Saturday, June 7, 2008

it's starting to get a little warm...

Amazing how this country keeps throwing curves at you...

It's getting a little warm, and by warm... I mean ungodly hot. It turns out that summer came early this year. Since the first of May, it's been over 100F everyday... normally close to 110F. Some days the humidity pours in and you feel like you're melting on the stairs.

It's been a really busy month. At the start, we had the Education City convocation. It was beautiful! We had it in our ceremonial court on campus, which is an ornate outdoor stage with massive screens and lit towers. Guests included the Emir and wife, multiple sheikhs and sheikhas, the Emir of Dubai, and the president of South Africa... and me. I would love to show some pictures... but we weren't allowed to bring cameras... or at least that is what it said on the invitations. But when I arrived, everyone had brought cameras. As soon as I get some photos from someone else, I'll post them.

After the convocation, Andrea Bocelli performed. I sat about thirty feet away from the singer, backed up by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Normally, tickets to his shows run around a thousand dollars each, and I saw him in a gorgeous outdoor stage on a beautiful night for free... incredible. Have to say... it was one of those things I will never forget.

Next up was the arrival of Jeremy, a grad student from College Station to help out with our research. He showed up and we worked in the lab and hung out for two weeks. We went to a rugby game, Korea versus the Arabian Stallions. I've never been to a rugby match, and it was different to say the least. The sporting events here are almost always free, and no one ever attends. Check out the photos on the photo site... http://s249.photobucket.com/albums/gg223/benji-of-arabia/. Jeremy was, and is, a total spaz... and fun as hell. It was great having a bombastic squirrel to hang out with for a while. I took him to the souqs, hung out at the malls, and played in some poker games. Make sure you check out the great video of him burning his ass hairs off.

Later, we went to the inagural TAMUQ graduation. Thirty-plus students walked for their diplomas at the Four Seasons Hotel on the corniche. First off... that is one ungodly beautiful hotel. The graduation took place in a massive ballroom and... thankfully... only took an hour. A lot better than the five-and-a-half hours my graduation took.

Afterwards, there was a reception in a large tent out back. In fact, most hotels have large tents to hold big functions. But these tents are the size of gymnasiums, have air conditioning, and crystal chandeliers... not too shabby. We all ate tons of food... rumored to be the best in Doha, followed by a band playing the Arabian classics. Best part of the night was when a group of Qataris swarmed the place wearing their best bescht (dress robes), drums, and swords. They performed their ceremonial sword dance, which you can see in the video posted nearby.

I've started teaching again this summer. Two labs a week, four-and-a-half hours each. Plus proctoring a two-hour exam every Sunday. Thankfully, it's keeping me very busy so far.

And I have some good personal news. I've started dating a very cool woman who works for [CLASSIFIED]. You have to give me some credit... Qatar has the largest male-to-female ratio in the world... and I found a girlfriend in four months. She's a [DETAILS REMOVED BY ORDER OF THE GIRLFRIEND]. She's really cool, very well traveled, and is a lot of fun. We took a trip to the beach of Fuariit, and had a great time. I'm not allowed to take photos of her, and definitely not allowed to post any pictures... so I'll have to sneak a picture to get everyone to see her.

I have some great work related news!! I'm going to an international chemical education conference. There, I'll learn about process orientated guided inquiry learning, teaching international students, and modern chemistry teaching techniques. And it doesn't hurt that it is on the island of Mauritius. For those of you that have never heard of Mauritius (and I'm almost sure that is all of you), it is a tiny island about 600 miles off the eastern coast of Madagascar. Make sure you look it up on google earth... it's suppose to be one of those secret places that only really rich people know about. And I'm going there on TAMUQ's dime for an official reason. Although, I am taking a catamaran around the island to go snorkeling and spear fishing while I'm there... just for fun. I'll be gone from August 2nd thru the 9th, and will be back just before the fall semester starts. Fun stuff...

Also, my bowling league has finished up. My team finished in fourth place... and we were robbed!! We should have been in third, but another team cheated... seriously!! We should have been in third!! Anyway, I finally got my bowling shirt and got a special award... most improved! I went from bowling a 70 in the first week to a 184 in the final week... one hell of an improvement if you ask me. Of course, I went bowling this morning and threw a game average of a 102...

Hopefully, I'll be heading to either Turkey or Egypt this fall for a vacation during Eid (the holiday week after the Hajj). This is going to be a fun year...

Enjoy...

ben

2 comments:

NadineMathis1 said...

Are you allowed to tell us her NAME?

Also what is your IM again? Mine is NadineMathis1

Anonymous said...

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