Blogs from Doha, Qatar, Middle East

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Middle East » Qatar » Doha July 18th 2014

It has been a while since I've written anything, but such is the life here. All work and no play (I won't finish that sentence because I'm actually watching a creepy show by myself in the dark...). Anyway. Just a quick breakdown of what has been happening. Work Life Upon returning from our great trip to Oman, I returned straight to work. It has become very busy for us here, even with the summer working hours. During Summertime in the Middle East, and Qatar in particular, you cannot work outside during the hot part of the day: 11:30am to 3:00pm. In addition, Ramadan began at the end of June. You do not know exactly what days Ramadan, or any Islamic holiday, will fall on until the sighting of the moon. In Qatar this typically means that ... read more
Tina's last night
Shannon at the Souk
My new artwork!

Middle East » Qatar » Doha June 30th 2014

Sitting in the new doha airport. The airport is very easy to navigate even with limited sleep. Signs are in English. While Doha is nice, my journey was anything but. Not only was I seated next to an 18th month. She was sick - running a fever and vomiting. The parents did their best to contain the chaos, but the girl was very uncomfortable. Of course when we arrived in Doha, I made a beeline to the restroom to wash my hands. Next stop Bangkok. ... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Doha May 28th 2014

I worked a little more than a half day on Wednesday, before heading out on my first flight from the new airport in Doha: Hamad International Airport. Previously, I had done a lot of work on the airport for the subsurface investigations, so it was pretty amazing to see it - that I had worked on it and now that there are no more buses! Woohoo!!!! While they're still getting the pieces together, it means that there is free parking! Yes, I was able to park right next to the entrance and park for free. No taxis taking me back from the arrivals terminal to the departure terminal. No taxis taking me period! I had already checked in, but there are already many more counters and a more efficient layout (it reminds me of the checkin ... read more
Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon
Hamad International Airport

Middle East » Qatar » Doha April 29th 2014

nach einer erstaunlich gemütlichen nacht in unserem stinkigen zimmer, in dem die fenster natürlich auch nicht zu öffnen sind, lassen wir den vormittag so gemütlich wie möglich an uns vorbei ziehen. am frühen nachmittag starten wir den zweiten versuch, asien nach zwei monaten zu verlassen - diesmal erfolgreich. über ho chi minh erreichen wir doha, katar und nach einer kleinen auseinandersetzung mit dem bodenpersonal wird uns zumindest die vip lounge zu verfügung gestellt, in der wir die kommenden acht stunden halb schlafend verbringen. unser aufenthalt von 23-7 uhr ist ein eher unangenehmer zeitrahmen, aber wir sind einander gute gesellschaft und so kann alsbald der nächste tag unserer 36-stündigen reise nach südamerika angetreten werden.... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Doha February 7th 2014

A little more insight into a week in the life of a geologist/engineering/project manager in the middle east. Since this is basically my life week in week out, you can see what I do on a daily basis. Geology! As you can see from the photo, our core boxes are stacking up in the warehouse and that is just a small portion!!! Each box contains approximately 3m of core that has to be logged, photographed, and tested. The field geologist is typically onsite with the field equipment. We have 22 drilling rigs and approximately 10 geologists, the geologists are divided up into various projects, and generally have to cover multiple rigs. The rigs drill between 8 - 15 m per day per rig, and sometimes they can drill a LOT more. The geologists are supposed to ... read more
Core box mountains
Core liners
Typical drill set up

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Middle East » Qatar » Doha January 12th 2014

What can I say? Work runs my life here. There are still many projects ongoing, with minimal staff, particularly since this is the busy holiday season. But I've decided to make the best of the year and not let work get to me as much. I took a nice long weekend to Dubai to "sleep" - yes, I have to leave the country to sleep!!! I had a nice flight into Dubai - purchasing e-gate is the best money I have ever, ever spent. Friday was a day of relaxation and going to the mall. This time, I went to Dubai Mall (my favorite is actually Mall of the Emirates) to do some major shopping. I saw a movie, bought some work clothes, met a friend for tea and crepes, shopped some more, had dinner at ... read more
A good dinner
Wholesale Market
Wholesale Market

Middle East » Qatar » Doha January 11th 2014

My brother David and his wife have been living in Doha for 2 years on a development called The Pearl which has a harbour full of magnificent boats and great views to the city. It is very peaceful as not many of the apartments in the 31 blocks seem to be occupied and therefore neither are the shops but those that are are very up market, including a Steinway piano shop. David took Sian and I on a walk around The Pearl and then a driving tour of Doha (at 15p a litre no one worries about fuel consumption here and David has a huge 4 litre Toyota). Big and expensive cars are the order of the day seen cruising and racing about. Doha is one massive building site of both residential, retail and office accommodation. ... read more
P1030082
P1030065
P1030075

Middle East » Qatar » Doha January 1st 2014

I was a bit sad to come back from such a beautiful, winter wonderland as Vienna to the desert and work again. But, so many people take this time period off, even in the Middle East, that I had to compensate for co-workers' absences. The good thing is that it is not unique to our company, so the presence of demanding clients was also less. While I was insanely busy, there was a sense of peace and happiness. Even though you have less time to get the work done, there is less of a rushed feeling. The downside to the holidays is that both Christmas and New Year's fell on a Wednesday, so you have to go back to work for one day (Thursday) after the holiday. I guess it is nice to break the week ... read more
Christmas dinner
Christmas Camel
Doha skyline on a peaceful Friday morning

Middle East » Qatar » Doha December 14th 2013

The last few weeks have been extremely difficult at work. I've been engineering manager for less than a month and I've already let two people go from my group. Am I a tyrant? These guys have a 3-month probation period - pretty hard to screw up in a company and a region where we really need people. Somehow they still managed to do it! While I'm still short on geologists and engineers, I think those that remain are incredible. I really like our team and I hope to expand it in the coming weeks. The first guy was a geologist who apparently could not be trained and did nothing from as far as I could tell. So, when his visa run came up I said we needed to have a talk when he returned to discuss ... read more
Beautiful goat ears
Metallic pink corvette
Grand Hyatt

Middle East » Qatar » Doha November 30th 2013

This is a blog I've debated writing for a while now, but it is the one that exposes my biggest problem with clashes in culture. It is the expat culture. As you all know, there is a gender ratio of approximately 9:1 here. Most of the country is made up of expats - generally people from the subcontinent or westerners (mostly Europeans). Ironically, I have never felt that the pickings are slim more than they are here. We kind of touched on this subject last night while waiting for dinner. My boss's wife asked me if I had any troubles working here. I said, actually I have had more trouble working in the US than here and I hadn't had problems with the men from the subcontinent - they do what I say. Their reasons why ... read more




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