Sunday, 4 April 2010
We made it ...
the books and manuscripts made it ...
... and WKDN survived! Thanks to everyone for your lovely messages. How are you all? Blogger popped up in Arabic the first time I tried to post, (I plan to learn Arabic but that was a tad challenging so I swiftly logged off ...). But, faint heart and all that - we seem to be getting there with all the tech stuff. Some sites are blocked, though luckily not this one.
So, Doha is a complete culture shock - you go from space-age skyscrapers in the city centre, to suburbs that literally trail out into white sand deserts with camels roaming wild. We've gone from a normal life, (well, if you've read WKDN for a while you'll know normal is relative ...), to what feels at the moment like a parallel universe. After snow drifts, a draughty C14 cottage, muddy hound, wellies and wet children, I wake every day to this:
It feels oddly like a really long holiday - the furnished, impersonal flat that is identical to every other one in the block is gradually feeling more like home, but it will take a while. First morning here I had to let the Qtel wifi man into six of the pilots' flats while my pilot and his chums were at work - in my sleep deprived, jetlagged, brain-addled state it was like a surreal episode of The Prisoner opening door after door to find the same flat behind it.
Anyway, we're settling in and from now on this is where WKDN will be coming from (I'm listening to Hotel Costes 'Sympathique' at the moment, so enjoy today's videoclip). At night in the relative cool as I sit writing out there, you hear the muezzin, V8 engines roaring down the street, countless languages as people stroll below. The children's new school has kids from 60 countries - I love picking up fragments of conversation in Spanish, French, Italian. The cultural mix is incredible - you're sitting in Appleby's getting the kids lunch looking at a photo of Oprah or a poster of Casablanca, and feeling like you are in Trenton, or Memphis ... until you glance over and see a table of elegant women in full burkas (or abayas and niqab face veils to be precise).
After the last crazy month packing up in the UK, it's taken a while to decompress and relax - but I think it's going to be interesting. There are new challenges, not least learning how to navigate the 'challenging' traffic in a left hand drive SUV the size of a small tank. Makes the school run along leafy Hampshire lanes where the most dangerous things I had to avoid were kamikaze pheasants seem like a distant memory. But so far, so good - it's a new page, a new chapter - a whole new life. Change is good. As my favourite Stoppard quote says: 'life's bounty is in its flow. Later is too late.' Happy Easter all.
TODAY'S PROMPT: In all the excitement, I think I missed the 2nd anniversary of launching WKDN. For anyone new to the blog, every post has a writer's prompt, so there's quite a back catalogue to work through. Meanwhile, what do the regulars want to see for the third year coming? More prompts? More themed posts? Something new? We're back in business, and aim to please :) Answers in the comments box please x