"Why" is the Doha Expat's four letter word. Why don't people merge on the highway? Why does the road end? Why do locals drive like that? Why don't meetings start on time? Why is a mega yacht docked outside my window?
approx. 1/3 of mega yacht Nirvana
Most of the time there is no answer to the Expat Why - and when there is, answers are often inconsistent or the question deemed unimportant: ma sha' allah habibtee, you must relax. It is as God wills.
Still and But - after all this time there remain a few things I'm curious about. Here are my current top five Doha Whys:
Palm Tree Island
1. Why is the circle of earth in the middle of Doha Bay called Palm Tree Island when it's nothing but sand, dirt and one lone Eucalyptus?
The island was once a park accessed only by dhow from the Corniche. Families flocked for Friday slides, swings, beach, grass, restaurants - and a Ferris wheel! When a sheikh's son died in a freak accident, the park was levelled to earth by decree.
um, there used to be Palm Trees?
The park was bulldozed to make way for something better but they had to remodel the rest of Doha (all at once) first.
I don't know, habibtee, ma'alesh, mafee mushkillah, no problem, sit, have some tea.
West Bay and rain clouds from The Pearl
2. Why is it still so cold and wet? It's nearly April!
The changing weather has something to do with the rotation of the earth, the upside down moon and God.
All of the planting and watering has changed the atmosphere.
Murphy's Law - since historically there is very little rain in this desert country, city planners opted not to include a storm water system. (See actual recent results of a day's downpour on a city with no storm water system by clicking here.) Therefore and henceforth, each year there is rain. Lots and more and ever increasing heaps and gobs of rain. But only for a while. anTatharee, wait habibtee, the sun and hot will soon return in all its plant and mojo killing glory.
random building site
3. Why isn't anyone working on this building/highway/tower/unfinished unknown something?
It's too far from the heart of the city and therefore construction does not disrupt traffic patterns enough.
Contractor stopped for prayer, got stuck in traffic and ended up on a different project.
Locals own 51% of all businesses. To keep gifted land, construction must commence within a particular time frame; once a project is completed and/or fully occupied it's no longer governmentally subsidized so some owners stop work before the cash waterfall dries up.
watch out for the truck? and
two guys watering the pavement
4. Why is this guy(s) (sitting/standing/waving a flag/watching that other guy dig a hole/sand a board/hammer a nail)?
It's his turn to watch.
To assure that all drivers see the truck/brick wall/turn prior to impact - or, at the absolute latest - soon thereafter.
Someone told him to.
There are always groups of what appear to be workers standing/sitting/crouching beside people who appear to be working.
5. Why did (the owner) stop taking care of The Pearl's little beach?
pretty beach 2013
broken beach 2014
splintered and missing chairs, shredded and severed umbrellas
Chairs will be returned tomorrow.
You want beach membership application?
Maybe use pool now.
(See sample responses to #3.)