Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Updates (along with some frustrations...)

Tonight is probably not the night I should be blogging. Tonight, after spending 3 hours out, most of it on the road, about 45 minutes of it in a crummy little food court in some forgettable shopping center. Hours of sitting in traffic. The goal was simple really. Our first trip to QDC (Qatar Distribution Center) to get alcohol. Alcohol is highly controlled here, as would be expected in a Muslim country. In all of Qatar, there is one place to buy alcohol. And to buy the alcohol, you need a "no objection letter" from your employer, which also includes a statement of your salary. Apparently, the amount of alcohol you can buy depends on how much money you are making.

We're having some folks from Jeff's work over this Thursday, so we thought it was time to finally make the drive. We had heard it was rough, and so we went prepared. Lots of snacks and drinks and colouring books for Kaiya. But it was more than rough. Waits for roundabouts were half a kilometer long, and the drivers were ready to display their aggression. After one wrong turn, we were pretty much messed. In this land of roundabouts, you can't make left turns. No, no. Instead, if your destination is on the left side of the road, you have to first pass by it, get to the next roundabout, make a u-turn, and then come back to it. When the traffic is bad, this process is downright painful.

Let's just say more than one u-turn was made tonight. We were about ready to abandon our mission. But seeing my worsening mood, Jeff soldiered on. We are going to the **** store, yes we are! And just as we were about to turn in to the road leading to the store, we looked at one another and realized we had left the "no objection letter" at home.

Insert cartoon sketch of smoke rising from my head. It was definitely a "Doha Day." That expression, let me tell you, is far too mild. But it will have to do for this very public blog.

So as I was saying, tonight might not be the best night for me to be blogging. But I miss you all. So here are some quick updates:

1. Our stove-top is back!! It's actually been back for about 2 weeks. I was hoping to include a lovely picture here, but that will have to wait. I'm just so happy to not have a hole in our countertop anymore, and to not have to maneuver around an extra appliance in the middle of our kitchen.

2. The only thing broken in our villa right now is our kitchen faucet. It works, but it's so loose the whole thing is going to pop right off one day, I swear. But it could be worse... our neighbours had their upstairs bum washer (what else do you call a spray hose that is placed next to the toilet?) explode and flood the entire upstairs. All their flooring had to be ripped out. We're more than happy with a broken faucet.

3. Jeff, poor Jeff, is being forced to go to Florence, Italy for five days of PD in November. I feel so sorry for him I could throttle him. Wait, that didn't come out right, did it?

4. Our Eid break is starting... very soon!! Jeff is off tomorrow at noon, and I'll be finishing up on Thursday. Then we get a full week off. We were going to go to Greece for the week, but for a variety of reasons, we're not. But that's okay. It'll be good to spend a week here, settling in more, and hopefully making our place a little more homey. It turns out we know a lot of people staying for the week, so there are already lots of plans in the works for day trips. Stay tuned...

5. Oh ya... I got my residence permit!!!! This means... a lot. I can leave the country for travel now. And I can go and get my driver's license and join all the crazies on the road. And I can finally be medically insured. And we can start getting coverage for Kaiya's daycare. It's a beautiful thing.

6. And finally, we seem to have kind of adopted this cat. Doha has strays everywhere. But this one-eyed pirate (Kaiya's name for him) is sweeter than the average stray. He sneaks into our backyard whenever we're there and meows at us like it's the end of the world. I give him milk, he drinks a bit, but then keeps meowing, very very loudly. We've realized he wants love. The stray wants love. My allergies keep me from petting him with my hands, but I let him rub against my legs. And Kaiya loves to play with him. We have become guilty of feeding him almost daily. Today, while I swept up the back and Kaiya helped cut the plastic off our new patio set, he lay there on a patio chair, as content as could be. We like him.

It's funny, because if you talk to the other kids in our compound, they all say he is "their" cat. They love to follow him around and coddle him. But I think he hangs out at our place the most. Don't tell the other kids... ;)

Coming soon are pictures from Family Day at the Doha Film Festival as well as Halloween. But for now, it's me, a book, and bed. Good night!


Larissa said...

I almost commented on your FB post, "What in the world are you doing on the roads at 7 pm!?!" Now I know. And understand. And empathize. (Darren forgot to bring his passport the first time he went to QDC.)

By the way, I've heard that cats are lactose intolerant, but I'm by no means an expert. Just don't want to see Captain Pirate with any additional problems, that's all.

Erika said...

so you're saying you came home without the alcohol?? i suppose there is something to be said about making it so hard to access.

Suzanne said...

I can hear the steam pouring out of your ears. What a complete frustration! The Pirate Cat is quite cute. Can't wait for more pictures!