Its not often I am near tragedy but there was a massive one here on Sunday night. A local shopping mall had a terrible fire which enveloped a creche. 19 people died including three triplets from New Zealand. All of our crew had visited the shopping mall in the previous days and my flatmate was barred entry on the night of the disaster when he tried to get a puncture repaired. This is a first of the kind for Qatar and my thoughts are with the families of the victims.
We arrived in Qatar on Saturday afternoon. My more persistant readers will know I have been to the middle east before but never Qatar. A rule of thumb is that Qatar is a few years behind Dubai with its westernization but coming from the Seychelles it feels like another planet. Everything is done on a grand scale and one only needs to get in a car to feel like you are in an asteroid belt. The heat is blistering and we are still a couple of months away from the real hot season.
We have been lucky enough to get apartments to live in whilst we are based here. Coming from our probably quite large for a yacht crew accommodation the apartments feel positively palatial. My flatmate and I have been busy decorating and our substantial efforts have left the place looking like a cyber rave post modern bat cave. We are not finished yet and a laser will be arriving next week to supplement the chin up bar, Bose q10 sound dock, PS3, Egyptian papyrus and trimmings.
You would think I would be not reminded of home much here but there have been a couple of moments that have made me feel right at home. The first was being allocated a crew car with one of the Australian Engineers. We have earned the one and only Toyota Hilux. Hilux’s are a bit of an institution in New Zealand and it looks like they have a fan base here. I only wish ours had bull bars and an air conditioned dog on the back.
I thought of dogs with my second experience. I left the boat and was struck with a very familiar smell. The smell of a wool shed on a hot summers day. I could not see any shearers and showing ones shoulders through a black singlet is not allowed here so I Sherlocked the situation. There was a large sheep carrier upwind.
For now much of Qatar remains a mystery but its nice to know small parts of home are abound. I shall be taking some photos over the next week and will share these with you soon.