Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So, why I was staying at the Ritz, I met this freelance journalist and her photographer boyfriend. They were doing a story on Doha and its new flight from DC (hence DC flyer). Anyway, she sent me the link and I copied the article for you so in case they get rid of it. So the main point of this is that I am mentioned in the article as an "Emergency Medicine guy" read and enjoy. Also, after she left she called me to get the price of gas and the price of see that mentioned as well. Cheers!'s%20eden

East's Eden
Doha, Qatar, makes its opening salvo as the next big travel thing, looking to prove that big bankrolls for education, science and  art can bring forth many happy returns.

by Melanie D.G. KaplanNovember/December 2007

One of the locals I got to know during my visit to Qatar was Abdul, a big, jovial man who drove my photographer and me over 60-meter-tall sand dunes at up to 50 miles an hour. Accessorizing Abdul’s thobe (the traditional ankle-length white shirt) were a diamond-encircled watch and sparkly cufflinks that could only be described as bling in the United States. He wore a gurta (long headdress) and white sandals, drove a 2007 white Nissan Patrol and played ’80s pop music on the radio. A small bottle of cologne sat in the driver’s-side door pocket, yellow prayer beads hung from the grab bar, and A-B-D-U-L was spelled out in silver bubble-letter stickers below the dash.
“You happy?” Abdul glanced back at me in the rearview mirror after we went over a series of steep dunes and my stomach was somewhere between my shoulders. Yes, I assured him, I’m happy.
The desert safari, also called dune-bashing, is the most popular tourist attraction in the state of Qatar, a peninsula the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island that borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and juts into the Persian Gulf. It’s not a safari in the typical sense of the word (although one can see the occasional fox or camel), but it’s the best way to see the natural side of a country that is, essentially, one big desert.

Photo: Melanie D.G. Kaplan
Abdul driving in Doha
When I first arrived in Doha, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I’d heard all sorts of remarkable statements: that 30 years ago, Bedouin tents filled this now construction-laden city; that Qatari women spend $3,000 a week on cosmetics; that one-quarter of the world’s cranes are at work in Doha; that the country earns $50 million a day from ExxonMobil alone. Hearsay, no doubt, but the more time I spent in the capital city, the less unfathomable the comments seemed.
For sure, Qatar has pockets deeper than most Americans can imagine, thanks to its huge reserves of natural gas. This little Islamic state, just 36 years old, is ruled by an emir and has a per-capita income of nearly $62,000, one of the highest in the world. It’s also one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East. Cranes hover over Doha like praying mantises, and buildings rise at an amazing rate. The Doha Olympic Games Committee announced in September its bid for the 2016 Games, and the first phase of the $5.5 billion New Doha International Airport (, which will be managed and operated by Qatar Airways, will open in 2009. The airline, half owned by the government, last year unveiled its $90 million premium terminal at the existing airport—complete with spa, martini bar and 24-hour medical clinic.
But although Doha is on a building spree, it categorically does not want to be the next Dubai, the U.A.E. city of superlatives known for, among other things, having one of the world’s largest indoor ski resorts and building Burj Dubai, set to be the world’s tallest manmade structure on its completion next year. Instead, Doha sets itself apart from its Middle Eastern neighbors by investing heavily in education, science, sports and art, and hoping that when the construction is complete, tourists will come. Hummers are Hip
“If you ask me, things are changing very quickly,” Abdul said as we sped along a flat stretch of desert. “You go to sleep, you get up, there’s a new building.” Abdul said he makes this trip to Khor Al Udaid every day, and I doubt he does it for the money. He seems happiest once he’s left the paved road, deflated the tires and entered a land of never-ending brown-sugar-colored dunes. We drove in a caravan of four vehicles—filled with tourists from Japan, Spain and Ireland—and tore across the sand. Local outfitters, including Gulf Adventures (Jaidah Tower, 8th Floor; +974/431-5555; and Arabian Adventures (+974/436-1461; offer half-day, full-day and overnight tours to the desert in four-wheel-drive vehicles. (The SUVs are the latest models, of course, but different than what you’d see on the street. I learned that in town, the Hummer H3 is the SUV du jour—replacing the recent fave, the Porsche Cayenne. And that H3 may be cheaper to drive here than anywhere in the world: Gas in Doha is about 83 cents a gallon, one-third the price of bottled water.) Abdul, who works for Gulf Adventures, says the tour operators must be licensed and never trek out to the dunes alone, in case one of the SUVs needs to be rescued from a giant sand dune. But the desert is wide open for thrill-seekers who want to venture in by their lonesome. “Here, nobody asks for license,” he said. But, he added, it’s risky to drive solo: “If you make your car like this”—he flipped his wrist around so his fingers faced up like a dead bug—“it’s your problem.”

Photo: J.C. Short
A caravan on desert safari in Khor Al Udaid.
Abdul talked with admiration about change in Doha and the emir’s master plan for development. There is a lot of buzz about Education City (+974/492-7000;, a new 2,500-acre campus in Doha where Cornell Medical School, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University and Texas A&M are already teaching Qatari and other Middle Eastern students. Out of a Qatari population of 907,200, foreigners comprise a significant chunk of the work force, which makes the population wonderfully diverse. I met a Kenyan spa director, a Sri Lankan driver, an Egyptian concierge, a Canadian public relations associate, a South African technology consultant, a British masseuse and an American emergency medicine specialist, who told me he’s earning six times what he did in the States.
Beyond the Gulf
Being a visitor in Doha is surprisingly easy. English is universal, and the exchange rate of the currency, the Qatari riyal, is fixed to the U.S. dollar at QR3.64 per dollar. The sun shines year-round, and winter months bring weather in the 70s and 80s. (In July and August, the mercury can hit 120 degrees with 87 percent humidity.) Service is impeccable. But Qatar is still in its infancy when it comes to tourism. You won’t find a historic district or cultural center as you might in European capitals, because development and modern business have trumped all, often at the expense of older structures.
But make an effort to meet Qataris, and you’ll find the heart and soul of this city. Begin at the souks, the traditional markets in narrow alleys where you can bargain for anything from spices and shawls to water pipes and swords. The largest and most popular is Souk Waqif (off Grand Hammad Street), but the gold souk, the fruit and vegetable souk and the camel souk (where locals buy camels for wedding ceremonies or for meat) are also worth a visit.

Photo: Melanie D.G. Kaplan
View from the Four Seasons Hotel.
The Corniche, a 4-mile-long promenade along the Persian Gulf (known in Qatar as the Arabian Gulf), is a popular stretch for walking and seeing dhows (wooden boats traditionally used for fishing and pearling and today used for day trips and evening cruises). The warm Gulf is ideal for all kinds of water sports: fishing, diving, water skiing and sailing. Both Gulf Adventures and Arabian Adventures, in addition to offering desert safaris and water excursions, have good tours of the city (which usually include the Corniche and the markets, among other attractions) and trips to the camel race track and oryx farm. Prices range from about QR75–QR300 ($20 to $80).
The city’s one golf course, Doha Golf Club (West Bay; +974/483-2338;, is home to the Qatar Masters in January and is open to the public. Spectator sports include horse and camel racing, motor sports and soccer games. Al Jazeera, the government–owned television network, is headquartered in Doha, and visitors can set up private tours of both the Arabic and English stations, with their impressive state-of-the-art studios and robotic cameras. For tours, email for the English channel or for the Arabic channel. Finally, the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Arts (+974/485-9888), which will house one of the world’s best collections of Islamic art and textiles, is situated on an artificial island off the coast of Doha and is scheduled to open in March 2008.
If you want to get out of the city, pack a picnic basket with goodies from the souk and have your driver take you up the coast about 50 kilometers to Al-Khor. The coastal town used to be known for its pearl fishing, but today, it’s popular with Qataris as a peaceful respite from Doha. The harbor is dotted with fishing boats, and the beach is perfect for relaxing or walking. When you’ve had your fill, stop by the local souks.

Photo: Melanie D.G. Kaplan
Greeting one of the regulars at the camel souk.
If you have time for another short day trip, head up to Umm Tais National Park (, the state’s first, established partially as a legacy of the Asian Games (hosted in Doha in 2006) and to help offset the environmental impact caused by the event. The park, about an hour from Doha, is an uninhabited island on the northern coast of Qatar; visitors can see mangrove forests and wildlife, including flamingos, lizards, crabs, birds and nesting turtles. If you go, stay ’til dark—locals say it’s worth the trip to Umm Tais just to see the magnificent sunsets over the park.
An Eternal Desert
At some point during our ride, “We Are the World” came on the radio. Soon we stopped, and Abdul pointed out where we were on his GPS, on the bottom tip of Qatar. Then he pointed to the mountains in the distance, across the Saudi border. We continued our drive and eventually saw the giant Inland Sea, so blue and unexpected it could have been a mirage. The glowing sun was setting behind the dunes, so we headed back to the paved road, inflated our tires and drove north to Doha.
GETTING THERE Daily nonstop flights to Doha, Qatar, are available on Qatar Airways from Washington Dulles International Airport.
On the ride back, I fell asleep—the heat of the desert and trudging through the sand had exhausted me. I awoke as we drove along the Corniche, past Doha’s ever-changing skyline. I wondered how much it would be altered in the next year or five years, and I felt grateful that some things—like the vast, magical desert and the sparkling Persian Gulf—would never change. And I hoped there would always be spirited Qataris like Abdul who love to show off their country.
I was still groggy as we pulled up to the hotel. But Abdul was as alert and animated as ever. “OK! We are here,” he said. I got out of the SUV and thanked him. “You happy?” he asked. I smiled and nodded, thinking about my desert trek and the blast of air conditioning that would greet me in the hotel lobby. “Yes,” I said, “I am happy.”
Where to Stay
The Ritz-Carlton Doha (West Bay Lagoon; +974/484-8000; sits on its own island and boasts Bulgari toiletries and a spectacular 2,000-crystal chandelier in its lobby. The Club Lounge on the 23rd floor has floor-to-ceiling windows, making it the perfect spot to watch what look like tiny Tonka trucks zipping around manmade islands, moving sand for new developments. Standard doubles start at QR1800 ($495) through May.
The Ritz-Carlton also manages the new Sharq Village and Spa (Ras Abo Aboud Street; +974/425-6666;, which has low-rise Arabic villas designed to look like traditional Qatari villages. The rustic Six Senses Spa—the largest in the Middle East—has separate entrances and lounges for women, a prayer room, meditation room and a signature treatment that includes a four-handed massage. The royal villa, called Beit Al Shoukh, can be reserved for just under $28,000 per night and includes an airport pick-up in a Rolls Royce, five butlers, a chef and a driver upon request. (Rumor has it that Saudi royalty reserved the villa before construction was finished.) Standard doubles start at QR1800 ($495).
Four Seasons Hotel Doha (The Corniche; +974/494-8888; is located on the bay and has its own marina, beach and several outdoor pools. The Spa and Wellness Center has a private spa suite for two, a hydrotherapy lounge and a therapeutic ice chamber in the locker room. Standard doubles are QR1300–1600 ($357–$440), including breakfast, through April.
The W Doha Hotel and Residences (with a Bliss Spa), the Hilton Doha, the Renaissance Doha and the Courtyard by Marriott Doha will all open next year, followed by the Four Pointe by Sheraton Doha in 2009 and the St. Regis Doha Hotel in 2010. Don’t bother looking for hostels or budget lodging in this city, but low-season discounts (usually June through October) can be significant.

Eating, Drinking and Hubbly-bubbly
On their days off, Qataris eat a three-hour lunch, followed by a three-hour dinner. Food consumption in Qatar is a serious social activity. A local explained that if you go to a Qatari’s home, he will present a table overflowing with food—the best and the most he can offer. Restaurants follow suit.
Try lunch at Al Liwan (Ras Abo Aboud Street; +974/425-6666; at the new Sharq Village, already a popular destination for locals. Weigh down a plate from a spectacular spread of Qatari and Lebanese dishes like hummus, tabouli, baba ghanoush, grilled vegetables and manakish (small breads filled with cheese or meat), and still have a spread of meat, fish (hamour is the local cod) and stews to tackle, followed by desserts and tea.
The top hotel restaurants are excellent, like Il Teatro (The Corniche; +974/494-8888; for Italian at the Four Seasons, or La Mer (West Bay Lagoon; +974/484-8000; for French at the Ritz-Carlton. You can order beer and wine at hotels, unlike at the local joints, but that’s no reason not to venture out of your inn. Turkey Central (New Al-Nassr—Al Merqab Street; +974/443-2927) is located in a long strip center, and the entire bustling downstairs is devoted to takeout (BMWs and Land Rovers line up, blocking the street, waiting to pick up their barbecue chicken shish tawouq, kebabs and lamb pie). The second floor feels like a cafeteria with its fluorescent lighting, but the food is delicious, as are the fresh juices. Two can eat like royalty for under QR50 ($13.70).
For more ambiance, try Assaha Lebanese Village (Grand Hamad Street; +974/435-5353), which is decorated to look like a traditional village with clotheslines, stone masonry and old sewing tables serving as dinner tables. The menu is huge, and you can’t go wrong with chicken shawarma, followed by puffing on an apple-flavored shisha (a water pipe, also called “hubbly-bubbly”).

Getting Around
Traffic accidents are common in Doha. SUVs speed around ubiquitous roundabouts, taxis weave, and it’s not unusual to see impatient drivers climb curbs to circumvent obstacles. But being a passenger isn’t nearly as scary as being a pedestrian. Be forewarned: Doha is not a walking city, nor is it one for the tentative driver.
Taxis are inexpensive, but not always easy to find. While hiring a driver may seem excessive for those coming from the United States, it is customary in Qatar for residents and visitors alike. They will stop anywhere (ideal if you want to tour the city and stop at a museum, a market, a restaurant and a coffee shop). You can hire drivers for about QR60 ($16.50) an hour, and it will save you a lot of time and frustration trying to hail a taxi. Doha International Airport is located east of downtown, five to 20 minutes from the major hotels.
Keep in mind that the work week in Qatar runs from Sunday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday make up the weekend, and on Friday—the holy day for Muslims—most businesses are closed.
Shutterbugs, beware: Qatar is serious about limiting photographs. In general, don’t take pictures of the airport, security officers or women in traditional dress. Keep an eye out for “no photography” signs, and when in doubt, ask permission first.
Also remember: When in a Muslim country, keep the public displays of affection at bay; if you use your fingers to eat, do so only with your right hand; and avoid showing the soles of your feet.
Finally, cover up. While Qatar is known to be more accepting of Western dress than other Muslim countries, visitors should still err on the side of conservative attire. Women should cover their shoulders and knees. It’s OK to bust out the bikini on the beach, but on your way to and from the surf, cover up that itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The end of Eid...

So, Eid finally ends today. Everyone can go back to work and maybe we can get some things accomplished...(yeah’s the middle east!) Anyway, I do have a couple observations for you.

First of all, one of our nurses, always finds this one place to park near the hospital. It is always open and it is not marked or anything. So, she parks in it every day. This week she went to her car after work and there was a note under the windshield wiper. In really bad English "You must move car. This Emir parking spot, big trouble" So, the reason no one parks in the spot is apparently it belongs to the Emir. That is assuming he ever comes to the hospital...which I have never heard him come here, plus if he gets sick I think he goes to London or the US.

Anyway, so one of the Department Heads I work with asked me out for coffee the other day. I was doing nothing in the evening, so I joined him. I thought it was just for coffee, because I made a beef stew and it was in the crock pot. (I ate on that baby for like 5 days…mmm) Anyway, when I met up with him he was wearing normal clothes. Pants, button down shirt, etc. He introduced me to his 5 kids the youngest daughter (like 4-5) he made her give me a kiss on the cheek. Anyway, his wife was in a full Abaya, Hijab, and Nicab (Full black outfit, with head covered and face covered…only the eyes were showing) She stood off to the side and did not speak to me…he also did not introduce her. That was wild. Actually during the entire dinner, he only told a story of the wedding and the process. He never actually said his wife’s name. We went upstairs for what I thought was coffee, but he ordered steak and spaghetti and made me order food as well. So I ordered and appetizer because I had food at home. About halfway through his meal, he started cutting pieces of steak and portions of spaghetti and putting them on my plate. Saying I needed to eat (kind of like that grandmother we all have had…never think you get enough food)…I had to tell him that I had to meet one of my co-workers for dinner later so he would stop trying to feed me. Anyway, I was OK with all of this and I thought we were done…nope. We sat and talked a while longer. Then he said it was time for coffee…so we ordered coffee and sat there and finished it. As we were getting ready to leave, he gave me a bag that had sweets and dates in it he brought from home. It was a gift for me. We went and found his family who were eating McD’s (still baffles me that mom takes the kid and he went with me) and I talked with the kids a couple of minutes. I told them all goodbye and they either shook my hands or gave me a hug. His wife did say ‘Have a good night” before I left and I returned the salutation. Mansour walked me to my car where he shook my hand and let me go. It turned out that I thought I might be gone an hour more or less, but I was out for about 3 hours. Needless to say, dinner was nice and hot when I got home….

So, some of you saw the news article that I sent out about the missile that was accidently shot from the American base and landed without incident at a farm in Qatar. I know, isn’t that amazing…A FARM IN QATAR? Who would have thought?
Anyway, there was some speculation about the time of launch. There were conflicting reports and we finally got to the bottom of it. However, our initial reports and timings led us to believe that the US was shooting at the new EMS helicopter. The helicopter was down near the US base when it was supposedly fired, however that was not the case. It was actually fired earlier in the night. Reason #347 I am not getting on that chopper.
Oh, and in related story, those that know me really well will love this. So they have been flying this chopper now for weeks doing training and it flies everyday from the airport to the helipad at the hospital. So the mechanic came to drop off some pictures and being the good mechanic he was decided to check a few things on the bird before leaving. As he opened the engine cowling there was a swarm of bees inside that would rival most honey producers. They were not aggressive, but they were there. So they decided to start up the chopper and get them to go away. They started the bird and ran it at full power for about 3 minutes. The bees swarmed off and were buzzing in a swam a few hundred feet away. As soon as the chopper turned off…they came right back and moved in. They could do nothing to get them away, I guess the queen was comfy in her spot. So they had to fly the thing back to the airport (which the bees followed) and they had to spray them with engine cleaner to slow them down. They then had to vacuum them all up to get rid of them…how crazy is that? I should have pictures tomorrow.

So yesterday I was shopping for the family…since they are coming I figured they should have a bed and stuff…plus I have allocated money left over I have to use. I stopped at Starbucks because I got a coupon for a free drink at the hospital. I sat down at one of the big comfy chairs that had another one right across from it. The place was just about empty…just me and another table or 2. However, this Qatari came and sat down right with me then asked if it was OK. I don’t mind…it was just unique how they will do, say, and get whatever they want. So, he sat across from me and talked on his cell phone and I just sat and looked out the window. Ahh…the Arab culture.

It was also wild to see true nannies in action. This couple had 2-3 kids and were sitting near me at the mall. (I ate dinner there…it was late and I didn’t want to have to cook) This family had 2 Filipino Nannies. The mom and dad sat down and the kids ran around. The 2 nannies went and got everyone’s food. They brought it back and mom and dad ate. They didn’t even attempt to help deal with the kids. The nannies fed the kids and tended to all of their needs. As soon as dinner was over, the mom and dad picked the kids up and started walking down the mall. The nannies had little if any time to eat…they cleaned up after the family. Got all of their bags. Then tried to catch up…it was amazing to see how disconnected and dependent these families are on hired help.

I have some more… but I am tired of typing…plus IT’S GAMEDAY! Enjoy!

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet, Simple, Freebird can you Gimmie 3 Steps?

So, this is a little off the mark for my normal postings, but since I have such a wide and varied audience I thought I would this would be fitting for today. This topic is very near and dear to my on....

Back in 1964, 4 guys started a band that would come to be known as Lynyrd Skynyrd. They named it after their high school gym teacher whom they all did not get along with. After finally getting a record deal in the Early 70's this group came to produce some of the greatest anthems in Rock and Roll. They were one of the pioneers of Southern Rock, a term that did not exist when these guys started playing together. Lynyrd Skynyrd made such an impact on the musical world that is still going strong today. They used a unique configuration of 3 lead guitars, a bassist, drums, and a piano; definitely not typical rock and roll set up.

The band that started Southern Rock was tore apart 30 years ago today. On October 20,1977 at 6:42 PM a chartered plane they were on ran out of fuel and crashed into the Mississippi swamp just outside of Gillsburg. 4 Members of the band perished in that crash: Lead vocals Ronnie Van Zant, Guitarist Steve Gaines, Back Up Singer Cassie Gaines, and their Assistant Road Manager Dean Kilpatrick, along with the 2 pilots. This started a difficult time that saw the band try to get back together and break apart numerous times, trying to carry on the legacy. Untimely deaths by Alan Collins and Leon Wilkerson did not help as well as personal issues by Ed King and Artimus Pile.

The band carries on today in a little modified fashion. The lead vocals are taken care of by brother Donnie Van Zant, the 2 remaining original members Billy Powell and Gary Rossington try to keep the music playing. The music now has a southern flavor, but is nothing like the original. Skynyrd has sold over 23 million records (according to RIAA 2004) and was a 2006 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

So, take a moment or two today and get out that old CD or LP and think about one of the greatest bands of all time. How fitting "Simple Man" and "Freebird" can fit into your everyday life, even in this hectic world.

I think Ronnie and the others would be happy to know that 30 years after they sang "If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?" they are still in the minds and hearts of many.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The home Stretch of Ramadan

Ok, so I am going to try and give you a LONG update. I will try my best to make it interesting. The last 2 weeks I have taught my supervisor ‘boot camp’ that I have been working on for a while. I had a good time and I think the boys enjoyed it. I had about 38 guys in class throughout the 2 weeks. I covered topics such as Leadership Theory, Performance Management, The Disciplinary Process, Management Documentation, Leadership Styles, Change Management, Decision Making, plus I infused a lot of team building and critical thinking exercises. It all went well; except part of my job is I have to show improvement. So these guys got a pre-test and a post test. You would think these guys were taking there SATs. They would do ANYTHING to try and pass, including cheat. My first class was only 16 people and it was easy to police. The 2nd class I had to make them all leave the room and take all of their materials with them. They could only come back in with a pen/pencil. I set up the room so everyone had about 10 feet of space around them. I had guys coming in and trying to move chairs, etc. It was crazy. I had to tell them to stop talking constantly. People would finish the test and then stay in the room and try to whisper answers to their neighbor. They would also try and put their tests where others could see it. It was crazy. I told them that everyone would pass that I just wanted to see what they learned, but that is not Arab culture. Oh well… the class average went up 19% from pre to post test. One guy did 9% worse, but he missed most of the class and I think was guessing most of the time. I also did a organizational chart review…that increased 65% from pre to post test…these guys didn’t even know where they were in the organizational chart….that will tell you what I am working with.

So, we are having some Pittsburgh communication issues over here. I think everyone is forgetting that everything we do is going to be a challenge. If it worked right, we wouldn’t be here. I also think that it is difficult for some people to be the worker bees again and not the queen. Plus, we have some clock watchers in the group…I don’t have to deal with it since I am at EMS, but it is a presence I can feel. We are not supposed to be a clock watcher group, but some like to talk about it a lot. I talked to my boss (who is in Pittsburgh, but comes over 10 days a month) and he is going to try and figure it out and address it. He said he could feel it to. Don’t know what is going to come of it. This actually is a good segue way for me. I actually got a nasty email from medical director. Here is the story. We are working on some projects together. He is mainly taking the MEDCOM strategic plan and I was working on the 4R report. (Recruitment, Retention, Remediation, and Release of EMS Staff) Anyway, something that I do and that is not that uncommon for any of us to do is send out drafts to the group to get input and more ideas or suggestions. I sent out my part of the 4R and this is when I got the email. He told me that since I sent that out that he thought we were not working together and that he was disappointed in me. He also sent an email to the group and told them to disregard what I sent out. I was pissed. I was hoping to get as much input as possible to make my document the best possible. Oh well. I sent him an email and told him we would talk when he got back. I think he is OK now…just a misunderstanding on his part.

So, I found out that Australia has the opposite problem that we have in the states. The medics in Australia get paid more than the Nurses. This causes a lot of nurses to become medics instead of what we do in the states. How nice of a problem would that be?

So, yesterday I got a knock at my door. The maintenance guy stopped by to turn on my water heater. It’s October 10. They are getting ready for winter. It cracks me up. A lot of stores have their winter lines out…sweaters, jackets, toboggans, gloves, etc. Does it really get that cold? Wow. However I did get to do a bit of shopping this past weekend. I bought a new workout shirt and new swimsuit. Plus I am finally moving into my house and getting all the little stuff like coasters and such. It was nice shopping for some new workout clothes, cause I am kinda big and they have my size stuff in the clearance section. NICE!
Finally, one of my dreams has been realized. It is a month late, (it usually is the last few days in Sept and first of October) but there is an Oktoberfest celebration at the Intercontinental hotel Oct. 24-26. SWEET! They are flying in German chefs, bands, food, etc. It costs about $40 a ticket plus you have to buy your beer, but I am there. I am so pumped.
Until Next time…


Sunday, October 7, 2007

More Ambulance Crash Pics

So, I have not put much on here lately because I have been teaching all day and doing all the teacher stuff at night. I hope to update you a little more in the next few days. Here is some photos of our ambulance wreck.

The little car that could flip over an ambulance. Wow...

Monday, October 1, 2007

October 1

Ok, so it has been a while since I told you what has been going on. I have been preparing a 16 hour leadership class for these guys which is both fun and challenging. My first day of teaching was today and they seemed to like my teaching style. I hope that I get through to them. They did not like that I had a pre-test, but Pittsburgh requires it so we can show progress, and I think it is a good thing.

So I told you a little about the Iftar dinner, and it was awesome. Every type of food, many types of drinks. (nothing alcoholic). The band and the atmosphere were amazing. The room was decorated like a traditional Arabic tent. It was something to behold. If you ever get a chance to do that, make sure you do.

So, I have been dealing with Satellite issues the last week. On Sunday, my satellite stopped working except for CNN. I thought it was just a signal so I waited until Tuesday to call. After being on the phone for a while the guy told me I needed to send a copy of my credit card to him and they could restore my service. Not wanting to send my credit info over a fax or email to someone I didn’t know I asked for directions to their location in Doha. When I showed up, they had no idea what was wrong with my account. So after about 30 minutes with some guy on the phone (probably with the same people I talked to) he hung up and said that he needed a copy of my credit card. No crap, that is why I came in today. He got a copy and then said they would be calling me tomorrow to confirm and my satellite should be hooked up. So, the lady called me the next day asked if this was the credit card I wanted to charge my account on I said yes…and POOF my TV came back on. Are you kidding me? Apparently, this all stemmed from my initial sign up of satellite. They called to confirm and it was a Dubai number. Every time I answered, no one would talk. After about 2 weeks of this, I just blocked the number. I guess that was the confirmation people calling to see if I wanted to confirm that account. So after a few weeks they just cancelled my subscription. This country…

So, I didn’t think I was going to do it, but I think I am going to get the boys from the Ritz to clean my place weekly. They are pretty cheap, and this place is too big and I am never in a cleaning mood when I am off work. Plus the two things I hate to do…dust and windows are everywhere…and the dust here is crazy. It is nice coming home from work to a really clean house….that part I do enjoy.

So, the A/C in my office broke, twice. The first time the guys showed up they went to my circuit panel and reset the breaker. That worked for a bit but about an hour later it broke again. They never went and looked at the unit the first time they were here. So, they had to come back again and this time get on the roof. The guy came to me for a pitcher of water and soon after they left. It has worked ever since…hmmmSo, in the big news…we had an ambulance get smacked the other day. The guys were making a leading green left hand turn. These two ladies in a car the size of the one I drive over here hit the side door of the patient compartment so hard that it flipped the ambulance. The side door had a wheelchair lift on it, so I think that is where some of the impact was absorbed. These guys stuff all kinds of extra stuff under the seat, including extra O2 bottles. Well, since they are not secured they fell out and cracked the other compartment. What a great teaching aide. I hope to have more pictures and video soon, but it was too big to email to me. The guy is supposed to be bringing it tomorrow. I will talk to you again soon. Cheers!