From Borneo and Around

This blog is all about Borneo (and sometimes elswere) as I experience it. It's about places, people, fauna, food ... and anything I find pleasantly worth sharing in words and pictures.

Monday, October 25, 2010


22 April

A Recovery Day in Doha

Was it sleeping in the wrong position during the flight? Was it the unnerving sound of the stiff plastic mattress cover? On my second day in Doha I feel no better than I did yesterday; I can see white bubbles flying all around the room and I have strong suspicion that they are not really there. It is not even a challenge not to stress at the thought of having traveled so far to just want to sleep, just sleep while the world is busy and T.P is working. Hunger finally drags me out of slumber; time for a large croissant and a maxi sized bowl of … café au lait.      

Almost two o’clock in the afternoon and at long last I feel slightly energized by a long shower yet a little anxious at the perspective of having to let my rebellious hair dry without blow. Over my many years in Asia, I had noticed that there were usually no shaving kits in the bathrooms, which was ok by me since I am no relation to The Bearded Woman. From now on I will have to remember that Asian women who are blessed with straight manageable hair sometimes do not bother keeping a hair dryer, and why should they? I probably wouldn’t.
While I need time for my hair to dry, I pick The Peninsula, the news paper T.P kindly brought back yesterday. I find the suddenly familiar face of Aleida Guevarra.  On another page, Khalid Al Jaber reports on child marriage: Robbing children out of their innocence. The message is to say “no” to marriages of minors. He explains that, although Prophet Muhammad married Aisha when she was only nine years old, scientific research shows that girls should not mother babies before the age of seventeen.                                                                                              
 Further down I learn that foreign workers need an exit permit to leave the country even at the end of their contract!  There are even a few announcements for this or that foreign person who is going to leave the country.  Under the photograph there is a standard message calling for anyone who has any claims to make.                                                                                   
 There is also an article with a rather unusual story about a British woman who has suddenly started speaking with a Chinese accent! She reckons her chronic migraine is responsible for the change. Reportedly, the woman has become extremely annoyed and can’t wait to get her West Country drawl back. I quickly fold back the news paper before I too get a migraine and start blabbering with a Trans Carpathian accent.                                                   
It is high time for me to get creative with finding ways to fix my back and neck and finally get a life in Doha. I spot a chair that has the right height and shape; I push the seat facing against the wall, I evaluate the back of the chair one more time and for a split of a second I actually wonder if this is not a risky move that I am going to make, alone in the apartment. Then again, the thought of finally starting on my holiday is worth the risk. I bend backwards with confidence, arms left hanging, I breathe out and as I do so,  I hear the cracking sound I was hoping for. I recover my standing position; a heat wave runs up my neck, down my right arm and I am not sure whether I have stricken luck or disaster. I aim for the nearest armchair. The room is still around me and this time the air is clear from white bubbles. I give it five minutes; time to check out whether my un-orthodox back stretching method (do not try this at home!) actually works. I feel great! Just as I hear a knock on the door, I look I quickly check myself in the mirror; my hair has dried and settled in quite a nice style; for a second I’m thinking of checking out the Trans-Carpathian accent as well as my canines for that matter. Nah! I run to open for T.P. “How are you today? She asks. “Absolutely great! Let’s go and book our desert safari.

The office of Regency Holidays never closes. It seems that in Doha, people come to make reservations for their trips or their holidays at any time of the day or night. I can imagine myself after watching Ian Wright Out of Bound in Cuba on the Travel & Living channel, jumping into my car to visit my travel agent: “Hi Suzan! So let’s work out a package to Havana, shall we?” Or, again, me having a dream of cruising to Alaska and wanting to realize it ASAP: “Hello Suzan, glad you’re still there at 3am…”       I can’t help but love Regency Holidays; as much as I would hate having to work there. Business has been done smoothly and pleasantly too; we have booked tomorrow’s safari and a tour of North Qatar for the next day. I have also requested a quotation for me to visit Dubai, solo, while in transit on my way back to Malaysia. Now we can go and have dinner!

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