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Greetings from Qatar!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself!' started by buckeyestud, Apr 5, 2014.

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  1. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

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    Location:
    Doha, Qatar
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Greetings all, I'm somewhat new to the board - a buddy of mine introduced me awhile ago with links to his TRs.

    Originally from Ohio and have been to Vegas anywhere from 15-20 times with 3 or 4 of those trips having occurred when I was underage and with the family. The best thing about the early trips was that while I could not gamble, I did everything else that wasn't gambling related which included going to all the casinos on both strips + Hoover Dam + etc so when I finally turned 21 I didn't have to mess around with it.

    In January of 2010 I moved to Qatar which is a very rich country located on a tiny peninsula in the Arabian Sea connected to Saudi - if anyone's interested in what it's like by all means I would be happy to share my experience. I have been here for more than 4 years but have still managed a trip to Vegas at least once each year.

    Last trip was in August and I will be going back in 3 weeks time so figured I would join the boards to do some follow up and show my wife a "proper" trip. We have been twice already but since she doesn't enjoy gambling as much it was more for me. This time I will be focusing on doing things we haven't done in the past - shows, dinners, spending more time by the pool. As it stands now we are booked for RRL on a friday evening for dinner then the 2nd and 3rd shows. Looking at doing a pool party on Sunday (friend's 42nd birthday) but it looks like the rates are going to be ridiculous so may have to come up with other options.

    Looking forward to the advice on these boards as the mods and folks on here all are very helpful and friendly.
     
  2. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Welcome!!! Holy smokes... Qatar? I bet you don't have to worry about any early-boarding issues on Southwest Airlines from there!!!
     
  3. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Welcome to the board!! Hope you have a really great trip!!
     
  4. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Thanks, all.

    And yeah on the flights can be a bit long - 13 hours to Chicago ORD direct, then another 4 or so to Vegas. Bit of a long haul!

    Other than the States and Australia, Qatar is centrally located and a great spot to travel from; in 7 hours you can get London, 8 hours to Johannesburg, 8 hours to Bangkok and so on. Definitely used to long flights.
     
  5. jackincols

    jackincols Guest

    Welcome, from a fellow Buckeye (now living in Roanoke, Va). I sure would be interested in your observations of Qatar. What got you to move there and do you work there?

    Seems like it would be an exotic place to live, but expensive as well?
     
  6. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Welcome to the board! Media here seems to be in agreement that the correct pronunciation is "cutter". Is that right or wrong?
     
    Christmas
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  7. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Go Bucks! I've met tons of Big Ten folks living and traveling abroad, it's quite nice knowing the network extends around the world.

    I came over for a project on one of the bases and after about 16 months I joined a local company to manage operations. In a country of 2 million, roughly 300k are locals (very rich locals) and the rest are expats but majority of that is labor force. The country is rich in oil and having won the World Cup in 2022, it is rapidly growing. It is a bit of a caste system here and with such different groups, it is more compartmentalized rather than a melting pot.

    The cost of living has been increasing each year and the biggest burden is housing. Most salary packages include housing or a housing allowance but a decent 2 bedroom apartment will run you $2,500-$3,000 per month. A four bedroom villa will be around $5,000.00 per month.
     
  8. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

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    Even native arabic speakers will say it differently but the way the locals often refer to it as "kuh-tar" and with a bit of an accent.

    I've traveled a lot and can confirm that the only folks that say "cutter" are Americans - usually Government employees or Military/Contractors. It's as though they are trying to say it like locals but without the accent so it sounds kind of funny.

    British and other English speaking individuals have variations and often refer to it as "cat-tar".

    It's a bit amusing but nobody really gets offended so essentially they're all okay to say.
     
  9. jackincols

    jackincols Guest

    Do you expect to be over there for an extended period of time?

    Although it's probably not pricey for there, I'd imagine the villa would give a family living there the best value. Is food expensive, both dining out as well as grocery stores? I envision prices like you would find in Alaska.

    Also, where did you live in Ohio? I was in Columbus most of my adult life.
     
  10. Wezvidz

    Wezvidz High-Roller

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    Greetings!
     
  11. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

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    Location:
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    I grew up in Dayton area (Fairborn - WPAFB) then went to Ohio State and lived in Columbus 8 years prior to moving to Qatar. Definitely miss it there and wasn't happy I missed the casinos. However, I do not have to deal with snow, just extreme heat so it's not all bad.


    Villas in compounds can be quite luxurious - the amenities at some I have lived in are top notch with pools, hot tubs, tennis, squash, and basketball courts, restaurant and mini markets in the compound with a nice clubhouse.

    The villas are very spacious on the inside, the only issue is they usually do not have much of a yard so for kids or pets it doesn't give them a lot of needed space. We have rescued a couple of abandoned cats (a sad but often occurence when expats import pets and abandon them when they leave the country) and the walls are high enough to keep them in as well as the strays out.

    Food at the grocery is expensive as everything is imported and quality is nowhere near top notch. It's not uncommon to see entire produce sections of major supermarkets shut down for failing to keep with the health codes. One place in particular frequently has birds flying around inside (imagine produce section at Meijer) and landing in produce and eating the food. That's an extreme case but it's certainly a shock to see.

    Alcohol is permitted at restaurants with a high enough star rating and the hotels are rather well kept. Drinks are expensive, typically 9-12 dollars for a bottled beer. Happy hour is a new concept here and I believe the best I have seen is a bucket for 4 beers for $27.40. I made the mistake of purchasing a Long Island Iced Tea once, it was $27.50.

    Most restaurants are pretty expensive as well, it is not uncommon to spend $100.00 on a meal for two at most places and even a Chili's or Applebees will run you around $60.00. One thing they do very well and is on par with Vegas (and actually exceeds in my opinion) here are the buffets. My favorite for the actual food is an all you can eat Steak night at Oryx Rotana on Tuesdays and that's for about $100/person with all you can eat steak and wine.

    Meanwhile, the brunches during weekends (weekends are Fridays and Saturdays with Friday's being the local religious day so nearly everything is shut down until 4pm) are fantastic. Most hotels have a champagne brunch for anywhere from $80-$110/person and everyone gets dressed up in their 'smart' attire and coordinates group brunches for special occasions or just because. Dubai tends to have the better brunches and knocks it out of the park with Yalumba and Saffron. I spent a weekend in Dubai with soccer teammates (mostly British) for a friendly against some expats there. The match was really just an excuse to get away from the wives for the weekend and have some old male teammate bonding fun. During the brunch a hat was passed around with tasks, some of the tasks included drinking remainder of drink of the shoe (imagine an individual pouring his rather nice champagne into his rather expensive shoe and drinking it), giving a random person a foot massage, starting a one man dance floor on the next song to play, and more. It was an absolute blast and like Vegas, everyone was in good spirits but even more so because nobody had lost any money gambling. :) It is non Vegas but definitely deserves it's own TR. Finally I will say this, if you are ever in the region you simply must attend a Friday brunch.
     
  12. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

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    hey wezvidz :beer:

    hope you get some referral kudos points!
     
  13. jackincols

    jackincols Guest

    Love reading about places like this. Thanks for all the info.

    I moved from Columbus the year before casinos opened in Ohio.:grrr: Nothing worth a crap near me in Roanoke, so I'll keep doing Vegas as long as my health (and money) hold out.
     
  14. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

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    Yeah I was bitter about the casino as well, but probably for the best! One day before I leave here I would like to put together all of the funny pics and crazy things I've seen (more than you can imagine..). Definitely an experience living somewhere like this and ALWAYS an easy conversation starter!
     
  15. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Welcome to the board! I think it's fascinating that you're living in Qatar. When the IP came up, we had a discussion about it among the mods. I thought really? Qatar? But as soon as someone mentioned the American contractors there I thought "Doh!" :)

    Glad you found us!
     
  16. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the welcome and glad you didn't ban the IP - I exist, I promise! :)

    Good thing about living outside the US is that I can still play on PokerStars.
     
  17. Beach Crazy

    Beach Crazy Hostess With the Mostess

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    Welcome aboard! Sure glad you found us. Hope your trip goes well. That's a long flight but in the end I'm sure it's worth it!
     
  18. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

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    Location:
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    Thanks! Hope to post a TR, although it's supposed to be a relaxing trip so it may be boring. Who knows, maybe I'll hit something nice and have something to brag about. :)
     
  19. Kickin

    Kickin Flea

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    Welcome! I have a close cousin who has been living in both Qatar and at times Dubai for the last several years. He enjoys it but can't stand the heat. I found it funny when he told me it was common to stay in your air-conditioned car when you go grocery shopping or something, you just have someone from the store come take your order and bring everything to you. Even the walk from the parking spot to the store was too much of a bother.

    I guess when all the locals get hundreds of thousands of dollars in free money from the government each year it makes it easy to get lazy. :thumbsup:

    Anyway, nice to see you're leaving one desert to vacation in another desert. Vegas has that type of draw!
     
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