Tuesday, 11 November 2008

More Qatar Contrasts

Now that the weather is much more bearable- you can stand outside without melting- we are beginning again to explore our surroundings. Last week we were taken down the THE PEARL, a fully manmade island off the coast of Doha which is shaped like a pearl shell with an inland harbour. There will eventually be thousands of people living here in high rise apartments and villas and houses with an elegant shopping/coffee strip and extravagant places to moor boats all around the inland perimeter. This island has been designed in architectural sections- the first part finished is supposed to resemble Venice. They have been selling off these apartments over the past 2 years to anyone who has 10% deposit to put down. We have several friends who have invested in this project and who hope to cover their repayments when the time comes by renting their apartments out for a very high rent. It will be the place to live for those who like to be in a community where all facilities are at your fingertips and everything looks sparkling new with no expense spared when it comes to quality fittings. The best way to demonstrate this part of town is to attach photos for your perusal. I believe that the cost of apartments is rising quite quickly, so if  you are thinking of an investment in the Middle East, perhaps this is the one!
The next day we drove with a convoy of 4WD vehicles into the desert heading for the inland sea. Of course the first thing you do is to let much of the air out of your tyres. The second thing you do is head on up a large sand hill until you are at the top, ready to descend an equally steep drop on the other side. At this point I leapt out of the car and walked down the hill to take photographs (well, that was my excuse). I had read many times in our local papers that there have been many bad accidents in this part of the world, so I was not willing to take chances. Steve loved it of course. As we wound our way further along the coast for an hour, I really enjoyed being amongst white sand dunes again and when we stopped at the edge of the inland sea to have lunch and a swim it felt wonderful to be there. Across the inland sea you can see Saudi, behind a huge nest of Osprey perched on a little island. On our way home our 15 year old took the wheel and really enjoyed himself as he drove across the sand on the way home. Quite weird to be finally driven by your son! The thing that intrigued me out there were the tents perched in seaside places all along the coastline. I found out that Qataris can pay a yearly fee of 500QR (about $180) to 'rent' the space where their tent permanently sits. This means that they have a beachside home for very little for as long as they like. What a wonderful idea- I don't think we expats are allowed to do this but we will enquire.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jenny, sounds like a lot of fun out on the dunes.really enjoy your descriptions of life there. careful of that wind blowing from Saudi. They are up to no good, again. Jen, funny ?, but how is the colour of the Gulf waters. !!! Mark