Showing posts from May, 2009

Doha's first Gay Club (created by mistake)

Doha's first gay club? Quite a few visitors are landing here by searching for gay doha, doha gay club, gay in qatar , etc. There's a running joke here which I'd better explain. Doha Sofitel (Le Mercure) has a history of fixing what's not broken and as a result driving away its regular customers. Until fairly recently, Le Club in the second floor, though rough and ready, was quite a lively venue, frequented mainly by Indians, Filipinos, Chinese working girls, Lebanese and a few European ex-pats. The following sequence is how they managed to snatch dismal failure from the jaws of success, in ten easy steps. 01) declare your low dive 'members only' 02) refuse membership to single women 03) refuse membership to unmarried couples 04) as above, but more so, if the woman is Chinese 05) fail to notice that married couples have never come here 06) gaze in amazement at all these empty tables 07) convince yourself that the quietness is a sign of recession 08)

The Taliban Store

The Taliban are in the next but one street from my apartment. They don't cause any trouble here and are quite well respected. Theirs is a small establishment and one I've never had reason to enter. I'm sure the quality of their cloth is excellent, but I don't wear the dishtash myself. I have promised myself that before I leave the Middle East I will have one made for me. I'll probably go for the red and white checked headgear as the plain white is just too formal for my taste. I don't think the Taliban actually finishes garments. I believe it's mainly a wholesaler for the trade, but there are plenty of small local tailors who could do the job.

All in the Hat

It started with something Carina said, along the lines of not being seen dead talking to someone wearing one of these , these being the distinctive Pashtun 'pakool' hats. No doubt the charge of racism could be brought to bear, but knee-jerks aside, has she unwittingly hit on something? Might the humble pakool, preferably a singularly shabby one, be the ideal accessory for the next visit to Paranormal? Suitably attired, might it be possible to enjoy a beer and the exquisite scenery without having to field the barrage of what you name, how long you in Dubai? This is to be tried. Taliban Stores, here we come...

Fluffy Cheerleaders - a public service

Paraglider received a telegram to the Paranormal Hotel, forwarded to Doha Stufital, bemoaning his recent deprecation of the inroads made by Fluffy Cheerleaders into the ancient and erstwhile serious game of cricket. It seems the girls, all of whom are avid Paranormal readers, 'wish it to be made known that we are only doing our job'. Indeed you are, ladies. That much you share with all the girls in Paranormal . Thank you for your efforts.

Cricket - lest we forget

Stufital has been showing too much cricket lately. Or what passes for cricket these days. The IPL T20 series from India, where the teams wear pyjamas and have baby names like Hyderabad Heroes. All that can be said in favour of this travesty of the great game is that doesn't last long. Lest we all forget what cricket is meant to look like, and did, for more than a hundred years, here is a picture of Andrew Flintoff, properly dressed in white, showing a thoroughly correct action, while playing in a five-day match in a five match series. That's cricket. And not a fluffy cheerleader in sight.

Another visa run

Today, at 1145, I fly out of Doha. At 1230, I land in Bahrain (pronounced as the answer to the question: Handel, what is the falling wet stuff called?) Then, at 1330 I leave Bahrain only to arrive back in Doha at 1415. In Bahrain, I will not leave the aircraft. This performance, ostensibly to generate a new entry visa in Qatar, is really all about generating a little extra revenue for Qatar Airways. 750 Qatari Riyals, to be precise. But why do they not open a little air-side office where you could be stamped out, stamped back in and turned around in ten minutes, saving much unnecessary air travel and wasted time. They could charge 500 for it and everyone wins. There's a small franchise for somebody with a rubber stamp.

Want to buy a truck?

The good thing about Stufital (having panned it mercilessly in the previous post) is the casual encounters that happen over the bar. The innocent might think these happen in every bar, but not so; in Cher-is-sad, for example, no-one ever talks to anyone else unless they've had the singular misfortune of being acquainted before going in. It seems, then, that having driven a load of cable from Spain to Qatar Industrial Area, it actually makes more sense to find a buyer for the truck too, and fly home, rather than drive the empty truck. Best of all, of course, would be a return load, but as Qatar manufactures absolutely nothing, this doesn't often happen. So, there's this truck, big, with lots of wheels. Any takers?

It takes skill

Paraglider has no aspirations to be a hotel outlets manager but can't help distinguishing between sensible and doubtful behaviour from the breed. Take, for example, the Paranormal, and Jockey's in particular. Changes there have been small and incremental, and have usually focused on improving things that weren't quite right. If it ain't broke, don't mend it seems to be the principle at work. Then there's the Doha Stufital. Let's look back over the past nine months or so. Crisps and nuts free at the bar. A nice touch, popular, and sells more beer (the salt, OK?) So, stop it. Happy hour, attracts the after work crowd and encourages them to stay on into the evening. So stop it. Spontaneous dancing to the band, popular, fun, sells more beer. So stop it, and place a small table in front of the stage to rub the point home. Give the bar staff the embarrassing job of having to tell customers to sit down. Clever. The band. Very popular. Guaranteed to fill the bar ev