Yes, it is true. We are in our new apartment. There were no last minute surprises, no unexpected residents. We are in one of the towers on The Pearl, and we do feel very blessed to be here. It is lovely to have a view, albeit partial, of water, and to have a nice area to stroll without traffic. It is all pretty quiet at the moment, with the heat, and Ramadan, but I expect in a month or so it will be quite lively. There is a festival next week for Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan. Apparently there will be fireworks, magic shows, art performances and more in various places, including here on The Pearl. There are 31 towers on Porto Arabia (the first circle at The Pearl), and we are about half way around. In front of the towers are some low rise townhouses, fronting the marina, and in front of them is a colonnade of shops and restaurants called La Croisette. Here are some shots taken as the sun was setting a few days ago.
For those who like details, our apartment has two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, kitchen, L-shaped lounge-dining room and a terrace. The rooms are a generous size and very nicely finished. There’s an enormous spa (which the owner said he has never used, so I hope it works!) and a very elaborate shower in our bathroom with jets and sprays in every direction. It is starting to feel like home, though we frequently still have to pinch ourselves to check that we are really living in Doha and having this life which is so different to the one we had for the past 50-something years. Last evening we went for a walk along the marina. It was a balmy 42 degrees but not humid, and we found it surprisingly comfortable. We must be acclimatising. There is a smallish supermarket about 5 minutes walk away, along with a bank, pharmacy, and more, as well as a large brand new supermarket only 10 minutes walk in the other direction, not to mention a vast array of restaurants.
It’s been fun setting up the apartment from scratch. All the major appliances (oven, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, washer-drier) are here, but absolutely nothing else. Ikea has done very well out of us so far, but there is no shortage of places to shop for kitchenware, linen and other essentials. It is an interesting exercise to work out what we really need, and what we can manage without. We’ve bought everything from a TV and DVD player to an iron & ironing board, a mop & a bucket, saucepans, cutlery, a kettle, sheets and towels, a can opener, microwave-safe dishes, salt and pepper grinders, aluminium foil and so much more . It is still a bit sparse, until we get some more furniture and decorative touches, but we have the essentials – somewhere to eat, somewhere to sleep and somewhere to watch TV. Fortunately we receive an allowance from Keith’s company to get ourselves set up, so that makes it even more fun.
One thing we have found interesting in the shops is the number of Australian products. Given the distance and our small population, we have a surprisingly significant impact on the world stage. Here are some of the supermarket items we’ve noticed. Many restaurants serve Australian beef or lamb.
And just for a laugh, can you guess what this sign means? (seen in the local supermarket).