Monday, August 30, 2010

Licence to Drive

It's official:  I can now do everything that Dan can in this country (except brazenly show my knees or shoulders in public).  On Saturday, I received my Qatari driver's licence.  I completed the whole process in record time, taking only 15 minutes from the moment I walked into the Traffic Commission.  All I needed to do was present my passport, Qatar ID, Alberta driver's licence and 150QR.  It's great to be a Canadian and be on The List of several countries whose expats don't have to undergo a driving test!  

I've only driven a handful of times since Saturday, but the true test was last evening when Dan and I went to the mall to get a mobile phone for me.  I don't know if you can imagine driving in the dark, through several roundabouts, in the evening during Ramadan, but it wasn't pretty.  I wasn't prepared for how busy it would be, both on the roads and in the mall.  Nonetheless, we made it home safely a couple of hours later with me at the wheel.   Stay tuned and keep an eye on the Accident Report on the top right of this page, though...I think it's not a matter of if, but when!

This might be of interest to some of you (you know who you are):  the legal limit for blood alcohol while driving is 0.00%.   Makes you rethink that glass of wine with dinner if you've got someplace to go afterwards.  Despite this, I'd still swear that half the drivers are drunk.  Speed limit 100 km/h?  The Sri Lankan in the little Nissan pick-up is going 60, while the Qatari in the Land Rover is going 160.  We actually saw an SUV run a red light the other day and round the corner on two wheels!

Yesterday, I had a specialized tour of Doha, courtesy of ExxonMobil.  My new friend A.G. (no, I'm not trying to conceal her identity; it's what she goes by when us English-onlys try to pronounce her Turkish name), who is also a newcomer, and I were guided by Angela (originally from the UK) on a "ladies" tour.  The purpose of the tour was to show us where to go for some essentials, like where to get one's hair cut or get a massage.  Angela brought us to some of the most exclusive spas in the city for tours, and all looked amazing, with some being comparable in price to those in Calgary.  So, girls, if you're coming for a visit, I know just the place for us to hang out for a day!  Angela also showed us the location of the gold souks, tailor souks and fabric souks.  I'll definitely make my way back there when Ramadan is over and it's not quite so hot.  We'll have another tour sometime in September which will be more family-oriented.

And now, I'll spend the rest of the afternoon getting psyched for the short drive I need to make later today!

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