Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ramadan, Star Wars, and My Fourth Month in Qatar

Greetings all,

A few days ago I passed my fourth month in Qatar. I'm definitely in the routine now, but still trying to experience new things. Work is good. It is picking up and I am staying busy.

I still don't know when I will be returning back to the states. Government contracting work relies heavily on budget projections and currently they don't have a position for me to return to. Maybe they will after the new fiscal year begins October 1.

Yes, this trip was originally supposed to be from January to June and now the position has turned into February to indefinite. But again, I am enjoying myself here and embracing living in a foreign city for as long as I am.

Being June in the desert, this foreign city is hot. Really hot. Like 120 degrees during the day and 95 at night. The inventor of air conditioning should have a statue on every corner. And we still have July and August to go. Keeping cool is a priority.

The last few weeks have also been interesting due to the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This is the first time I have lived in a region where Ramadan rules applied. That means eating and drinking in public during the day is forbidden, as Muslims should be fasting from sun up to sun down. These rules don't apply on the military base I work on, and I am on the base from 9am to 6pm, so Ramadan only really effects me on the weekends. I've learned buying a pizza Friday night and stashing it in the refrigerator is a good way to have food for weekend day time.

Breaking the fast (Iftar) in the evening is a daily big deal. This past weekend I went to a big hotel restaurant buffet for Iftar. Such an amazing spread of food!

With Ramadan in effect, I haven't done much in the city. But I did again go dune riding and spend a day at a beach resort. Dune riding is a crazy, fun experience and the beach is always relaxing, even if the gulf water is probably over 90 degrees. I felt like a lobster about to be boiled.

But this time I did do a camel ride. It was fun. A lot higher than I thought and very jerky. I've attached my favorite camel riding picture.

More pictures of me on a camel as well as the aforementioned spread can be found at the bottom of my Google photo album here:


Another interesting thing that happened this month was that I hooked up our outgoing senior military officer with a signed copy of the novelization of the latest Star Wars movie. He and I talked Star Wars often and when he received his orders to ship out somewhere else, I emailed the author of The Last Jedi novelization (who I know through my internet writing) and asked if he could send us a signed copy of the book to give to the officer as a going away gift.

Within a week, the author sent us a personalized signed copy of The Last Jedi for no cost. We presented the book to the senior officer a week later at his going away party. He was flabbergasted that we gave him such a unique gift. Definitely awesome to hook that up.

Well, those are the highlights of month four here in Qatar. Hopefully by the next time I write, I will know how long I will be here for.

Thanks again for reading and keeping in touch!