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Stating the obvious...

Nothing profound here, just another in my occasional series of slightly odd signs. This one's OK, but hardly in the same league as 'Ice cube available', 'Decent Uniform Works', or the Never Titi Abayat. I know, simple things...
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Eid Mubarak

According to my moon phase gizmo we've made it to the end of Ramadan comparatively unscathed. Will the festive Land Cruiser traffic jam be held tonight or tomorrow? We'll see. Either way I'm sure it will live up to expectations. My local corner shop grocer will notice a drop in sales of apple juice and baking yeast. My place of work is closed all this week so I'll be working at home which is tolerable, quite pleasant even, for a few days. That's until the idea sets in that if home working in Qatar is practical, when all that's needed is an Internet connection, wouldn't remote working from, say, the Mull of Galloway or the Trossachs work just as well? Something to think about there. But not today. I've got work to do.
Eid Mubarak, everyone!

Come buy, come buy (it used to be free)

As part of Doha Museum area beautification project, the authorities erected several drinking fountains, in the shape of miniature fortresses, and several drinks vending machines, similarly disguised. In their wisdom, they have since removed the drinking fountains (that's what the twisted pipework on the plinth on the left used to be), leaving only the vending machines. Compared with the continuing atrocities in Bahrain (lest we forget) this is a minor matter, but it's an irritation none the less. Where before you used to be able to take a refreshing couple of swallows every few hundred yards, now it's 500 mls in a plastic bottle or nothing. The bottles are dispensed ice-cold, the last thing you should be drinking in really hot weather. That's if they are dispensed at all. In Dubai, where you have one dirham coins, these machines more or less work. In Doha, they take one riyal notes. Sometimes. Maybe one time in four. Because these are fickle contraptions. They sulk unless the note is brand new and presented exactly in the correct orientation. It helps if you go down on one knee and bow three times first. They positively brindle and snarl at anything remotely soiled, crumpled, softened or torn, in other words, at ninety percent of the single riyals in circulation.
Not an improvement.

Would you like some Music with your Girl?

The mid-Ramadan escape to Dubai went well, though I'd have to say that Doha's climate, this year at least, is far kinder. What's with this humidity game? Even the short walk from CityMax to the Paranormal was something of an ordeal. Once inside Jockey's though, all was good. Prices (of the beer!) have gone up a bit but, at 23 dirhams, are still two thirds of Doha's cheapest. Not a lot else was different. Nothing, in fact. Silent Ten Sports cricket in visual competition with silent Sky News. The girls in mutual competition for attention; the waitresses in mutual competition to avoid it. I seem to remember it's in the Imperial Suites where the bar waitresses are on commission, so they positively hover at your elbow when your glass is approaching the low tide mark. Unnerving, until you realise why they are doing it, when it becomes almost Pavlovian in its potential for harmless devilment.
But back to Jockey's. Its token gesture to Ramadan, apart from the mandatory reduced opening hours, is the total lack of music. There has to be some logic behind this, but it escapes me. If so inclined, you can have a drink, smoke, chat up and even take home a bar girl. You just can't do it to music in the holy month. Odd, that.

On pots and kettles

So Bahrain has withdrawn its ambassador from Syria in protest against heavy handed tactics by the regime in dealing with protesters.
What's Arabic for 'irony', please?

Iftar or lump it

Last night, I had some business to attend to near le Mercure, né & aka Sofitel. The kind of business that required queuing, or more accurately crowding and jostling, for nearly an hour, to ask a question at a desk, to which the answer was 'no'. Usual stuff. While crowding, I was consoling myself with the thought of the meal I was going to have later, in Sofitel's 'La Villa' Mediterranean restaurant. I know the menu well and was swithering between Couscous Royale and the grilled tuna steak. The tuna was winning through; I could almost smell the distant melted butter, lemon and parsley over the top of the manikchand gutka by my left shoulder.
For the past few years, I've treated myself once or twice each Ramadan to a good dinner in La Villa. OK, there's no wine in the Holy Month, but if you steer clear of beef and lamb (which demand a robust red and will take industrial action if denied) you can still enjoy a thoroughly good dinner with a bottle of San Pellegrino.
But it was not to be. This year, the Sofitel appears to have forgotten that it is an International Hotel. Even as I was summoning the lift, a Fresh-Faced Young Duty Manager informed me that the bar was closed for Ramadan. "I know. I'm going to La Villa for dinner". FFYDM went on to explain that this year La Villa was only open for Suhoor (around 3 a.m.) but I was welcome to take Iftar now in the Brasserie. Sorry, not in my game plan.
Just behind Sofitel. there's a cheap and cheerful Indian restaurant called Desman. One masala poppadom, one channa masala, two tandoori roti, one jug of filtered tap water, one fresh salad thrown in for free. Half an hour and 13 Riyals later, I'm well set up for the hot walk home. Your loss, Sofitel.

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