Thursday, December 1, 2011

Doha Diaries: Days 31-32, Fingerprints, Out on the Street?!

I got another Monte Cristo Tuesday, and en route, I came across this sign.  Can you guess the trademarks?  Check your answers at the end of the post...

[Day 31] Tuesday, Fingerprints
Our hero continues to be cataloged by the State...

We got the welcome news that our approval paperwork came back from the medical exam.  Not only did we confirm we had neither HIV nor TB, it meant we were one step closer to getting our passports back and getting residency permits!  Yay!

I went to Bennigan's for my second Monte Cristo visit.  It was not as amazing.  I think maybe that should be a once a month heart is probably happy to hear that.

Late in the afternoon, Mike and I piled into a car and drove...and drove...and drove.  OK, it was only 35 minutes away, but my average time in a car here has been about 10 minutes and when you don't know where you're going, subjective time passes VERY slowly, unless you doze off...which I did.  For reference, we were at the very outermost outskirts of civilization.  Beyond the building it was pretty much all desert.

You see, last night I was up late pinging some contacts for work, and I had a morning I missed sleep.  That was bad, but oh well. we finally get out to the fingerprint place and there are two other people there besides us.  As I waited, I watched the TV screen, which was showing us all of the bad driving habits you should avoid in order to not have an accident and DIE!  Of course, they could just title the movie, Typical Doha Taxi Driving Habits and the content would be appropriate, especially the dead people and blood.  They really do seem to have a deathwish.

The fingerprint place seemed a bit out place.  Out here on the fringes, a shiny new building, gleaming inside, with high tech devices using LASERS to catalog us potential international criminals.

The first machine took a picture of our eyes and scanned our index fingers.  Maybe it scanned our retina, I have no idea.

The second machine was a fingerprint plus.  They did simple surface, rolled surfaces, palm prints, etc.  My hands felt violated and vulnerable.

Afterwards, the driver was kind enough to drop us off at our hotels, which was cool.

The rest of my evening was, in a word, blah.  I coded OwlCon stuff and pinged some US contacts for work.  The latter meant staying up pretty late so I could catch people during the regular business day.

The W Hotel delivered a turd sandwich - it turns out that my reservations were still showing a checkout date of the first of December, you know, less than 48 hours from now, and they were overbooked for their hotel because of a Petroleum industry conference.  Mmm, fun.

Time to being on the street: 36 hours.

[Day 32] Wednesday, Living on the Street? Bonus Fun

Yawwwnnnn.  Oh boy, working two time zones nine hours apart is not fun.

Time to being on the street: 24 hours.

They *may* be able to do something for me, in light of my MONTH stay here, but it would not be the usual corporate rate...blah blah blah...blackout dates...blah blah blah...time for breakfast and off to work.

Work was a bit chaotic today.  On top of the chaos of my room reservations, the whole day had a bit of a pucker factor to it (I leave it to the reader to figure out what that means).

There are NO hotels available...this could be bad.  OK, if push came to shove, I could probably impose on someone with an apartment here, but imposition is not fun.  Keep hope alive!

The day screamed by.

Time to being on the street: 18 hours

I get back to the hotel and find that I will in fact still have a room.  Relief.

Exhausted.  Stress going, but I could use a distraction.

My friend rides to my rescue and she joins me for a wonderful meal at a Thai restaurant.  It's an unusual place.  It's the most upscale Thai restaurant I have experienced.   They serve Tappas know "little plates", a Spanish tradition.  But boy what they do with those plates.

The most memorable, for me, was the Duck Curry.  The duck curry was great, but the memorable part was the pea eggplant, also known as solanum torvum.  Sounds like a great name for a science fiction movie, huh?  Anyway, a gentleman on the staff explained that Thailand has a lot of varieties of eggplant and they like to showcase them here.  Well, we were both impressed.  It was a big hit.

I ordered too much food, though.  I fell for their "You should order 3-4 plates apiece" line.

When I finally get back to my room, it's time to ping more US contacts for work. Just thinking about it is making me yawn again.  Yawwwwnnn.

And now, for the answers to the trademarks.

How did you do?  If you got them all, maybe I will mail you a Monte Cristo.

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