Here’s how the last day and a half or so have gone.
Wednesday Evening we flew from Toronto to London, had a two hour layover and then from London to Doha, Qatar.
Customs and security checks and all that jazz was so seamless I can hardly believe it. When we passed through “customs” here in Qatar we reached the part where people were waiting for the arrivals and I said “where’s customs? …What about the part where they search your bags?” We were through with barely a question and a nice man was holding a sign saying “Welcome Mr. David Giesbrecht.” Welcome indeed!
The only hiccup in the day was when we boarded our flight from London to Doha. We were almost all seated when a man at the back of the plane started yelling. From as near as I can figure he had a panic attack. He was repeatedly yelling (at the top of his lungs) something that sounded like “JUST HOLD MY HAND, JUST HOLD MY HAND” and hyperventilating. Two or three men wrestled him out the back door of the plane and by that point most people were standing looking at him.
Honour – bless her heart – who was at this point seriously sleep deprived and nervous about what we were headed into looked at us with pleading eyes and said “I don’t want to go…really…I don’t want to go” and started to cry. Knowing it was too late for that she shot us a look that said “you see! I knew this was a bad idea!!” She then steeled her nerves and pulled herself together. It was quite an unnerving experience (with the screaming man) and I have to say – she was a real trooper.
We were then driven from Doha to Al Khor (our little town). It was dark by then and Doha was beautiful! All lit up, palm trees and water. I felt such a thrill when we passed the museum of Islamic Art as this has been the wallpaper on my computer for the last three months or so. To see it live, when I’d been staring at it virtually for months, was amazing!
We drove the 30-ish minutes to our little town and although it was dark it also looked pretty. It’s completely under construction. There’s so much building and developing and growing going on.
Our 3 story “villa” is in a compound. There are guards at the gate all the time so it feels very safe. We have 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms so lots of room for visitors! The floors are all tile. The kitchen is great. Granite counters and a gas stove. Finally I have the gas stove I’ve always wanted.
Honour was really excited about our house. I made some comment today (can’t remember what it was…maybe that I’m not a huge fan of tiled floors..hard on the feet…something like that) and she said “Mom you should not be complaining! Look at where we’re living! We have so many blessings!!” Let’s just say we’ve come a long way from “I change my mind, I don’t want to go!” And thank goodness!
I slept soundly all night. Not so the others in the house. I woke up this morning to the house in better Feng Shui condition (David) and a dead computer battery (Honour).
This morning a neighbour took us to the grocery store. Everyone was incredibly friendly. The grocery store (which was small, like an oversized convenience store) was packed with all kinds of things that I would normally search all over St. Catharines to find when I’m trying out the ethnic recipes I love to make. Every exotic thing was there – I think. Lots of things were in english, lots were not. It was overwhelming – as expected. After about 30 minutes or so Honour said “Mom, can we go? I need a nap.” I knew how she felt.
The rest of the day was spent organizing the kitchen,skyping with a few people, unpacking some things, napping, meeting neighbours and checking out the compound we’re living in. We found the pool and the gym. They’re about 20 steps away from our front door.
Tomorrow we go into Doha to go to a more comprehensive grocery store (sounds like a Super Store) and in the evening we’re going to an Iftar dinner with the school. We’ve arrived during Ramadan so nothing is open during the day as the Muslims observe prayer and fasting. The evening ends with dinner – Iftar. We’re so glad they’ve invited us. There are 11 more days of Ramadan, so it’s likely to be quite quiet for us during the days.
Tonight we ordered in Indian food. So good, and so cheap.
I’ve taken a few pictures of our compound (and Honour took some pictures when we went to the grocery store today). They aren’t great. I took them at dusk and the light wasn’t ideal (and I had Honour’s camera) but they’ll give you a general idea. We’ll try to locate the other camera for tomorrow so you can see the view from our back window – desert, for as far as the eye can see! There’s serious lack of greenery – also expected. We’ve seen some nice gardens in the compound though so I know I can visit a nursery and work on that. Later, much later. I have the whole year to do that so what’s the rush?
The first picture below is our Villa (not sure where the caption went – I have a ways to go with figuring this Mac out).