Finally got out of the city today. One of the professors at TAMUQ is an expert in archeochemistry... the chemistry of archeological artifacts. Turns out there is a large formation of rocks on the northern gulf that have carvings made by... well, god knows who. No one knows who made them or what they are... paired series of holes, boats with oars coming out of them, large sisterns to catch water, maybe. The carvings (rock art... actual name) are in a protected area right off the beach on the northern most tip of Qatar. I say protected... but not really. We cannot take any samples, and you're not allowed to remove anything. But anyone can just go and check it out. In fact, as we were pulling up to the site, the Qatar motorcyle club pulled in along side of us and had a photoshot on the rocks... good science.
Anyway, I went up with the prof to get some pics and use a GPS to mark the location of carvings. Later, we went to another site and hiked around, looking for signs of rock art. It was a beautiful day, a little windy, but it was amazing to find yourself in the middle of a desert. I put a ton of pics up on the photo site... http://s249.photobucket.com/albums/gg223/benji-of-arabia/.
Afterwards, we stopped in the town of Al Kohr and had lunch. Al Kohr is an old fort town that is home to mainly immigrant mainland Indians. It has a corniche (waterfront) just like Doha, but much smaller. When I got home I realized that in just a few hours I had gotten sunburned and a little dehydrated. You just can't underestimate the heat and wind here... and it's still only February. When I got home I changed clothes to take a shower. There was a thick film of yellow dust layering the bottom of my shower. That's just how it is here... everything gets covered in dust.
With any luck, I'll have a new car next week. A nice four wheel drive machine that will allow me to head out in the desert myself, and hopefully head south to the dunes in a few weeks.
My bowling league starts up in two weeks. To celebrate, I decided to buy myself a ball... always wanted my own. Pretty much had to get one since none of the balls at the alley would fit my. Ended up buying the cheapest ball I could find online... and... it glows in the dark!! I'm going to get the fingers drilled tomorrow... and then the bowling starts.
Teaching the labs is going really well. I always have to perform the labs myself to better understand what the student's have to do, and to remember all the concepts. The labs are actually a lot of fun... I'm remembering what I used to love about chemistry. The students, like all students, are a mixed bag. They are all really sharp kids... they have to be to get into the school. But the maturity level here is less than what I remember when I was in school, and I've heard the same from more experienced teachers. For many of the students, this is their first time taking classes with people from different countries and different sexes. A lot of them grew up in a priviledged society. Many show up being driven to school by their maids or servants. TAMUQ actually has a policy of not allowing maids to carry books for the students... hah. When I try to explain to them why it is important to learn the hands on procedures, I always get odd looks from the Qatari students. Turns out, none of them will ever be practicing engineers... they will all go directly into upper management. Nice to start out on top...
Thanks for all the emails and correspondance, everyone. Dad and Kim have been video calling me using windows instant messenger... if you'd like to, send me an email and I'll give you my info. Although I'm a little upset with the lack of care packages. Just a reminder, I'm allowed to get up to four packages a month... just letting you know. And I could really use a Swiffer and some pads... it gets really dusty here.