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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home sweet home

I have been unable to post anything in the past weeks as I have been being buried under boxes upon boxes of personal effects. We moved in last week to our new apartment and the 48 boxes descended upon us last Saturday.

The unpacking led to more confusion and we kept looking and misplacing stuff we just took out of boxes. The frustration led me to invest in numerous storage boxes and a label maker to help re-organize our mountains of crap. If only my mother would see me now, she would be so proud.

The apartment also came unfurnished and we only brought along our Eames lounge chair. Handsome looking thing but not enough for both of us. Thankfully we brought our persian rug so had something to sit on besides the cold hard floor.

So not only was there unpacking to  be done, we had to shop for beds, sofas, dining table etc. I live to shop but after running around town looking and re-looking at furniture, I was ready to just point at any random item and get that delivered. The choices of clean looking, well constructed furniture is limited in Doha and they come at a hefty premium. We decided to mix good pieces for the living spaces and some cheaper alternatives for the bedrooms.

Our flat is a 3 bedder and we wanted to turn one of the bedrooms into a study / TV room. The plan was to get a sofa bed for this room so we could lounge in it while watching Entourage, and it could be turned into a second guest room for visitors.

Unfortunately we blew all our budget on the rest of the house so we had to rethink the strategy. So stupidly we were faced with sitting on floors AGAIN as the TV was already mounted on the wall in the study.  We scratched our heads about how to afford more furniture.

We decided to give up thinking and head to the Souq Waqif to get shop for spices and food. Getting lost in the alleyways, we came acroos a trader who sold rice imported from all over Asia.

We bought some basmatic and were intrigued by the green coffee beans that were sitting in sacks near the rice. The man explained that we could another trader in the souq will roast them for us.

Maybe next time.

After turning a corner from the food markets, we spotted other shops selling cheap mattresses and blankets. Amongst the stacks of foam, we spotted bright red cushions that you see in local shisha cafes, usually strewn on floors or on benches. We approached the shopkeeper and found that they sold a set that included several cushions, a mattress and an arm rest for 430 riyals (USD 110). Bargain !

These could be set on the floor of the TV room for the time being. While in Qatar, lounge like the qataris !

As we chatted with the shopkeeper, a weathered old man trottered up with his wheelbarrow. He offered to take our shopping to our car. We shook hands on it and bought the cushions.

Here's our man waiting in the scorching sun while T went to get the car. Since he was so sweet and we didnt know how much to tip him, we gave him 25 riyals ( just barely USD 7 ).

He helped us load up the car and when we were getting ready to drive off, he came back and started talking to T in Farsi. After a good minute and tons of smiling cos he really didn't understand the conversation, we left. Apparently T said the old man asked if we were "in a good way" and if we were, if we could help his friend get back to Iran for some medical help.

I guess we know now, the tip was too much !

The cushions are now sitting against the room and we are happy using them until we figure out a more permanent solution.

Result !

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