I’m going to order each time. Its great. As I said previously, the food here is great. Went to a Thai place during the week, fantastic Sweet and Sour Chicken, it was amazing. I was shown a street that has that many places to eat, I could go to a different place for a meal every day for the next couple of weeks. And the cost is so low. It’s great.

The weekend was huge. Thursday night went to the Ramada for a few quiet beers. Well actually that was the plan. We got there at 4.30pm and left around 2am then next morning. It was great fun. Sat outside under the stars, sang a crap load of songs, including every theme song for every AFL club, oh the reminiscing. Let me tell you hangovers in the desert are twice as worse than at home. Great fun though!!!!

Friday night we went to the IAAF Super tour, in other words, and athletics meet. It was great. Tatiana Grigoriava was competing, along with a few other Aussies, including Scott the discus throwing Ballerina from the ads. It was great. Harley, the Aussie flag came in handy. I will put some photo’s up as soon as I can. By the way, Tatiana came 9th out of 18 competing. It was right in front of us. We also saw the American break the 100m world record. Sunday we went to the Emiri Cup. It was the finals for the local soccer league. It was a massive grudge match. The game was fantastic. It was one all at the end of time, going in to extra time and then penalties. Al Rayyan, the team we were supporting won, it was fantastic. The fireworks after the game seemed to go forever, it was an amazing spectacle. It cost us 10qr or $3- to go, and the place was nearly full. It was a sight to behold. The locals were celebrating by sitting on the roof of their 4WD as it drove at 80km down the road holding a flag and a megaphone. Unbelievable!!!

Good to hear Melbourne have won 4 in a row. Hopefully it will continue, we are playing well. We can listen to it on the radio over the internet. Oh, and the Ramada plays a game every Wednesday night, last week it was Collingwood vs Carlton. I hate both teams but it was great to just watch footy. I think the Ramada is quickly becoming our local.

Hope all is well at home.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

 

Week One

Howdy campers,

Sorry for the delay. Had a few internet problems. Anyway, here it is!!

Well week one is gone and we are into week two. The work week is slightly different here. We work Sunday to Thursday, having Friday and Saturday off. It is a bit hard to get used to.

The first week at work was definitely interesting. I was poked with needles, x-rayed, blood tested, and interviewed by doctors. That was the first day. Induction was interesting, was finger printed by the police, you name it. We went to Rydges where there is an Aussie Legends Bar. Had a trivia night which was great.

Our first full weekend was pretty relaxing. Unfortunately it was a disappointing start with Kim being sent home. On the Thursday night we went out for a few drinks at the Ramada Hotel to say bye to Kim, followed by a few drinks at the Rugby Club. It was Doha vs. Dubai in Gaelic footy. It was great. A few great tackles laid, a few cries of ‘BALL’ from the Aussies and a few beers in the warm breeze in the stands. Friday involved a bit of shopping and watched Kate and Andrew go ice skating. Yes that’s right, ice skating in the desert. Not to mention some relaxation. Saturday was great. Spent the afternoon and the early evening relaxing on an island, about 15 minutes from Doha. It was very tropical, palm trees everywhere. Had a swim in the warm gulf, listened to a bit of music, enjoyed a fantastic meal and read my book. We left around 8.30pm, a very relaxing day. Great way to finish the weekend.

Hope everyone is well and I will have a weekly wrap up next week.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

The Start of Desert Life

Hi all,

What can I say, this place is amazing. It is amazing, in both a good and bad way. It is around 35 - 40 degrees during the day and 20 - 25 at night. Luckilythe room is air-conditioned. The place looks like a bomb hit and they are rebuilding. There are that many worksites here it is amazing. As for accommodation, I will be living in an apartment with Lauren. 2 bed rooms, kitchen, bathroom 2 toilets. Fully furnished including bills, except telephone. Good deal. Nearly all of the M2006 people have taken apartments in the one building, and there is a shuttle to work practically from the front door, very handy.

I caught up with a few of the others from work, they are all really enjoying it. I am probably going to do my scuba diving course over the next coupleof weeks. One of the boys is looking at organising a diving trip off the coast of Oman, should be good.

Food: What can I say, they have everything you can think of. McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, Subway, and the biggest supermarkets I have everseen. They have that much stuff its a joke. The other really handy thing is that at the Rydges Hotel, they have an Aussie Bar, showing Aussie sports, it willbe perfect for the world cup, AFL etc. This place is great. Everything is so cheap. The local food is really tasty.

Work: Really good work bunch, they have met with us each day since we started. They have unbelievably helpful. I have a mobile which you havethe number, and I am starting to know my way around. Very handy. I won't be doing road events, I found out today I am 1 of 4 VTM's for the Athlete's Village which is fantastic. I am very happy with that.

Today was the city tour, great fun, saw heaps of great things. There is so much to do, don't know if I will have enough money to do it all, or time for that matter. This place really is amazing. Last night went to an aussie legends at the top of Rydges. Great night, it was trivia night. One of the guys from the transport team came along, they have been great. They have made us feel so welcome, and are really keen for us to get started, I am really looking forward to it. The Village will be tough. I will be helping with arrivals and departures, you name it. I am pumped. The village is about 5 minutes from the apartment. Living with Lauren will be good. The two of us get along really well. We have set some ground rules. I cook, she cleans. We have a washing machine here, but will probably get a maid. The other option is take it to a laundry place, its like 70 cents AUD per item washed and ironed. Will work that part out later. I also said I am happy to do the food shopping, you know what I am like with food. Also, in two weeks I become a resident of Qatar, therefore no tax in Oz. Yay. As for this place, it is really sunny by 6am, and dark by around 7.30 pm. It is a dry heat which is good, today it is quite mild in the shade, even though it is about 32 degrees.

Anyway, all good over here. Eating like a king, will probably put a bit of weight on, however I am trying to join a gym. It is not easy. Most gyms only take couples, no singles. I will work it out though.

Anyway keep in touch. I will put some photo's on as soon as I can.

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