Monday, September 27, 2010

Another 24 hours...the Doha Sequel...

With my blockbuster post from 2 days ago, the director asked if I would write a sequel to my runaway hit.  I graciously agreed on the caveat that they do something about the heat and humidity.  Well, if 99 degrees and a heat index of 107 degrees is better, then life is good.  Surprisingly, the temperatures did feel a bit better on my return walk to the Movenpick Tower and Suites this afternoon...I only felt 3/4 drained more than Qatar normal.
As discussed in my last post, Saturday was my day of R&R from the long plane ride halfway around the world.  Sunday was my Monday as it were.  I have a class of 14-15 students in my class and the cultural differences are interesting to observe.  The males occupy the front of the classroom and are fairly active in discussions.  The women occupy the back of the classroom and "generally" not as active in discussions, but they will ask questions if I walk near or they quietly get my attention to assist them.  For cultural and/or religious beliefs, women in the Islamic world dress in an abayas - some veiled while others are not.  As described in my hotel magazine, women wear abayas "to shroud their identity from the outside world."  It's very effective...

One difficulty in teaching this particular class is the abbreviated Qatari work schedule.  It's common to begin one's day around 8 AM, have a 30-minute brunch from 9:30-10 AM, a call to prayers at 11:45-12:15 PM and then depart for one's home by 2 PM.  This class is designed around an 8 hour work day so losing nearly 4 hours a day to teach is problematic at best.  One has to speed up delivery of instruction and skip exercises in order to complete the required materials.  Even with that, I'm rushed to get done what I can.

Following class, my principle lead for CGIS and I discussed work details afterwards and then drove me to another part of Qatar for an Arabic sandwich - basically a falafel chicken sandwich - very tasty from the local falafel store.  The great thing about this trip is I saw yet more of Doha while traveling in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle.  Beats walking in the hot, humid sun - but....

Walk I did as the sun was setting yesterday.  The corniche is a many kilometer water promenade that goes around the Doha Bay.  From my hotel, I began my hours long walk past the newly constructed skyscrapers of West Bay taking many pictures.  I have to say, the architecture of these modern skyscrapers are unlike anything I've seen before.  For the most part, they're very sleek, very progressive, very modern, and very impressive.  Not knowing what to expect of Doha before my trip, I've been very impressed by the design of it's future and intrigue of it's past.  Doha is a very modern 21st century city with a centuries old past that is rapidly disappearing in the older areas of town to rubble and new construction.

After my return to the Movenpick, I ventured downstairs for dinner in the hotel restaurant.  Granted, in the US I would never do such a thing, but as I have no car and I was starving...so the Indian style buffet with amazing desserts had to suffice.  The prices are a bit much for such a meal so Monday night, I plan to return to the Souq Waqif via a taxi and enjoy an inexpensive and much more enjoyable night.

I wrapped up my day with a Skype video phone call to my girl and the boy.  First time I used this technology and it was great.  My day was nearing an end (9 PM Qatar time) and Karen's was just beginning (12 PM MST).  It was great to see her and the boy and get to talk to them - learned yet more about a new Beyblade that Ethan purchased - L-Drago!!!  Halfway around the world is a bit harder than 450 miles north of ABQ - but the result is still the same - not in the same town and missing each other.

Well, Tuesday is my last full day in Doha to conclude my 3-day class and then off to meet an ESRI colleague for dinner.  After that, get packed and ready to go for my return flight to the States - it will be a bit longer than the outbound flight due to going against the jet stream.  Gggggrrrreeeeeaaaaaaatttttttt....

Until then, climb on my friends!

2 comments:

Zack said...

Sounds like a fun, if exhausting, time!

Alan said...

Does The Boy have a name?