First things first... Happy Birthday Mom!!
Being in a new city and country affords me the opportunity to explore the different cultures, foods, and places that surround me. But sometimes... you just want to stay home. Like today... a sandstorm blew in overnight and almost no one is on the roads. Why?? Because you can't see farther than fifty feet in front of your car with a wind blowing so hard it coats the windows with dust and sand every two minutes. Windshield wipers don't work so well when you're squeegee-ing off dust... and never use your wiper fluid... big mistake.
Normally when I get bored, I try to start some projects... building a deck, painting a room, etc. I like keeping my hands busy. But my options are a little stunted here. First off, there's no Home Depot within four thousand miles. Tools are a hot commodity... and so is paint... and wood. My flat is very nice, but its hard to hang a picture (if you can find one) when the walls are 12-inch thick concrete. Painting would be nice, if you can find the paint.
The local Qataris like to lounge in tents with the walls and furniture covered in the same Arabic fabric. If I can find the right stuff for cheap, I think I'm going to do that to my living room. Think harem... without the naked women and drugs... (dammit).
Also, almost all businesses have either pictures or woven rugs with the sheik and the crown-prince on them. Gotta get me some of those!!
I haven't shelled out for satellite TV yet. I have about fifty channels, all but six are in arabic. The lineup breaks down like this: 50% - some arabic man talking into a microphone (at least twenty channels at any given time), 20% - calming local music with nature scenes while text of the Koran is highlighted across the screen, 10% - bad 80's american movies with steven seagal or bruce willis (really), 10% - cooking shows on the fatafeat network (I move across the globe and still can't get away from Rachael Ray), 5% - news on bbc and al-jazeera, and the final 5% is arabic-dubbed King of Queens. I never liked that damn show.
Speaking of al-jazeera, for those of you that don't know, it is the network that always delivers the terrorist's tapes to the west, and it is located here in Doha. Let me set the record straight... al-jazeera is no different than CNN. In fact, it IS the CNN over here. It is a widely respected organization and is the leading source of un-biased news around here. It makes me laugh that a few years ago, our president talked openly about bombing al-jazeera so they wouldn't be able to receive terrorist's tapes. That's like killing the waiter from bringing you bad food. And I'm not just saying this because I live RIGHT BY THEIR HEADQUARTERS!! So please... in the upcoming elections... vote for the guy who won't bomb al-jazeera... thank you.
I went to TAMUQ's basketball game last night. We played a solid defensive game against Qatar Academy, and came out with a strong win. Now, considering the Qatar Academy Falcons are equivalent to an american high school, you may not see the highlights on ESPN. Even so, it was a solid whoopin...
A few of us are going to try and watch the Superbowl here. Someone has a hookup to a stateside cable box that he can watch on his computer. We're trying to get premission to hook it up in the large stadium classroom so we can view it on the high-def movie screen... keep your fingers crossed.
I went out to the Doha Masters golf tournament last weekend. Walked the course (very nice) in the north end of Doha. If you look on google earth, it's pretty easy to find. Just look for the only large patch of green in the entire country. Saw sergio, adam scott, ian poulter, and colin montgomerie, who, incidentially, has lost a lot of weight. If you've ever played golf in arizona, the course looks much the same... one difference... you can see the ocean from the tee boxes.
In the next few weeks, I should have my own car. Currently I'm driving a rented Chevy Optra that is about three sizes too small for me. I think I would be better off with my old Yugo (miss that car). I'm probably gonna buy a new 4x4 SUV so I can get out of the city a little better and go explore. I was told to make sure I don't buy a Shayynatt... an Indian car they sell a lot of here. Turns out their engine hoses like to melt in the summer sun. Oops.
One last thing... and this one's for my dad. Years ago, dad gave me some sound advice. He said, "If you want to meet some people and have fun... join a bowling league." At the time, I laughed and thought that dad was starting to go senile. Well dad... once again, you've proven yourself right. I joined the Education City bowling league. Its a faculty only league, and it seems to be pretty cutthroat. I'm going bowling tomorrow with some coworkers... for "fun" they say. I think they're just sizing me up to see if I'm worthy of playing on their team, or to send me down to the scrub team (math department).
It's a odd day when you realize the most exciting part of your weekend will be bowling tryouts.