Welcome to Doha - The city of construction

Trip Start May 26, 2006
Trip End Jan 2007

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Friday, June 9, 2006

Welcome to Doha -
1st Week
So I arrived 2weeks ago and I'm now classed as a local as each week more and more people are arriving. The flight over was fine, I arrived at Dubai airport and bumped into 2 people I knew who were also heading across to Doha, so defiantly wasn't on my own for too long. Arrived in Doha early in the morning and as we had to walk across the tarmac to get into the airport I had my first experience of the desert heat, which I didn't find too bad, that could have been because I had been freezing on the plane or maybe because it was only 8am in the morning.

A whole group of us (my instant new friends) were picked up at the airport and taken to a guest house where we were to spend the next week or so all paid for (now this was a novelty as usually when I arrive in a new city its a questions of "where is the Public Transport & what do I do now!!")
After dropping off my stuff in my new room, which was rather nice, the room was one of 3 private rooms in the apartment, so 3 of us had use of the communal area - kitchen, lounge room, dinning room etc, also the 2 others were from work (1 Aussie lady and a French girl more friends!)
I was now ready to explore, called my friend Cath who came to pick me up and take me out. Cath took myself and 2 other girls on a bit of a tour and to get us sorted with phones, cash etc. We headed off to 'City Centre' one of the main shopping centers in Doha, and can you believe it looks just like Chadstone (big shopping centre in Melbourne) apart from the Ice skating rink that is on the bottom level!!

The place was great everything you could need, defiantly no shortage of designer clothes and well known shops/brands. Got a local sim card for my phone so felt connect to the world again, we then relaxed and chatted over coffee in Starbucks (why is Starbucks everywhere!!), and by that stage I was already feeling settled in my new home.

First day of work - Sunday. A bus arrived at the guest house to take us 25 new starters to the DAGOC (Doha Asian Games Organising Committee - the company I work for) building we had a brief introduction with HR and then were whisked away to the Medical Centre for a health check (all part of the visa requirements.) The Health Check was interesting, we had been given a bit of a bad brief by one of the girls who had been here a while, but it was defiantly not a drama. Once we arrived we did a lot of standing around and waiting (same in every country really). The group was separated into males and females, our group of 15 girls walked from desk to desk getting our papers stamped told to go to the green area, then to the red area etc (its all a bit of a process and we had to follow the direction), blood test, wait, chest x-ray, wait, wait, wait then 'Halas' (we were finished) overall only about a 2 hour process.

The rest of the first week was spend pretty much in the same way, getting everything completed for our permits; induction session, fingerprints, city tour etc then finishing early each day giving us all time to explore the city and generally hangout, it felt like we were on holidays. All in all the first week was great. I finally got to meet my work team on the Wednesday, everyone seems really nice although no one is crazy busy like I was expecting, which was a bit of a surprise, but I'm sure the time will come when things get hectic, it is a nice change at the moment and gives me a chance to settle in to the Doha way of life.

Overall Doha is great, it is hot but bearable, at the moment, and there is everything you could need, not exactly what I first thought when I was coming here. The city is under major construction buildings going up and roads being made everywhere all hopefully in time for the Games in December, but give this place 5 years and it will be the next Dubai.

So since arriving I really feel like I haven't stopped, there is always something going on outside of work and with new people arriving each week and everyone trying to get settled life seems to be going pretty quickly. Quick run down of last 2 weeks activities (see photos attached)
·Dress-up roof party about 80 people on our roof till 4am,
·Shopping at the 6 different shopping centres around Doha,
·B'day dinners
·Night Boat outing to a sand island in the middle of the Gulf swimming, jetskiing and partying till all hours,
·Apartment dinner parties in various apartments
·Relaxing by the pool looking out at ocean on sunbeds being waited on at the local resort!

Yes life is tough in Doha.
Well that is enough news for one entry stayed tuned for more Doha updates and photos. xx
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