Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Doha Departure - Homeward Bound

This past week has been one of packing, tidying up at work and farewells as the contract draws to its inevitable end.
We are constantly amazed at the way the small souvenirs and gifts have accumulated in the apartment over the past seven months. We started with two large suitcases and our travel cases and are now sending home three large cases and several boxes of paintings, books and souvenirs of our time here in Qatar.
The apartment looks ultilitarian bare now that Joy's remaining paintings have been boxed up ready for shipping and the other items that make a place look like home are packed away.
The MBAW team had a farewell lunch together on Tuesday at The Grand Joud Cafe on Salwa Road.

Dave on the Sheesha
The cafe is a popular sheesha smokers' meeting place as we could smell the sweet aromatic fumes of apple, grape, rose, mint, strawberry and Iranian tobacco as we walked along the street to meet up with our colleagues. The outside seating, always crowded during Winter and on late evenings, was too hot to use so we ate inside where the haze of sheesha was well dispersed by an efficient air conditioner.

Our translator, Mohammed Kasawneh, ordered for the five of us with the result that the table was liberally covered with dishes of hummus, rice, tabbulah, grilled meats, stuffed vine leaves, savoury sausages and kubbah as well as bread to create a lunch that we felt needed assistance to consume.
We discovered, however, that given time and conversation such a spread could easily disappear! However I was still recovering from the meal at 9.00 the next morning.

The Doha Darlings style
Wednesday evening is the end of contract dinner at the Hotel Intercontinental where Joy and the other Doha Darlings will be performing their own unique farewell routine to Doha and where we will, no doubt, commiserate over the lack of firm contract for the next academic year, swap stories about all we've seen and done in our schools and touring of Qatar and other parts of the Middle East and exchange contact addresses at home in New Zealand and for the summer break as we head off on our travels.
The attached video of the performance and activities at the dinner gives a taste of the celebrations on Wednesday night.

Joy with flowers for choreographing the Doha Darlings
Cognition Team Membes learning Arabic Dancing.

Thursday will see us completing packing so that we can deliver our bags and boxes to the transport company to arrange delivery in time for our arrival at Auckland Airport mid July over the weekend.
Then it becomes real count down time from Sunday for the final three days in our schools and the early morning trek to the airport for our next travel adventure - a week in the UK to catch up with Jacqui and her family in Swansea with, we hope, a drive to Tredegar and the Ebbw Vale where I was relief teaching for eight months over 1997 followed by a week in Jordan before being reunited with our baggage in the wet winter of home.

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