Friday, July 27, 2007

Pics from the Party...

These are not the greatest, but its probably the best of what I got. I will see what everyone else has and maybe update them.

Hussein (Our driver) and Deb

Complete with a kick ass dog! That dog didn't bark all night. He was really cool and laid back.

Hankuna Matata!

So, the guest services agents at the Ritz randomly call or stop you in the lobby to check on the quality of your stay. The last one that stopped me started talking to me and asked where I was from. She figured it was from the south. (Apparently, I have a really pronounced accent) So, in the course of our conversation, I asked her how many languages she spoke. (This is one of my newest questions to ask people, you would be amazed, some people are fluent in 4,5, even 6 languages) She told me Swahili, English, and Hindi. I told her that I didn't know any Swahili, however she informed me that everyone probably knows at least one phrase...thanks to the Lion King! Hankuna Matata...No Worries!

Anyway, so my days and weeks are becoming more structured. My day usually goes like this:
6:15 Rise and Shine
6:45 Breakfast
7:15 Driver is waiting downstairs
11:00-12:00ish Lunch (usually at my desk, and so far it has been an apple, orange, or banana and a granola bar with a bottle of water)
3:30 Driver is waiting at EMS for me
4:00-4:30 Head to the Gym
6:00ish finish at the Gym and head to my room
6:30-7:00 Take shower and head upstairs for dinner
7:00-9:00/9:30ish Dinner and Drinks
9:30-11:00 Phone calls, emails, blog writing, etc.
11:00 Bedtime

My weeks are probably going to be this way for a while:
Sunday 9:00 Senior Staff meeting at EMS (usually until 11:00)
Monday 1:00-3:00 Pittsburgh meeting (all staff)
Thursday 9:00 Paramedic 2 (US equivalent of a paramedic) meeting/in service case review
Thursday 11:00 Pittsburgh Management Meeting
Thursday 4:00 Medical Director Conference Call

The balance of the time I am trying to spend with the supervisors out in the road learning and modeling behavior for them.

Nothing really exciting happened over the last week, work wise. I did go to the North edge of the country. I plan on getting to the south near Saudi border next week and to the western edge. There is still some outposts that I need to see. The range of issues I am seeing is everything from laziness to supervisory documentation issues to not wanting to talk to or communicate with staff. These guys don't think they need to be out on the road checking up on crew members, etc. They only go out when it is a call that requires a supervisor, so we have to change that. I tried to get the guy the other day to show up on a scene that was close, but it was a Priority 2 call. He said, "We don't have to go on those, only Priority One calls" They don't understand showing up, checking, helping, assisting, etc. I have a lot of work to do...

The really exciting thing happened last night. John, one of our Quality guys reserved his clubhouse at his villa. Some people owed him favors, one being in a 2 person band from the hotel. This really beautiful Filipino girl and some guy with her came and played and sang for us. They also brought a karaoke machine that scored you as you sang. Basically the entire Pittsburgh staff, their families, and some of our other workers and neighbors showed up. We all danced, drank, and partied the night away. They even dared me to get up there and sing "Country Roads" and not look at the screen....Are You Kidding Me? I should have put money on it! I did get a favorable applause, I stood with my back to the screen for effect.

Oh, I almost forgot. Dr. G works at the hospital in the northern part of the country. So, the only time I see Dr. G is Mondays during the staff meeting. He told me that he wanted to take me to dinner. They had 2 family friends in town, along with their new 6 month old. So we went to a Lebanese restaurant, where we sat on the floor at the small table. The food was awesome! Hummus, vegetables, different kinds of bread, and then the main course of 2kg of Lamb. It was fantastic. The meat was so tender. It was located right behind the landmark mall, so I should be able to find it again. (Visitors coming to see me...I am finding all kinds of good places to eat!)

So, I got my money from the hospital yesterday to help furnish my villa. HMC gives us some and Pittsburgh gives us some. I got a 20,000 Riyal check. Are you kidding me? That is like USD $5,500+. I have to turn receipts in for everything that I get, but who cares. I am going to use every bit of it. Pittsburgh gives us about $8500 to help furnish it. So it is going to be awesome. I should have the rest of my money with my paycheck next week.

In other news: I am currently reading "Ghost Soldiers", it was given to me by Nurse C when she was done with it. It is about a great (some say greatest) rescue of WWII, following the Bataan Death March. Very interesting so far, I will let you know how it goes.

I will talk to you later! Cheers!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Camels by the road...

The weekend

So, Thursday got here and had another day of meetings and such. These need to lessen and become more efficient if they ever plan to get work done. I need to spend time with my guys, not in meetings. Oh well, we will work on it. Since I have a conference call on Thursday afternoons at 3:30-4, I never get off on time. I got back to the hotel as everyone was leaving for Rydges, which is another hotel/bar combo. I told them I would follow suit shortly. I wasn't really in the mood to head out, but I took a shower and called a Ritz car to take me to the bar. So we got there and I usually make it a habit to get my driver's name and number so I can call him directly to pick me up, but since everyone was there I decided against it. (mistake!) I got to the 11th floor and started to go in the bar. The bouncer stopped me and told me I was not allowed in...I was a little taken aback, but he pointed at my shoes. I had on sandals with pants, golf shirt tucked in, etc. So apparently after 6 they won't let anyone in with sandals on. (It was about 6:15) I tried reasoning with him and tried to become his friend, but to no avail. So, now I had to get back to the Ritz. Oh wait, I didn't get my driver's it was going to have to be a cab. Got downstairs, and the guys told me a cab would be over 30 minutes but they could have a Rydges car for me in 2. So I took that option. I thought it was going to be expensive, but it only ended up being about $8. Gotta love that exchange rate. (The one place in the world the dollar is still doing OK, however I get the feeling from the paper over here that might change soon!)

So I headed back to 23 and realized that I still had not ate dinner. It was Indonesian food night, and I just wasn't in the mood. Poor Freddy, the chef for the 23rd floor, didn't have to cook for anyone that night. They were dead. I talked to him before I did this, but I ordered Room Service to my table on 23. Had a good ole fashioned Hamburger and Fries. It was good. Nice change of pace. Got a movie from the 23 floor stash and headed to my room. It was kinda nice to have a low key evening.

Fri I got up and Nurse B called and wanted to know if I had anything planned. He is still in the phase of getting to know the city, and wanted to know if I wanted to drive around the city to places we are not familiar with. Friday mornings are great for this, everyone is at the Mosque, most stores are closed, so its a great time to explore. We even headed out of the city some and saw some camels. (They are like deer here, just running around and everywhere)

So I headed back to the hotel, got a workout in, and chilled out...Last night was another low key evening. Just hung out on 23 with Dr. M and his kids. It was actually an early night for me.

So, as a filler, I am going to give you some excerpts from a book that I am reading. (Hughes & Chesters, 2003)

This is NOT Qatar, but Saudi Arabia laws. You can get arrested, put in jail, flogged, deported, and in some cases face capital punishment for the following actions:

  • Men being in the company of Women who aren't close relatives
  • Women being with men other than close relatives are treated as prostitutes and will be deported immediately and be blacklisted from any Gulf Country
  • Women driving cars.
  • Indiscreet dress (Shorts and short sleeved shirts for men, and uncovered hair, short dresses, exposed arms and shoulders for women)
  • Practicing a religion other than Islam, carrying a Bible or wearing a cross.
  • Blasphemy
  • Homosexual acts
  • Drug dealing and possession

Some interesting things on Marriage and Divorce:

Usually Arabs get married around 20. It is encouraged to get married to a cousin or other family member to strengthen the family tribe. (And they make fun of WV!) Sometimes it is requested to marry another family to settle some disputes among families. Sometimes young couples can meet when a chaperone around, however in the more conservative states (i.e. Saudi) the marriage is arranged without any part of the female's body (including her face) having been seen by the groom. He must rely on reports of her looks from female family members. There are 3 elements in an Arab marriage. First, the groom must discuss and agree the dowry with the bride's father. Next actually comes the marriage contract, which is conducted by a legal or religious representative. The bride is asked if she agrees to marriage, then the groom is asked the same. The final step the groom joins hands with the bride's father, with two witnesses present the marriage becomes official. (notice that the bride and groom and not involved in this process together?) So, after they become officially married, the reception takes place. The men go party in one place, and the women another. This could go on for days. On the last night, the couple finally meet and head off for their honeymoon. A Muslim man can have up to 4 wives, however some Muslim women are putting clauses in their marriage contracts that they will be the only wife. (In Saudi, women don't usually work unless it is an acceptable care or education. The women that work in health care as a Doctor or Nurse have difficulty in finding someone to marry, as men are reluctant to marry them because they have seen other men naked) So, moving on...A man can divorce his wife by saying " I divorce you" three times. He can change his mind and rescind the divorce if he did it in the heat of the moment, but only if the wife agrees. If a woman wants a divorce, she must go to court for the case to be heard, even if she has a concrete reason (unfaithfulness, abuse, crime, etc). The husband must maintain for his ex-wives and kids, but the custody of any boys is transferred to the father at the age of 10. A Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim, but a Muslim man does not have that restriction.

Nice and equal for both Most of the questions and email that I get from everyone are about the culture and the way they do things here. So every once in a while I will try to do this to enlighten everyone. I have a meeting with one of the educators this week for EMS. She is a Muslim girl who gives the 'Culture' lecture to all new staff. She is very open and very receptive to questions when we were setting up this meeting, so I should get a good amount of information out of it. I will let you know more later.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Getting boring...

So, I know it is probably going to get boring for a while as I am getting settled in and trying to figure out things. The senior supervisor left today for vacation, so now I am going to shift my focus to the shift supervisors and the department heads. I have spent way too much time in meetings over the last 2 days with the EMS management team here wanting me to help them with strategic planning and budgeting. I told them I would assist (and I will) but it is their system and they need to figure out where to go and how to get there. I can be there to bounce ideas off of and assist, but I should not be intimately involved in the process. They are really excited about having some educated and motivated people around, as there is a guy from the UK that is interviewing for the Assistant Director of Support Services position...and I had to sit in on the initial interview. We were both invited to the strategic planning meeting today (where they had turkey central..more later) and it seemed that they wanted us to really figure out their problems. The UK guy was really vocal and assisted them somewhat. I kinda stayed back, as I do not work for them, I work for UPMC...and I am trying to keep that distinction.

Turkey central, apparently is the Yann's / Soup Nazi of Qatar. I was told that you would never go there unless someone took you or you were really adventurous. The walls are pink with purple curtains, kinda dark, etc. They do alot of takeout. You order speciality plates by the kg and they make it with different kinds of meat, vegetables, and sides. They also include some awesome bread that you use to pick the meat off of the tray with. It was awesome. Its not Yann, but it works...

So, I was helping each section with their SWOT analysis and one of the supervisors brought me his to look over. In the paper, it said unrespect of policies and procedures as a weakness. I told him that unrespect was not a word. He laughed and said that he thought it sounded wrong, but his English teacher told him that in the English language anything can be reversed by putting 'un' in front of it...haha

So, had a MAJOR issue on 23 last night. They were bringing me my Jack and Diet 7up last night (long story) and one of the last ones I got tasted like ass. The waitress handed it too me and then went to hide behind the bar. I took a drink and looked for her and she popped up and put her hands up. She came over and told me that they were out of Jack Daniels. Then she said "Mr. Forest, I called every bar in the hotel and no one has any I gave you Jim Beam..we will have more for you tomorrow" I MADE THE RITZ CARLETON, DOHA RUN OUT OF many people can say that. (They did have it back tonight!) One of the Indonesian bartenders asked me if we all (the whole UPMC crew) drank like this all the time...and we told him we don't...but we are at the RITZ and it's free! He and all of us laughed...

I will talk to you soon...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

La Majestic Gardens Villa #3

Front of house. My driver decided not to use the carport. Everything in the picture is my villa.
Brand new (see the construction materials?) 3 BR, 2.5 Bath, Carport, etc.

This is from the back wall in the dining area. I am looking back towards the front door. The kitchen is off to the right.

This is probably the worst feature of the house. Everything else is so nicely done, but the colors in the kitchen are a little lame. Everything is hidden by a cabinet. The tall one is left is a fridge, the bottom one a freezer, under the counter between the sink and microwave is the dishwasher, and right beside it the washer and dryer (one unit).

This is upstairs with my back to the front of the building. The master bedroom is on the left. There are 2 bedrooms on the right and a bathroom at the end of the hall. There is also a closet on the left just past the staircase.

The master bedroom. I am looking from the back from the front of the house. There is a recessed area between my bedroom and bathroom. Have you noticed? No closets. They do not use them over here. You use add that to my shopping list. Also, have you noticed the Marble floors throughout the entire house? Electronic digital cooling throughout the house (there is no heat, there is no need any time of year). Once I get it furnished I will update the photos...

Fort day pics...

The fishing boats.

You don't see these in WV!

The 'Fort'

Dr. B and I at the fort

Just a cool picture from the back side of the fort.

Fri, July 13th

So Dr. K, Dr. B, Nurse B, and I decided to find this old fort that Nurse B had found in his exploring of the country over the last few months. We headed north about 10:00 am. Friday mornings are great for doing things like this because it is the Muslim holy day and the roads and things are empty. Not many stores or shops are open, but things like this, or even getting out and seeing the country by driving around are good things to do.

Needless to say, B is not good with directions. We got off numerous roads and they were not the where we needed to be. We actually made it all the way to Al Khor in the northern part of the country, where HMC has another hospital and some of our staff work at. There are also numerous EMS stations up there that I have not seen, but that is forthcoming. Since we were up north, we decided to head to the cornice (which is like their beach) and check it out. We also stopped at a place where there were 100s of fishing boats that were in. See pictures to follow.
So then we headed back down the road. We ended up finding the fort after searching from numerous areas. I think it was more of an old fort type building that was being remodeled, but it was interesting none the less. After touring the fort, we had to break in of course, we stopped at a shady pavilion and had a quick snack of cheese, bread, oranges, and water. A nice complete snack.
We headed back to the hotel, and I went to the gym. After my workout, I had to take a quick shower and get the barber shop by 5. There was no one in there, so I got right in. 2 guys that I think have their sexuality in question cut my hair. Most of the time you get the best haircuts that way! Well they were having issues with me not wanting it all styled up and glamorous, but we finally got through it and I told them how to cut my hair correctly. I am going to find somewhere else to go, however because it was 100 Riyals to get it cut here (Thats $27 US). So a new location is underway. Dr. K and I went to dinner and then headed to the Old Souks again. Dr. K is about a week away from his anniversary and important family birthdays. So he was buying stuff left and right. I was just enjoying walking through and talking with the locals, no to mention checking out some of the cool things. Doc bought a whole bunch of stuff, I got a couple of runner carpets that were made in Qatar and they are a awesome blue and gold. I spent about $27 for both of them, so it was a light day for me. We headed back to the hotel and up to 23 for a drink. After a drink I went to the room because I had to get up early on Saturday for a physical that is required by HMC. Pittsburgh gives us all these tests before we leave, to be sure that we will pass them all when we get here. So today was a physical, vitals, history, and TB test. Monday it is fasting blood work and a chest x-ray. Tuesday I have to go get my TB test read. Nothing like good old government controlled hospitals!
On the way home from the hospital I got our driver to stop and I took some pictures of my new place. Check it out. Later!

Thursday, July 12

Work was not that exciting today. Constantly trying to understand the flow of everything and everyone's roles and responsibilities. While I was at work the Assistant director came and got me and said they might have a bad accident if I wanted to go. I hopped in the response vehicle and we were off to the northern road out of town. Speed limits are about interstate speeds. The wreck had 2 DOS, and 7 other patients, 2 with some good potential injuries. There were 9 people in basically a foreign version of a subaru outback. (It had a 3rd row of seats.) They lost control and rolled it over. First of all, the interstate type roads in this country are interesting. They are divided by a very convincing guardrail that probrably keeps people from hitting head on, however the crossovers are about 5 miles apart. We actually go to an exit before we got to a crossover so we could access the wreck. If the Qatar police would let me take pictures (one Medic almost got deported for that) I would have some interesting photos. The trauma to the one guy's face who was DOS was impressive. Anyway, I was impressed with their response. The supervisor did a good job of scene management, and did not get involved in Patient care. They had 6 ambulances there within a few minutes and the scene was clear of patients in about 20 minutes. Very impressive. I am sure that some of the care might needed to be looked at, but getting to definitive care that quickly was impressive.

After work, which was held over for me due to a conference call back to the states with our medical director, we headed to the Sheraton. We went because we heard they might have a band later. Well, they did, it was 4 unimpressive looking Philipine chicks covering a variety of songs, horribly. We got there hours before the music started because we wanted a change of pace. It was Dr. K, Dr. J and his wife, Dr. B, Dr. S, and Dr. C, Nurse Prac B and Me. Looking around after the music started, there was probably 96% asian expats hanging out at this place. And they were drooling over these not too impressive girls. Anyway, our gang had a good time and we drink many beers. My new boss even got me on the dance floor, the irony in this whole event was that when she pulled me onto the floor me and her husband were discussing about how we are not big dancers. He laughed as I was being pulled away. I will keep trying to get this updated over the weekend. Later!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday July 11 here is an update for the week.

Wednesday was pretty much status quo. Trying to learn the system. To tell you the mentality of some of these supervisors, basically they have 2 supervisor positions that could have the most effect on staff. They have a supervisor that is for the city of Doha and surrounding stations and one for the northern regions and rural regions of the country. The have others on as well, but these two could have the biggest impact. However, they want to 'help' the other supervisors do their jobs for them. So when I asked the city supervisor if he wanted to go drive around he said "no, we are not busy, and I am tired" So basically, none of the stations are going to get checked or show up on scenes or anything. Also, the supervisor that was up north was in station because his vehicle was in the shop. No one thought to send him up north in another vehicle. Its not going to be a land cruiser or suburban, but they have PLENTY of ambulances, support vehicles, etc that they could have taken. The supervisors just didn't have the initiative or motivation to make that decision and make it happen. They definitely have a problem with critical thinking...we will work on that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Not too much to report this time...

Two observations today:

- They have a LARGE amount of incident reports everyday. I thought MGH had paperwork...and they do...but it is different and varied. They don't have that many forms, but they have so many coming in. I saw probably 10-12 incident reports today that have to be followed up on.

- Due to the extreme weather, they usually tow an ambulance or 2 back to their maintenance department every day. They have 2 sizes of tow trucks that were donated that they use to bring them back. They also have a fleet department that deals with all the truck issues, it pretty nice.

- They have 4-6 supervisors on every shift. If you need to clock in early or clock out late, a supervisor must inital your run form and your time card. No overtime goes unnoticed.

- The ministry of the interior, which oversees everything in the country has numerous of those static cameras all over the country. These are on stoplights for people who run them, on roundabouts, and on straighaways to keep people from speeding. Needless to say Ambulances trip these cameras all the time. If they are going on a Priority 1 (life threating) call, then everything is forgiven. If they violate something when going ona Priority 2 (BLS) or Priority 3 (BS or Transport) call, then the ticket comes to the individual. The squad will not pay for any infractions caused when driving a squad vehicle. If it is during a P1 call, then it is forgiven. This really helps on keeping people driving correctly. When the fines range from 200-700 Riyals...(you do the math...) that really makes people think about doing the right thing. However, they still have infractions every month.

Went to 23 tonight and had some drinks with Doc K, Doc J, Nurse C, and Nurse D, it was a fun story telling time. Good time with good people.

Oh, by the way. I am teaching Hussein, our Indian driver, who English is his 6th language, about how to speak like a southerner. We are currently working on y'all...I will keep you updated on the progress.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday, July 9th

Hello again. I need to update you on my happenings . Those of you that think these are going to show up every day are probably going to be disappointed. It takes me a few days to sit down and actually write these. They might get a little boring, so I apologize, but it is going to act a work diary for me as well.

So Friday here is kind of like Sunday in the States. Religious day, not much is open until after 400 in the after noon, etc. So I slept in, (still trying to get adjusted to Qatari time) went to lunch and then got a good workout in. Cleaned up a little in the room, worked on some paperwork and then headed to 23. Basically ate dinner, drank with the doc and nurse and welcomed a new doc and his wife to our little group. It wasn't a late night, but we had a good time. Went to bed kinda early and had a great night's sleep.

Saturday, Doc K and I headed to furniture stores. Since this is something I am going to have to do soon, and he asked me, I tagged along for the experience and to get to see more of the city. We hit a bunch of furniture stores, they are like hot spots in Morgantown, they are everywhere. One of the problems is that we also have to shop for wardrobes, as none of the housing here has closets built into it. Luckily we found some bedroom suits that had matching wardrobes. Our company and the sponsoring company are both putting up some money for us to furnish our villas. I think I am going to go with a gold and blue theme...hmmm..... We came back after lunch and I headed to the pool. I basically just wanted to try the outdoor pool, which is curves all throughout the rear of the hotel. Plus there are hot tubs scattered throughout. The pool is actually a little chilly. I heard from the general manager of the hotel (Terry, a French guy) who knows me by name if that surprises anyone, that they actually have to refrigerate the outdoor pool water. It gets too hot with just the sun and the ambient temperature. FUN FACT TO KNOW! I moved to the indoor pool and swam a few laps and then went to try the indoor jacuzzi. It was neat, but I wasn't really in the jacuzzi mood, just trying everything out. After dinner, which was amazing, roast beef that was just awesome...we headed to the Souks downtown. These are large complexes of shops and stores with people peddling their handmade and other goods. They are about the size of a medium/large office and have a variety of things in them. There are alleys that you go down back into these big complexes to get to all of the stores. The ones on the main alleys you avoid, as they are a little more expensive. You also have to barter with these people. The stated price is not what they want. Doc got 2 awesome items that were carved out of camel bones. They took almost 100 riyals off the price in the course of bargaining. Then, the shopkeeper asked us if we wanted a drink. Since it is very bad to refuse any drinks in Muslim country we agreed and sat down on his couches. He came back with very tall fruit drinks. For lack of better term I would say there were strawberry and banana fruit shakes. Real fruit. They were awesome. We chatted with the shopkeeper and his son until we were finished and then moved on down the souk.

Small aside. That night I found out how prevalent Muhammad is. That name is everywhere. I found out more the day I went to EMS of my 600 staff, there is probably 50-75 Mohammad. We ran into 2 Mohammed's that night, which we talked about on the way to the souks. When we went into the store, we asked the boys name and he told us, Mohammad. Doc without missing a beat looked at me and said "Why do we even ask?" Quite Funny.

Sunday, which is our Monday, went to work at EMS. Sat in on their supervisor and head of department meeting. I think they all want to do well, but I can see some of the issues. The one guy reported that people were not turning in their check sheets properly, and when asked what he did when people were not compliant, he had no answer. Got another tour of the building and got to take a look around and talk to some of the supervisors. We stopped at one sub-station and caught the guys sleeping soundly in the middle of the day. Mon EMS people you should be happy. Everyone on earth knows we need more stations, but some of the sub stations I visited were sub par...I digress, I will get back to that. It was nice to see Chaker (that is the Senior Supervisor, the guy I am mentoring and sharing an office with. Really nice, knowledgeable guy.) jump into action and get after these boys. He has some of the same problems that we have. The guys were sleeping and they only had about 15 minutes of work to do and they could sleep, but...their truck looked like ass, the station looked like ass, trash everywhere, dishes in the sink, trash can overflowing, bathroom stinks, etc. Chaker told me that if everything would have been done, he has no problems with the guys taking naps. It just irritates him when they are being lazy and the place looks like crap. (That sounds way too familiar!)

After work, I headed to the gym and got a good workout in. After dinner I headed to the Giant store, which is like another super wal-mart. I picked up a few snacks and lunch items, along with some socks and aftershave. Notice, they do not have Caffeine free Diet or Regular coke in this county. If I keep drinking JD, I might have to drink the high test stuff. I headed home and went to bed.

Monday, the 9th. Chaker took me on a tour of some more sub-stations around town. Some of them are definitely short stay stations. One was really run down. It had 6 recliners, a small fridge, a small microwave, and 2 window air conditioners in the space about the size of Susie's office. No bathroom, no water, etc. Just a place to not be in the truck. (That is an idea!) They had to go across the parking lot to the government building to use the bathroom, if needed. Some of them are given to EMS, so like Mon EMS, they try not to complain.

I did go on a RT call which is their term for MVA/MVC it stands for Road/Traffic Accident. We got cancelled after BLS got on scene, but I still saw the guys packing and working on the patient. I know they have problems, but they were doing really well from what I could see. They were even splinting a possible broken forearm...they didn't use a pillow! That is amazing...did you know they made splints for that? Wow....

Also, Chaker gave me a token of appreciation for the work that I am getting ready to do. It is called the Hand of Fatima and Fatima was the daughter of the Prophet Mohammad and know what I am getting tired of look it up!
It was a nice gesture. I think we will work well together.

So, you think Morgantown is booming. You should be in Doha. I can count over 25 Cranes just from my hotel. When you get into the city, just driving in, I can count over 30 more. They are building everywhere. It is crazy. Alot of it is poured concrete and rebar, and high as you can go.

Oh, before I get off of here. Chaker and I had to stop for gas today. All of you that will enjoy this, gas was .70 Riyals a Liter. Since I am such a nice guy, that converts to about .77-.78 cents a GALLON. How sweet is that? He told me that in the middle east, the liters rise quicker than the dollars, not like in the US and Europe where it is opposite!

Had our first weekly team meeting today. Basically just went around the table and told what we were doing, going to do, etc. Except for 15 people it took almost 2 hours. Luckily, its only once a week, and I am going to have a few weeks before I have to give a really in depth analysis.

So, I hope everyone has a good day and I will be talking soon.

Gotta give a quick hello to my friend in Chicago. Happy Birthday! Hope you enjoy it! Talk to you soon!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday, July 6

So yesterday was the end of our workweek. It's Sunday-Thursday here. I went in and spent from about 8:00 till about 1:00 at EMS, then the jet lag finally got to me and I had to head back to the hotel. My boss told me that these first few weeks that if I started to fade to head home, because I might say or do something that will be hard to recover from, especially working with a totally new staff that has memories like steel traps. While at EMS, I spoke with the Director and the Assistant Director. I think they are both great people and should be easy to work with, but like any job, we will see where that goes over the next month or so. I got a tour of the station, and met some of the supervisors. They have a nice, big station complete with Mosque! After talking in depth with the Director and Asst. Director, I went down and met with the supervisors that were currently on duty. They seemed nice, but it is going to take some time for all of us to get used to each other's english. They started bringing up some issues they think that are problems and I had to cut them off. I told them that we will work on that kind of thing in the weeks to come, I just wanted to find out about them.

After work, I went back to the hotel and got a quick nap in. That helped immesely. I woke up and headed to the Gym. I got my Cardio day in, so friday will be cardio AND weights. After dinner, the Nurse, Doctor, and I (all staying in the ritz) headed to the US Embassy for a party hosted by the Marines. They have a detachment at the Embassy called the Marine Security Guard Detachment. They have a nice building beside the embassy, but still within the walls of the embassy area. They had a bar, pool table, foosball, a DJ, food, plus a good amount of service people and ex-pats. The military guys that I met were all pretty cool, and I guess with my haircut many of them asked what detachment I was with. HAHA. We met 3 other people from UPMC there and hung out until about 12-12:15 and had a car from the Ritz to pick us up. Came home and headed to bed. I was going to get up for Breakfast, but I woke up and laid in bed for a few more minutes, which means that I fell right back to sleep and missed breakfast. So, after I did wake up, being the cheap person I am, I waited until 12 since that is when we get free lunch.

Today is going to be pretty lazy for me, this is there holy day and nothing really happens until after 4. I was told to avoid the Mall and other shopping venues this evening, because they are usually packed. So tomorrow I will probably head out and get a few items I need. I will probably head to the Gym and them spend some time reading and hanging out. Maybe head to the complimentary bar later in the evening. Not sure yet. We will see....

Talk to you later!

Peace in Qatar!

Thursday, July 5, 2007


View from the room. They are building everywhere. Apparently trying to reclaim the bay around the hotel.

They have all the bases covered! (The arrow points towards Mecca, in case you were wondering)

More shots from the Balcony. This was all water a year or so ago.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Let's Catch Up... a quick trip from Dubai to Doha. About 45 minutes of flight time. They had a service waiting on me as I deboarded the plane to assist me through the airport. They put me on a bus to the terminal (the gates are a little different at Dubai International) and had someone else waiting for me when I got off the bus. They took me to another lounge and they took my passport and paperwork and processed it for me. We then got to skip the enormous immigration line and basically walked right through, all she did was flash my passport. She got a porter (not Derek) to grab my bags and we went to Customs. We got to get in the line that had zero people in it, and were out the door in about 2 minutes. Once going through the door, I was met by 3 men in really nice suits. They took my bags and rushed me to a waiting BMW, that was already air conditioned, and had me a bottle of water, newspaper, and chocolate covered dates waiting on me. They took me to the hotel, passed my luggage onto a bellman, I got checked in and got taken to my sweet ass room. The room, as you have seen already, complete with turn down service, a balcony, full shower, tub, all the amenities. They have free shoe shine service, plus work takes care of all of my laundry and transportation bills.
As part of our contract, we have access to the executive lounge on the 23rd floor. There they have numerous servings of food from breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and late night snack. They have a full bar which is complementary (sweet!). The entire staff knows your name, and they know you are coming. You have to use your key card for the elevator to take you to this level, and the staff bend over backwards to meet your every need.
The rest of the hotel is amazing. They have numerous lounges, restaurants, indoor/outdoor pool, indoor tennis courts, sauna, steam room, fitness room, squash courts, a bank, barber, hair stylist, car rental, etc. The list goes on and on.

So Monday night, I got in and called mom to let her know that I was not dead. Tuesday I slept in and went to meet my boss in the afternoon. She talked about the hotel, my new house that is in the final stages of completion, (I am going to get a 3BR villa, complete with pool, etc.) the project, my roles, etc. I also got to hang out with the 2 guys that recruited me. I am not going to use names, since this is a blog. I will just say W & T. After getting back to the hotel and getting some electricity issues figured out. (Someone kicked the breakers in my room, I knew that I was not losing my mind and nothing electronic I brought was working). I also had to get them to bring me an iron, as the Ritz does not provide them. W & T, plus a nurse manager and a doc that is here took me to the Central City Mall. This place is 5 levels of huge, get lost in kinda mall. They even have a Carrefour, which is kinda like a Super Wal-Marts. The gang took me to Nando's and we had some regional food choices. It was basically a Kabob on a Metal stick that they bring out on a hanging skewer. Plus french fries (chips) and vegetables. The cook/coat the meat in the level of spicyness you prefer. Being new to the area, I got the mild. It was really good. Since the manager knows and likes UPMC, we also got a round of Lentil soup thrown in free of charge. After dinner W & T took me to Carrefour where I bought a cell phone (a necessity I am told). Then I had to take my $30 cell phone to Q-tel, which is the only phone company in Qatar. They have to activate it, and I have to use prepaid minutes until I get a residency permit. I stopped by the photo booth and got more passport pictures made, as I need about 30 of them for all the permits and paperwork I have to get. Everyone wants 2 photos here for everything. After grabbing a cab back to the hotel, T and I retreated to the 23rd floor where I had a could of Jack Daniels. We talked for a few hours about some strategies and ideas and where I would like EMS to be at. I think the project is going to be very successful. Soon after I headed to bed and got the CPAP machine fired up. I slept until about 5:45 when I had to get up for a class that started at 7:30. A 7:30 class means that you have to get the work driver to meet you at the hotel at 7, if he does not have any other deliveries. Breakfast doesn't open until 630, so you have to be up and ready by 630.

I went to the train the trainer teaching class, which was basically the same class I had while I was in undergrad. I actually helped out a bunch of groups with projects instead of joining a certain group, since I had already had all of it before. That lasted until about 3:00 where I came back to the hotel, and got a good workout in. Now its time for dinner. Sweet.

First impressions. I don't think I have met any Qataris as of yet, if I have they have not told me they were locals. I have met people from all over, and they all seem very nice. India, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Indonesia, Tanzania, Australia, UK, Philippines, just to name a few. They are all very eager to learn just as much about the US and me as I do about them. Probably one of my first semi-awkward moments, that I was prepared for thanks to my boss and reading my books, was that in class today when we were leaving for a break a guy that I had been working with in class came over to tell me something. As we were walking out he grabbed my hands as we were walking out of class and down the hall towards the break/bathroom area. People of the same sex holding hands in this part of the world is not a sign of anything but friendship, and it is impolite to pull away. After finishing his story and my comments he dropped my hand and went about getting his coffee. I am really getting immersed into the Middle East culture.

Gotta run. Dinner Time!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

Travel Tip #1 - Fly Business Class

OK, so I was good with leaving until about Saturday. I finally shed a few tears when I called Reshae for the last time and talked to Kelly for the last time (in country). Mom and Dad acted OK, but I am sure it bothered them after I left. Carrie was good until we got to the airport and that is where it really hit me. I hate the thought of not seeing her for months. We became so close over the last few years, that it is going to be really tough. I really had a tough few moments after I left them and went through security. A few more days of some spoaratic tears and I will be OK.

Moving on, Flying Business Class is amazing. Well, at least on Emeriates airlines. I flew from Pittsburgh to JFK in 59 Minutes, then they didnt have a gate for us, so we sat on the tarmac about 300 yards from the gate for and hour and 15 minutes. Not fun. JFK really sucks as an airport. That is until you get to the "lounge". These lounges are awesome and much bigger than I could ever imagine. Hundred of leather seats, workstations, a very nice buffet, drinks of any type you want, awesome bathrooms, some with showers, and a staff that will cater to all of your needs. The meal I had prior to leaving JFK was a Mini-Filet, Conconut Shrip, Egg rolls, and a spicy green/italian pepper mix. The have all types of liquor from JD to Drambie. Beers from Guiness to Amstel Light. It is really nice. It is a different world from that just outside the hustle of the entry doors.

On the plane, I could not see much difference between business and first class. They had 6 across, we had 7, and coach had 11-12. The first class seats go all the way flat. Ours went about 80% there, but were still very comfortable. I had champagne before takeoff, followed by a hot steaming towel to clean our face and arms. They provide really nice headphones, eye mask, socks, and even a fully stocked travel bag complete will all toiletries. They provided 4 service options during flight but I only had a Jack and Sprite before bed and brunch prior to landing. They give you small 'do not disturb' signs to put on your seat if you want to sleep through any of the services. They had over 600 tv selections available which included everything from scrubs to gray's anatomy, new release movies and classics. There were over 6000 audio programs, and about 50 video games you could play. You could even link up with other seats and play against them. Every seat had a phone that you could use to make international calls or even call the seat next to you. The screens were nothing to wince at either. I am talking about good 15-17" tvs in the back of all of the seats. I slept about 5-6 hours and felt really good after getting up. Awesome flight.

Arriving in Dubai, the airport is amazing. Filled with bright colors, a plethora of cultures and people, and very easy to navigate (unlike JFK). Dubai has done some wonderful things with tourism here and they promote it on the plane, once you deboard and in the airport. Dubai has really embraced world culture and is maximizing that potential in its tourism industry. The lounge here is just as nice as the JFK one, except they have really nice shower facilites and no specific computer workstations. I wish we had got here before sunset so I could see some of the city on the way in and from the airport, but I am sure I will be back.

All of the airline staff, airport staff, and lounge staff have been very nice, very friendly, and very helpful. It does not bother me as much as it would some with all of the people running around in traditional Musim wear. I am very excited to meet some new people and learn about this exciting culture. Take care. I will finish you up on the conclusion of my trip over, soon!

Fond Farewell

First of all, the past couple of months have been amazing. I want to thank everyone that helped give me what seemed like a never ending send off. It was wonderful seeing everyone and catching up. It really shows what kind of a network of friends you have in a time like this. I would like to name everyone, but if I do, I will leave some important people out. Mom, Dad, and Carrie have been tremendous, actually the whole family has been. All of my close friends, near and far, from Cheat Neck to White Sulphur, Shinnston to Denver, Chicago to Oregon. Thank you all for a wonderful last few weeks in town. I miss you all dearly and I will only be a short phone call or email away. Talk to you soon.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Here we go...

My adventure is beginning. This will be updated soon...Stay Tuned!