9 Hours in Qatar

Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
1
6
83
Trip End May 09, 2008


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Flag of Qatar  ,
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Qatar pics here

We got into Qatar at 6am after a red-eye flight from Berlin. Our connecting flight to Johannesberg was in 16 hours.  We both didn't get much sleep and so, bleary-eyed, we went off to explore Qatar. Frank went to talk to the Qatar Airlines guy at the counter, and without really even asking, the guy gave us a free hotel and transfer voucher, and also paid for our 24 hour Qatar visa, which saved us $60.  We ended up not taking the hotel, but did a 9 hour Qatar Attractions tour, which was pretty jam packed full of sights. Frank was especially thrilled with the tour cause we got to see so much in the short time we had in Qatar.

Along with some pics, here are some tidbits on Qatar we learned from our tour guide:
- In 1950, the population of Qatar was only 12,000. Now it is over 900,000.  Frank says "Scary Growth rate".
- Local Qataris make up only 40% of population, foreigners comprise 60%!!
- $1US will buy you 5 liters of gas, but only 3 liters of water!  (tons of oil and gas here in Qatar).
- There seems to be a competition between Qatar and Dubai. After Dubai built their Palm Island, Qatar decided to build "The Pearl" island... basically the same thing, different shape: A massive land-fill formed luxury island.  Dubai is building the tallest building in the world, and Qatar is building the tallest "Zigzag" building in the world.  Kinda hokey if you ask us.
- The typical work day for government workers is 6am-2pm.  The typical work day for private businesses in general is 8am-noon, and from 4-8pm, with a break in the middle for them to go home, eat, sleep, whatever.
- There is no income or sales tax for Qataris, free healthcare and education too.  However foreigners need to pay.  But... the Islamic Institute will pay for foreigners to learn Arabic for 3 months, that's pretty good.
- When Qataris get married, the government will give them a pretty good sized chunk of land to build their home on. Frank asked the guide if he could get in on that, but the guide said that it is pretty difficult, if not impossible to become a Qatari citizen.


Qatar summed up in 3 words: Ambitious, modern, male-dominated
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Comments

shafiq issani on

interesting

Godwin samson on

What a beautiful country

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