8 Reasons to stay in Doha this summer
It’s that time again. The time of the mass exodus when the school year ends and thousands of expats, mainly mums and kids, take to the skies and head back home, leaving a golf club full of husbands and fathers behind. Many go for the full 3 months of summer, preferring to stay in their home country with their families and ‘real’ friends.
The great ‘clear out’ is so predictable you can nearly set your watch by it. The weather gets hotter, schools close and then BAM they’re gone by the second week of June! I think at this point the average ‘western’ expat age drops from around 40 to about 26! All the young singles are left behind.
The excitement in many is tangible. When you ask them about the home they’re going back to, they glow. They eagerly gush about their ‘To Do’ lists of who they’ll see and what activities their kids are looking forward to. There’ll be time with grandparents, childhood friends, rain, trees to climb, movie sessions where the audience is actually quiet. For many it’s a reward for a long hard year. For others it’s the proviso, a condition of a deal struck years ago, “If we move to Qatar, you have to promise me we’ll go home every summer”. And fair enough, summer here can be pretty brutal.
But it can also be great. For those of us who choose to stick around, there is a definite upside.
Here’s why you should stick around this summer:
1. Less traffic
This is a big one. The roads really empty out – it’s like living in a sleepy country town, especially in the middle of the day. Think about it … all that school traffic is gone. No more after-school activities. No more midday nursery pickup. Bliss.
2. More parking spots
Less traffic means less cars, right? Meaning that this summer, you might just be lucky enough to get a park at City Center. INSIDE THE CAR PARK! I just blew your mind, didn’t I.
Many see Ramadan as a burden, but I disagree. Ramadan is a great experience and fantastic reminder of where we’re living. Think about it. You get to live through a holy Muslim celebration in a Muslim country! Everything is turned upside down. It’s a huge novelty really and if nothing else, it makes for great stories to send back home! And, of course, we have reduced working hours so you can expect to be home by about 2 pm while the bank stays open until about midnight. Remind me what’s so bad about Ramadan again?
4. Less work
I feel quite guilty saying this, but hey, it’s true for most! It’s widely acknowledged that not only do many have reduced working hours, they also have a reduced work load during summer. The whole of summer, not just Ramadan! So you have time to catch up on those webinars you’ve been storing and read that management blog you bookmarked in January but haven’t had time to get to yet. Or read the Daily Mail online, whatever!
Everyone’s trying to get your business in summer which means you’ll be rolling in hot hot discounts! For example, my gym is offering cheaper membership combo rates for the whole of summer.
As if all those discounts weren’t enough, there’s also the post-Ramadan sales! Literally every store hosts a huge sale that lasts at least 2 weeks. I have already stopped buying things in the hope that I’ll be able to score them cheaper in the Ramadan sales. I know, I’m a tightarse…
7. The Olympics
Coming from Australia, I’m used to watching the Olympics at about 9 pm at night. Not this year! Not only will I be able to watch the Olmpics live, as they happen, I’ll be able to watch more than I ever have in the past thanks to reduced Ramadan working hours. I’d better stock up on Doritos and tracksuit pants!
8. Cirque du Soleil
Those of us who stick it out this summer will be rewarded by a visit by the Cirque du Soleil in July. Surely the biggest thing since Kevin Spacey performed as Richard III in Doha, this one’s a special treat for those who can handle the heat!
Image from Aquabumps
Are you staying around for summer? What are you looking forward to? Any of the above?