Blogs from Qatar, Middle East

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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

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 January 12th 2014

We spent our second day in Doha dodging the rain drops as it rained all day which is very unusual apparently. We visited the Museum of Islamic Arts which was interesting for the exhibits , the architecture and the view from the cafe where the menu was presented on an i-pad but the order then taken with a note pad and pen!!! Then we visited the Damien Hirst Exhibition which David summed up with 'I'm glad I did not have to pay'. We just did not get 'it' and some of the exhibits were plain disturbing eg a severed cow's buzzing with live blue bottle flies! A visit to the souke topped off the day with a wander through the stalls and a light meal and snack.... read more
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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
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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

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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

Middle East » Qatar » Doha November 29th 2013

Well, I successfully made my first full Thanksgiving dinner all on my own and it went pretty well. And it was here in Qatar! I invited some coworkers to share my most favorite holiday with me - I wish I could have invited more, but I have a small apartment. I'd been shopping for the past two weeks in preparation, including a table that would work for the dinner. I wound up finding one at IKEA that was perfect - a long table with two leaves. It said it sat eight, but we wound up seating 13 pretty comfortably... It only took me two and a half hours to put together and I was so proud of myself! Until I realized that I didn't know how to flip it. It weighed over a hundred pounds and ... read more
Christmas Tree
Sam and Melinda
Green bean casserole, stuff, garlic mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole

Middle East » Qatar » Doha November 25th 2013

I continually think about blogs I would like to write to update you on life here, but I am so exhausted at the end of the day it just doesn't happen. Let's see if I can remember what I wanted to tell you: Rainstorm! As we had last October, we finally got our first rainstorm. Yay! I had been waiting for ages for it. The summer stretched well into November, so the cooler weather and rain was a welcome change. It rained off and on for a few days. I went on a site inspection and came back in the afternoon to rain pounding on our office roof. I went outside to take it all in as a tremendous thunderstorm also was occurring. It made me so happy! It reminded me of my dad and I ... read more
Sunset in the Aspire Zone
Rain clouds in the industrial area
Rainstorm!

Middle East » Qatar » Doha November 2nd 2013

This was, and probably still is, a whiny post. Sorry in advance, but since I got back from Madrid, life has been difficult. I'm deleting some of the blatant whininess, but this is an update on my work life... I had my camera out one day last week because I was taking photos of four sheep in the back of a pickup. I thought at first they were eating or drinking since their heads were all hunkered down in the bed of the truck. Sadly, I realized they were tied on short leashes to a single pole in the back. Felt so bad for them. About ten minutes later, I am exiting the freeway on the busy curved off-ramp to get onto the road to work, when I notice the land cruiser behind me passing the ... read more




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