Friday, August 9, 2013

A Country on Holiday

Egypt's pyramids from 30,000 feet
the closest we'll get for a while :(
Maybe…
 
Norway, Denmark, Madrid, Prague, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, Athens, Venice, Florence, Pisa…Kansas City, St. Paul, Doha.  Bob's coworkers are all over the planet this week, in honor of the three day end of Ramadan festival called Eid, when most of Qatar is on holiday.
 
approaching Venice's St. Mark's Square by water taxi
(this is not St. Mark's)
it appears we need to do more research on the history of Venice…
 
And by "most of," I mean, of course: "all."  For the 30 days of Ramadan, Qatari government (and some private companies) are required by law to modify business hours so that an employee's work day ends by 1:30pm.  Hotel restaurants drape windows and offer a back entrance to non-Muslim/non-fasters.  Life slows.  But:  workers still work.  A guy can get his hair cut, take in a movie, eat out.
 
up for a "romantic" gondola ride in Venice?
so many people, so many boats!
 
Now that Ramadan is over, the country closes up altogether for three fun-filled days: shops, salons, malls, theaters, construction, travel, government and private offices.  Bulldozers rest, cranes shut down, trucks stop rumbling.  Except for petrol stations and the Carrefour (the Middle East/European version of Walmart - scaled back and with way less parking)…Qatar is especially quiet this week.
 
Crooked tower
NCR forthcoming
(Non Compliant Report: joke for Bob's coworkers)
 
Like most western workers Bob receives time off in earned increments with sick, "mental health" (ie, gotta-get-outta-here) breaks and holidays.  Stir in pre-negotiated unlimited exit visas, proximity to some of the world's most fantastic places - and three days free means...
 
dinner in Venice
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