sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How funny can Doha get??

So I haven't written in a while and I have so much to add now. First I have to start off with my newest prize possession - my rug. Unfortunately they were sold out of rugs with the Emir, but I did manage to score one of the Heir Apparent. He is the one I need to go for anyway as he will take over eventually. I am sure he only has 5 wives already. What's one more? Oh that is if I choose him over the sales man who told me he loved me as well. What do you think?? The rug is currently at the end of my bed and he greets me everyday. His name is His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. So I think that would make me Sarah Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani. Or maybe just Sarah bin Hamad Al Thani. Apparently all you need is Al Thani to be important. Anyone who is someone is called Al Thani. Hehehe.

So since I last posted I had the hilarious experience of going to a basketball game here. It was an international championship with a host of teams (4) and one of them was Qatar. They came third. I went to the final which was Angola and Latvia. It was quite an exciting game but Angola won! They received the prize Falcon. Here is the award ceremony with a traditionally dressed Qatari. The Falcon is very important here. They tell me I must discover the shop that sells Falcon hoods - some kind of hat for your pet falcon to keep them quiet. Perhaps I will make it there one day and be able to send photos!

So as many of you know - thanks for the wishes as well - it was my birthday last Saturday. 27 and counting...a little bit closer to 30 each year. Ewww...anyway, I headed over to the Sheraton for Champagne Brunch. It was great fun. Amy Wee discovered her new love for Prawns dipped in the Chocolate Fountain. Fiona couldn't stop gooing over the fountain itself. Craig kept me laughing and the cake was great. Thanks to Dave Wilko it was great day. We spent the next several hours in the pool and then I had a facial at the Four Seasons. This Friday its the contouring body wrap and I am determined to get a guarantee on the removal of cellulite. I am sure they can promise me something.

The view from atop the Sheraton was pretty amazing. Mind you, most of Qatar looks nothing like this. It is dry sandy and full of construction as you have heard in the past. The funniest thing though is this mythical place called Palm Tree Island. It once was an oasis, a tourist trap some might say with palm trees, swimming holes, water slides and more (not to mention it is on every map and is about the only nice touristy thing here). But the Emir didn't like it anymore so what did he do? He bulldozed it, left it for dead - minus one Joshua sort of tree - and is planning on building the world's biggest fountain. Because that sounds like a great idea for Qatar! Also pictured here is the Four Seasons from the Sheraton. It is stunning and totally my splurgy escape on my now one day off. Don't mind the hazy humidity - that's just Doha.

Also while we were at the Sheraton there was a Ladies Wedding on. Of course we weren't invited but a friend of mine who had been to one told me what happens. All of the women have a celebration together before the woman gets married. Someone announces the arrival of the men. Then they put on their abayas and face coverings (can't remember the name of them). They then await their arrival of which is probably the first time the woman ever met the guy. The guys come in with a black bag, put it over the woman and carry her out in the bag!! Definitely not how I pictured my special day to be! Pretty harsh, but if its meant to be...This is what the wear normally and really - why take the photo?? Its not like you can tell who they are! Maybe one of them is me....I will leave you to guess which one!

I still plan on doing quite a few more things here even though work is starting to get busy. We have moved into the stadium now and work has begun. Its nearly 100 days to go and I am sure I will be working at least 90 of them. Probably more. But we all know that as long as its geeky and paperwork like that I am into it. There does seem to be quite a few people here who have never done a ceremony before but we are slowly getting use to it. And getting things done on Doha time is quite difficult. It was actually 54.5c/130 F the other day. I think I could feel my sweat boiling on my face. Imagine standing perfectly still, not doing any movement at all and sweating more than you have ever sweated before in your life. That is what Doha does to you every single day. Sweat comes out of places you didn't even know you had pores. Trust me its gross.

For those of you who sent things thanks for them! And I do know that the mail is quite slow here, so if I haven't thanked you personally, it will get here soon I am sure. Lauren Snelling gets the big YOU ROCK for the arrival of my card on my actual birthday. Couldn't have timed that better.

Take care guys. This Friday I want to do a bit of walking around in the real life construction world that I live in. Its cranes and car accidents. That's really what it is, even though at this stage you would think I only keep saying that. If anyone feels like a Persian Gulf holiday, maybe go to Oman. I hear its nice....just kidding. I would love anyone to come and see it for themselves. And you too can afford the Four Seasons....its paradise. The sun can set quite nicely here too.

I love and miss you all....

Saturday, August 05, 2006


So this weekend I decided to give myself a bit of an early birthday present so I booked in for a Hot Stone massage at the Four Seasons Spa here in Doha. For about $100AUD, I got an hour long massage and access to their amazing facilities. They have hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms - the typical stuff you would expect, but its the extras that the Four Seasons are known for that make it fun and exciting. In one big room, they had 3 laconium chairs - apparently a roman thing - covered in tiles and heated to 42c/107f. They also had in this room 2 of those water treadmill like pools which spits out a current at the end of one pool and you can just swim against it for hours. I did this for a little while and then I realised I was meant to be relaxing so why on earth was I working out!?!? They also had one of the largest spas I have seen with jets just about everywhere. So much in fact that it kind of made it difficult to sit in. Here is a photo of it. I didn't take this. Its from their website. But it gives you an idea. They have only included about half of the spa in the photo though. It truly was big!

Also in this big room, they had another sauna at a different varying temperature. As well as 2 plunge pools, hot and cold. After braving the cold one, I did feel much better for it. It was only 17c/62f so you definitely got your circulation going. They also had this crazy colour treatment room which was something about changing the colours of the light in the room to help you feel better or something. I didn't do that because I didn't have enough time to read up on how it all worked - they had a big book in the room as well, so I will have to save that for next time. So after about 2 hours of lounging around with all of this stuff, then I went and had my massage. Hot Stones is great way to get enormous knots out of your back. Definitely worth it and highly recommended. Afterwards, I jumped into the spa in our female changing 'suite' and rinsed myself off in the Swiss shower with 16 shower heads. Pretty amazing.

Then we headed to the cafe for a bit of lunch. I tried to take a couple of photos on the balcony there but it is just so humid. You will see what I mean. This is probably the best shot I got out there. The bay here is quite U shaped and you should be able to see the other side quite well but unfortunately you can't. The humidity is definitely what will be the most difficult thing to deal with here. So I came back inside and took this photo which gives you a much better view from behind glass. We do wish we could have air con outside on balconies here because at least then you would opt to sit there sometimes, but you just can't this time of year. August is meant to be the worst. And yes it did very much surprise me because it is the desert for goodness sake! But it is also on the Arabian (or Persian as most of us westerners know it as) Gulf and it is a great big body of water which brings in heaps of moisture.

So after a nice long day at the Four Seasons, I decided to book in again for the following Friday for a facial. I booked in a bit later on because on Friday morning a whole bunch of us are heading to the Sheraton for their brunch for my birthday which includes free flowing Moet Champagne. Definitely will be in for that. The Four Seasons has an amazing one but it is a lot more expensive, so I will wait till I have a bit more cash and can try all of the hotels' brunches!

I know some of you have heard about the crazy find that I came across at the Supermarket, but for those of you who didn't, I don't have a lot to mention about it because the photos really speak for themselves. I don't know if they actually use the stuff or not. All I know is that yes it exists and I will buy some to show all of you in person whenever I get around to seeing everyone. It costs about $12AUD or $8USD which is pretty hard to believe - what a bargain. Good to know that even the lady arabs in their full black abayas get up to no good....hehehe.

So I guess that is about it for now. Work is getting a bit busier and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will move to the Stadium and be working from there. The office is ok but I really want to start doing some work. It is a lot more fun when we start building stuff, so once we are at the stadium it can all begin. We did have one day this week that I know was 51c/124f. It was ridiculous. I spent a lot of it outside as well. Stupid Hot and I think it will only get worse. Oh well. Its all a learning experience I guess.

Keep well and keep the emails coming. It is nice to hear from everyone in this sometimes lonely humid desert.