Another productive week has flown past. I know that the UK is (as I assume the Daily Mail would put it) ‘Gripped in the worst storm in a decade’, no doubt accompanied by news pieces talking about people hoarding stuff from supermarkets and maybe even interviews with pensioners saying it was cold when they were young. But apparently it’s also winter in the middle east! We’ve had 3 days of cloud, with intermittent rain. I’ve only seen the rain twice, but it did rain for an entire day. It was about 23 degrees. This was unusual as normally (if I can use that word) when it rains here it’s short sharp tropical showers, which leave streets flooded and everything soaked for 30 mins and then disappear, so a whole day of drizzle was unusual.
When I walked out the door of my building, to see big puddles being vitriolic splashed, I was shocked, I tucked my suit jacket and tie into my manbag and stepped out, but it was odd, I didn’t feel a speck of rain, I looked at the puddles and saw them splashing away, but the drops of rain themselves were so small and light you couldn’t really feel them. Bizarre.
It’s worth noting that less than 25 degrees is now ‘cold’ but more than 30 degrees is still ‘hot…I’m in trouble! So, that’s probably enough about the weather, I’ve both underlined my boringest blog title and proved how English I am!
This weekend we mooched the length of the corniche trying to find ‘the pearl man’ who was listed in this month’s time-out as one of the 101 things to do in Qatar. After some searching we found the shop in a charming but totally unlikely (and un-sign-posted)place, it was closed. We then continued on to the Souk, walked past the Emir’s stables, where he keeps his ceremonial Arabians and through the falcon souk. No, not a market run by an eagle feather headed costar from the 80s, but a souk in which to buy birds of prey, it was only about 1600 so everything was still closed. All there was to see where some slightly random stuffed birds above the main entrance. On the plus side we did get to see camels!
A brief stroll around the gold souk confirmed it was both too expensive and garish for the likes of us, and a quick hunt for backgammon boards was somewhat successful, in that every touristy shop had wooden boards that were at once beautifully hand carved and inlaid with pearl and coloured woods, and also strangely cheap and ugly. I will continue my quest for a quality board (the pieces were also tiny afterthoughts, roughly hewn) with nice stone pieces. I have a vision of myself drinking lemon-mint, smoking a shisha and playing backgammon all night (in a pith helmet you say, sure, why not).
I managed to get an asymmetric sunburn too, having covered about 90% of my face (but none of my neck). I’ve had to sweep my side parting to the left rather than right today, to hide a spot of forehead I missed!
Now only two days until we fly off to Wifey land, very excited now!
We’re off to kiwiland for a few reasons: Wifey hasn’t been back there in 2.5 years, one of her best friends is getting married, I’ve never been there (and want to check out retirement options) and it’s wifey’s 30th!
You can imagine it’s the last of these that’s giving me most consternation, although I admit to being concerned about having to attend the wedding stag do! I think most people would agree that I’m a pretty solid gift-giver, although admittedly if I’m stumped for inspiration I just throw money at the problem. However wifey’s had a pretty bumpy time of it, for her birthday last year she got a very nice necklace (I think), which was ok and opera tickets, which went down… slightly less well. For Christmas a couple of thoughtful things, and a backpack, which was thoughtful and practical, but hardly romantic, I compensated by buying expensive beauty products, for which I was told off!
But both of these pale in comparison to the big thee-o. I need to sort something that’s both a memorable experience, and a physical present that will last! I’ve been banned from buying handbags or jewelry, and my big idea for the experience is a non-starter in kiwiland (had initially thought of it in Blighty), so I have a few weather dependant contingencies in mind but nothing big-bang. So, come on blogosphere, inspire me!