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And I thought customs was bad!

January 16, 2010
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So much to tell I don’t even know where to start! This will be a pretty long post – so stick with me!

Road Signs - notice the Thobe

From where we last left off, we spent the rest of Thursday touring more campuses around Education City. Our stops included Virgina Commonwealth University (VCU) and Academic Bridge Program (ABP). VCU has arts-focused majors like fashion design, textiles, jewelry making, interior design and graphic arts. We got a tour from a few students and got to see some of their work lining the hallways.

Getting ready for the hard hat tour

ABP is a bridge program that helps students focus on their English, math and study skills to better prepare them to enter a university after high school. We learned some really interesting things about the culture and how important it is to build relationships with each student before working with them. We also took a tour of the new campus-wide student center that is under construction. Let’s just say while the building is awesome, I will never go on another hard-hat tour that has unfinished railings and walkways again. Felt a little bit toooo much like Indiana Jones.

Later that evening was one of the highlights of our trip! It was our friend Lauren’s birthday and we went to dinner at a Chinese place inside the Ramada hotel, Ruby Wu’s and were happily served beer and wine. So later a few of the professional staff here in Doha wanted to show us the underground nightlife that exists here, so we stayed in the Ramada and headed to the club. It’s illegal for Qatari people to drink in Qatar (among other things) so only no Qatari citizens can visit these clubs. What we didn’t know is that we’d be waiting in an immigration-esque line just to get into the club! We had to have copies of our passports made, fill out an application, have our picture taken, wait among semi-creepy men to be “processed,” and finally receive a membership card for the club, “Qube” (pronounced cube). I swear, going through customs was less work!

My Qube ID Card

Inside was much like a typical U.S. dance club (well perhaps one on the more trashy side). Drinks were a little pricey, but what do you expect for a country that doesn’t allow drinking? The dance floor was filled with a majority of Indian, Filipino and other eastern nationalities. And of course, yours truly couldn’t resist a good dance party. Armed with Gaga and Miley Cyrus music, I was a dancing machine, and was joined by most of our group in an intense 4-hour dance party. While there were several creepy mccreepersons, the majority of the men were REALLY good dancers and were getting their groove on. Well either they were a good dancer, or they were a small little man with no teeth that loved me and another girl in our group.

Luckily we were able to sleep in after our big night out. So we packed up our bags the next morning, walked around the area near our hotel for a little – but found most things were closed since Friday’s are like Sunday’s here. We then geared up for our big excursion out to the deserts of Qatar.

We showed up at our meeting point to find 5 Land Cruisers parked waiting for us. We were then told to find a car to get into. Myself and 5 other women from USD selected the driver that advertised his “crazy” driving skills and piled into the SUV. We then headed out of town and into the desert. Once we got to the sand dunes, we had to stop to let air out of the tires and mentally prepare for the adventure and of course take more jumpy photos (sorry mom). Our driver, Jossem (Jah-sem) was hilarious and kept demonstrating his dance moves and put on a cd with remixes from Lady Gaga to Katy Perry and Little Wayne. The best song he had playing was a unique version of Chris Brown’s “Forever,” which was sung partially in Spanish.

Yes, we backed down this hill!! AHH

Once we hit the dunes and Jossem had the base bumping, we had the TIME OF OUR LIVES! He and another driver would hold back from the group so we could do crazy stunts. We even backed down a huge dune. I particularly enjoyed egging him on so he would get even more crazy. This then prompted him to start turning around and pointing at me saying “You! You! You!” I’m sure by the end of the journey he was thoroughly annoyed with us (ok, maybe just me). Another crazy part of the trip was he kept opening his door while traveling very fast to check the tire pressure.

Jumpy photo w/ the Maryland Peeps - Yep, that's Saudia Arabia in the background!

We got taken to several breathtaking view points, including one that allowed us to view the border of Saudi Arabia (from a distance). Our final resting spot was a little camp on the Persian Gulf that had large tents, tables and best of all – CAMELS! My wish came true and I got to ride a camel around camp and attempt to kiss him – but as I got close he showed me his very large teeth that looked like he hadn’t brushed in awhile.

CHECK OUT THE TEETH ON THAT BAD BOY!

We spent the night at the camp and drove back to Doha proper this morning where we met our host mommy and daddy. We all planned on spending one week in the hotel and the rest of our time with a couple that works here in Education City. Our hosts, Jen and Jarrod are soooo sweet! Jen made us a little welcome sign and grilled cheese and tomato soup. Sara and I have an awesome little room that we have already made home.

Me and the Persian Gulf!

Tonight we head to a museum of private collectors items then to hear the symphony (rough life, I know!). Also wanted to give a quick shout out to my Nanny who has a birthday on the 17th! Happy Birthday, Nan!

Peace in the Middle East!

Neen

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Momma W permalink
    January 16, 2010 9:43 am

    Here’s the most important reason not to jump. It is not your best look.

    Enjoy the last part of the trip & stay safe.

    xoxoMomma

  2. Ry Ry permalink
    January 16, 2010 11:02 am

    Be careful which underground Qatari clubs you sign your life away to.

  3. dad permalink
    January 16, 2010 11:16 am

    whats a Thobe?

  4. Erin permalink
    January 16, 2010 5:35 pm

    We are at Nany & Papa’s house for Nans bday, I love the blurb about your “club membership” now your in until 9/2010!!!!!! Reason enough to go back! We miss you, love you, don’t die over there! We can’t afford to bring your body back, jk! Love you Neen.

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