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Last Visit 2013-12-31 12:00:11 |Start Date 2005-05-26 16:50:55 |Comments 1,821 |Entries 581 |Images 1,362 |Videos 10 |

Category: about doha

03/27/08 04:44 - 34ºF - ID#43804

the industrial area

Thank you for the restore backup button Paul! We've been having serious internet issues this week and it's hard to stay on more than 5 minutes at a time! So here's my story:

Today I was thinking about how stateside we gripe and complain about how inconvenient it is to get a car serviced. I reconsidered this as I made my way to the "industrial area". It sounds charming doesn't it? The "industrial area".

I was an industrial area virgin. I was nervous. I wasn't sure what to expect. I only knew the first step; find a human sacrifice.

You need a human sacrifice. This is the person you sucker into following you out to Timbuktu's neighbor, Bum Fuck Nowhere. You commence road combat with a few thousand cars and heavy machinery down narrow lanes of construction for about 45 minutes. You engage a series of defensive maneuvers to avert potholes, maniacs, and assholes to reach your desired desitnation. In my case, Kia.

Here you must be very brave and leave the 'security' of your vehicle. With nothing but your Spidey sense to protect you, you must navigate to the entrance on foot. Once inside you are subjected to a series of interrogations in an attempt to find 'customer service', which is heavily guarded by "sales", "replacement parts", "cashier", and "collisions".

"Customer service" is the devil's cousin. He will charm you and woo you to divert all your attention from the task at hand. He will lull you into endless conversation about the origin of your name and the presidential elections of your home country.

You must stay focused! You must negotiate a trade with "customer service": your keys for a small bit of paper. If you are successful, you embark on the same journey in reverse, if your sacrifice hasn't escaped and left you for dead.

Hours, or perhaps days later you will receive a call asking for you to exchange the bit of paper for your vehicle. This requires new tactics for gaining the trust of your human sacrifice as you need them to reach the drop point. I found food to be an incentive.

Act as quickly and efficiently as possible to make the extraction. Exchange your bit of paper and wait at the side door. When you see your vehicle coming down the line, yank the driver out and hop in while it's still rolling. This will maximize your time and avoid further seduction by "customer service".

Commence evasive maneuvers and retreat. Task completed: oil change. Time taken: 6 hours.

I can sleep well Knowing I get to look forward to this process for the next three years of my life. Yeah buddy!

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Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: about doha

03/22/08 09:07 - 22ºF - ID#43753

ridin' the dunes!

Finally Mohamed took me out to the dunes. It was fabulous! We didn't get to do anything 'really' crazy because we were with our boss and he's not so into that. We did ride them though and it was soooooo much fun! I need to figure out how to do my videos but meanwhile here are some photos from the day! Enjoy.

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first things first, you have to let the air out of the tires, down to 10psi!


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this is what i called the 'launching pad', it is essentially the beginning of the dunes where everyone hits the gas and takes the first ride up

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at the crest

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when people talk about living on the edge, this is one of them

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a view of where we just were on the crest

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what we didn't do because of the boss, was bank...don't worry, there will be a next time without him and we'll do it!

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then something very strange happened. it was as if someone blew a whistle and said, 'follow me', because hundreds of cars starting leaving this one area and heading for another spot

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we followed because, what the hell...

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the wind really picked up and it created a mysterious misty sand blowing over the surface, we stopped for pics

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sunset was gorgeous
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Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: potpourri

03/19/08 05:12 - 42ºF - ID#43726

courage

I had a rough night last night. With all things new come many growing pains. We seem to be stuck in a growth spurt over the last 4 months. Nothing but bitching and complaining from the student staff that are supposed to be part of the team. We all know there is no "I" in team, and right now it's all about the "I" for them.

I needed some inspiration to motivate me this morning. I dropped in an Enya CD to bring the heart rate down and began flipping through my Paulo Coelho books. I decided on this one:

"Courage is the most important gift for anyone seeking to understand the Language of the World" - The Alchemist

As a global citizen, doing the work I do, I am trying to understand the language of the world. It's not easy to be where I am, alone, in the palm of one of the most violent regions of the Earth. I work every day with people from countries I've never explored, customs I know nothing about, and religious views I don't understand. So today I will draw on my courage to guide me through what seems like the darkest hour.
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Words: 199
Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: potpourri

03/18/08 03:40 - 31ºF - ID#43713

agendas

I could come up with a bunch of answers to my own question but I don't know if any of them would be right. Someone contacted me recently looking for new friends in Doha. It happened to be a guy.

Now, I know 90% of the time what they really mean is they are looking for a westerner to date because they think we're free sex machines. Sad but true story. It is a tradition of mine to ignore and delete anything that comes my way in the form of, "U eyez so butiful, ur such butiful womenz". However this message just said,"I'm new to Doha and looking to make some friends". Ok, fair enough. I'm looking for new friends too.

So I checked things out, he appeared to be normal, his page wasn't full of porn stars in thongs saying, "me lick you long time $10". He was a rapid responder to everything I sent, "When can we meet up?", "I'm always free in the evenings and most weekends".

So after a few weeks I finally have a free night so we plan to go out. He was actually quite fun. I thought, wow, a new friend. Awesome!

Then we grab some food. Then the shoe drops. "What do you think of me? What were you expecting when we met? ..." Sigh.

Why, why, why do people do this? Did I ever ONCE mention anything related to dating or being interested? No. But all along you had this intention. All along you knew this wasn't about making a new friend. All along you had an agenda.
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Permalink: agendas.html
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Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: potpourri

03/17/08 04:08 - 34ºF - ID#43707

the kingdom

I have to tell you, this movie is fantastic! If you haven't seen it, get your booty to the video store and watch it.

While watching it I realized just how much I've changed in the last 8 months and how much perspective I'm getting on life in the Middle East.

I understood a lot of the Arabic which was cool. A lot of it was filmed in Abu Dabi so you can really get a good idea of what it looks like here in Qatar. The roadways are the same (well the major roadways that is).

Oh, and Jason Bateman's character does an outstanding job of freaking out about how they drive. Seriously, you MUST watch it. Watch how they fly through the roundabouts. Yes, I know they claim it's 'military procedure' in the movie, but that's REALLY how they drive here.

The part about the prince in his palace, totally accurate. Falcons are a big deal here. The guys are wearing the traditional thobe which the men here wear. The only difference is that Saudi's wear the red and white checked gudthra and the Qataris wear solid white.

Ok, just go watch the movie!
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Words: 195
Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: photos

03/14/08 11:29 - 40ºF - ID#43663

from the north: part 3


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we found a wandering camel and my aunt's friend carries camel biscuits in the car for this very reason

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made our way toward the very tip of the country and finally met the sea again

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we were off road 90% of the time

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I thought it was interesting to find a mancala game carved into the rocks

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it was wicked windy and i ended up looking like i went skiing at the end of the day with all the windburn

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we found more ruins, or should i say "the archaeology"
don't worry, we did not "inerfere" with it

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different view
part of it reminded me of greece

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small lookout post

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the stairs...i love spiral stairs

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view at the top

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between this and the beautiful water, i almost felt like i was in the caribbean

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i think this is the oldest standing house in qatar

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Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: photos

03/12/08 02:24 - 33ºF - ID#43635

from the north: part 2

It's starting to warm up here. We're hitting around 90 most days. It's not hot, at least compared to 130 it's not. The evenings are fucking amazing! It won't be much longer that I can keep my windows open and enjoy 'fresh' air. I'll try to send some warmth and sunshine your way b-lo. Now onto more photos from the north of Qatar.


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whenever I travel I always wonder about random articles of clothing I find in the street, or up in a tree - in this case, what's the story behind a single sandal in the middle of nowhere?

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I really mean the middle of nowhere!

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where we found camel bones

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and got a flat tire! (that's why you never go adventuring alone, even with a healthy spare)

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we came upon a place that might have been part of a war

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it was riddled with bullet holes

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and graffiti

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we also found what looks like a natural rock in the middle of the desert

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but is a place for a man to hide out

stay tuned for more next time!
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Permalink: from_the_north_part_2.html
Words: 197
Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: photos

03/11/08 03:38 - 23ºF - ID#43615

from the north: part 1

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top of a lookout tower

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staircase of the tower

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remnants of the wall that surrounded the neighborhood

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the homes are built using rocks, then they just smooth it over with a cement like mixture; i guess this house has returned to the earth

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view from a window

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this reminds me of mexican pueblos

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this area used to be under water, the ground is made of millions of tiny sea shells!
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Permalink: from_the_north_part_1.html
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Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: potpourri

03/09/08 03:50 - 18ºF - ID#43590

chinese massage

One of my co-workers and I are testing out various forms of massage to find what style and place we like best, with the best price of course. So we tried this Chinese massage at the 'Chinese Health Center'. I sign-in and then I'm taken to my room. My room happens to be directly off the office area. No hallway, just a door leading directly into the lobby and a second door leading to another room.
My masseuse speaks like 5 words of English. Four of which were, "Clothes you take off". I'm thinking, ok, where is the changing curtain, but there is none. Just drop trou there in the middle of the room with two doors leading to other clients that aren't locked. So I'm trying to maintain some level of modesty while magically changing while holding a towel up.

I jump on the rickety table and she begins with a nice gentle glide of her oily hands over my shoulders. I thought the oil smelled like baby powder and ass but with the amount of incense in that place, who knows. Not 2 minutes in someone comes barging in from the other room apparently asking for some oil or something. I'm like, "Helloooooooooo, client on the table for Pete's sake!" They get what they want and leave. I can hear the music from the other room but I don't get any of my own.

Then my masseuse starts hitting me ye old karate chop style. My poor face was getting squished down into the face hole so far I thought she might break my neck! She finally pauses and I think relief is in sight. Then she starts slapping me like sumo wrestler all across my shoulders and down my back! I was thinking, "Shit lady I only have one kidney could you try not to damage it". She stops and pinches my neck for what seems like 5 minutes, then moves down to my legs.

This is when the party really gets started. She begins violently rubbing my legs lengthwise. Thankfully with the oil she was only able to rub off one layer of skin and not 7. Next thing I know she starts shaking me. My entire body was being whipped side to side and I thought for sure I was going to slide right off the side and onto the floor.

Next my dear masseuse gets to my feet. She started punching them and grinding her knuckles into the soles. I had to interject for fear of passing out in pain because of my right foot. So she eased up and it actually felt nice until she cranked my ankle in a weird way. Ding-ding, time to flip over. I wondered if I could tolerate the abuse on my front side. It's much softer than the back and surely cannot tolerate the same abuse.

She starts with my face. Pinching it and squishing it, I almost yelped when she grabbed my eyebrows. It felt like she was trying to pull them right off my face. Had she been a little stronger she just might have. She's very gentle on my arms which contradicts everything she had done up to that point. Then she yanks the towel up and starts pushing on my guts! I began chanting in my mind, "Please don't karate chop me here". She didn't. She moved on to the legs again and began bending and twisting them in yoga like ways.

Lastly she yells at me to, "sit". I held the towel and sat up. I thought it was over and maybe she would give me a little privacy this time to get dressed. Nope. She jumps up on the table with me! I thought for sure that thing was going to crack the way it was groaning. She takes another towel and starts again with the violent rubbing. My chest is being heaved into my knees and I can feel the burn on my back. To wrap it all up she gives me a final beating.

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Location: Niagara Falls, NY


Category: potpourri

03/04/08 02:24 - 28ºF - ID#43552

creepy dude in the grocery store

I had to run to the market this morning for a few programming things. Suddenly this older (maybe 50) Qatari man approaches me and says, "Mademoiselle, mumble, mumble, mumble". I look around to see if he is in fact directing the comment at me, which he is because the only other person in the isle was a man. So being the polite, although partially deaf, person that I am I say, "Pardon me?" He again mumbles something which sounds like Arabic. So I try my best to say in Arabic, that I in fact do not really speak it. So he mumbles again and holds this box of custard in my face. I'm thinking MAYBE he's trying to ask me a cooking question? It's my nature to want to help people. So I attempt to communicate and ask what he needs help with. Then he starts saying, "Friend, friend, friend".

Okay then. Um....I'm just going to excuse myself from your presence and you have a really great day. So I mosey on my way, trying to finish my list as quickly as possible because I have more important things to be doing that grocery shopping for programs at this point. Well, 30 seconds later my little friend turns the corner and rolls his cart right over to me. "Friend, friend....you, me, friend, friend". I admit I was probably looking at him like he was an asylum escapee. Then he makes a telephone gesture and says, "mobile, you, friend, friend" and winks at me. At this point I realized this dude was trying to pick me up! EWE!

He was probably mumbling in case any moral police were around.

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Location: Niagara Falls, NY


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