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Irene's Travels 2008

This is my travel page. I will try to update it so you know what Toby and I are doing regularly and I would love to hear from you all. Take care and see you in late 2008.

Diary Entries

Sunday, 07 December 2008

Location: Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

Hello All
There has been a long break from my last entry.
Now, I have decided to start entering my new adventures in the United Arab Emirates.
So much for us returning to Oz!!
Well, we did but for only three weeks and then back again to the Middle East but this time in the UAE, actually to beautiful place called Al Ain.

I hope to get some photos up on my website soon. Remember I am happy to receive messages and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Take care and have a very happy christmas and new year 2009, that is whereever you are.
Love Irene & Fahmy

Friday, 06 June 2008

Location: Doha to Abu Samra, Qatar

What an interesting day!! I have been saying to Fahmy that we really need to see something of Qatar: north, south, east and west. Do a bit of driving.
So today I suggested that we travel to Abu Samra. By the way, Abu Samra means the father of a dark skinned person.
We left the unit at about 2 pm and travelled along Salwa Road. We got to the industrial area, rugged and no signs whatsoever. We detoured but finally found our way back to the main road by accident. As I was saying there were no signs at all or proper street signs.
We got back onto the highway. (In another year or two this highway will be great, four lanes on each side) hoping to see a sign. Finally we saw one indicating 70 kilometres to Abu Samra. The weather was hot and very windy, winds carrying sand across the road. There was not much to see, a satellite station and no camels whatsoever.
I actually saw some water on the right hand side as we got closer to the border. We thought that it might be mirage...but was the Arabian Gulf.
We thought we might be able to check out an interesting town at the border, between Qatar and Saudia Arabia. We could see something in the distance but as we got closer it looked like it was on the otherside. Anyway, as we approached we saw a speed bump which had a line of large nails but leaning safely to allow you to drive across. Fahmy hesitated. Here comes an Arab, but not on his camel but in his four wheel 12 cylinder car who calls out to Fahmy to drive on and not to be scared.
So we drove over the speed bump and drove closer to the border to stop at a little shopping centre: a convenient store and cafe. Waiting on the footpath were many Indian men in blue overalls waiting to either wash your car or stare at you. We hopped into the small store for an icecream and drink. While we were outside eating, people stopped at the shop. These men in blue overalls were actually waxing the cars with a green like washing up detergent. Fahmy chatted to a Saudi Arabian man who knew Australia as the Gold Coast and Sydney, nothing else.
We got back into the car so we could return back to Doha, but there was no place to exit out except on travelling over the border. This is when the fun started..We were detained at the Police Station as I had no I.D. and or passport to verify who I was. Luckily Fahmy had his Qatarian I.D. on him. I never carry any papers but gee I wish I had today!! Fahmy suggested that we could go home and take my passport to the nearest police station but that was not on. They got on to a very old and slow computer to find out when I entered Qatar. This was to verify my residency. To cut the story short we had to get a special letter stamped and go through many gates, searching our car, asking questions....and finally we got through...Oh boy what an ordeal. I was terrified to be left there. I must say hooray for Fahmy...he finally smuggled me from Saudia Arabia and tricked all these the way this is Fahmy's joke.
We drove straight back to Doha to do our weekly grocery shopping at Villagio shopping centre. We did not feel like eating any wog food so we each had a burger from Hardees. It wasnt bad. Got home about 8.30 pm.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Location: Doha, Qatar

With two friends Dan & Helen, Fahmy and I went to the grand final of the football (soccer) match at the Khalifa Stadium which started at 7.00 pm. We sat in the family stalls.
Do you know anything about the Khalifa Stadium?
*It was honoured with the International Olympic Committee/IAKS Bronze Medal for International Architecture for Sport and Leisure Facilities
*It hosted the first Qatari Football Victory in the Arabian Gulf Cup Competition in Doha in 1992.
*Khalifa Stadium hosted 20 Emir's Cup Finals.
*Khalifa has the largest TV screen in the world with a surface area of 4500m2. It was used during the celebration of the Fifteenth Asian Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies in 2006.
*Khalifa Stadium also has a worldwide record for the fastest completion of resurfacing the field of play with natural grass in just 32 hours, following the Opening Ceremonies of the Fifteenth Asian Games.
*On June 2, 2008 there will be a match between Japan & Qatar for the South Africa 2010 Fifa World Cup

Friday, 09 May 2008

Location: Doha, Qatar

Friday 9 May 2008
Well, its Gerrard's birthday today.
Leaving at 11.03 am this morning we drove to Al Wakra, about 12 kilometres south from Doha. After driving through Al Wakra, we kept on driving heading to the Sealine Resort, south of Meeismer. The road was pretty good all the way...well right up to the Sealine Resort....After that, a narrow bumpy road to the water. We had to keep on the bit of road otherwise we could get bogged in the sand. Along the same road we found two cars that had swayed and had landed in aoft sand and could not get out. So, we did not want to face the same fate.
The sea was pretty calm. There was a little breeze which was great because I am sure it was really really least 40 degrees in the sun. In another few weeks it will be unbearable to walk around here. We walked along the waterto the northern end of the beach and back to our car. The ocean was clean except for some seaweed but in some areas of the beach was covered with rubbish...just left there.
Our drive back took us to Salwa Road and so we missed the same scenery as we had seen coming. It was pretty dull, just sand and electrical power poles... nothing else. There was quite a bit of traffic on the road. I suppose the trucks come this way as its the best way to the industrial area of Doha.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Location: Al Khor, Qatar

Hello Everyone
Fahmy and I adventured out for a drive in the work car. We drove to Al Khor, which is about 50 kilometres from Doha, leaving the apartment at around 7.45 am. It is one of the most beautiful Arabian gulf areas. Al Khor was a former centre for pearl fishing and apparently the original capital of Qatar.

It was a hot day, 37 degrees celcius I think. We took plenty of water and some nibbles to eat but just drank water along the way.

Arriving to Al Khor we took the road to Al Sultan Beach Resort and stopped in to take a look. We got a brochure about it at the front desk. Take a look at their website

We got back in the car and drove to the fish markets. We wandered in to take a look and asked for the price of a fish. The owner said 30 QR for one fish!! This is what we pay at Carrefours in Doha. A little expensive for fish!! I am sure they put their prices up just for us.

Back in the car to the corniche. We parked the car and walked along the beach one in sight... Then a drive to the town centre where we stopped to look at the little plaza. The food centre downstairs, with a little Philippino restaurant, Baskin and Robbins icecream, Dunkin Donuts, Pizza Hut and so on upstairs.
We took a break and had a coffee and donut from Dunkin' donuts. The coffee was okay...

We drove back along the highway and arrived home at around 12 noon.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Location: Doha, Qatar

Its Friday night and we are missing Gerrard.
He had his last day in Doha yesterday and he spent the afternoon shopping ( in Hugo Boss store) after a day at Fahmy's school.

He boarded his flight Abu Dhabi at around 9.30 pm. Well. that is when we said our goodbyes.

While he was here, he rang the airline to see if they could put him up in a hotel as he has a long wait at the airport. We experienced a long wait when we were on our way to Doha. It was not very pleasant as we had to sleep sitting up. So, he did not want the same thing happening.

Fahmy and I cleaned the apartment before heading to Doha's main shopping centre known as the City Centre. We picked up two of his friends in the work car. There are still some great sale...50% or more. I was able to grab a few blouses and a new pair of trousers.

Wednesday, 09 January 2008

Location: Doha, Qatar

Hello everyone
It is now time to write again to you. It is the evening of Wednesday January 9th and I am sitting in our one bedroom apartment watching the only english program tonight on the Aljezeera station. Sometimes I can get France24 and its in English but again its a news station.

You are probably wondering how we are: Gerrard, Fahmy and I.
We are well and busy. Gerrard and I have been walking the streets but of course not too far. We have been investigating the area and last week we walked quite a distance. We found our way home again. Apparently after March it is just too hot to walk this is the best time.

There are never ending shops....and arcades and shopping malls of course new and old as well. Plenty of bargains as well.

Doha is beautiful around the Corniche...the esplanade around Doha. There are a lots of round abouts and each one has something unique. This is how you find out where you are, by looking for a landmark.

We are living in the old city...I think in the Indian area as there are many Indian restaurants. Fahmy discovered an Egyptian and Syrian restaurant, which we eat in many times.

In the last two days I have just felt like eating lots of vegetables and cooked a meal of steak & mushrooms & vegetables and tonight a meal of spaghetti bolognaise. It was yummy if I say so.

Fahmy and Gerrard have gone to a Qatarian wedding with the Qatarian deputy principal. Gerrard has taken his video camera so I should see it all on tape.

Last Sunday we went to the tennis match and we watched the finals with British .....Murray & Swiss Stan.... It was a really good game. On entering we lined up to get a free cap and t-shirt. Did you see it on tv? We went with the members of QEI members who live in this building. We travelled in the shared car.

Oh, Fahmy hired a car. Its too hard to share the work car. It is not always convenient and sometimes you just want to go out but cant as someone else has the we went out yesterday and hired a new car.

Fahmy wants to teach me to drive here. I will need to get a blood test, xray and so on and then I can apply for one. Everyone says its not too get used to driving on the right hand side.

Have you heard about the sales here? They are really good...When they say sale they really mean it...
50% and 75% sales is occuring at the moment. I really havent bought much really: a new pair of trousers, a black jacket, a scarf, socks, bras....Its cold so I needed a jacket.

I cant believe how cold it gets here. It was 10 degrees this morning and this has been quite common. Two days ago we experienced a sand storm. It was awful. Everything was covered in sand: roads, cars, and buildings. We were driving in it and you really could not see ahead. People drove their cars with their hazard lights on.

I went to visit an independent school with one of the members of EQI . She is mentoring with the Principal at an all boys primary school. It was an interesting day and I really felt welcome. The early years (pre-prep & prep) classes do not really follow play based learning. They appear to really need help in this area.

By the way, I had to get up at 4 am as Colleen leaves each day at 5.15 am to travel about 45 mins to Al Khor. It is another city. It used to be the capital city but then they made Doha the capital.

I had to buy a black jacket and my whole attire was in black. Luckily I had brought my black outfit. I just did not want to feel to stand out. The teachers wore black abbay but were not fully covered, wearing mostly scarves.

Well, I will say goodnight for now and talk to you later.

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Uploaded by Nadia. The last entry Mum has sent me.

Today is the Eide. It is the Muslim’s second celebration in the year’s calendar. It was Ramadan about 2 ½ months ago. This is the Eide.
At 6 am before sailing for Kom Ombo most of the muslim passengers went offshore to pray at the local mosques. They were all praying at the same sounds like many many people talking at the same time through speakers.
To make things worse, remember at this time we were sleeping. We were hearing big feet running up and down which sounded like it was in the hallway. It fades away and as your eyes close the sound comes again...After good twenty minutes Fahmy went up to the upper deck to check the noise. He couldnt sleep. It was an old man from Eastern Europe...Czech or somewhere like that..He was jogging up and down the upper deck with his great big feet....not light on his toes. So that was the answer to our mystery.
We sailed away and then we had breakfast...Gerrard’s favourite part of the day. Breakfast consisted of buffee....all cheeses you can imagine, breads, cold meat, salads, boiled eggs, omeletes made for you on the spot, fruit salad, pancakes, jam, honey, butter, juices, coffee/tea...and so on.

As I am typing this we are sailing to Aswan after our visit to Ombo Kombo .
We have meet people from Adelaide, England and Assiut. All one family...They left Egypt 30 years ago..and moved to England and some went to Australia.
Kom Ombo is an interesting temple overlooking the Nile. It has been built on top of a hill. It was built in the Ptolemalc Period on the remains of sanctuary of the time of Thutmose. Among the many scripts on the wall two stood out. One script was of all medical instruments that are used today and the second one of the year’s calendar, by day and season.
Fahmy believes that the temple was built to govern all fertile lands and a place to learn different pursuits like university and go back to the people to serve them. The guide tour said that they had found a mummy with a hole in the head showing a possible brain surgery.
The tour guide said that as we sail upstream we will see many many temples along the banks of the Nile. The sailing trip is so comfortable. Today is sunny with a breeze, calm and quiet. So you just relaxed..The only problem now is that we have found a way to relax but is an expensive way to do so. We should have done this years and years ago.
We started our visit to the temple around 2.30 pm after lunch..but we had to be back by 3.30 pm as the boat was to sail. Lunch was huge from meat, fish, chicken, salads, cheese, bread, dessert: guava, fresh dates, fruit tart, jelly...
And tonight’s dinner is suppose to be very special.............................Irene is not well and she has not been eating to her standard. I wont go to details here.
This afternoon on the deck I played backgammon with Gerrard and Irene...and Irene won one game.
Now its 6 pm and we will be eating dinner in two hours. We are writing this on our beds before we forget. We have recovered a bit, but Fahmy is not well he has a cold on his chest...
Incidentally Gerrard was wondering if he can hire all the chefs to cook for him in Australia!! I think he is fooled by the exchange rate. He wants to pay them Egyptian pounds in Australia.

We have just spotted a long bridge across the Nile. Fahmy has just gone up to take a photo. It is just amazing how things just appear out of nowhere...
Well I’ll say goodbye for now. Talk to you later..

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Recent Messages

From Ros Lawrence
Hi Irene
Just found your web page and have spent half an hour catching up on the news. What an adventure! School is same old, same old.
Take care.
Response: Dear Ros
Nice to hear from you. I was thinking of all of you in the middle of a sand storm. We are just about to go and watch the semi final womens tennis. Would you believe it, entry is free! But it is so so windy and cold...
Keep in touch
From Kay and Misha
Hi Irene, I've just found this site and showed your photos to Misha. We gave Fahmy & Fahad afternoon tea on Thurs, very brief visit. Thanks for the webcam. We miss you both. Stay well. love from The Zivies
From daniele
hello to you all i just read your journal i saw your photos they
gread i amm a big late to wish y
yi ou a merry christmas i hope you are enjoying your trip have fun
we wish you all a very happy new year 2008 we love you very much big kisses xxxxxxxxx danieleand family
From Nadia
Hi Rents and Gerrard!
I uploaded all the diary entries for you. The photos are great! I especially love the alligator ones where mum looks petrified! haha! Dad it looks like you have lost more weight! Looking very skinny. Hope I loose some when I get over there. Good to see Gerrard and Dad are wearing there sunglasses. Mum you need to take a page from their book. Love you lots and talk soon. xxx
From Kirsha
It is great to be able to follow your travels. Can't wait to hear about your adventures. If you end up in Canada, let us know!!!
Dear Kirsha & John & Aiden
We have had a wonderful trip to Egypt. Gerrard is on his way home now. He has a stop over in Singapore. We are missing his company. Fahmy is back at work so no more travels at the moment. Keep in touch. Love to you all
Happy New Year
From John, Kirsha and Aid
Happy to hear that your travels are going well. This site is such a great idea! What fun to share in your adventures this way. Thank you. The pictures are great too. Hope that you are enjoying the experience together. Must be a bit of jet-lag presently - makes the next flight seem less appealing than the last :) Look forward to your next entry.
Be careful ... all our love
It is now the New Year and already the month is flying so quickly.
It rained today!!! Apparently it does not rain much in Qatar.
From Nadia
Wow Mum I'm impressed witht your travel diary skills - photos and en entry! Keep it up! Have a lovely time in Egypt. Love you all xx
From Renee
Hi Mum
Where are the pics?? Are u in egypt yet? Love u all xoxo
From Daughter 1
Hey Mum, put an entry up asap!
Response: Hi Nadia
I will get it up asap. I have been busy. Maybe tonight. How are you? We have packed bags and going tomorrow afternoon for Cairo.
Cant believe it...Hope you are okay. Missing you Mum, Dad, Gerrard
From Dianne
Hi Irene
I didn't realise you were leaving so early in December. I'm thinking I might visit you and Toby in May, early June after I've been to a wedding in Bangkok. Let em know the lie of the land and if this sounds like a plan.
Love Dianne
Response: Hi Di
Sorry I did not get to see you. I was so busy. It will be fantastic if you were to come here. Talk to you soon.
From chassagne jacques
nous esperons que tout vas bien bien pour vous tous,et peut etre que vous viendrez nous voir un jour.........jacques xxoo
Response: Bonjour Jacques & Francoise & girls
We are well and am getting excited about our trip to Cairo today.
I will get some pictures up soon for you to look at.
Talk to you soon