Tag Archives: Doha living

Mooving!! Mooving!! Mooving!!

I am actually singing a song about moving while typing this post. Yes, we are moving again! The life of an expat in the Middle East is all about moving. Growing up in the UAE for 25 years, we have moved 8 times. Nothing is permanent. You can own property if you have the money, but people who have money here are only a small percentage. Everyone else is a paycheck to paycheck kind of employee.

Anyway, like I said, we are moving again. I didn’t even get a chance to blog about our current apartment and we are moving again. I hate moving. Packing and sorting and figuring out if you should throw away stuff because your next apartment is smaller.

Apartment choices in Doha is very limited for small time expats like us. With a small paycheck, we always opt to renting just a room, or even just a bedspace. We would rather save a chunk of our salary than spend half of it on rent. With the kind of budget that we have, most of the choices we have are old buildings, old villas or really small space- always ending up in cramped living quarters.

Oh well, we are moving again and I have no choice. Although it does present a whole range of new possibilities, packing and getting things ready with two kids under three is another challenge.

Oh well…

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No Bake Layered Nutella Cheesecake

Since I have been on a cooking high the past few months, I was also doing a lot of desserts- from perfecting my cheesecake (still a LOOOONG way to go) and making my own ice cream.

This no bake cheesecake with a layer of nutella and oreo crust was a total goner the minute I served it.

My kids are going to be fat.

Happy and fat.

Recipe to be posted once I have perfected it. 🙂

 

No Bake Nutella Cheesecake
No Bake Nutella Cheesecake

 

QIFF 2015, a world of endless opportunities for your mouth

There are so many opportunities for trying out so many different things at the recently concluded Qatar International Food Festival at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, that going there for just half a day is not enough.

If life were under different circumstances, I would have gone all the days. Maybe next year.

But for now, I will just share some of the things I tried and experienced at this year’s event.

The first class dining in the sky by Qatar Airways at the QIFF 2015
The first class dining in the sky by Qatar Airways
Yalla Natural's stall encouraging everyone to grow their own vegetables at the QIFF 2015
Yalla Natural’s stall encouraging everyone to grow their own vegetables. Whih is one of my fave since I am a very frustrated gardener #blackthumb
Mr Taco Mexican Food stall at the QIFF 2015
Mr Taco Mexican Food stall at the QIFF 2015. I was in the mood for churros. I found theirs a bit dry but it was ok. Loved their tamarindo juice though.
an Indian guy making bangles at the Royal Tandoor stall at the QIFF 2015
While waiting for our butter chicken we watched the Indian guy making bangles at the Royal Tandoor stall at the QIFF 2015
live cooking demo at the QIFF 2015
ofcourse, we didnt miss the opportunity to watch a live demo. Chef was from Sheraton in Turkey. The beef dish reminded us of the pinoy dish “kalderetang baka”. i wanted to try the aubergines in bechamel sauce though but we didn’t get the chance. it got devoured the second it was offered to the public… boofreakinghoo!

Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha Qatar Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha Qatar

Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha QatarHopefully next year my kids would be bigger and they won’t be sick. and we’ll have a grand time at the QIFF 2016… And we’ll be more prepared for parking. 🙂

A day in the life of…

I like food. So when I found out that they had a festival for food in Doha, I knew I had to go and be there.

We decided to visit the second day because we were busy on the first day. The Chubby Hubby planned to meet us there from work and I brought the two kids with me from home. We didn’t expect these festivals to be so popular (Doha newbie here) because when we got there, it took 40 minutes to make the u-turn going to the venue. Chubby Hubby complained that he couldn’t find parking and that the organizers were turning cars away to go park somewhere else. So he tried to find parking outside the Museum of Islamic Art vicinity and found himself in a lot of competition with other QIFF attendees.

Meanwhile, the kids and I after being stuck in the cab for 40 minutes at that U-turn, decided to get down and just cross the street. I forgot that I was going to cross the street with a two year old and a little boy strapped to my body. Not to mention the baby bag and Aria’s backpack (which always ends up on my back). We managed though but the area where the event was being held was quite a walk from the entrance too and it didn’t take long until Aria started insisting I carry her.

At this point, I called the Chubby Hubby and asked where he was, to which he replies in an annoyed tone that he is still looking for parking.

It’s already been an hour and I haven’t sampled any food yet at the festival, which was taking its toll on me. But I was determined not to go home until I had experienced at least something with food. So I told the Chubby Hubby that I will be walking around with the kiddos to check the place out.

So I held Aria’s hand and navigated through the different stalls, looking at all the scrumptious looking food, salivating at every corner. I didn’t have enough cash with me at the time and I was saving up for something I felt I had to have. So I was being a stingy woman while I searched for that one thing I had to have in my mouth.

My daughter was thrilled to be outdoors but got bored and tired with all the walking. She would occasionally ask me to carry her to which I would reply that I can’t because I was already carrying Marcus. My little boy was already fast asleep while strapped to me and was snoring a bit.

We have been wandering for about 40 minutes when i decided to give the Chubby hubby another call to which he gave me the same annoyed answer. I concede and tell him that I’ll go and find him and that we could just go home. I was tired too because I haven’t eaten anything.

So I told my daughter that we are going to find her dad. She follows me for a few steps and then stops and insists that I carry her. I say ‘no’ and tell her why. She starts her tantrums. I walk away. She cries louder. People walking by ask if they can help me by carrying her. I politely decline because I know Aria will throw a fit if a stranger will carry her. She cries. I carry her. With Marcus strapped to me. In other words, I start carrying both my kids at the same time. One 15 Kg kid and another 8 kg kid.

I walk for a few minutes and put Aria down. She wants to be carried. She cries. I walk away. And the cycle repeats.

Marcus, bless his heart, was calm throughout the ordeal.

We finally reach the car about 10 minutes away from the park gates. I had both kids in my arms hoping the Chubby Hubby sees that I too had struggles of my own. But when we got closer, his car was empty. I put a distressed Aria down and checked my phone.

4 missed calls. MAAAAAN!

I immediately called back, and Chubby Hubby answers that he is inside and that he’s been trying to call me. I say, ok, I’ll go to him. Aria insists again to be carried.

SO I carry both kids back to the park.

Well, I had some good and not so great food that night. We stayed to watch the fireworks along the very beautiful Westbay skyline.

When we got home, my baby girl had a slight fever. I gave her some medicine and put her to bed and when I got back I saw her in convulsions. Seeing my daughter like that is the most terrifying thing  in my life. I called the Chubby Hubby. Aria loses consciousness and I was afraid to check so I asked him to bring her to the hospital. Tried to be as calm as I could but kept playing worst case scenarios in my head. I was in my jammies as I left Marcus with a dear friend and rushed after Aria and Chubby Hubby to the closest hospital (which was thankfully just a few doors away from our building). They, however, turned us away and sent us the Hamad Pediatric Emergency Center a few blocks away.

At the Emergency Center, they did tests to rule out as many infections as possible. We stayed till the wee hours of the morning and found out that she only had an ear infection and that her seizure was caused by her high fever. Apparently febrile convulsions are common in children from 6 months to 6 years. They happen without doing any damage to a child’s brain. Even though the doctor kept telling me that it is normal, it is still a scary sight. He gives me tips on how to handle the episodes and some medicine and sends us home. Thank God for health cards in this country! I wonder what it would be like if the same thing happened to us if we were in the Philippines.

She was fine earlier that day. I immediately felt guilty for putting my daughter through that just because I wanted so bad to be a part of the QIFF and had to be there.

We got home around 3 am. I didn’t sleep well and kept checking on Aria. She looked fine. As a matter of fact, she started snoring.

I whispered a prayer of thanks as I held her that early morning.

Exploring Qatar: The Rock Formations of Zekreet

I usually avoid the malls during weekends because I hate crowds. But the weekend is the only free time the Chubby hubby has so we make it a point to do something new during these days- whether its trying a new restaurant or hanging out at the park. About a week ago, some friends from church invited us to go visit a site at the outskirts of Doha. Since the weather is slowly transitioning to Summer, it was the perfect time for some off road adventure.

Zekreet is located 45 minutes away from Doha, just off the Dukhan Road (the road going towards Qatar National Convention Center and the humongous Qatar Mall Construction). It is a collection of plateaus in the middle of the desert with a mini Arabic town that was put up for films (hence called Film City) and some archeological sites.

If you want to go and see the rock formations, it is best to bring your own food since there are no places to eat there! The next food stop is more than 30 minutes away from the site.

Book Crazy at the recent 25th International Doha Book Fair

The one thing I always watch out for are good bargains. So when a few friends and I decided to check out the recent book fair at the humongous Qatar National Convention Center, I didn’t want to go home empty handed but at the same time, I didn’t want to spend a fortune.

When we arrived and started checking out everything in store, most of the books on display and on sale were in Arabic. How I wished I could understand the language. I could only read but not understand. I bet there were a million bargain books in Arabic that day.

I was drawn to the stalls set up by the different embassies. Looked through the books on display at the French embassy and wanted to buy one even though I only understood the first word of each sentence- Je, Tu, Il, Elle, Nous, Vous, Ils, Elles… Fortunately, I stumbled upon the books on sale at the US embassy and found a few very affordable gems that I couldn’t pass up on. However, they weren’t books for me. They were children’s books. Books for my babies.

If there was something I wanted my kids to take after me, I would want them to love reading like I do. So I didn’t think twice and at the prices they were being sold (25 QAR – or even less – each for hardbound books), i had to snatch them up before someone else did. My favorite is the 50th Anniversary Edition of ‘The Giving Tree’, a story I really loved as a child.

book fair bargain finds at the 25th International Doha Book Fair
Aria’s book fair bargain finds.

I am looking forward to more books at the book fair next year. Hopefully, more books for me. Or not. Whatever. 🙂

Souq Waqif and some good photos

About two weeks ago, Sanne of The World According to Mitzie Mee, one of our blogger friends from Dubai came to visit Doha for a visa run and asked me and Noemi of Pinay Flying High to take her to one of the authentic Doha places we know. I swear, I racked my brains trying to come up with some place new and couldn’t think of anything ‘must-see’. When the day Sanne arrived, the plan was just to take her to Gerry’s grill in Al Nasr for lunch. However, Noemi took her to Souq Waqif instead which was the one best place to take someone visiting Doha for the first time. I also got the chance to see the place during the day and it is as beautiful as it is during the evenings.

Souq Waqif at night
Souq Waqif at night

I took my parents there while they were here and they fell in love with the place too. Mom says it reminded her of the old Deira and Bur Dubai where we use to walk around when we were kids.

I promised I’d go back and take photos once I get a good camera. I now have a good camera but my arms are rarely free. But I got some photos the last time I was there which weren’t so bad.

souq waqif (1 of 17)
Parrots a plenty at Souq Waqif
A hamster at Souq Waqif
Hamster anybody?

Mom asked me to take her picture while strolling.

Mom at souq waqif
Mom exploring the shops

Ofcourse I had to have pictures of my favorite subject- my daugther.

Aria at Souq Waqif
Poopoo Aria?

I swear, I have already been here for more than half a year and there are still so many places I have never been to. But now, it is already a given that Souq Waqif is a favorite spot and I will definitely bring (or take?) there everyone who comes to visit.

…..

You should check out Noemi’s post on Things to Do in Doha: Travel back in time in Souq Waqif and Sanne’s post on Doha: Souq Waqif.