September 13, 2007

Intrepid of Arabia Part II

I have come to the realization that if I wait and try to perfect each post I write about Doha, I will never post anything. I have thus decided to simply right quick vignettes and post them as often as possible and simply let you the reader sort through and make sense of them. Here is something I wrote a few weeks ago now:

Tomorrow will mark our two-week anniversary of living in Doha. In my last post I wrote mostly about the move and how we are settling in, and while there is a lot to say on that front, I want to take the time to document my thoughts on the city itself, my impressions of the culture here, and how I see myself adapting to living in a place that is so different from any place I have ever lived. (This process of document my experience here will take much longer than I thought.)

I like to think of myself as a life-long expatriate. I like the idea of not having any one country that I call home. I pride myself on living in as many different places as possible in a lifetime. There is so much to see, and I see no reason why one must remain in one country their entire life. Although it can be extremely frustrating at times to constantly move from one system of operations to the next, I feel it is the adventurer, writer, explorer in me that likes to put myself into uncomfortable, different and at times difficult situations to see whether or not I can handle them. If one sees the world as a place of learning and every experience, no matter now exasperating as valuable, than every minute offers you something worth contemplation and growth.

By this logic, I am actually excited that while all my colleagues simply gave the DMV here a copy of their American driver’s licenses in order to obtain a Qatari one, I will have to take a two week driving course to obtain mine, because my American license is expired. I am sure I will curse my way through the entire painful process, but the fact that I can tell my grandkids that I went to a Qatari driver school is important to me. In the meantime I bought a car and drive hoping nothing will happen. I can't start the class until I get my residency permit and that could be weeks a way.

So why the lengthy introduction? Mainly because, I don’t want this post or any others I may write in the future about Doha to sound judgmental, negative or sound as if I am complaining. I simply want to try and document my time here in as honest of a way as I can. I am sure my outlook will change the more time I spend here, so it will be interesting to read these initial posts a year from now.

Doha is the capital of a small country on the Arabian peninsula called Qatar, correctly pronounced cutter. I do not want to get too far into the history of this tiny country. A quick look at wikipedia will be far more concise and accurate; I do however want to simply share a few facts about the country that at this time I find relevant to my view of it’s culture and the people I see, but don’t necessarily interact with. Some of the things I will explain I have read, others I have witnessed first hand:

Qatar is currently a world leader in natural gas reserves. What this means is that there are trillions of dollars pouring into this country at a rate that the native Qatari population doesn’t know what to do with. Some things they are doing besides buying Hummers and Louis Vutton luggage is building! The entire city of Doha is one huge construction site. It feels like we have moved to another planet and that they are building the city from scratch. I imagine that San Francisco must have been like this in 1849 with the discovery of gold, and like all boomtowns, this empire is being built by slave labor.

to be continued...

1 comment:

  1. i'm really glad you decided to just dive in and write. i loved reading your first impressions and look forward to further insights.