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Qatar Visitor

Qatar Visitor
Qatar Visitor provides comprehensive information on Qatar for tourists and residents, as well as vibrant photographs, podcasts, YouTube videos, news commentary and information about major events in Qatar.
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Articles

Gondolas in the Desert
2008-04-20 09:59:00
View more Qatar MoviesVillagio Shopping MallQatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagscanal desert
More About: Desert , Canal
Hunting with Falcons
2008-04-19 12:04:00
Our latest website article looks at falconry in Qatar and Arabia, including its history, present day practice and issues with the declining number of falcons and houbara, the favourite prey of Arab falconers. You can also listen to the sounds of the falcons and watch a video of a falconer hunting gazelle.You may also be interested in the movie below, which shows two saluki hounds and a falcon working together to catch a rabbit.Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsfalconry falcon hunt
More About: Culture , Falcon , Hunting , Hunt , Falcons
Changes to Qatar Sponsorship system
2008-04-18 12:58:00
There were dramatically different accounts of what will happen to the sponsorship system in Qatar in Gulf Times and the Peninsula today.According to the Gulf Times there is to be little change in the sponsorship law, and expatriates hoping for liberalisation of sponsership rules - which currently break international conventions, and have been criticised by the US as encouraging people trafficking - will be disappointed.One of the so-called changes, removing the right of the employer to retain the employees passport, was already included in Qatar Labour Law, and in any case makes little difference when the employee does not have the right to leave the country without an exit permit.Intriguingly, the Peninsula has a completely different interpretation:"The exit permit system is all set to be removed under a new sponsorship regime, suggests the draft of the proposed legislation..."Expats discussing the law on Qatar Living seem to have accepted the Gulf Times story, and the lack of prop...
More About: System , Sponsorship
Qatar Schools: Educational Vouchers
2008-04-17 15:23:00
Both the Gulf Times and the Peninsula today reported on the introduction of educational vouchers for parents. Parents who wish to choose approved private or international schools over local education will be given a voucher. The fee is to be the equivalent to the cost of schooling a student in one of the Supreme Education Councils Independent schools. It was not clear from the article whether this voucher will be extended to residents or is only open to Qatar is.The introduction of vouchers is the latest step in a long process of reforming the Education System in Qatar. Rather than trying to overhaul the beaurocratic Ministry of Education the Government decided to set up a new body, the Supreme Education Council. Independent schools have been set up under the auspices of the SEC, within which a number of different systems of education are used. The takeover process will shortly be completed, with the Ministry of Education finally shutting its doors in 2010.There have been some concer...
More About: Schools , Educational , Vouchers
Qatar Lonely PLanet Video
2008-04-16 13:39:00
My Google video alert came up with this today - a Lonely Planet video of Qatar . I have actually seen it before, a long time ago, but it is very funny...Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar movie
More About: Video , Lonely Planet
Qatar Expeditions
2008-04-15 09:40:00
Qatar resident Fernando De Guama is planning, with the help of his Qatar Sponsors, to walk to the North Pole next year and raise the Qatar flag there. He is also planning to spend the next year training for the trip, with much of the training taking place on the Corniche. You can check out his website on the link below to keep up with the expedition and the training and to see pictures and video podcasts.Qatar Expeditions websiteQatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha
More About: Qatar
Fox report on New Church in Qatar
2008-04-14 22:36:00
An American Fox new report on the new church in Qatar .A rather dumbed down report. At the end the reverend/reporter says:"Reciprocity - that big word - explained from a Muslim".You may also be interested in our report on the church: "The Cross shall not be raised in Qatar"Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagschurch
More About: Church , Report
Qatar Jobs: Do you work harder in Qatar?
2008-04-13 10:27:00
Hours of work vary enormously in Qatar . Some people work six or five and a 1/2 days a week, other five, or four and a half, some finish at three or earlier, while others have to double shift. The car salesman who sold me my first car told me he was working 6 1/2 days a week - if this was true his employer was breaking the law, as there are strict rules regulating jobs, and about how many hours and days you can work.I recently asked a few people if they thought they worked harder than in their home country.The person who owns my local shop is certainly breaking the rules, if his employees are not exaggerating - one of the employees told me that they work seven days a week, often for fourteen hours a day. They certainly always look tired.Jeff, a 40 year old American computer engineer, reckoned that he did about the same amount of work as he would do in his home country."However, I am asked to do more here, because I have to cover for people who don't do their work."A friend who works...
More About: Jobs , Work , Conditions
The Real Sounds of Qatar: what you can hear from your bedroom
2008-04-09 14:57:00
We have been collecting the sounds of Qatar for some time now - I especially like the sound of the Adhan and the animal market. However, while lying awake at three o' clock in the morning listening to the sound of a jack hammer that was so loud it seemed to be in my room, I realised that this is not what I really hear everyday. So I collected the sounds from outside my house over a few days and this podcast is the result:Qatar Real Sounds What can you hear from your bedroom?Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar sounds
More About: Podcast , Hear , Bedroom
Qtel's Mozaic TV+ : review
2008-04-07 06:51:00
Review and Information on Qtel's Mozaic TV+ package(Note - this is a review of the Mozaic bundled tv, telephone and wireless internet service - details of Mozaic Mob can be found on the Qtel website.)Mozaic?s bundle of wireless internet, telephone and television costs just a little more than their telephone and adsl package would cost otherwise. There are two basic TV packages, Asian or Arabic, and we chose Asian as there seemed to be more English language channels.Most of the channels available on the Mozaic television are available free on satellite television, but you can easily upgrade to paid packages which are quite reasonable in price: 25 riyals for a children?s package, 25 riyals for an Asian films package and 75 riyals for an international films packages.To be honest, the clinching factor for us was when our US Robotics router decided to malfunction again, leaving us without wireless internet.Obtaining MozaicAs usual with Qtel, you cannot order services over the telephone ...
More About: Internet , Review
Qatar Archeology: Romans in Qatar?
2008-04-05 23:46:00
Actually, no - or at least not many.A recent article in the Gulf Times, based on claims by a rogue archeologist, claimed that Qatar was settled by traders from the Indus Valley, and that the Romans had settlements in Fuwarit, Jessasiya and Umm Almah. You can read the article on the Gulf Times website.I was very impressed and mentioned it to an archeologist friend - who told me that it was all rubbish. The article was based on claims by an amateur archeologist who had, shall we say, misinterpreted and exaggerated the facts.According to the Amiri Diwan website the Romans may have been in Qatar at some point - however, this seems to have been limited to a temporary fishing station. The truth is that for centuries Bahrain was more attractive to settlers, because of its fresh water springs and reserves - many of which are now sadly drying up due to over development. As a result Bahrain has a far more interesting history (although not necessarily a happier one!)Qatar probably was, howeve...
More About: Archeology
Qatar Environment: Waste, Solar Panels and Electricity
2008-04-02 13:54:00
After writing my recent post on environment in Qatar , I was impressed to see that Qatar is now planning to start producing electricity from waste. According to an article in the Gulf Times today, a waste plant which will be opened next year will produce enough electricity (40 mega watts) both to power all the plant's needs and those of its 400 employees and their families. The electricity will be generated through the process of composting organic domestic waste, which can then be used as fertilizer. In total, the plant hopes to recycle 50% of domestic rubbish. The story follows on from news in February that reports Qatar is considering building one of the largest solar power complexes in the world to meet soaring electricity demand, which is predicted to increase by up to four times in the next 30 years. The solar farm would have a capacity of 3,500 megawatts. Qatar is also considering additional energy from a nuclear power plant.Also see Qatar's Natural History by author France...
More About: Environment , Electricity , Solar , Waste
Qatar angling for Formula 1
2008-03-28 07:44:00
Qatar is hoping to get a formula 1 championship, with the Qatar Motor and Motorcycling Federation planning a massive upgrade for the Losail international racing circuit. The federation were recently dissapointed when the GP Grand Masters, dominated by Nigel Mansell, went bankrupt recently and Losail lost the annual race. However, Qatar may have missed its opportunity, at least for the time being. Neighbour Bahrain already hosts the championship, while Abu Dhabi will be making its own F1 debut next season. Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsLosail F1
More About: Formula , Formula 1 , Qatar
Qatar Happening website up
2008-03-26 21:42:00
The Qatar Happening website is finally up, and it looks pretty good. It's well designed, although they do need to learn to add alt tags for the pictures (and shoot whoever does their SEO). I was also glad to see they have cinema times and reviews - click on the drop down menu for times at different cinemas. Being a website rather than a monthly edition should mean that they managed to get more events in, and indeed they have added a "Happening this Weekend" section. There's quite a bit more, but you'll want to be getting over there and checking it your yourself - so here's the link:Qatar HappeningLet us know what you think!Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Happening
More About: Website , What
La Cigale opens new outlets
2008-03-25 19:55:00
La Cigale has announced that it has opened two of more its outlets. The Ozone Spa, which is open from 9am until 9pm,, provides massage and beauty treatments and includes treatment rooms, 2 Hydrotherapy Massage Areas, 2 Steam Rooms, Sauna, Jacuzzi and Relaxation Areas. There is also an outdoor lounge called "Sky View". The lounge, which is located on the 15th floor, is open from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m.For more information on the hotel see our La Cigale page.Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar Doha
Shore Based Skipper/Yacht Master course
2008-03-24 12:58:00
A Coastal Skipper /Yacht Master Royal Yachting Association course will be held from the 20th April to the 25th July.The RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore shorebased course is an advanced course in navigation, seamanship and meteorology, suitable for those with a background of sailing or motor cruising and/or racing. An RYA certificate is awarded for successful completion. The course will consist of 20 lessons of 2 hours each, which will be held at the Aeronautical College on Sunday and Wednesday evenings starting at 7 PM.If you are interested, please contact:Vince Mee E-Mail: vincemee@hotmail.comJohn Coubrough E-Mail: jmcoubrough@yahoo.co.ukYou can find more information at their website www.ryacourses-qatar.com from mid March.Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagssailing
More About: What , Shore
Qtel Censorship
2008-03-21 06:07:00
Nigel has an interesting post on Qatar internet censorship on Qatar living. His post follows the story that Qtel have blocked parts of facebook - not inflammatory material or pornography but an application which allows you to show miniature pictures of your friends! Presumably a mistake - again! Unfortunately, Qtel can rarely be bothered to rectify it's mistakes.Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar censorship
More About: Censorship
Qatar Environment
2008-03-18 09:29:00
When I first arrived in Qatar I couldn?t believe how much energy was wasted. Energy on massive cars, energy on air-conditioning that was never shut off, energy on lights that blazed on all night, energy on a massive construction boom that has only become more frenetic since I arrived.And never one word about the environment.Yet despite the lack of awareness, Qatar is one of the countries that stands most to lose from global warming.The country is low lying, and the Pearl development which it is so immensely proud of is, in places, just two meters above sea-levelWhat?s more, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees in the height of the summer, the country really doesn?t need to get any hotter.The first sign of environmental awareness that I noticed was at a food festival, when the school hosting the festival had put out recycling bins. Each bin was to contain a different type of rubbish. Unfortunately, the guests didn?t notice, and the bins were filled with all kinds of different junk ? ...
More About: Environment , Doha
The cross shall not be raised in Qatar...
2008-03-14 09:45:00
And indeed it is not being raised. However, for the first time in centuries a cross-less, bell-less church has been raised in Qatar , on land donated by the Emir, and is being opened today.Despite the low key nature of the opening, controversy has been sparked in Qatar, with some members of the strict Wahabbi faith firmly against the construction. One columnist wrote:?The cross should not be raised in the sky of Qatar, nor should bells toll in Doha."Other prominent Muslims in the country support the opening of the church. The former Dean of the Islamic university, Abdul Hamid al-Ansari, is one of those who supports the building of the church, believing that religious tolerance and the right to worship is a part of Islam."Having places of worship for various religions is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Islam."There does seem to be support for tolerance for other monotheist religions in the Qu?ran:?Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sa...
More About: Culture , Cross , The Cross
Strongest hint yet of revaluation
2008-03-12 07:36:00
There have been so many rumours of revaluation over the last few months that we have long stopped mentioning them. However, it is worth mentioning a quote in the Gulf Daily News which is the strongest indication of revaluation yet.According to the article, which quoted an unnamed Qatar central bank official, Qatar is considering revaluing or dropping its dollar peg last month. Specifically, the official was quoted as saying:"Everything will be clear by the end of this month because our fiscal year ends on March 31, so by April the central bank will make an announcement," the official said.After the report the Qatar riyal strengthened and a Deutsche Bank economist said:"Combined with other recent comments that the Qatari riyal could be undervalued by around 30 per cent, this will likely to see appreciation pressure mount."Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar currency
More About: Currency
Qatar Internet Stats
2008-03-08 08:39:00
A friend sent me some stats on internet usage recently, and I thought they made interesting reading. (I am sure they have already appeared in the Gulf Times, so no apologies for lack of originality.)According to the stats, internet usage grew by 16% last year in Qatar , the majority of which was ADSL. Internet accounts had grown by 53,000 to over 80,000 in the third quarter of last year.Interestingly, the report estimated internet penetration at 9%. I am not sure exactly what this means or how they estimate this - it seems like they may have calculated this by taking the number of internet accounts and the general population and working it out from there.However, many households share an internet account, while general use of the internet is much higher than the number of accounts would suggest. Every office has internet, the parks have wireless internet these days, internet cafes are usually crammed and there are loads of cafes where you can use the internet for the price of a cup...
More About: Stats
Common Plants of Qatar : Qatar Natural History Group
2008-03-03 20:31:00
The Qatar Natural History Group will be holding its monthly talk on Wednesday this week with an introduction to the plants of Qatar. Dr Renee Richer, a biologist at Cornell University, will be giving the talk, and will be bringing along samples, as well as explaining how these plants survive in a harsh desert climate.Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsQatar plants QNHG
More About: Plants , What
Night Riders come to Qatar
2008-03-03 11:54:00
A historical night race - the first one ever to be held in the Middle East - is to be held shortly on Losail race track on the 9th of this month.After recent testing proved that initial difficulties had been worked out, 3600 flood lights with a total power of 5.4 million watts will light up the desert track."They have done a fantastic job with the lights," said Toseland, a British rider. "I was here in November when just three corners were lit and to do what they have done is a great effort."The race may prove challenging. Despite the number of floodlights, visibility is still not the same as the day, and one rider complained that during tests he found the shadows very tiring on the eyes.During tests riders have also been struggling with the humidity, with Toseland resorting to a face mask.Racing at night - the start will be 11 o'clock - means working a night shift, too. "Getting your body fired up when it wants to shut down is very difficult,' said Toseland. Rossi has also mentio...
More About: Race , What , Night , Qatar , Riders
Safe driving or death by landcruiser?
2008-02-29 15:35:00
Is it just me, or has driving in Qatar improved?When I first arrived in Qatar, I used to reckon on about three scary incidents per trip. Now, while there is still plenty of bad driving going on, I often have trips where there are no scary incidents at all.It is also possible that my driving has adapted to Qatar conditions. It?s certainly true that after a while here you seem to sense what cars are going to do. One handy tip that has helped me a lot is to rely on the position of cars on the road rather than their indicators to tell you whether they are going to turn or not.However, I do think that driving has improved somewhat, and it seems to be backed up with statistics, with fewer road deaths last year.When I asked Mike, a British expat who has been here for five years, he agreed with me.?One thing that has happened since the new traffic laws have been brought in is a real fall in the speed of cars,? he said.Thomas, a British man on his third visit to Qatar, also felt that the sta...
More About: Middle East , Driving , Death , Doha
7tj Doha Cultural Festival
2008-02-25 22:49:00
The 7th Doha Cultural Festival will be starting this week on Thursday 26th February, and will be opened by the Emir at the Sheraton Hotel. The opening will feature an operetta, Qatar, Land of Love and Peace (which it actually is in comparison to some of the neighboring countries!), a parade of dhows and fireworks on the Corniche.The festival will feature a range of events, including folk shows, calligraphy, children's cinema, flamenco and a desert love exhibition (?!?)The festival has a beautifully designed website (white doves fly across the background of Doha's bay). Unfortunately, especially after considering all the effort that has obviously gone into the website, many of the links don't work, but you can find the full schedule on DohaFestival.net.Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsculture Doha festival
More About: What
Al Dafna from the Sheraton Hotel
2008-02-24 08:45:00
Also see:Qatar Image LibraryDubai Images Qatar Visitor FriendsQatar JobsFind the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about QatarTagsimages Al Dafna doha
More About: Hotel , Doha
Mobile Broadband Service for Qatar
2008-02-20 12:11:00
Qtel have launched a new mobile broadband service which will enable users to access the internet via their laptop from anywhere in Doha, Al Wakrah, Al Rayyan, Messaieed, Al Khor and Ras Laffan.To use the service laptop users need to buy a USB modem and data only SIM card, and then subscribe to a price plan, which varies from QAR 100 - QAR 300.The USB modem can be bought for QAR799, although laptop users who already have the appropriate devices will not need to purchase it.Qtel has stated that speeds will be similar to home ADSL in Qatar - i.e. slow!In other telecommunications news, eight companies have expressed an interest in bidding for a second fixed line licence. Whether this will make a huge difference to internet connection speeds remains to be seen - a Qtel engineer told me that internet problems were due to infrastructure problems caused by problems with poor quality material, and could not be easily solved.Nevertheless, given the huge unpopularity of Qtel, when there are so...
More About: Mobile , Broadband , Service , Mobile Broadband
British Embassy Open for Business
2008-02-19 13:24:00
The British embassy is now open for business again in its new location in West Bay. It?s actually the first embassy to open in the new diplomatic area, which is fitting as the British were also the first to establish an diplomatic presence in Qatar.Surprisingly, given that Qatar was under the influence of the British government from the 19th century, and British policy effectively gave rise to the emergence of Qatar as an independent nation, (see the Rise of the Qatar Ruling Family) this wasn?t until 1949, when a single political agent had to work and live in the same room.The British Political Agency 1952Just as the first diplomatic presence, built at the end of the pearl fishing era and shortly after the discovery of oil in Qatar (but before its production), reflected Qatar?s relative unimportance at the time, the new embassy now reflects the growing relevance this gas-rich country has.The embassy is not only larger, but has increased facilities for businesses and conferences. Rod...
More About: Business , Open , Doha , Embassy
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