(yes, that man does look very freaked out in the background...)Days off are few and far between here.
The Doha work week stretches from Saturday to Thursday, meaning Fridays are free days. Folks do get a three hour break in the middle of the day, which I suppose makes up for the one-day weekend. Only hey! Journalists don't! Because the news never sleeps, even if its writers try to get into bed at 10 (rarely happens).
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
These past couple days have been a'rushing and busy. We had dinner on Mr. Bilal's boat. Sitting around munching on nuts and bites of small talk, Mr. Bilal stood up around 9pm and announced there was a little 'snack' upstairs. The snack proved to be an amazing spread of around thirty dishes. Dinner ran until midnight.
I had three plates and could've eaten more. See me there, in the left corner? Please notice I'm the only one who still has a plate. Oh yes. And that's other ABODE staff in their snazzy best.
Friday arrived after several more interviews. Taking the day slow, I woke up at 6 and bounded off to the Sheraton for my morning jog-a-thon. I love running. In the company of two other crazy earlier morning'ers, I had probably one of the best runs yet. Great start to a great day! I keep trying to convince myself to run outside, but the 90-108 degree temp somehow keeps me indoors.
I wandered around Carefourre for a bit trying to find contact solution for Kath (no luck) and groceries for me (always luck). Blissed out from running, I found myself narrating the story of every passerby, always circling back to one central theme: I love it here. The woman in the pink sari, the little girl running past shouting in german after her mom, the men jostling at the produce stand trying to find onions (what do they do with all those onions?!)... all of it. I hear french, arabic, italian, british english, accents heavy and rich with travels of the world. I wander through isles filled with food unfamiliar to me, hailing from regions as diverse as this population.
I love Doha.
We brunched at the Ritz where my mouth found a new sanctuary. There's something to be said about a buffet where caviar, champagne and fois gras are on the menu. Here's a shot or two of the interior.
Kath and I retreated then to the private beach at the Sheraton, to melt and die in the 105 heat. It was so hot that people couldn't move- they just floated on rafts in the water, bobbing almost comically in the sun and gentle waves. Occasionally I'd dive in, swim, flop, swim, and then somehow find myself just laying across my own personal bobbing mat.
So that was my weekend. Grocery stores, food, and beach. Now it's time to get back to work. Tonight I'm going to a salsa class to interview folks and try to get my gangly limbs moving in time. Funny, I know.
I love writing. I love this job. I'm even starting to be amused by the crazy traffic and how people park on sidewalks, resulting in people walking on streets, resulting in even crazier traffic (look! Dodge that man! Don't stop or they all walk in front of your car!)
Maybe I shouldn't be behind the wheel. Kath did test drive a saucy red built-for-street-racing car with a switch that made it go even faster.
And I'm probably going to Germany to test drive another. I say, bring it on. Who needs two-day weekends when jobs are this amazing?