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Saturday, January 31, 2009


Tuk-tuk at the Pearl

I visited Qatar last exactly one year ago, and saw the early stages of the ambitious Pearl development. WOW - what progress this year!

I have just come back from my second visit, and found the area amazing. The approach passes two mirror glazed contorted towers, seemingly one-dimensional on first glance, then taking a more solid shape as you drive by.

Then over the causeway edging the blue Doha waters, past a curved crescent of "posh" shops, such as Armani, Hermes, Cavalli and more and under an elegant and imposing marble floored arch, passing the main foyer/entrance on your right.

In here are yet more shops - one with the Rolls Royce logo! - and an elegant atrium with cooling water features, leading through to the one promenade which is now open.

Safely fenced, this is ideal for the many children playing there, whilst elegant parents watched proudly.

The sapphire-blue waters are already housing the first of no doubt many stylish yachts and catamarans.

Sitting in the sun here, with the misty towers of Doha in the distance and drinking coffee at one of the coffee shops now open was a great experience and I really look forward to the next visit, when no doubt the first of the many different types of appartment blocks and houses will be inhabited.

By Jean

Also see:

The Pearl Qatar by Shabina Khatri and Qatar Property by David Chaddock

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Doha Hotels


Friday, January 30, 2009

New: Qatar Photo Comp

Qatar Photography Competition

Enter our latest competition. In addition to winning great prizes, you could see your photographs published in a National Newspaper. Check out www.QatarComp.com for more information.

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The Pearl Qatar: Movie

I spotted this movie on Qatar Living, so apologies if you have already seen it.

If you are interested in the Pearl Qatar be sure to check out our full length article on the subject here: The Pearl Qatar.

Also see:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Qatar Intersection

Great little movie here by MidWestintheMidEast

While we are on the subject of Qatar intersections, here is another one we took a couple of years ago after a road had been suddenly blocked off without prior warning:

At least it was light for these guys - I had nearly crashed into it when returning home late at night!

If you are planning to drive in Qatar, be sure to check out our driving podcast - even if the advice didn't work out very well for us:

Qatar Visitor's 90 Second Guide to Driving in Qatar

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Last Chance to Enter!

We'll be wrapping up our January competition tomorrow, so if you are still interested in entering now is the time to do so. The prize is a Japanese tea set provided by our sponsor Goods from Japan, and all you have to do to enter is sign up for our newsletter and answer the three simple questions contained within.


If you wondering what our newsletter looks like you can see an example here: Qatar Newsletter. If you are not interested in a tea set, we'll be announcing a new competition in our next newsletter with three great prizes to be won.

The Prize!

Qatar Business Directory

Our sponsors Qatcom.com have now released a movie to explain exactly what they do. For more information see the Qatar Business Directory post on the Qatcom blog.

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20 Days to Find a New Shop and Home

In what must be devastating news for shopkeepers and residents in the Mushereib area eviction notices have been posted up on their doors and windows giving them just 20 days to clear out. 

Following that period water and services will be turned out. 

Adding to the problem of moving residents will be unlikely to find either accommodation or premises that matches what they currently have. 

Prices have been set since 2000 - and since then the price of both renting and buying property has gone sky high. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Standard of Living in Qatar

The standard of living in Qatar is improving - but what about the cost of living?

According to the latest Human Development Report, reported today in the Gulf Times, the standard of living in Qatar improved slightly between 2005 and 2006. 

Acording to the report, although Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world it only ranks 34th in the standard of living index. The result may be surprisingly low given its wealth and huge natural resources, and below the rank given to its neighbours, the UAE and Bahrain, but is still one better than last year. 

The study looks beyond factors such as GDP  to include factors such as life expectancy, literacy and education to provide a more complete picture of country's development. 

If GDP alone were included Qatar would rank far higher - the GDP per person was nearly $73,000 compared to just 27,664 the year before. 

It is likely that GDP has also increased substantially since 2006 - but then so has the time spent waiting in traffic. It is perhaps ironic that as the spending power of some of Qatari's residents has increased (labourers continue to earn a fraction of what they would in the West) the time they have to enjoy that wealth has decreased. 

Also unmentioned in the Gulf Times report was the several years of high inflation suffered by Qatar. In addition, with the global economy suffering, wages seem to have been put on freeze, so even with the reduced rate of inflation now predicted (estimated to be around 10%) many people in Qatar are likely to see a decrease in real wages over the next year. 

Movie: Human Development Report: 2007

Qatar Natural History Group Celebratory Dinner

The Qatar Natural History Group will be marking its 30th anniversary this year, and in celebration will be having a fabulous buffet dinner at the Diplomatic Club on Friday 6th March. The event will also be open for non-members. For more information click on the image below to download their flyer (PDF).

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Burning Oil in the Desert.

By John

On the weekend of 24th to 26th April 2009, there will be the smell of burning oil and hot rubber, twinned with the scream of engines at 19000 rpm as 20 or so Formula One cars hurtle round the Sakhir Racetrack in Bahrain. This is the Gulf Air Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.

Modern Racetrack.

Sakhir is one of the new breed of racetracks designed by Herman Tilke to allow overtaking in the contemporary racing scene, which is dominated by aerodynamics and downforce.

Image by Sabbah

New Rules

Attempts are being made to enhance overtaking possibilities with new rules this year making the rear wing narrower and higher than before. Hopefully, this will make racing more exciting, although Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton have shown that overtaking is possible on virtually any track if the driver has what it takes.

Team Form in 2009.

With these new rules, it is harder than ever to predict which teams will have the edge this year. In addition to the rear wing, other changes include a larger front wing with variable geometry, slick tyres instead of grooved and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) as at least a token acknowledgement to the existence of global warming and the contribution that cars make to it. (Please note, drivers of gas guzzling 4-wheel drive vehicles!)

New Cars.

In the last week both McLaren and Ferrari have launched their new cars.

This year testing halts once the racing begins, so the teams will be working flat out in the next few weeks to test their new developments. It also means that the drivers will be less familiar with the cars at the start of the season.

Upset in Bahrain.

By the time the circus reaches Sakhir circuit, we should have some idea of this year's form, although last year Ferrari's performance had been unpromising until Bahrain. In fact, Bahrain completely upset the order that had been established in the first races, with Hamilton having a disastrous race and Massa showing winning form for the first time that season.

Other News

Toyota have also launched their 2009 car. The former Honda team are in talks with Mercedes and McLaren over the supply of engines. Pedro de la Rosa started testing the new McLaren car in Portugal yesterday.

An Exciting Year in Prospect.

With new cars, new rules, a possible "new" team (formerly Honda) and a new race on the calender in the Middle East, this looks like being an exciting year. Will Hamilton retain the Championship or will Massa prove the winner? Will Renault continue the resurgance it showed in the second half of last season to bring Alonso into contention? Will Vettel be able to show his form of last year after his change from Toro Rosso to Red Bull?

Will BMW become a dominant team in 2009?

Questions answered in Bahrain

These questions will be at least partly answered in Bahrain and by the end of that race we should have some idea of the teams' pecking order in 2009.

Bahrain Grandprix Highlights

Write for Qatar Visitor

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Sunday, January 25, 2009


At the dentists - and not too happy about it.
A friend the other day was asking me about dentists in Qatar, and I pointed her to our webpage on dentists. Of course, as she pointed out, there is no indication of how good these dentists are. And while the dentist was quite cheap compared to some of the other dentists around, she still had a pain in her jaw several days after going to the dentists.

As a result we have extended our rating system to our dentist's page. If you have had a good or bad experience with one of these dentists, we would be very grateful if you could let other users know by rating them. (If you really feel strongly you may also wish to submit a review.)

Note - we have also added the rating system to our restaurants review page.

Horse Race

The next exciting horse race meeting in Qatar will be on 29th January at Doha Racetrack - with the main race being the Championship Class 2000m for 4-years and over horses - serious prize money of 500,000.00.

Entrance and a program is free. In addition to the racing, children can usually enjoy a bouncy castle and pony rides. Although no gambling is allowed, there are plenty of prizes to be won, and you can enjoy the spectacle from the club's restaurant, set high above the race track. The next race is the 25th February. Go and have a look at these wonderful Arab horses and have a great day out.

By Jean

Also see: The Arab Horse: The Beginning

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Qatar Jobs

Doha Hotels

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Pearl Qatar

For our latest article Shabina Khatri spent two days interviewing marketing staff, employees and potential customers at The Pearl-Qatar. She found a mixture of results, from visitors overawed by the huge artificial island built on the former pearl diving grounds to engineers worried about the delays in the construction.

Three wheeled vehicles at the Pearl stand ready to whisk visitors round the Pearl

Also see:

Qatar Property |Buying Property in Qatar | Qatar Property Sites

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Qatar Visitor Competitions

Congratulations to John Todd, Head teacher at Compass International School Doha, for winning our December competition. John is pictured below, being presented with a copy of Qatar by author David Chaddock.

Remember there is still time to enter our January competition! We will be announcing the winner in our next newsletter, on January 29th - and at the same time releasing details of our next competition, which will be our biggest yet.

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Qatar Visitor Friends

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Endurance Riding in Qatar

By Jean

Can YOU ride a horse 160 kilometers? Endurance riding is an equestrian sport based on riding long distances (60, 80, 100, 120, and 160 km) with periodic veterinary checks to monitor the horse's health and condition during the ride. The horse completes the ride when it passes all necessary criteria and is judged "fit to continue" by a veterinary judge at the finish. The first to cross the finish line is considered the winner. The top ten horses also stand for the coveted "Best Condition" award, an honor that goes to the horse judged to be the most superior in condition in addition to "fit to continue." Here again the Arab horse excels, as one would expect!

How can you get started? Whether you do or don't have a horse already, you should attend an endurance ride, meet endurance people, and find someone experienced and knowledgeable in horses and the sport of endurance to help you get started - the next Endurance Ride in Qatar is on the 7th February.

Another good way to get started in endurance would be to attend the clinic coming up at Al Samariyah Stables in April. An American endurance rider, Maggie Mieske, and her farrier husband, Nelson, will be hosting the clinic and covering such topics as: a vet check demonstration, hoof care, conditioning, nutrition, tack and saddle fit, pit crewing, electrolytes, probiotics, etc. Pre-registration and pre-payment will be required. If you don't have a horse, you may choose to rent one from the stable for a lesson or a fun ride on the trail after the clinic. Contact Maggie for details at msmieske@yahoo.com.

Also see The Arabian Horse: The Beginning by the same writer

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Qatar: The Movie

We have added this video to the front page of our website, so apologies to those who follow both the website and the blog. (We generally find people read one or the other.)

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Qatar Jobs

Doha Hotels


Monday, January 19, 2009

Islamic Arts Museum at Night

The Qatar Islamic Arts Museum is pictured here at night with the Qatar flag fluttering over a dhow in the foreground.

Qatar's Islamic arts museum at night.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Qatar Cornershops: The End?

In what will mean disaster for small scale merchants and residents alike small shops in residential areas of Qatar could cease to exist from March onwards.

According to the Gulf Times today the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning has decided not to renew the licence of convenience and corner stores in residential areas of Qatar.

These little shops are incredibly convenient, and often offer services beyond what people expect in the West - delivering goods after a phone call as well as the ubiquitous newspaper delivered to the door before work.

Hard pressed mothers everywhere will rue the decision - no longer will a bout of diarhea leading to the using up of the last nappy be solved by a quick call to the latest shop. Future purchases will mean a trip to the malls.

The malls, obviously, will benefit: but not the customers. The shopping centers are already overcrowded, and supermarkets do not follow the British policy of opening a new till whenever a till has more than three customers.

Parking is already a nightmare - for those of us who have cars. For those who do not have cars the situation is even worse.

With the current shortage of taxis, and with most women refusing to take a bus, for many fetching the daily bread will become a daily nightmare.

Also see: Qatar Shopping

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Gaza Anger

It's impossible to describe the anger felt by people here about the situation in Gaza. It's the topic on everyone's mind, and whatever their political leanings few fail to condemn Israel. Many blame America as well, and our caretaker, a lovely and good natured gentleman who is always happy to help us, keeps a picture of Bush with a shoe superimposed over it - this he grinds his foot into every time he enters the door.

This anger has spread beyond Qatar: I was surprised to come across this video on You Tube of a British-Jewish politician condemning the attacks in Qatar.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Al Jazeera Hits the News

We have long been a fan of Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera has annoyed the Americans and the Brits in the past, so much so that it was rumoured that the two allies were thinking of bombing their strongest Arab allies' news channel.

Screen shot of Al JAzeera You Tube

However, the fact that Al Jazeera has been thrown out of almost every country in the Gulf (Israel, surprisingly, is one of the few that has not expelled them at some point or other,) and that they have received threatening mail from Al Qaeda suggests that they have annoyed almost everyone at some point or other.

Which is what a good news channel should do.

Al Jazeera does something that has not been done by a news channel before. It gives the Arab people a voice. And recently it has hit the news itself for its reporting of the harrowing conflict in Gaza, with feature articles in the International Herald Tribune amongst others.

It has done so not only for its reporting of the news, but for the way it is reporting it.

One of Al Jazeera's problems is not getting the news - it has 6 reporters in Gaza, and is the only major network represented there - but getting it out to an international English audience.

For while their Arabic audience is huge, in America their audience is tiny - and at times deliberately blocked.

As a result the channel has turned to social networking to get their results across.

Internet users can follow Al Jazeera's updates on Twitter, and their You Tube channel has received over two and a half million views.

Their viral efforts may have been helped by the fact that they have a Qatar blogger, Mohammed Nanabhay, co-leading a digital leap team.

It may well take a blogger to understand the communicative and viral potential of the internet.

And with six out of ten youngsters in America now getting their news from the internet, that potential is huge.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Qatar Petroglyphs

In her latest article for Qatar Visitor, Carvings in the Rock, Frances Gillespie looks at the rock art that is carved into the limestone rocks of Qatar around the area of Jabal Al Jassasiya.

Scorpion like creatures crawls across the rocks in this photo from Jabal Al Jassasiya.
It is tempting to use the cliche "ancient rock carvings" when descibing them, but at least some of these carvings seem to have been made hundreds rather than thousands of years ago, judging from the features that adorn some of the boats. It is not always clear, though, whether these features were included in the original design of the boats or whether they were added on at a later date.

Nor is it clear why some of the carvings were made in the first place, especially those with parallel range of cup marks. In the article Frances looks at the different theories for the creation of the petroglyphs - and at the holes in the theories!

Also see: Qatar Archeology | Qatar History | Qatar Nature

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Jobs and Competitions

Our partners, Bayt.com, are running a competition to help them find a visual style for their movies.

To enter the competition you have to create a video showing your use of an original creative design.

The winner of the competition will win the contract for all or part of the videos they are creating.

For more information check out the movie below or visit the Bayt Jobs I Can Draw site.

Remember you can also see a list of current jobs in Qatar and the Gulf provided by Bayt.com on our Qatar Jobs page.

Also see:

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Qatar Open

"It's funny," said my friend. "Tennis matches used to be free here, yet the tennis courts were half empty. Now they charge, and the courts are packed."

Maybe tennis is coming of age in Qatar - just like, it seems Murray, is. The first time I watched him in the finals, he was defeated. (We caught the last play of the match in a movie you can watch at the bottom of this post: Qatar Tennis.)

Last year he won, but it seemed a scrappy victory. This time his victory over Roderick, the world number 8, seemed smooth and almost easy - raising barely a grunt out of him until the final set. (See the movie below!)

If it was packed, though, it was packed with expats rather than Qataris. Qataris were present, and it was great to see young children enjoying the match, but despite the efforts of the Qatar Tennis association, who are encouraging young children to start playing, tennis has a long way to go before it even starts to match the hold football has on Qatari hearts! (The international match being held next door certainly didn't help Qatari attendance!)

So why is tennis so much more popular now? Perhaps it is because there are just so many expats here now - the official population has doubled since we started Qatar Visitor. Or perhaps it is just because until you put a price on something, people accord it no value.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Souq Waqif Hotels

Souq Waqif is one of my favourite places in Qatar. It makes me wince to use such a cliché but a trip to Qatar really would not be complete without a visit to the Souq.

So it was a pleasant surprise during a recent meander round to find that there are now three hotels serving the needs of guests.

All the hotels also have the added advantage that they are in easy walking distance of the Islamic Arts Museum, the Corniche and the harbour with its traditional wooden dhows.

Hotel Souq Waqif

Tel: +974 4433030/ 4432288
Fax: +974 441 9292
Website: www.HotelSouqWaqif.com

This is the plushest - and the most expensive - hotel we looked at. Standard rooms started from QAR900/night.

Located closest to the Corniche, in front of the main car park, a large and airy restaurant is located to the front. First impressions were good and the staff polite and helpful, although unfortunately when we visited every room was occupied. We will return for further inspection!

Al Khariss Hotel

Address: PO Box 23618, Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar
Tel: +974 4310786/4354323
Fax: +974 4324345

I think this hotel has a fabulous location. Standing on the central street of the souq, interesting shops crowd to either side and just opposite is one of my favourite shops: Al Ghalaffa. The hotel itself is situated above the Khariss cafe, which I am also fond of, despite (or perhaps because of) the weird items that you find on their menus.

Yet be warned that the hotel has the slowest lift in the world. (Fortunately it only has to go up one floor.)

The rooms are also decorated in the traditional style - which was a bit bare for my liking. And at QAR800, they were only slightly cheaper than Hotel Souq Waqif.

Bismillah Hotel

Tel: +974 4374417
Fax: +974 4374417
Address: PO Box 16919

This hotel is the oldest of the bunch, with photos going back to the 1960's. (You can see an old photo of the hotel here and a nightime image here.

Although slightly more expensive than when we first blogged about the hotel, Bismillah still makes it into our list of Budget Hotels in Qatar with a single room starting at QAR400 and a double room at QAR500.

A faint musty smell, which reminded me of my backpacking days in Asia, put me off the rooms a bit. The smell seemed to come from the ceiling, which looked a bit too traditional for the more discerning of guests.

On the plus point it is actually affordable, boasts another great location and has great view of the souq (see below).

The View from the Bismillah Hotel
The view from Bismillah Hotel
Also see:

Doha Luxury Hotel Guide

Qatar Hotel Directory
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Doha Daily

Nigel, former owner of Qatar Journal, is now working via the Doha Daily to deliver a condensed pdf version of the Peninsula newspaper to subscribers.

The idea is based on the premise that many of us are too busy to work our way through an entire newspaper: hence a small pdf version with the most important stories of the day.

To sign up for the news summary just visit Doha Daily and enter your name in the box - you will have the option to unsubscribe should you wish.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Sharq Village and Spa - Revisited

Sharq illage and Spa at night

It is some time since we wrote our review of the Ritz Carlton Sharq Village and Spa, and when they contacted us to request an update we jumped at the chance to view the hotel again.

My reasons were partly selfish - I already know by reputation and experience that the hotel is excellent. However, the chance to be shown round the hotel in person was too good an experience to miss.

We visited on one of Doha's few dull and grey days. I was warned that the day would not do the hotel justice, but the courtyards still looked superb.


According to the public relations manager, legend says that the Sharq village and Spa lies on the remains of an ancient village.

In a story she said they had got from the Emir himself, an ancient souq was founded by a noble Sheikh.

According to the story, the village first prospered as traders settled, building ornate homes around courtyards and furnishing them with treasures brought back from their travels.

Then, after some centuries, the village was abandoned - until recent time, when it was rebuilt as the Sharq Village and Spa.


The Sharq Village maintains the village-like athmosphere, with ornate villas or 'beits' built around courtyards each functioning as a separate hotel.

Each villa is attended to by its own personal butler.

In the center of the complex lies one feature the original hotel did not have - a large and intricate swimming pool, floodlit at night.


On our trip we ate at the Al Liwan, a restaurant that is also a favourite of the Emir.

Sea bass

A Lebanese starter of delicious cold salads and olives was followed by sushi, prawns straight from the open grill in front of us, sea bass and lamb cooked in the Qatari style - all topped off with the traditional Om Ali*.

The buffet is varied from day to day, so there is no guarantee you will have the same selection! The chef is currently planning to have both Indian and Greek style buffets.

Negative points?

For the sake of balance we always try to look for negative points as well as positive points, although it is harder than most with the Sharq Village and Spa.

There are two small points.

Planes flying directly overhead could get annoying, although the sound is muffled in the main area of the hotel.

And having to walk outside between the buildings is fine now, but would be unpleasant during the hottest summer months. Partly because of that, there are golf carts ready to whisk guests between the buildings.

And finally...

The verdict remains the same as our first visit - absolutely fantastic!

Agree or disagree? Remember, on our Doha hotel page you can rate Doha hotels, or even leave your own review.

Also see our full review of the Sharq Village and Spa

Om Ali: an Arab dish which can best be described as a sort of cross between rice pudding and bread pudding (and tastier than both!)

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

QV Man Turns to Cheese, Meets Royalty

Ex-Qatar Visitor man Mathew Harris has made good with cheese - cheese so good it has had the royal stamp of approval.

Prince Charles getting to meet Mathew Harris.
Matt was the man behind our interactive map of Qatar, and the designer of our Qatar Today ad, as well as a number of the website's other features.

Now he has turned his back on the busy life of the city and headed off to the rural bliss in Devonshire.

Taking his chance to get away from a computer screen, he has also started his own Devonshire Deli.

And at Qatar Visitor, we have no doubt that it was the superb and unbeatable taste of his cheese that attracted Prince Charles to the market this day.

So, if you are heading towards the UK and fancy some rather special cheese, be sure to check out his website!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Twitter Qatar

Twitter logo.The Peninsula recently ran a story on Twitter: Small Talk is the Next Big Thing. (Unfortunately, this was on Oasis, which is not published online).

The article predicted that twittering, or micro blogging, will be the next online networking craze.

Admittedly, the article was from the Guardian rather than a home grown piece. And in fact, Nigel, writing directly for the Peninsula, predicted a surge in community websites like Qatar Living rather than in new fads like Twitter.

And in Qatar, Twitter, though already being used, has yet to take off.

One huge advantage

However, in this modern day Twitter may have hit on the key to attracting today's time-starved audience:

It's quick.

In fact you are forced to be quick. Each message has to be written in 140 characters or less.

Which takes seconds.

In today's world of information overload and of people trained by television to have a miniscule concentration span, that's a work of genius.

How to Use It

How you use it depends on your purpose.

It would be ideal for keeping up with friends. However, currently a majority of users seem to be webmasters and online marketers.

(Which is another reason it will be successful. Connect with the key players on the internet and the rest will follow!)

They are using twitter to disseminate ideas, follow industry specific news and to network with the movers and shakers of the internet.

Whether you are keeping up with friends or networking, it is usually best to ignore the question looming over the box: What are you doing?
Twitter blogMost users are not likely to be interested in your current activities unless, as happened to one twitter user, you happen to be in a plane crash (or other interesting event).

Instead, users point to interesting pages on the web (not always their own), keep up with news and have quick fire conversation.


To get in the conversation you have to follow and be followed.

Follow a few people and soon people will start to follow you back. But if you are boring, over post, under post or spam you will soon find your followers shrinking.

A host of services are already following twitter to make it easy for you to search and connect with people.

One is Mr Twitter, which looks at you, your followers and who you follow and identifies people you may wish to connect with.

There is also TwitterHolic, which handily lists twitter users in Qatar.

Qatar Twitterers

Twitter may not have many users in Qatar, but those that do use it are major players on the internet.

Al Jazeera and Qatar Airways both make heavy use of twitter, as do a number of bloggers: Mohammed N , Julie Lindsay, the e-learning blogger, Abdurahman Warsame, who runs No Longer at Ease and former Qatar Journal owner Nigel can all be found twittering.

Qatar Living and I love Qatar are examples of those who joined earlier and then, after a brief dalliance, have stopped using it.

I have a feeling, though, that they will be back.

Qatar Visitor on Twitter

Update: 7/01/08 I notice Qatar Living is active again on Twitter!

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Virtual Job Fair

As desperate job seekers from the West and elsewhere flood Qatar with job applications - even Qatar Visitor has been receiving daily emails by job seekers requesting help finding work - Bayt.com has announced that it will holda virtual job fair in Kuwait. 

Bayt.com has held job fairs in other countries, but this is the first one to be held in Kuwait. (When is it going to be Qatar's turn?)

At the job fair employees and employers can connect and interact online, and job hunters can also check out companies virtual booths. 

Job seekers will be able to upload their cv at the fair and to apply for jobs advertised at the booths.

Virtual Job Fair


Last Glimpse of the Oasis Hotel

The last remains of the Oasis Hotel stands against a murky sky before the bulldozers move in for the final time.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Websites for Qatar?

In a recent post on Qatar Living we asked what websites people thought Qatar needed.

Food and Friends

British Expat felt that Qatar needed a Looking for Friends website - but only so that regular Qatar Living users could have the forum back to themselves!

Other people were thinking about their stomachs rather than their hearts: Bahrain 83 wanted a website where people could go and order food online from the most popular food outlets - and for an example pointed at this website: Feedme.

Maps and Shops

Onemakikomoto wanted a Qatar Mapquest, updated daily, to help commuters plan routes and avoid local diversions and road construction.

Steve and Kim pointed out that there were already interactive maps on Qatcom, and that people could find businesses on the websites power pages. Big Boi also mentioned the interactive Doha Map site.

Steve and Kim were also looking forward to another website, Qbay, an online Qatar auction and market which would combine shopping online with a delivery service.

Websites for future?

Already there has been huge growth in the internet in Qatar. Qatar Living is huge, Qatcom has come from nowhere to provide an online directory of over 25000 Qatar companies and Araboo has provided the first e-commerce site.

This could be just the beginning. What websites do you think we will see in Qatar in the future?

Also see:

Qatar Internet Bubble
Qatar Internet Directory
Qatar Internet: Web Access
Qatar Facebook Group

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Qatar Book Fair

There is a huge and very impressive book fair underway at the Qatar Exhibition Center.

While most of the books from the 741 stalls in the center were in Arabic, there were enough books in English to keep book fans happy. This included one section where all books for sale cost ten riyals.

The Qatar Authorities had promised not to censor any titles, and with books with names such as "The Courtesan", not to mention other titles with raunchy sections, it was clear that they had kept their word.

Booksellers may, of course, have exercised self-censorship, which is really the preferred way of doing things round here!


As we mentioned before in Whatever Happened to the National Library of Qatar, the number of books pulished in Arabic is a tiny fraction of that published in other countries.

Book fairs like these at least give a very positive push towards cultivating a love of reading among Qataris and Qatari residents - and it was especially nice to see bus loads of school children leaving with bags full of books.

With a booksellers coming from 21 different counctries, it is also an opportunity to see a greater range of books than is normally possible.

Closing soon!!

The book fair will remain open until the third of January. So if you want to stock up on reading material it would best to head down there shortly - or you might find yourself waiting till next year for a similar opportunity.

Also see: Qatar Books Reviews

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Qatar Visitor in 2009

These are our new year's resolutions for the Qatar Visitor website.

  • Have our website redesigned.
I've long been unhappy with the look of our website. Now it is time to get the site redesigned, and looking more professional. (Which means paying somone to do it instead of doing it ourselves!)
  • Speed the website up
The original Qatar Visitor website was a clone of another, older website. As a result it used antiquated code (tables e.t.c.). In 2009 we want to rebuild and optimize the website - and hopefully speed download time by up to 50%.
  • Invest
We want to continue putting our revenue into making Qatar Visitor a better website, with more articles and more features.
  • Forum
We will move the Qatar Visitor forum to a new address, www.QatarChatter.com, after a code failure brought the whole website down in December. We will also be adding new features to the site.

QatarChatter used to be a website, but the domain dropped and it was bought up by regsite.com We loved the name, and thought it perfect for a forum, so we bought it from them in turn.

We'll also reluctantly be adding Google ads to it. Unfortunately, our bandwidth costs are increasing every month, and ads have now become a necessity.

  • Newsletter
We plan to maintain our new newsletter, apart from the summer months. We'll be putting in news which would affect travelers and residents (visas, regulations e.t.c.), putting in links to what we think is the best of what's new on the website and holding a monthly competition for subscribers.

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