Foreign Worker Full Contact Mode

Trip Start Aug 30, 2009
Trip End Dec 25, 2009

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Where I stayed
El Mirage Sharq

Flag of Qatar  ,
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    I've visited the U.A.E. (all emirates except Abu Dhabi), Oman, and now Doha in the Middle East.  In each, it has been difficult to meet someone actually born in and from that particular country.  These countries all possess what I call "foreign worker full contact".  Oman was really more like "foreign worker 3/4's contact".  
    Foreign Worker Full Contact means that the country has hired so many foreign workers to do the day to day tourist types of activities.  In these countries, it seems that Filipinos are most often the ones working in the hotels.  They are the housekeeping staff, the bellmen, the desk managers. Often most of the shopkeepers are also Filipino and beauty shop people are Thai or Filipino.  Restaurants have a mix and that might be the best shot of meeting a local.  In Doha, the taxi drivers seem to be all Indians.   Granted I have only had experience with 3 so far but that's 100% so far.  These areas (taxi, hotel, shop, restaurant) are the most common tourist hits so foreign worker full contact means that tourists are meeting expats, not locals.  In Oman, I did have a tour service arranged before I got there and my guide and driver there was an Omani so I was able to meet a local and get some good information on the local life and cities and country and ruler.  In Dubai, never met a local except a few shop owners in the souqs.  
    I haven't been to the souq here yet so I still have hope to meet some local Qataris.  It is nice to talk to the Indian taxi drivers though and see where they are from and it's quite hilarious to tell them about Canadian winters and listen to them talk about December in Qatar when it is "so cold we can't stand outside the taxi.  We must sit inside in our coats with the heater running."
    There is a lot of construction happening now in Qatar.  The construction workers are also foreign and look to be either Indian, Pakistani, or Bengladashi.  Such was also the case in Dubai and Sharjah.  There are so many of these foreign workers from the same countries that it is difficult to imagine how there is anyone left back at home.  My taxi driver today said the living here was good though so I am happy that he has landed somewhere he likes and can make a good wage.  That isn't always the case in some of the Middle Eastern countries that hire foreign workers and since I don't have facts and figures in front of me, I'll just leave it alone for now.  
    All of this just really goes to show there isn't anything as isolation any longer and the world is getting smaller all the time.  Even North Korea, possibly still the most isolated country in the world, has tourists.  I've been three times.  So I travel and travel and travel to meet locals and learn cultures and see and discover history.  More and more there are "regions" of the world that are becoming so very alike that they may lose their identity as a separate people.  I hope to arrive before that happens.
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