Qatari lessons in life


It’s been more than a year since I wrote here.

What can I say?

It’s taken this long to come to terms with life in Qatar.

“A mere nobble on the edge of the Arabian map, this desert land has proved more distracting, confronting, frustrating and emotionally surprising, than any of the nations I have previously called home”

For the record these have been: France, Austria, Australia and the UK.

Qatar lies in a peninsula at the Gulf of Basra (historic) or the Persian Gulf (disputed name), sharing borders with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The country is extremely dry for six months of the year and almost like Southern Spain in other months. Most of the food consumed here is imported.

And the majority available ready cooked is of the sort commonly known as – junk.

So, come with me on a series of tours away from Qatar’s paint-still-wet shopping malls and into backstreet mansions with their preternaturally quiet ladies majlis (similar idea to grannies ‘posh’ front room). Feel the atmosphere of family places away from the excited excess of sudden wealth.

In hidden Qatar, lie striking reminders of Islamic culture and manners, of the bedouin life, lost forever under Eurocentric architecture and Gucci fashion stores.

Hundreds of thousands of expat business travelers and temporary dwellers, rarely encounter what I am about to share.

Take hold of grandma’s hands.