So about 8 days ago, I upended my life again, got on a plane, and 12 hours later I landed in Doha, Qatar.
After waiting at the airport for a while, I got sectioned off from the other noobs and taken to my accommodations–
When we promptly got into an accident.
My driver–by the way, in the first three days that I got to Doha, I said the words “my driver” more than I’d ever said in my entire life–
My driver suddenly slowed so as not to ram into the back of a car that had hit the breaks, and as a reward his car was promptly slammed into.
It was fine; everyone was fine; his car was fine.
On we went to my accommodations, an apartment that was apparently in the desert version of the trap–corner stores out the wazoo and mofos with nothing to lose wandering the streets, although he told me I might be moving. Lol might.
See, my school has some kind of weird set-up, where you can either win the housing lottery and live like Drake in the city center, in towering buildings that overlook the Arabian Sea if you are on a high enough floor,
Or you live in the damn trap.
Usually they stick the single men in the trap, but for some reason they also stuck me there. Maybe they just know me…I’m happy to live near the single men 😉 😉
“Wait,” the driver told me, as he parked and left the car running in the 100+ degree (fahrenheit) heat.
Thirty minutes later he reappeared.
“Wait,” he told me again.
He disappeared again.
All this time, I was texting my good friend A, who already lives in Doha about meeting for dinner. “I don’t know if I’ll make it,” I told her. “They have me waiting in a car.”
More time passes….my driver reappears. “Your apartment is not clean….wait.”
My name must have got changed to wait on that plane I’m thinking, but if there’s anything this summer has taught me it’s how to chill out in inconvenient ass situations,
so I sat and waited, periodically plugging my phone to my macbook to give it a little charge–naturally, alone in a foreign country with my living situation unsorted in the dark and extreme heat my only real concern is my phone dying.
Eventually another man comes to the car and knocks on the door, gesturing for me to roll the window down.
He introduces me and tells me he’s driving me to a hotel for the night and that my apartment will be ready tomorrow.
So we go to the hotel and get checked in. Funny enough, the restaurant where my friend wanted to meet for dinner was in the hotel anyway, so with the help of overly helpful doormen I was able to drop my luggage in the room and meet up with the ladies.
Wrecked and exhausted, I drop my tired bones on the bed after dinner and promptly drop into a deep and restful sleep…for all of four hours,
At about 3 a.m., my eyes spring open. “It’s 8 p.m., psycho!” my circadian rhythms were telling me. “Let’s do stuff!”
For the next four hours, I dicked around on my phone and stressed out about it dying–unprepared traveler that I am, I never bring adaptors–then I dragged my corpse out of bed, picked out my most professional “nervous about my new job” outfit and headed to that free hotel breakfast.
My driver came for me promptly at 7:10, and we headed to the cafeteria of my new school, where all the teachers were downing instant coffee and trying to stay awake. I happily joined them. We had a two-hour meet and greet planned, which was both incredibly helpful and incredibly “I could still be sleeping.”
At 12:30, they rushed me from work and over to the hotel so that I could check out, then I went to my new digs in the trap, although I was told again that I might be moving the next day to the de-luxe apartment in the sky.
In the meantime, though, I got settled in the hood and met my neighbor, M, this cool ass fellow teacher. A picked me up and took me to the mall so that I could get some swanky ass work clothes (it’s Doha; sue me), then the three of us ended up having dinner at Vellaggio mall, which is made to look like a cross between a street in Venice and the Bellagio in Vegas.
The next day, they actually followed through on their word and moved me into this fancy ass apartment. Yo, your girl got four bathrooms now, fuck with me.
Slight damper, because nothing in life is perfect, these swank ass apartments are infested with roaches. Thankfully the heaviest infestation in mine is in the maid’s room (does not actually include maid), and it could be worse–one of my coworkers has an infestation in her fridge. They eat her cheese.
*Pause to gag*
The first week was full of meeting new people and getting too drunk, which is odd considering it’s the Middle East, but that doesn’t keep westerners from alcohol.
We ended the week on Thursday (because the workweek here is Sunday – Thursday) with a coworker happy hour. Naturally, I skipped dinner and got shitfaced off bargain $6 drinks and woke up with a phone full of selfies, a bit of chagrin…and no passport.
That’s right. On the lovely cab ride to school (went in with coworkers to try to do some extra prep for the first day of classes), I noticed that I was minus one the most important document in my life at this moment in time.
However, I have had a lot of practice at being extremely buddhist this summer and keeping calm when the house is on fire. I began texting everyone I was with and A advised me to call the hotel we were at. One major difference between Doha and Korea: The ability to call places because English is spoken.
Phone calls were made, and after a couple hours spent of me trying not to shit myself, my precious passport was found and recovered. No harm done.
And that, ladies and gents, was my first week in Doha.
This is going to be a fun year.