Life in a developed city becomes very similar to life in any other city, no matter where that city is in the world. Work, exercise, cook dinner, sleep, repeat. However, living in a country other than your own quickly teaches you that what is considered ‘normal’ can vary quite a bit. Here are just a few of the differences I’ve come across over the past 8 months.
Buying a Car
This was a ridiculously easy thing to do! Before moving to Doha I had already decided that I wanted to buy a Wrangler to fulfill all over my desert dreams. Lucky for me, my friend Allison was selling hers in January. We agreed on a price, I pulled out the cash, and we made the official exchange of registration over dinner! Halas (finished). The government app Metrash makes it very easy to pay for and take care of many traffic matters on your phone, without any paperwork or visits to Traffic Headquarters.
They say it happens to every driver at least once…
Fender bender! With the chaos of the roads here it was only a matter of time before I got to experience the traffic accident process. A Qatari woman in a fancy BMW SUV rear-ended me one evening. We pulled over to the side of the road and she called the traffic police. From there, the process became very different from home. Our next stop was the traffic police station to report the accident, have our cars inspected, and receive documentation for the insurance company. The person at fault pays 100 riyal ($27) regardless of insurance company or coverage plan. After that you take the paperwork to the insurance company for a stamp on the documentation, then your car is able to be fixed. No cars can be worked on in Qatar without the paperwork from the traffic police.
Everything here is someone’s job
I don’t pump gas, clean up my trash when eating at a food court, make my own coffee at work, or even open doors a lot of the time! In Doha all of those small tasks are someone’s job. My friend even has an elevator operator at work.
Fortunately, I’ve only had to go to the doctor once since August. Qatar Foundation has a free clinic for employees but I opted to pay 50 riyal ($13) and go to the clinic around the corner from my apartment. The doctor referred to the antibiotics as ‘Doha Chocolate’ when he was writing the prescription and then proceeded to write Advil, nasal spray, and an herbal cough syrup on the list. I was surprised to find out that my insurance paid for all the medications written down by the doctor and not just the antibiotic.