I must confess when I realized where Qatar is located I was terrified. Its a small peninsula on the Persian Gulf side of Saudi Arabia. My head filled with questions and concerns:
- do they know I am a woman?
- do I get a driver?
- do I have to wear a headscarf?
- do I need an escort?
- do I have to delete my bible app?
- can I go out in public alone?
- am I allowed to speak to local men?
All of my fears were completely unnecessary… as you will see its like if Florida or California was up rooted and placed on the other side of the globe. I just got back and it was 35 C in Qatar and I came home to -5 C and snow!
The only thing I didn’t like about Qatar is simply that it took a full day to get there. 30 some hours on the way there and the way back. Wow! But I would have no reservations if I was asked to go back. I was scared to go though, mostly because of the unknown. My mother-in-law didn’t help either, she said good bye to me like she was never going to see me again. My parents on the other hand were much more relaxed about it, at least to my face, and thank God – I would have been a terrible wreck if everyone had said good bye to me like I was going to be kidnapped and held for ransom (which to be honest was the least of my fears).
Fun Facts I learnt/ observed about Qatar:
- 90% of the population are immigrants
- The people I worked with were so diverse in a small group too
- I worked with an Egyptian, a Filipino, a Indian, and a Brit
- All religions are accepted, but converting people from a religion to yours is illegal and can result in deportation
- Even though Arabic is the official language – everyone speaks English
- One night I was sitting at dinner and the table next to me 2 guys were sitting speaking some unknown language and a third guy joins them and they switch to English
- They really like Tim Horton’s – I didn’t know Tim Horton’s had reached over the Atlantic and beyond
- They want you to “reflect your respect”
- It’s not cheap
- While the Taxi cab rides were cheap everything else was comparative
- Dinner = $40
- A new shirt = $30- $50
- But it is tax free – so that’s nice
- They still do smoking & non-smoking areas in restaurants and hotel rooms
- The mall near me was is a decent size
- I know you are dying to know if the Aldo had the same stuff as we do in North America …. it does
- Same with the Body Shop, Nine West, Garage, Vero Moda… and the list goes on
- The next thing you’re wondering is what kind of music was playing – only Taylor Swift
- And they too have to endure the annoying mall kiosk people
- People park wherever they want – if the car will fit there then it can stay there