The year is up and I'm coming home!

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June 16th 2009
Published: June 21st 2009
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Leaving in 2 days and it looks like I'm "getting out" JUST IN TIME! I really don't know what's going on, well I do, and I definitely don't agree with it! Here is the current situation over here in the Gulf:

Dubai has become this "vacationland" for adults (and children) but for both vacation and work it's been a thriving paradise. Foreigners have been moving to the UAE to work with excellent pay and full packages (return airfare home, ridiculous amounts of vacation time, no tax, luxuries - drivers, nannies, maids, etc.) until this economic crisis and in the year that I have been over here Dubai has just been falling apart!
Workers have left and lots are coming here to Qatar where the world economic crisis hasn't affected even an ant - why? That's because this place is filthy rich and it's all because of OIL! This country is swimming in oil unlike it's close neighbor the UAE (which if it wasn't for some oil in Abu Dhabi to help bail Dubai out then then Dubai definitely would be "no longer"). (Note: for those that don't know the UAE - United Arab Emirates- is the country which is divided into "emirates" (think States) and Dubai is an emirate and Abu Dhabi is another). Qatar is hoping to be the "next" Dubai but even bigger and better!

Now here is the "exception" while it hopes to become bigger and better it does not want to become "westernized" like Dubai - no alcohol on the beaches, no where whatever whenever type attitude, etc. So the country has recently taken some actions to stop this - 2 weeks ago we went out for some drinks before hitting up our "regular" bar and just after having an amazing dinner at the Interncontinental Hotel (rated the best hotel in Doha - 5 Stars) thanks to our school! Anyways, when we reached the bar we were told we could only get in with actual passports or residence IDs and that for women our skirts/dresses have to be to the knees or below - WHAT! Not that we're walkin around in lil minis or anything but how is it one day this is allowed and then the next day its not without notice. That's not even the half of it - last nite we were out for my roommate's birthday and a friend of hers informed us all that she had just been to one of the malls where a sign was posted that the new law is that any woman showing her shoulders would be fined $2500 riyals (about 700 dollars). I feel that I am very understanding of the culture over here, however, with all of these restrictions they are going to soon realize that westerners won't continue to come to work (especially women since it really can take a toll on you emotionally after some time) ESPECIALLY after the other new law that was passed within the past 2 days - NO alcohol can be served before 5pm! WHAT? No more beer or wine with your lunch at one of the nice hotel restaurants and who knows what will happen to the champagne brunches that are held from 12-4 on Fridays and Saturdays.

We've definitely been "livin it up" here and really have been enjoying ourselves these past few weekends. We went to the Ritz Carlton for high tea last weekend and this weekend we went to the champagne brunch at the top of the Sheraton hotel where we ate foods we haven't eaten in a year - soo good! We've been going out - A LOT and I'm definitely going to miss my dancing buddies here! We've been coping with the 115/120 degree heat and have still forced ourselves to go to the pool/beach so that we can all come home with a tan - though I def beat everyone with this and by a LONG shot! haha Tomorrow is the last full day of school and Tuesday (I don't have to go til 10) classes end at 12. I know I'll be a crying mess saying goodbye to my children because they really have become a part of me and each of them has a part of my heart! But it's def time to move on and I'll only be home for 2 months before the next Middle Eastern adventure begins! I'm really looking forward to coming home but also know that 2 months is a good amount of time and I'll be ready to head to Egypt! Tonite we're off to the souq for the last nite - for some good food and sheesha. I'm still struggling to pack everything which completely shocks me because I'm leaving soo much behind! It will def take some getting used to being at home again and not waking up here and just walking across my apartment door to one of my friends to talk about "what happened last nite" or to cook dinner or watch a movie or make plans for the nite or the coming weekend but we're all def ready to move on. It's been quite a year to say the least and even though it's not my favorite country it still holds many fond memories and I've made some great friends!

See you all soon!
Lots of love
ps. don't forget about American Flatbread for drinks on Wednesday 4:30/5ish - no worries it won't be a late nite after 24 hours of travelin and some drinks in me I'll be ready for bed!

Here are my flights for the 24th:
Wed, Jun 24, 2009
Doha (DOH)
Depart: 01:15am
Arrive: 06:50am
Doha, Qatar (DOH) to
Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
Flight 4711 operated by Qatar Airways (on Airbus A330-300)

1 Stop - change planes in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
Connection Time: 1 hr 35 mins

Depart: 08:25am
Arrive: 10:33am
Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to
Chicago, IL (ORD)
Flight 945 (on Boeing 777)

1 Stop - change planes in Chicago, IL (ORD)
Connection Time: 2 hrs 39 mins

Depart: 01:12pm
Arrive: 04:11pm
Chicago, IL (ORD) to
Burlington, VT (BTV)


24th June 2009

I am so impressed with you
Can't wait to see you and hear more about your travels, be sure the Champaigne is chilled Lynn
29th June 2009

Welcome Home!!
It will be great to see you. come to SML to see us. Best, and have a great trip, Mary Ellen

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