Hello and sorry for the delay in posting to the blog. ME and I returned to Bryn Mawr in mid March. ME had meetings in Saginaw while I stayed home to be with my parents and to deal with a number of issues that popped up at our home. I returned to AL Khobar on the 5th of April after being delayed two days caused by flights not being on time and the Lufthansa’s pilot strike. My goal was to do at least 1 post a week, so I will now get back on that schedule.
Weather, can I now talk about it?
The weather has changed since we have returned. In mid March the weather overall was really nice. Sunny everyday with temperatures in the low to mid 70’s and dropping to the mid 60’s at night. Two weeks go by, still very sunny everyday but the average weekly temperatures are now in the mid 80’s and around 70 at night. I am being told that every couple of weeks the average temperature will increase by 10 degrees until it gets to 110 to 120 by June. And did I mention high humidity. (I feel that I can talk about the weather now that Winter is over in the Philly area.)
Soooo, in the beginning of March ME and I flew to Doha for the weekend. Doha is the capital of Qatar. From Bahrain airport it is a 35 minute plane ride. (We live about an hour drive from Bahrain airport.) Qatar is located on the Qatari Peninsula. A small part of the country borders Saudi Arabia to the south while the rest is surrounded by the Arabian Gulf . Qatar is just about the size of Connecticut.
Putting it on Google maps. Click on this link Qatar, click on the Earth link on Goggle Maps and zoom in and out. Much of the country consists of a low barren plain covered with sand.
You can see Al Khobar, where we live, the causeway to the island country of Bahrain, where we fly in and out of and Qatar and Doha the capital. (Please note and we find that this happens all the time. Many words when translated from Arabic to English come out misspelled. For example Al Khobar is really spelled with an “o”.)
Qatar is another one of these very rich Arab states ruled by an emirate for the past 200 years. Qatar is the richest country in the world per capita income for the third year in a row, 14% of the households are millionaires.
Before the discovery of oil and gas Qatar’s economy was focused on fishing and pearl hunting, just like so many countries in this region. Oil was discovered here in 1940. Also found was the world’s third largest natural gas reserve. Qatar is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas.
Like Dubai, Qatar has invested billions to improvie its infrastructure and diversify its economy. “Qatar is currently undergoing a transformation… in which it expects to achieve an advanced, sustainable, and diversified economy”.
Qatar has maintained close relationships with the western powers, its Al Udeid Air Base currently hosts the US and UK air forces and is a hub for all American air operations in the Persian Gulf. Over the years Qatar has been instrumental in trying to bridge the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim nations.
Starting this April Qatar Airlines is now offering direct daily flights from Doha to Philadelphia. It plans to roll out additional direct flights to other US cities in the next few months. Those who are reading my blog in Philly may have seen the advertisements. Like other regional airlines in this area Qatar Airways is adding new routes to attract the large US market.
Qatar held the 2006 Asian Games and will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host either of the events.
One last interesting fact. Qatar has a population of around 1.8 million people, only 250,000 of those are citizens. It relies very heavily on foreign labor to grow its economy, to the extent that 94% of its workforce is migrant workers.
The next series of photos is of The Pearl-Qatar a residential area consisting of 13 artificial islands. When completed it will house 45,000 residents including luxury villas, apartments, five star hotels, retail shopping, restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues. There will also be 8 private islands for sale, one current owned by an Emir. This is the first land in Qatar available for ownership by foreign nationals. Putting it on the map, click on this link The Pearl-Qatar
Next is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, located in Doha harbor. Pei traveled and studied for 6 months throughout the Muslim world to design this building. Pei suggested a stand-alone island for the museum to avoid encroachment from other buildings.