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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Qatar Visitor Newsletter

We will shortly be releasing our latest newsletter with:

  • information and articles on finding jobs in Qatar
  • two competitions with a total of 13 prizes - one competition is exclusive to our newsletter members
  • the best of what's new on Qatar Visitor
  • What's On in Doha in September
  • a round up of the biggest news of the summer
To sign up click here.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Wash your Hands in Qatar and other blog posts

The blog "Here, there and everywhere" has got a great post on the many steps required to wash your hands in Qatar. A photograph of instruction in a Qatar toilet details no less than 11 steps required for hand cleanliness.

To be fair, mind, the instructions seem to be from the WHO rather than from Qatar itself.

Meanwhile, Mimiz's blog is also promoting a photography competition. Following the success of the Qatar Narratives series (you can see our review of the series here), they are inviting Qatar photographers to submit photos for a book compilation of Qatar. You can see the details here. (Don't forget we are also holding a Ramadan photography competition, with the best pictures to be published in the Gulf Times.)

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramadan Event Guide

I Love Qatar has produced a Ramadan Event Guide for Ramadan 2009.

Although there are already numerous events listed, Amnesia tells me he will be adding more as details come in.

Events already listed include the Ramadan event at the Pearl, Arabian nights at the Sharq Village and Spa and the Vodafone and W tent at the W Hotel.

To get to the event guide, click here and scroll down past the announcements.

Also see:

Qatar Ramadan Tents 2009
Ramadan Photography Competition
Ramadan in Qatar

Happy Ramadan!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peninsula Article Sparks Row Over Electronic Cigarettes

A recent article by the Peninsula on the Electronic Cigarette has sparked a row between Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and an Electronic Cigarette Company. It all started when the Peninsula claimed that the electronic cigarette contained 40 times as much nicotine as a regular cigarette.

E Cigarette Direct, who advertise with Qatar Visitor, wrote an open letter of protest to the Peninsula, arguing that, based on available research, the claim was false:

"Even the highest level of nicotine (31.5 micrograms per puff) [found by the FDA commissioned report] is lower than that of regular cigarettes."

ASH wrote a response to what it called a "nasty letter" by E Cigarette Direct, and alleged that the letter could not be trusted because the writer had no medical background.

"We are aware of a so-called "open letter" written to you by the managing director of an e-cigarette company which, especially because it is written by an entity with an obvious financial interest in the topic, and someone who apparently has no scientific or medical training, may not reveal all relevant information."

It then went on to suggest that the research that had been conducted into the electronic cigarette, and which suggests the electronic cigarette is safer than conventional cigarettes, had been compromised.

E Cigarette Direct then went to on to challenge ASH via a press release entitled: E Cigarette Challenge ASH to Respond to Issues.

In the press release as well as a supporting article on the website they alleged ASH had ignored the issues raised by the Peninsula Article: - whether electronic cigarettes do not contain more nicotine than cigarettes, and whether electronic cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes. They went on to state:

"We believe, quite simply, that ASH did not deal with the issues we raised simply because there is no logical response to be raised. We challenge Ash to deal directly with the points mentioned."

ASH has yet to respond to the latest press release, but we will update you here when they do!

Related links: The Smokers Angel
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Qatar Twittering

Sometime ago I got all excited about Twitter. In Twitter Qatar I predicted that it would eventually take off in Qatar.

I also argued that webmasters who had played with it and then abandoned it would come back to using it in a major way:

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.

They are both using it again, along with numerous other players such ICT Qatar, the Gulf Times and Qatar Airways.

I must admit I lost interest until recently, when I did a search for Qatar Visitor and found that even if I wasn't twittering it some people were:

  1. Tulsastuccoset_normalPhotoPropMan Qatar Visitor - Travel Guide to Doha & Qatar: Ramadan Photography ...: Qatar Visitor will be celebrating Ram..http://bit.ly/wODTNabout 7 hours ago from twitterfeed
  2. Portraitsm_normalDaveidaho Qatar Visitor - Travel Guide to Doha & Qatar: Ramadan Photography ... http://bit.ly/NzU1iabout 7 hours ago from twitterfeed
  3. Twitterbanner9_normalPori26 Qatar Visitor - Travel Guide to Doha & Qatar: Ramadan Photography ...about 8 hours ago from twitterfeed
  4. Coldfusion41_normalPhotography25 Qatar Visitor - Travel Guide to Doha & Qatar: Ramadan Photography ... http://ad.vu/jkkbabout 8 hours ago from twitterfeed
  5. Default_profile_normalMiramou Expat workers happy to be in Qatar: survey: QatarVisitor editor Philip Beech said: “We hope that the results of..http://bit.ly/4fNgnYabout 15 hours ago from twitterfeed
  6. Star_normaliloveqatar Mr. Q says: Qatar Visitor Photo Competitionhttp://bit.ly/anyOM1 day ago from twitterfeed

When I did a search for Qatar Survey I found even more links.

Increasing Use in Qatar

Back in July I found just a handful of people using it - indeed, I could name most big players in a small paragraph.

Obviously, there are many more people using it in Qatar.

An example of a new twitterer is the Gulf Times:


What's more, many of my online friends are now on twitter.

In any case, as some of our readers are using it even if I am not, I resolved to put some more effort into it.

I've started with the following steps, which may be useful if you are a Qatar blogger/webmaster even less accustomed to Twitter than me.

Twitter Rss Feed

One easy thing I did was set up my rss feed so it feeds into Twitter automatically.

You can do this at TwitterFeed.com.

Set up an account. Then the application will take you your Twitter account where you can log in, and take you back to the application so you can add your rss feed.

Retweet Button

Then I added a retweet button.

You can do this here: Tweet Meme Button.

There are a number of options offered. I chose the one where you can specify the url and that the retweet came from your name. Long term, I think the way forward will be to go for a widget which automatically detects the url of the blog post and place it in the template.

First, though, I want to see if people actually use button first, so I am happy fiddling round with the code in each post.
How useful?
Twitter is still a long way from living up to its hype in Qatar.

Even organisations like Qatar Airways seem to have a measly following considering how many large they are:

What it is useful, though, is for keeping up with what is happening on the web - as nearly everyone on twitter is a blogger or webmaster of some sort.

p.s. You can find us on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/qatarvisitor

Ramadan Photography Competition

Qatar Visitor will be celebrating Ramadan with a month long photography competition.

We are asking photographers to try and capture the spirit of Ramadan in a single photograph.

Prizes include the Crumpler Million Dollar Photography bag (pictured above right) and the book, The Moment It Clicks: Photography secrets from one of the world's top shooters (Voices That Matter).

Once again, our judge will be prize winning professional photographer Abigail Harman, and the winning images will be published in the Gulf Times.

For more information click here or visit www.QatarComp.com.

One of our previous winners - Sadik, by Immanuel Serdoncillo:

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Qatar Visitor Friends


Monday, August 17, 2009

Qatar Visitor Jobs Survey; The Results

The results of our recent employment survey are now out.

You can see the full results of the survey here: Qatar Visitor Jobs Survey.

The survey reveals how people are finding work in Qatar, what sort of work they are finding, how much extra income they are making - and whether they thought their move to Qatar was the right decision!

Thanks to I Love Qatar for helping to promote the survey, to Qatar Living for letting us post a link to the survey - and of course to everyone who took the survey.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Qatar Scientist Invents Air-Conditioned Jacket

According to the Qatar Times - a newspaper that claims to cover the stories that other newspapers miss - a Qatar scientist has invented the world's first air conditioned jacket.

You can see the jacket to the left - being shown prior to being attached to its air-conditioning unit.

While we respect the Qatar Times awesome reporting, we would like to point out that a less cumbersome version has already been invented and is use in the British Army.

The newspaper clipping is shown below, and once again we have typed out the whole article for those of you with text browsers.

A newspaper clipping from the Qatar Times

A Qatar scientist, always innovative in terms of inventions (it is currently ranked 192 worldwide in the world's inventiveness rankings), has come up with the world's first air-conditioned jacket.

"Early Qatar dress made clever use of loose folds to funnel air along the inside of robes, cooling the interior regions. What we are doing with the air-conditioned jacket is building on this, but in a way which wastes a lot more energy," said the scientist in charge.

The jacket consists of a normal coat with an air-conditioning unit sown into the back of it.

Dr F. Ool, who is also responsible for the terraforming of Qatar's desert landscape and for the currently under development Qatar Snow City, explained that there were several ways to power the jacket:

"The device can be hooked up to the cigarette lighter of a landcruiser via a long lead - obviously this mean the wearer can not go far, but it is still perfect for a desert picnic. However, currently this method invalidates the warranty, as several explosions decapitated early users of the jacket...fortunately, they were not Qatari.

"Therefore we have come up with a second way to power the device - filling the fuel tank with high octane used burger oil, and the Qatari fast food chain Mc Abdulla have already agreed to provide this free to customers who can complete their ten burgers in ten minutes challenge."

For those who do not have access to high octane used burger oil, the jackets can be refuelled with jet fuel at Qatar Airport.

So far only ten jackets have been purchased, and it is thought the 100 kilogramme weight of the jacket is deterring potential customers.

"Future versions will be mounted on wheels, with a motor and joystick attached so that the wearer has the added benefit of not having to walk," said Dr Ool.

Professor E. Safty, clothing development and safety engineer at Qatar's clothes hamlet, said:

"This could never have been invented in the West - Trading Standards would have put a stop to it as soon as the first decapitations had taken place."

More from the Qatar Times:

Qatar Computer Game Banned in the US
Qatar Snow City
Turning the Desert Green in Qatar

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Qatar Ramadan Tents/ Iftar Buffets 2009

Dates and traditional Arabic coffeeRamadan is a great time to enjoy Arab delicacies and entertainment, even if you are not Muslim. In this post we are providing a selection of the Ramadan tents, Iftar and Sahour meals available in Qatar over Ramadan .

We will add more details of hotel packages as details drift in from the hotels. As usual, we have arranged the packages below in terms of price, with the cheapest available first.

Note: at the start of Ramadan it may be easy to get a place in a buffet, as families normally spend the first day or two at home. After that, however, it is very advisable to book well in advance.

Quick Glossary:

Iftar: The meal served at the end of the day's fasting.
Sahour: A meal normally eaten before the start of the day's fasting.
Ramadan: Month long fast, with Muslims going without food or water from dawn to dusk. See our guide to Ramadan for more information.

Ramada Hotel
Ramada is not hosting a Ramadan tent but will be having an Iftar buffet.
Price: QAR 125 per person.
Tel: +974 4281404

Movenpick Hotel
The Movenpick are not offering a tent, but do offer an international Iftar and Dinner buffet at the Seasons Restaurant.
Price: QAR 135 ++ per person
Tel: +974 429 11 11

The Marriot Hotel
The Marriot is holding a traditional Ramadan Tent at Diwan al Sultan.
Price: QAR 155 per person
Tel: +974 429 8001
Note - we have been to a Marriot Ramadan tent before and had an excellent night out (see A Night with a Whirling Dervish!)

Grand Regency

The Grand Regency will be holding Iftar and Sahour in their Al Qasr Ballroom.
Iftar: Price: QAR180 per person. Fifty percent discount for children over five, free for children under five.
Sahour: QAR 120 per person. Child discount as above.
Tel: 974-4343203

Ritz Carlton
Iftar at the Lagoon restaurant.
Price QAR190 per person (tax included)
Tel: +974 4848000

La Cigale Iftar
Iftar at la Cigalon restaurant (doesn't include Shisha.)
Discount available for groups.
Price: QAR 195 per person (includes tax and service charge).
Tel: +974 428 8888.

Sharq Village and Spa
Iftar Buffet at Al Liwan
QAR205 per person
Tel: 974 425 6666

Four Seasons
Brasserie on the beach is offering a buffet for Iftar and Sahour.
Price: QAR 215 per person
Tel: 974 494 8509

Four Seasons Arabica Ramadan Tent
Offers a place to relax after Iftar/Sahour at the Brasserie - drinks, snacks, shisha and live traditional oriental music. Individual items charged separately.
Minimum price: QAR215 per person.
Tel: 974 494 8509

Sharq Village and Spa
Ramadan Tent at Al Dasha Ballroom
QAR240 per person (sahour)
Tel: 974 425 6666

La Cigale Ramadan Tent
La Cigale's tent is located in their indoor swimming area and is accompanied by live Arab music.
Price: QAR 250 per person with discount available for groups (includes tax and service charge).
Tel: +974 428 8888.

Ritz Carlton
Sahour at the Lagoon restaurant (after 8pm), featuring a three piece band.
Price: QAR250 per person (including tax)
Tel: +974 4848000

Also see our full list of Luxury Hotels in Qatar.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

British Embassy's You Tube Move

Having joined Qatar Living and opened a Flickr account, the British Embassy's latest new media push involves moving onto You Tube. The embassy already has a number of movies on the You Tube channel UK in Qatar, with topics such as How to Obtain a Biometric Visa and Business Opportunities in Qatar. You can see a sample of one of the movies, Spotlight on Doha, below:

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