Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's Sunday, and thus starts another week here in Doha (workdays run from Sunday to Thursday here). Over the past weekend, we gave ourselves a day off from the headache of transitional woes to relax at the spa. Doha is such a mixed place. It's a developing country with a LOT of money. Fifty years ago, this place was desert. Now, it's growing at such a pace that it can't keep up with itself. You can find a level of luxury here that possibly exceeds what can be found in the West...but then you see that this growth and this luxury is had on the backs of immigrants from Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, Romania, and a host of other undeveloped countries. We live in an area not much populated by expats. Our friend Kelcey refers to the place as our "hood", and she's onto something there! There's no crime to speak of in Doha, so we have no worries, but this area is pretty run down. Another friend said driving to our house felt like watching something on CNN...except he was in it. We live near a few mosques, so every day we can hear numerous calls to prayer (which is pretty neat, actually). There are very few white people around (or Arabs, for that matter), and only the working class seems to do much shopping on the nearby street...making us stick out like white pebbles on a brown beach when we take a stroll. On the other hand, we just spent the past month (or more) living in the RITZ CARLTON with a marble bathroom, Bulgari soaps, and access to the Executive Club Lounge. Now, our "club" (which would be the JCC back in New Orleans) is the Four Seasons Health and Wellness Spa. It is fancy-schmanzy (way too much so for us, but it was the best choice out of available options). We spent Friday there, introducing Ellie to sand on their man-made beach and grass on their lawn (sad how rare greenery is here!). It's always wonderful to watch her have new experiences, and we had a wonderful time on Friday. The pictures should show you a bit of what we saw and did. Still, imagine going from that back to our's all very strange here.

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