Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spain Pictures!

Sorry there are so many of them, but it was a long trip with lots of sights. Enjoy!

Eid 2009 - Espana!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spain trip

Hi everyone, I know it's been far to long since I updated the blog... but we've been busy!  I started my new job about 2 months ago and have been trying hard to get everything figured out and organized in the labs. I'm enjoying working and it's interesting to work in such a different place where things are not as easy as they are in the States.  It can be frustrating, but will be totally worth it once everything is organized.  I'm really getting in on the ground level here as the labs are going to expand by about 5 times over the next couple of years.

On to our recent adventures.  We just got back last night from a trip to Espana!  It was a blast... running around southern Spain and eating more food than I knew I could handle.  I haven't had a chance to process all the pictures we took (400-500) but once I do, I'll be sure to post them.  I'm also going to post pictures we've taken over the last couple of months since I last updated the blog.

We flew into Madrid November 25th early in the morning and hopped on the train to Toledo right away.  We spent 2 days there and got our bearings being in another country.  Our first impression was how different it was from Doha!  There were clouds, cold, rain, and (shocker!) hills!  We were both very sore after walking for 2 days in Toledo because of the hills.  Like I said before, we pretty much ate our way through Spain, enjoying tapas, wine, beer, and jamon (Spanish version of prosciutto).  Unfortunately, I started to come down with a cold that hung around most of the trip, so we didn't see quite as much as we probably could have since we ended up utilizing the siesta to try and feel better.  Luckily it worked and by about half way through the trip, I was feeling better.  Rachel however caught my cold and is only just now starting to feel better.  We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving together in a different country without our families, which was strange but exciting at the same time.  We had dinner at a very nice restaurant near the church where we ate dried venison, quail, and cod.  Maybe the first pilgrims at something similar, but it probably wasn't as tasty as ours was!

After Toledo we took the train to Granada, a completely different city that Toledo.  Where Toledo felt like a small old town, Granada was a bustling new age hippie town with interesting back street tea rooms and lively bars.  Again we enjoyed tapas and wine.  We also went to the Alhambra, the last great Moorish fortress in Spain which was lost by the Moors in 1492 to Isabel and Ferdinand.  It's also where Columbus convinced the King and Queen to back his trip to the New World.  It was very eerie to stand in the same place that Columbus did so many years ago.  The entire place was alive with history and it was very cool to be there.

From Granada we traveled to Sevilla.  Sevilla was probably our favorite city as the town was so much not only for the sites we saw but the food and people!  We really enjoyed our selves in Sevilla, finally getting into the Spanish way of a late morning snack, mid afternoon lunch and siesta and a late night dinner.  We went to the Bullfighting museum which was extremely interesting.  It may be a brutal "sport" but the Spanish really revere the bull and don't relish in the pain of the bull, but it's courage and fight.  We spent lots of time wandering the streets and visiting some of the other sites, the Cathedral was extremely beautiful and enormous!  It is listed as the largest Church in the world since Saint Peters and Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil are Basilicas.  In any case, it's big.

Cordoba was up after Sevilla.  It was really nice to spend time in Cordoba even though there isn't much to do there besides see the Mezquita, the large former mosque with a cathedral built in it.  It was nice to have some relaxing time together with Rachel and not feel rushed.  Again we enjoyed wandering around town, especially the old Jewish quarter which was a maze of small streets with lots of tacky shops interspersed with home town artisan shops.

Finally we arrived in Madrid.  The big city has done a lot to revive it's small historic core.  They have pedestrianized many of the streets in the historic district, bringing out lots more people.  It was a busy two days as we toured the modern art museum, Prado Art Museum, and the Royal Palace all in about a day and a half.  Lots of walking but lots of beautiful art to be seen.

Well that's it for the brief overview of our trip.  I plan on putting good descriptions on the pictures to supplement this post, but that will have to wait until I get the pictures uploaded!

So I've been bad...

...about keeping this blog up to date... I've got some posts coming I swear! I'll also have a bunch of pictures to post from the last month and our trip to Spain that we just returned from.

Also, we'll be back in the States December 17th! If you're in the Chapel Hill-Durham-Raleigh area around then let me know!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sorry for not posting in awhile...

...We've been very busy! Luckily it's the first day of a lazy weekend, so I thought I'd take some time and update everyone. Where to start?

First, I should talk about the wonderful Friday brunch we went to a couple weeks ago.
We went to the Marriott here in Doha and let me tell you, I've never seen so much good food! There was french, asian, indian, mexican, arab, and so much seafood you'd never believe me! It was so good. Luckily it's a 4 hour event so we had plenty of time for 3rds and 4ths! I wasn't hungry again till the next day about lunchtime! Click below to see some pictures from the event!

Friday Brunch

Next, I started my job at Cornell 2 weeks ago! Although my official title is Research Tech II, my job is to be the Lab Supervisor over all the labs in the Research Department. It will be a challenging but rewarding job and I'm starting right at a very exciting time in the labs, they were just awarded 20 grants and will be growing very quickly in the next few years. I'm really excited about the job and will keep everyone updated on how it's going.

Of course, during my first week of work we had our first visitor! Rachel's roommate from college Claire is on a round the world trip and when she found out we were moving here made sure she stopped through! It was really great to see her and lots of fun showing her around our new home here. We were also able to go and see a bunch of things we'd been waiting to see like The Pearl, the man made island here, and the Museum of Islamic Art. We also went walking on the Corniche which is the beautiful walking area around the West bay area downtown. All were lots of fun to go and see. I've posted the pictures below.
The Pearl and The Corniche
Museum of Islamic Art

One of the other fun things we did here with Claire was go dune bashing since she really wanted to go see the desert here. We also hadn't been out there so we decided to hire a driver to take us out and drive us through the dunes. I didn't know that an SUV could stay up right on some of the inclines we were on, but our driver was very experienced and knew just how far he could push the Landcruiser. We spent 4 hours driving around out in the sand and had a blast. It was really fun and I can't wait to take anyone else who comes to visit out there! Pictures are below again...
Dune Bashing!

Well I hope this post is good enough for a few days. I'm really trying to keep up once a week on here, but obviously it's tough now that I have a job! I hope everyone is doing well in the States! Oh yeah, and we'll be back for Christmas in NC in almost exactly 2 months!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our sweet new car!

Our beautiful Kia Sorrento!

As is custom here, the plastic is left on to show off that it's
a brand new car!

Again, more plastic, and yes it's as uncomfortable
as it looks like.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 28, 2009

All things food

So I started to allude to food in my previous posts, but I think it deserves an entire post all on its own. 

The food here is as varied as the people who call this place home.  There are plenty of Arab food vendors around covering most if not all of the middle eastern countries specialties, tons of Indian restaurants, and of course American fast food.  The restaurants are typically decent deals, especially if you're willing to eat at an Arab food joint or some other "ethnic" restaurant.  For example, my friend Jon and I had a long day today running errands and taking his car in for it's scheduled service.  We stopped at one of our favorite restaurants here called Turkish Al Bukari and got take out.  We ordered 2 Shish Tawook containing grilled chicken chunks, homous, cucumers, and french fries.  On a side note, french fries come with EVERYTHING here, including being put in sandwiches, casseroles, and just as a normal side to almost any food.  I always thought you got fries with everything in the states, but here they would put them on a salad.  Anyway, I digress, we also got 3 cheese and meat pies (turkish bread wrapped around spiced meat with cheese and then baked) as well as 2 fresh juices.  Our total for this feast was 54 Qatari Riyal, or about 15 dollars.  We were both stuff and all for about 7 bucks a person!  In the same breath, however, you can go to the Ritz Carlton or any of the other hotels and spend 54 riyal on just a cup of coffee!  It all depends on where you want to eat.  Another excellent and cheap place is where we went on our first night here and again for my birthday, Hot Chicken.  It's a hodgepodge of cuisine, they have Indian, Chinese, American, Arab, and everything in between on their extremely long menu.  It's delicious and cheap, 4 people can eat for about 25 dollars or less.  The best part about these restaurants is that they almost all deliver.  This even includes the American fast food joints!  It's very strange to be followed into your compound by the Hardees delivery car or the McDelivery mopeds.

The grocery stores also reflect the varried cultures and people that live here.  I know I've mentioned Carrefour before and it is still our primary grocery store, but we have also visted a few other grocery stores, our favorite being the Lulu Hypermarket.  Hypermarket simply means that they sell things other than food (kind of like a Super Walmart or Super Target.  There is an incredible variety of spices (which I've also mentioned before), types of canned foods and vegetables, and of course produce.  Again, like the restaurants, if you want "American" food or products expect to pay a hefty chunk of change.  If you're willing to experiment and try something different, the possibilities are endless.  Some of the fun things we've tried are kiwi jam (delicious!), spiced roasted corn (kinda like corn nuts), and the wide variety of Arabic sweets.  Also amazing is the amount and variety of lamb that they sell.  They literally have any cut of lamb from entirely whole all the way to lamb chops.  The lamb also comes from many different countries, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and many others.  It's also fairly cheap to buy, comparable to ground beef in price.  All of this is not to say every store has everything you need.  Some items are stocked infrequently, one day they are there, the next you can't even find the tag for the item.  Canned pumpkin and real maple syrup are two things that come to mind that you buy when you see them, even if they weren't on your list as they may or may not be there the next time.  The produce is also similar in that you never know what kind of quality will be there or if they will even have what you need for a particular recipe.  Finding substitutes for ingredients has become a new game and I'm learning a lot about it from friends who've been here awhile already.  Another thing about living here is that I'm learning to make a lot of base ingredients that I never bothered to make myself in the States because prepacked items were so easy to find and decent tasting.  Chicken stock is one thing you cannot find in cans or cartons.  They sell bouillon cubes, but that's about it.  So I'm learning to make my own stock.  Pasta sauce and pesto are also in the works as even if you can find them, they aren't very good and expensive.  I'm also going to attempt to make pizza dough, as all I can find are frozen crusts that taste like saltine crackers.

Overall, my favorite foods here have been the fresh juices, the fresh Arabic bread (basically pita bread) and the spice.  The juices here are simply amazing.  Not only can you find about any kind of prepackaged juice you'd want (Strawberry, kiwi, guava, peach, pineapple, mango, banana, etc) but also fresh refrigerated versions of them as well.  My favorite is strawberry juice mixed with a kiwi lime juice and topped off with some ginger ale.  So delicious!  There are also juice stalls everywhere where they will make you any type of fresh juice or combination of fruits that they have.  Let me tell you, fresh strawberry kiwi juice is phenomenal and so simple.  All they really do is blend up freshly cut up pieces of fruit with some sugar water and ice!  Simple but so amazing.   The Arabic bread is also delicious and extremely cheap, 1 riyal for 5 pieces that are about 1 foot across.  We've used it as a pizza dough substitute and of course to make sandwiches and pita chips.  And finally, the spices.  I know I've said lot about them in other posts, but I still can't get over how good and cheap they are here.  1 kilogram (2.2 lbs!) is 9 riyal or about $2.50!!! Even the more expensive spices like white pepper or imported spices are only 30-40 riyal per kilogram.  Even at 40 riyal per kilogram, that's only about $5 per pound!  I definitely will make full use of how wonderfully cheap and plentiful the spices are here!

Well, that's my take on the food here.  If you have any questions about the food, just post a comment and I'll try and see if I can get you an answer!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One more thing... please take a look and vote!

 Please read the email sent out by one of Rachel's former students from UNC.  He is currently in the Peace Corps in Senegal and is trying to get funding to help the people in some small villages there.  It doesn't cost anything except your time to cast a vote for his project.  Thanks!
Hello Friends,

   I hope you are all exciting and willing to lend me a hand this week, because I need your help!  This week is the final running for the ideablob.com venture competition, and the competition is stiff.  In order to win, I am estimating that we will need to garner 1,500-2,000 votes, a pretty daunting number, but I'm sure we can do it if we make a concerted effort.  All votes have been reset, so even if you votes in the first round, you have to vote again for it to count.  If you never got a vote in, here's your chance!

   I generally don't like soliciting people for anything, but I really believe in this project, and the $10,000 winnings would provide us with the jumpstart capital needed to get off the ground and running.  Our efforts could literally have an affect on thousands of women.  People in numerous villages are excited and have been asking me repeatedly about this supposed 'nut sheller' I keep talking about, and I just tell them "it's coming, inchallah (if god wills it)."

   I ask you to please take a moment out of your day to vote for our project at: http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/6227-The-Universal-Nut-Sheller-Empo

   If each person on this listserv convinced only one person each day this week to support this project, we would get all the votes we need and more.  So I ask you to please do just that, one person per day; a friend, neighbor, colleague, student, toddler, anyone with a valid e-mail address can do it! 

   I hope you don't mind if I prod you about this a couple more times this week, but sometimes repetition is the only way.  Thank you in advance for your help. 

 Ideablob webpage: http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/6227-The-Universal-Nut-Sheller-Empo

 Blog: stayinggroundedontherun.blogspot.com

 David Campbell
 Peace Corps Senegal
 Environmental Education Volunteer

 (+221) 77.671.99.42

Life after Ramadan... so I'm finally posting!

Eid Mubarak!  Ramadan is over and the celebration of Eid al-Fitr started Sunday.  Technically the last day of Eid was Saturday, but most everyone was on vacation the entire week.  Rachel and I missed out on getting out of Doha for the vacation by about 2 day since I got my permanent residence a little over a week ago.  If I had gotten it 2 or 3 days before we may have been able to travel somewhere.

Luckily our staycation was very relaxing.  Plenty of sleeping in and hanging out with new friends.  We spent 2 days at the pool with friends and also went to another embassy party.  Other than that it has been a very relaxing week.  This last Thursday was our new friend Erin's 25th birthday, so we went out to a bar and had a grand old time.  Rachel and I got some fun pictures and they are posted here.  Enjoy the view from the 11th floor of the La Cigale hotel, particularly the one Rachel took!

Anyway, on to life here in Doha.

One of the coolest things here that I've wanted to talk about  is all the different foods and spices available here. The spices here are just amazing, not only the quality but how cheap they are.  I have almost reassembled my whole spice cabinet from Chapel Hill for less than $20.  Just two nights ago I was able to buy 150g ( about 6oz) of excellent curry powder for about 25 cents.  Cinnamon, cumin, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and all kinds of dried herbs are equally as cheap.  That being said, there are lots of other things that are extremely expensive or extremely difficult to find.  You can find most American brands here, but if they are produced in the USA, they will be incredibly expensive ($10 for a small box of Fruit Loops!).  Some times you can find US brands that are produced more locally, but they hardly ever taste the same.  Fresh chicken breasts that are tender and taste good are also difficult to find.  Frozen chicken is typically a better choice.  Cooking for me here has definitely been an adventure, but it's also been lots of fun to trying a come up with good things to try and substitute in recipes.

On a very positive note... I GOT OFFERED A JOB!!!  It's not finalized, but I got a job offer from Cornell!  I'd be working partly in the general lab and partly in the Genomics core, which would be a perfect job for me.  I'm very excited and will be very happy to have some more human interactions day to day!  Sitting around at home, cooking and cleaning by yourself is fun for a few days, maybe a week, but after that it just gets boring.  They hope to have me start October 4th, but we'll see what happens. I'm supposed to go in tomorrow to meet with the HR Hiring manager and get everything sorted out.  I'll keep everyone posted on what happens.

I hope everyone is having a nice start to their weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hurry up and wait

Well I know it has been about a week since my last post, but it wasn't until the last couple of days that anything of interest has happened.  Two days ago, Rachel got her permanent residence!  It's great that she's got hers, but now mine has to be filed and processed which will probably take another 2 weeks.  It's kind of unfortunate that it will take as long as it will since there is a week long holiday after Ramadan (Eid ul Fitr) that Rachel and I won't be able to go on since I won't have my passport back yet!  Luckily there's another holiday (Eid ul Adha) that's at the end of November this year.

Now that Rachel has her RP, it's on to the next step.  We have 10 days to return our rental car, now that we're able to buy a car.  We've already started the process and have decided to buy a Kia Sorrento, a mid size SUV for safety since the drivers here are crazy and it helps to have a larger car.  Also, gas mileage isn't a big deal since gas is only 70 cents a gallon here!!!  Rachel also had to turn in her temporary drivers license to get her permanent license.  I'll have to do the same once I have my RP.

As for jobs for me, I'm still waiting to hear about the two opportunities that I have.  Hopefully I'll hear something soon, but I'm not holding my breath.  I know it will all work out in the end, it is just taking longer than I thought it would.

In any case, that's where we are these days, hurrying up to wait for something else.  I hope everyone enjoyed the Labor day weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New pictures!

So I took some more pictures of Education City (where Rachel works) and have posted them here.  I hope you enjoy them!  I'm sorry I haven't taken more pictures, but there really isn't a whole lot to take pictures of around here.  Almost everything looks the same, beige painted houses, sand, or construction!

Other than that we really haven't been up to anything terribly interesting.  I've been a bit under the weather for the last few days, I think it was something I ate (which apparently isn't unusual here), so we had a fairly low key weekend except for Friday.  We ended up going to 2 parties that night, one was an 80's party, which we really didn't dress up for nearly as much as almost everyone else did!  Mr. T and a faux Richard Simmons made wonderful appearances which was awesome.  We then went to another friends for his birthday party which was lots of fun with plenty of dancing and good company.  Yesterday was really just relaxing and me trying to feel better, which I do today.  Other than that it's been pretty boring.  Until we get our permanent residence permits, we're pretty much stuck in Doha.  But once we get our RP, we'll be traveling a lot so we'll have lots of fun pictures and hopefully some good stories!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ramadan Kareem!

Ramadan Kareem everyone! That means have a blessed or generous Ramadan and is the typical greeting used here before and during Ramadan. The last week has been a fairly busy one.

The end of last week we went for our medical testing. That was quite a unique experience. It's no where near as organized as a US hospital, although it was pretty much strictly set up to do the medical tests needed for a residence permit. Men and women are split up due to the restrictions of Islam. We then had chest X-rays, blood drawn to run tests for communicable diseases, and a quick medical exam. Overall it didn't take too terribly long and we at least met some new people who are in the same position we are!

The weekend was also fun. We went to a party and again met lots of new people. I also may have another option for a job! I talked with several people who work in the Chemistry department at Texas A&M and they were very excited to hear that I had a Chemistry degree and that I had also worked in a lab for 4-5 years. I'm still keeping my options open at this point, but it's nice to know that I have options. We also got all the stuff we shipped over on Saturday! It's been great going through our stuff and really making our place feel like home. I especially love having all the kitchen stuff we sent over, I was tired of using the "butter knife" aka chef's knife they provided us. It was nice to get the other things in our shipment as well, having some extra clothes is also very nice, but the absolute best thing is the mattress pad we shipped over! The mattresses here are TERRIBLE. They only put about 1/8" of padding on top of the springs, so Rachel likes to say that she worried about one poking through and piercing an organ. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but it may not be too far off!

As for the beginning of this week, Ramadan has been the biggest thing. For those who don't know, Ramadan is the holy month in the Islamic faith. The timing of Ramadan is based on the Lunar calendar so the start of Ramadan shifts every year 11-13 days. It's also dependent on the exact sighting of the moon, which can vary by a day or two in different countries as it is done by a designated person (typically) in each country. From sunrise to sunset Muslims fast during Ramadan. They don't eat, drink, smoke, or indulge in anything that is in excess or ill-natured. The fast is broken after sunset prayer with a meal called Iftar. The food served varies from place to place, but typically opens with sharing dates, tea, and water with family and friends at the dinner. It's then typically followed by a traditional dinner. The fasting lasts for a lunar month and is followed by Eid ul-Fitr, which is a 5 day holiday that involves lots of eating and partying. There is a second Eid 40 days later which is also a large holiday in Muslim countries. One of the problems with being in a Muslim country during Ramadan is that driving around sunset is extremely dangerous. People are not only rushing home to get before sunset to pray and break the fast, but they haven't eaten all day and are typically grumpy and high strung. We avoid driving between 5:30pm and 7pm during Ramadan since being passed by Toyota Landcruisers who are going 130kph when you're going 80kph is scary. The only other issue we've run into is that most restaurants are closed during the day during Ramadan either on their own accord or by government decree. Some takeout places are still open during the day, but it's hard to know which ones. The next few weeks should be lots of fun though, since there are plenty of parties and Iftars around to go to!

I hope everyone is still enjoying hearing about life here! Please please please post questions in the comments that you'd like answered and I'll try my best to answer them! Ramadan Kareem!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

H....O.....T...... HOT!!!

Wow is about all I can say for the heat the last two days. It has been unbelievable. Even people who have lived her for a long time are saying this is as bad as it's been in awhile. It has been about 100F, but 75-85% humidity. While that sounds similar to NC, there's something about the way the desert heat feels that is so much different. When you walk from inside to outside, it not only feels like walking into a wall of heat, but it literally takes your breath away. Several times today walking outside I almost choked. The biggest problem is that 2 days ago the humidity showed up. A week ago, I could take the 110F heat no problem, it's hot, but if you're in the shade it's not unbearable. Today, you could barely stand outside for 30 seconds with out pouring down sweat. The humidity is so high that I can't walk out side without my glasses fogging up completely. Any glass that isn't double paned is completely covered in condensation. I'll have to get the picture from Julie Chase, but she took a picture after dinner tonight of me and Jon from about 7 feet away, and even at that small a distance you can see the haze illuminated by the flash.

In other news... WE HAVE OUR DRIVERS LICENSES! It took us about 4 hours, but we got it done. Muhammad, the Qatari government "liaison" walked us though the process, which was supposed to just be getting the Traffic Sheik's signature and then our licenses. Well, we got the signature, but the man who was going to print our licenses said we needed to take the driving test (an 8 hour ordeal that's as complicated and stressful as you can imagine). Luckily Muhammad threatened to go back to the Sheik and complain and got the man to have us only take a "small" driving test. The test was administered at the arab driving school, which is just as nuts as you would think it would be. I was sad I didn't have a camera with me, because it was quite the madhouse. When we got there, the traffic policeman signing off on the tests had us take a signs test, which was interesting as we hadn't studied any of the signs. I acted like I knew every sign and the man didn't question it. Rachel got a little flustered, but luckily the man was in a good mood and had her study for 5 minutes before taking the test. After that was the driving part, which consisted of me and the other husband with us (a very nice Jordanian couple) driving for about 45 seconds each. Rachel and the Jordanian wife drove second and all went well. After a little more red tape, we got our temporary Qatari drivers licenses! All in all it could have been much worse, but we were ready to just walk away and try again on another day if need be.

The next thing on the list is the medical exams (exact copies of what we already did in the states) and our fingerprinting so that we can get our Residence Permit (RP). We'll also have to turn in our temporary licenses to get our permanent license once we get our RP, but that is much simpler and Muhammad will simply take our temp license to the ministry and exchange them.

That about does it for our exciting day today. The license was a major check mark in our settling in process, and probably one of the more stressful things we had to worry about.

All in all, a good day...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pictures (finally)!

There are only a few pictures from around the apartment (excuse the mess!) and just outside the front of the apartment building. They are here. Enjoy!

Today was another exciting Qatari day for Jon and I. We went out looking at cars to get an idea of prices for the cars we are interested it. It was definitely a different experience than at an American dealership. Nobody bothered us at all and we were able to look at the cars in peace without being hassled. The only problem was everything closed from 12:30pm till about 4pm since it's the summer and ridiculously hot outside, although today wasn't actually too bad. It was probably only 105F and not too humid. Right now it's 6pm and it's 95F (feels like 111F) which really isn't too bad considering it will probably get worse. After car shopping we got lunch and then went to Carrefour to pick up a few more household things. I'm hoping Rachel and I can go out for a walk when she gets home from work and I'll take more pictures then of the housing area.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I survived!

Well I survived my first experience driving in Doha yesterday as part of what Rachel likes to call my "Qatari day" which consists of driving around, shopping, and eating! Driving isn't as bad as I was fearing, but I can see how it can be worse than the US. All it takes is being aggressively defensive as I like to say. The only complicated part is that there are very very few signs telling you what road you are on. They also use mostly roundabouts for cross streets. There are even roundabouts with lights to help smooth out traffic, although they only work up to a certain volume of traffic. There are also some steep fines for violating some traffic laws. Running a red light, which includes turning right on red, and making illegal U-turns will cost you 6000 Qatari Ryial (QR) which is over $1600!!!

We've had a lazy first weekend here in Doha. We got up late which was our first time being able to sleep in past 6am due to it getting bright here about 4:15am! We have pretty much moved in, although there is some rearranging and some furniture we need to really get moved in here. I still haven't taken any real pictures as we just cleaned up, but that's my plan for tomorrow. Tonight we're going to our first real party, which just so happens to be at the US Embassy! It looks like it'll be a good time, hanging out in the Marine House where it will be sort of like a BBQ. We're excited as we haven't met many people outside of Education city yet and this looks like it will be a good opportunity. I'll post tomorrow about our experiences at the Embassy and also post the pictures from around our apartment!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Made it safe and sound!

We're here! We got in Tuesday evening about 6pm to the Doha Airport with no problems. All our luggage made it with us without a scratch. The flight was very enjoyable, as Rachel and I both managed to sleep 9 hours of the 12 hour flight! Once we arrived we were greeted by Jeff (Rachel's boss) and Jon and Julie Chase (our friends who are also over here). They took us to our new apartment. After getting our 300lbs of stuff into the apartment, we relaxed a bit and then went to dinner with Jon and Julie at a place called Hot Chicken. They had the largest and most varried menu I've ever seen! Indian food, Chinese food, Middle Eastern food, "American food" including a chicken nugget sandwich, as well as almost any kind of fresh juice you can imagine. The 4 of us stuffed ourselves all for about $20, a total bargain considering the juices alone would have been that much in the states! We got home after that and started the slow process of unpacking which we are still working on today, luckily it's mostly clothes and a few other things. We're getting ready to head out to Carfour, a French version of a super Walmart and pick up a few things that weren't provided. Aparently fully furnished doesn't mean it has trashcans!

PS. Feel free to pass this on to anyone who'd be interested!

Monday, August 10, 2009

T-minus 1 hour!!

We leave in an hour! We're finishing our final packing and are heading to the airport. Doha here we come!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ready... Set... Yellah!

Ready... Set... Yellah (GO in arabic)!!! Well we're getting really close to our departure date. We got our visas about two weeks ago and have our date of departure (August 10th). We just finished moving out of our apartment after a week of long nights packing and help from many friends. We're taking a few days to relax at the beach with family and recharge before heading back to the triangle for the last push in getting ready to go. Luckily most everything is done!

I really can't believe we leave in about a week. It's been so strange to move out of Rachel and I's first "home" but we have and are ready to start our great adventure in the Middle East. We're still very busy with last minute details to take care of and trying to see as many people as possible. I will post again when we arrive in Doha and I'll also post the link to our pictures so that everyone will be able to see our apartment and what living in Doha is really like!