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Now ye're talking - to a man living in Qatar

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    There is a limit on the amount of alcohol you can buy that is related to your salary.

    Wah? Reason enough for promotion...

    How does that work in a practical sense?


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    finbarrk wrote: »
    Thanks. I don't know what will happen during the World Cup so. It will make it awkward.

    I don't think it will - I suspect that the Qataris will be flexible and that this has already been agreed with FIFA.

    I wouldn't be surprised if there is no alcohol in the stadiums, but we recently had the World Club final in Doha and the authorities set up a fanzone with live music and cheaper beer near the stadium. Many people think this was a "dry" run for the World Cup.


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    Wah? Reason enough for promotion...

    How does that work in a practical sense?

    The limits are fairly generous and they are tripled in the month before Ramadan begins. The last time I calculated it my limit worked out at 47 bottles of beer a day. I rarely have more than 40:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,212 ✭✭✭✭Tom Dunne


    I have visited a couple of mosques including, recently, the new National Mosque, where a couple of colleagues and I got a great tour and talk from a British Muslim who now lives in Qatar:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imam_Muhammad_ibn_Abd_al-Wahhab_Mosque

    I always found visiting mosques to be a fascinating experience. On one occasion, I got chatting to a local in the mosque for over two and a half hours - I think he was as fascinated with me as I was with Islam.

    I am really enjoying the thread, I can certainly relate to pretty much everything you have said.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    The limits are fairly generous and they are tripled in the month before Ramadan begins. The last time I calculated it my limit worked out at 47 bottles of beer a day. I rarely have more than 40:)

    Grand for regular days I suppose :pac:

    But, how is the limit policed - say I order online or otherwise. Do you need to bring a payslip?


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  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    Grand for regular days I suppose :pac:

    But, how is the limit policed - say I order online or otherwise. Do you need to bring a payslip?

    In order to get a liquor permit you need a "no-objection" letter from your employer that also states your salary level.

    The liquor permit is a credit card sized photo ID, you need to show it to get into the liquor shop, and they swipe it at the cash register before scanning your purchases.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]



    In order to get a liquor permit you need a "no-objection" letter from your employer that also states your salary level.

    The liquor permit is a credit card sized photo ID, you need to show it to get into the liquor shop, and they swipe it at the cash register before scanning your purchases.

    "no-objection" letter from your employer

    Can you imagine that being brought into Ireland... and FG thought they had a rough ride putting VAT on children's shoes or when their forerunners accepted the treaty leaving the 6 counties in NI. All would pale into insignificance. :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,231 ✭✭✭monseiur


    Just a note to thank you for an enjoyable and educational thread.
    I applaud you for having the gumption to start a new and better life for you and your family. And there's the added bonus of not having half your salary deducted every month to pay dole, housing, medical cards and a myriad of other benefits to a shower of home grown and imported wasters.
    I'm glad that you did not allow yourself to be dragged down by the lefty keyboard warriors who keep quoting some obscure UK tabloid and Amnesty etc.
    We have more than our share of this type here, folk who never ventured past their own front gate and consequently have a blinkered tunnel vision of the world.
    There is no Utopia on this planet and never will be. It's a case of when in Rome do as the Romans do etc.
    You're right not to plan to retire to this rain sodden green speck in the north Athlantic - follow the sun to the south of Spain or similar. That's what I aim to do if funds allow ! Perhaps our paths may cross some day and we'll have a Moritz or Sam Miguel !!


  • Registered Users Posts: 31,831 ✭✭✭✭Mars Bar


    You technically needed a liquor license in Dubai up until a few months ago too!
    They've done away with that now. As well as the law on non-married couples co-habiting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,638 ✭✭✭✭EmmetSpiceland


    Hi,

    My question is this: you mentioned you work in the “public sector”, can you confirm if this is in, the Qatari equivalent of, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment?

    Regards,

    E.

    “It is not blood that makes you Irish but a willingness to be part of the Irish nation” - Thomas Davis



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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,435 ✭✭✭✭gormdubhgorm


    I am glued to this thread just happened across it. I firstly have to commend the OP in answering all the questions he is asked, in such a full and detailed manner.

    I know the OP said he did not like the Irish weather. If it was me I would miss the 'soft days'.

    Anyway the impression I have got so far is that the existence in Qatar is sort of like a top notch holiday resort bubble or compound. The Qataris largely stick to their own and it is only the foreign nationals who mix with each other outside of a work environment.

    I was wondering what it Qatar was like to wander around in on a normal day?
    Or do you get to walk around in it at all? Or is it just basically going from larger bubble to smaller bubble from day to day?

    Naive I know, but even the first time I wandered around London I was shocked that nodding to strangers was not the done thing. Some people walked faster freaked me out.

    Do strangers nod to each other in Qatar even just the foreigners, or is it even worse than the likes of London or what?

    Do drivers give each other a friendly 'hello' gesture in the car? The finger off the steering wheel thing they do down the county in Ireland. No matter who the person is.

    Plus another thing I am wondering what is the population density? I seem to remember you said the state is about the size of Munster. But yet you said you were fortunate to have a garden. Is space at a premium or is it only in certain areas?

    Guff about stuff, and stuff about guff.



  • Registered Users Posts: 81,988 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn
    M


    What car(s) do you own? Is insurance comparable to Ireland or much cheaper. It looks a great country to own a car in.


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    Good morning all.

    I came across this (timely) article yesterday about a younger family that moved to Qatar recently. I thought it was an excellent read:

    https://www.irishnews.com/sport/gaafootball/2021/04/12/news/from-purgatory-to-glory-to-life-in-doha-the-ryan-bradley-story-2284576/?fbclid=IwAR3cpu2V4WocITdNYmDyrv7133VQdo9orbiXZVASq-aR7dcn8FIzKXykpDU


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    monseiur wrote: »
    Just a note to thank you for an enjoyable and educational thread.
    I applaud you for having the gumption to start a new and better life for you and your family. And there's the added bonus of not having half your salary deducted every month to pay dole, housing, medical cards and a myriad of other benefits to a shower of home grown and imported wasters.
    I'm glad that you did not allow yourself to be dragged down by the lefty keyboard warriors who keep quoting some obscure UK tabloid and Amnesty etc.
    We have more than our share of this type here, folk who never ventured past their own front gate and consequently have a blinkered tunnel vision of the world.
    There is no Utopia on this planet and never will be. It's a case of when in Rome do as the Romans do etc.
    You're right not to plan to retire to this rain sodden green speck in the north Athlantic - follow the sun to the south of Spain or similar. That's what I aim to do if funds allow ! Perhaps our paths may cross some day and we'll have a Moritz or Sam Miguel !!

    Thank you for your kind words, and I'll certainly be happy to have a beer with you should our paths ever cross.

    We may however have to agree to disagree on some points.

    I do believe in society, in an obligation to our fellow citizens. I believe in a free taxpayer-funded healthcare and education system, and a safety net below which we will not allow anyone to fall.

    You might reasonably say that does not sit easily with being a tax-free expat and I'll have to accept that. But I do and always have paid my taxes in Ireland and, wherever I live after this spell, there will be taxes and I will pay them.


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    Hi,

    My question is this: you mentioned you work in the “public sector”, can you confirm if this is in, the Qatari equivalent of, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment?

    Regards,

    E.

    Hi and thank you for your question.

    I do not work for a government department. I don't speak Arabic, and those offices operate exclusively in Arabic. On top of that most of the senior positions in government departments will be held by Qataris.

    Where foreign consultants/experts (e.g. lawyers) are required they are invariably native Arabic speakers such as Egyptians or Iraqis.


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    I am glued to this thread just happened across it. I firstly have to commend the OP in answering all the questions he is asked, in such a full and detailed manner.

    I know the OP said he did not like the Irish weather. If it was me I would miss the 'soft days'.

    Anyway the impression I have got so far is that the existence in Qatar is sort of like a top notch holiday resort bubble or compound. The Qataris largely stick to their own and it is only the foreign nationals who mix with each other outside of a work environment.

    I was wondering what it Qatar was like to wander around in on a normal day?
    Or do you get to walk around in it at all? Or is it just basically going from larger bubble to smaller bubble from day to day?

    Naive I know, but even the first time I wandered around London I was shocked that nodding to strangers was not the done thing. Some people walked faster freaked me out.

    Do strangers nod to each other in Qatar even just the foreigners, or is it even worse than the likes of London or what?

    Do drivers give each other a friendly 'hello' gesture in the car? The finger off the steering wheel thing they do down the county in Ireland. No matter who the person is.

    Plus another thing I am wondering what is the population density? I seem to remember you said the state is about the size of Munster. But yet you said you were fortunate to have a garden. Is space at a premium or is it only in certain areas?

    Hi and thank you for these questions (and your kind words).

    I do miss the soft days, and would love one from time to time, its the soft months that get me down!

    You are right that, for westerners at least, we live our lives in a gilded cage. Generally a good work environment, good salaries, good schools, good accommodation and (pre-Covid) the possibility of regular travel.

    It is broadly true to say that Qatar = Doha. I would guess that 90% of people live in this city which is more than twice the size of Dublin - so it is a very urban environment rather than rural. I was born in the countryside and the "steering-wheel salute" is more common there than in the city.

    Because of the heat, and because it was built from scratch, Doha is much more like an American city than a European city. It is based around cars, you (generally) can't walk to the shops - you drive to the mall. I do try to walk for exercise in the evenings (it's still not too hot) but you need to have your wits about you. Footpaths are uneven, or non-existent, and there may be no public lighting on lesser streets. You are unlikely to go for a walk around your neighbourhood and bump into neighbours.

    There have however been several parks opened up in recent years with footpaths around the perimeters for taking exercise and these are very popular. It's common to arrange to meet friends there and take a walk together.

    As for my garden, remember that we are living in a desert - arguably the most deserty bit of the Arabian Peninsula, so growing anything is a challenge, and for much of the year its too warm to sit outside. Most of the newer houses in Qatar will have just a small paved area out back, half-covered with awnings, and enough room to barbecue and have set of outdoor furniture.

    We live in an older house, and the outdoor space is much bigger. We have enough room for some lawn. We have a lovely guy who comes a few times a week to water and tend the plants. He has managed to keep our lawn (mostly) green. I have no idea how he manages that - I just pay him and the (horrendous) water bill.


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    What car(s) do you own? Is insurance comparable to Ireland or much cheaper. It looks a great country to own a car in.

    Hi and thank you very much for this question (I love cars!).

    I suppose the first thing that I would say is that, if you are European, and you've ever wanted drive an American gas-guzzler, this is the place to do it. Petrol is a quarter of the price in Ireland. I am conscious too of the fact that the era of the internal combustion engine is (rightly) coming to an end, and I hope that the next car that I buy (probably in Europe) will be a plug-in hybrid.

    We have two cars in the house. The first one we bought new shortly after we arrived (10 years ago). It is the ubiquitous (in these parts) Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. Its a big-ish 4x4 with a 4-litre V6 petrol engine. They're fairly bulletproof, excellent off-road, and they hold their value really well. If you service them regularly you'll easily get 20 years out of them.

    The second one we bought second-hand - its a BMW 5-series (F10) with a naturally aspirated 3-litre straight six (I told you I love cars!). Its about 7 years old, and it drives like a dream - I feel very lucky to have it.

    Third-party motor insurance is obligatory and the price is controlled by the government. The price depends solely on the number of cylinders, there is an (ascending) price for 4, 6, 8 cylinders. There is no loading for age or gender of the owner and all policies are open-insurance (i.e. anyone who drives the car, and has a valid license, is insured). Our cars cost about 300 Euros a year each to insure.

    If you want comprehensive insurance, which is probably wiser for newer cars, then that is priced according to the value of the car and the risk profile of the driver.


  • Registered Users Posts: 115 ✭✭sambucus nigra


    Really interesting thread and appreciate you sharing your perspective. Few questions from me below:

    There is a large US army base outside Doha as I understand it. Have you ever met any soldiers out and about in Qatar, or are they confined to the base (I would assume the latter). How are US-Qatar relations generally perceived?

    Have you ever met someone Jewish living in Qatar?

    Is it possible/commonplace to keep pets like dogs?

    Have you a favourite local dish from the region you've discovered since living there?

    Is much food produce (meat, milk, fruit, veg) produced locally or is most imported?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,605 ✭✭✭Kat1170


    It's come up a good bit on Reddit lately with illegal British immigrants being shown the door in Spain.
    The use of the terms expats and immigrants. Technically means the exact same thing but not when someone is referring to themselves generally.
    You've used both terms in this AMA, just wondering if you see any difference in them and their use.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Is it possible/commonplace to keep pets like dogs?

    I think dogs are considered unclean in Islamic society. Although I see from the Interesting map thread that Golden Retrievers and German Sheppards are favoured in the general region.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,636 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha


    We live in an older house, and the outdoor space is much bigger. We have enough room for some lawn. We have a lovely guy who comes a few times a week to water and tend the plants. He has managed to keep our lawn (mostly) green. I have no idea how he manages that - I just pay him and the (horrendous) water bill.

    Just on water- where does it come from in Qatar, is there a desalination plant or a source for it anywhere in the country? And how big are water bills there, what would be the per litre cost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,442 ✭✭✭finbarrk


    If you were to go for a weekend away, where would you go to?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,231 ✭✭✭monseiur


    Thank you for your kind words, and I'll certainly be happy to have a beer with you should our paths ever cross.

    We may however have to agree to disagree on some points.

    I do believe in society, in an obligation to our fellow citizens. I believe in a free taxpayer-funded healthcare and education system, and a safety net below which we will not allow anyone to fall.

    You might reasonably say that does not sit easily with being a tax-free expat and I'll have to accept that. But I do and always have paid my taxes in Ireland and, wherever I live after this spell, there will be taxes and I will pay them.

    In case of any mis understanting - I have no problem paying my fair share of taxes, it's the abuse and wanton waste of these taxes that bother me. An example is our public health service, it's costing billions anually and it's not fit for purpose. I have to pay private health insurance + half my salary in taxes !

    We have many thousands of young healthy able bodied men and women on the dole and yet we 'import' workers every year from eastern Europe and elsewhere to pick strawberrries and do related horicurtural work....same applied to hotel, bar and general catering work pre Covid.

    We have some of the most fertile land in the world with the ability to be the bread basket of Europe & Middle East etc. producing pollution free, organic dairy products, fruit, veg. etc. Yet farmers are being forced to reduce production, reduce number of livestock etc. etc. all in the name reducing precieved emissions into the athmosphere and the taxpayer has to compensate the farmers for the related reduction in income. Idiotic doesn't begin to describe it.
    Imagine if the Quataris had our land !
    Sadly the lunatics have taken over our assylum and it will take a revolution to get them under control again.
    I could go on and on but I'm sure you're well aware of our banana republic situtation !


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,161 ✭✭✭OEP


    monseiur wrote: »
    In case of any mis understanting - I have no problem paying my fair share of taxes, it's the abuse and wanton waste of these taxes that bother me. An example is our public health service, it's costing billions anually and it's not fit for purpose. I have to pay private health insurance + half my salary in taxes !

    We have many thousands of young healthy able bodied men and women on the dole and yet we 'import' workers every year from eastern Europe and elsewhere to pick strawberrries and do related horicurtural work....same applied to hotel, bar and general catering work pre Covid.

    We have some of the most fertile land in the world with the ability to be the bread basket of Europe & Middle East etc. producing pollution free, organic dairy products, fruit, veg. etc. Yet farmers are being forced to reduce production, reduce number of livestock etc. etc. all in the name reducing precieved emissions into the athmosphere and the taxpayer has to compensate the farmers for the related reduction in income. Idiotic doesn't begin to describe it.
    Imagine if the Quataris had our land !
    Sadly the lunatics have taken over our assylum and it will take a revolution to get them under control again.
    I could go on and on but I'm sure you're well aware of our banana republic situtation !

    Perceived emissions?


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    Really interesting thread and appreciate you sharing your perspective. Few questions from me below:

    There is a large US army base outside Doha as I understand it. Have you ever met any soldiers out and about in Qatar, or are they confined to the base (I would assume the latter). How are US-Qatar relations generally perceived?

    Have you ever met someone Jewish living in Qatar?

    Is it possible/commonplace to keep pets like dogs?

    Have you a favourite local dish from the region you've discovered since living there?

    Is much food produce (meat, milk, fruit, veg) produced locally or is most imported?

    Hi and thanks for the questions.

    The US personnel at Al Udeid air-base tend to stay on base. I've never been there, but I know a few Irish contractor who have, and it is a fairly self-contained unit with cinemas, bowling-alleys etc. Some of the older children go to school in the International schools, and you'll sometimes see a bunch of obviously American lads with short haircuts in the malls, so they do venture out from time to time.

    Qatar tries to have good relations with everyone - I think it would like to become the Switzerland of the Middle East. Being so wealthy, and having such a puny army, means that they have to be buddies with the big guys - and they are. They host the US Airbase, they go on joint missions and training with the RAF, and they host a Turkish armed forces base.

    As far as I know there is no Jewish community in Qatar but I have (once I think) seen Hassidim at the airport so they must sometimes visit. Qatar is a big supporter financially of Gaza, so that would put them on the wrong side of the Israelis at the moment. They have not joined up either for the so-called Abraham Accords and they have criticized the UAE for doing so
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Accords

    That said, they do like to be seen as an honest broker and in the past there was an Israeli Trade Mission (which was de facto an Embassy) in Doha, and formal diplomatic relations, but the Qataris shut it down after the 2009 invasion of Gaza.

    Regarding being an honest broker - the ongoing dialogue between the Taliban and the US Government is taking place in Qatar.

    On the subject of pets the Qataris and (I think Arabs generally) are not big fans of pets. Dogs are seen as unclean and if you are on you way to pray and come in contact with a dog you should go back and wash again. There is a particular breed of dog that is native to the region - the saluki - and if Qataris have a dog it is likely to be salukis in their desert camps rather than in town.

    Lots of westerners keep dogs and cats, especially smaller dogs which san stay indoors during the hot season.

    As for food I like Arabic food very much. The flat breads straight from the oven, grilled meats, hummus, baba ghanoush, moutabal, shawarmas, etc. are all delicious. My favourite place for regional food is "Turkey Central" a really busy place where every plate is chipped, and you serve your own drinks from the fridge, but the food is fantastic.

    In the supermarket lamb, beef and chicken are all excellent quality and cheap compared to European prices. You can buy pork in a little annexe to the only off-licence - its expensive, but worth it from time to time. If you like fish the local hamour (a type of grouper) is delicious, as is the sherry fish.

    The fish is farmed locally, and dairy products and some fruit and veg are produced locally. Most other things are imported. If your supermarket trolley is full of the western brands that you know and like then your shopping will be expensive. But if you are willing to be a bit more adventurous there is good value to be had.


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    Kat1170 wrote: »
    It's come up a good bit on Reddit lately with illegal British immigrants being shown the door in Spain.
    The use of the terms expats and immigrants. Technically means the exact same thing but not when someone is referring to themselves generally.
    You've used both terms in this AMA, just wondering if you see any difference in them and their use.

    Hi and thank you for this question.

    I try not to use the word expat because I see it as contributing to the caste-system mentality - but I know that I sometimes do use it.

    I have tried to use "westerner" to refer to immigrants like me, and I am an immigrant - full stop.


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    I think dogs are considered unclean in Islamic society. Although I see from the Interesting map thread that Golden Retrievers and German Sheppards are favoured in the general region.

    Hi again.

    Yes, I believe that dogs are seen as unclean by Muslims.

    I think that most of the Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are owned by westerners - and I think its wrong, they're not built for the heat and they're too big to be kept indoors.

    I would urge people to either get a toy breed or a local breed called saluki:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saluki


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    Muahahaha wrote: »
    Just on water- where does it come from in Qatar, is there a desalination plant or a source for it anywhere in the country? And how big are water bills there, what would be the per litre cost.

    Hi and thanks for the question.

    I believe that the tap water comes from desalination plants - but bottled water at the supermarket is usually (but not always) natural water.

    I pay about 300 Euros per month for water and electricity (they are supplied by the same company). I don't get an itemized bill because it goes to my landlord (long story) so I can't give you a per litre number.

    Only non-Qataris pay domestic charges for water and electricity - another perk of Qatari citizenship!


  • Company Representative Posts: 96 Verified rep I live in Qatar, AMA


    finbarrk wrote: »
    If you were to go for a weekend away, where would you go to?

    Hi and thanks for the question.

    Before the blockade and Covid Dubai was the usual weekend destination for everyone in Qatar - which was sort of boring - a similar culture, just bigger malls and better nightlife.

    I have been to Shiraz in Iran for a long weekend and loved it - I will definitely go back to see Isfahan. Istanbul is also doable for a weekend and well worth it. Mumbai is just 3 hours away and I did that too and loved it. The two other places that I would like to go to for a weekend are Tbilisi and Yerevan.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,531 ✭✭✭pottokblue


    Fond memories of visits to Shiraz, Isfahan, Istanbul in the future would love to visit Yerevan and Mumbai...


This discussion has been closed.
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