I've now been here a bit over a month and promised to start a blog, but rather than start with today, I'm going to back-track a bit to the beginning. This is an accounting of my flight and first days in Doha.
My flights (Aug 12-13): both portions (O'Hare to Heathrow and then on to Doha) were fine although the supposed flat bed approach of British Air wasn't very comfortable for my back, so I didn't really sleep on the first flight at all. The only thing that kept me awake on the layover at Heathrow was some duty-free shopping. I spent the rest of my time in London trying to confirm that Popcorn was OK. Seems they've changed procedures and she wasn't showing up on their list. I finally fell asleep on the connecting flight to Doha from sheer exhaustion...that was good. During a brief layover in Dubai, a BA attendant went to the cargo hold and tried to get a picture of Popcorn on his cell phone - it was pretty fuzzy but I could see her.
My arrival (Aug 13): I met a professor of chemical engineering with Texas A&M as we de-planed and followed him through customs. The airport is undergoing massive remodeling so it had changed since I was here before. Ruth, my new dept chair, and Bill, head of HR, met my flight, which arrived about 8:00 PM. My luggage arrived fine, and so did Popcorn, although Muhammad Ali, VCUQ's all-around logistics man, wasn't able to spring her from BA cargo until about 11:30 PM after having to give them an additional $100. She arrived in OK shape - altho she was very happy to get out of her kennel.
My first night in Doha: After everyone left, I stayed up cleaning the kitchen - it was a pit - because I was wide awake. I finally crashed about 3:00 AM
My first day in Doha (Aug 14): I got up at 7:45 Tues AM to meet Muhammed Ali (and other new faculty) who took us for our health inspection and photographs for our residency permit. Interesting that at the clinic, there were separate entrances and clinics for men and women. The health inspection consisted of chest x-rays (TB screening), blood testing & typing (they say I'm A neg although I've always been told I'm B neg). The worst however was the photography - I cannot believe I agreed to have my picture taken the day after arriving - I look really terrible and that picture is now on everything at the university and with the Qatar government!
The new faculty who were with me: one is in ID...her name is Maja (pronounced Maya) from Sweden - she's here with her husband Marcus - very nice young couple. Also Law and Levi who are new in Graphic Design - both are from Oregon.
We went back to campus for a couple of short meetings/orientations to advising, etc kind of stuff. Then I met River, the registrar, who lives in the villa next to me. She and her son, Joaquin, moved here from CA last January. She took me shopping Tues evening for some groceries. The villa had already been stocked with some stuff like white bread, Nescafe, powdered creamer, 2 1/2 doz eggs, 5 kinds of cream cheese, etc) but I still needed to pick up a few more things. Tues night I crashed early.
My second day in Doha (Aug 15, Wed): no apointments at the college that day so I finished cleaning the kitchen - took me until mid-afternoon . Then I started on the other parts of the house - rearranged furniture, made lists of things that needed to be fixed, and started unpacking. I began dragging from jet lag about 7:30 and became increasingly ineffective so I went to bed at 9:00 PM.
My third day in Doha (Aug 16, Thurs): I got up at 5:00 AM again so I could give myself a manicure (I was glad I hadn't spent $ on one in CA - the cleaning I had to do wrecked my nails) and wash my hair. I was in meetings from 9:00 to 3:00. I met another faculty member - Kevin Wooley from Utah...very nice guy. He took me shopping after the meetings for linens and lots of kitchen miscellany. He also introduced me to Moden, the manager of the villas, who fixed a bunch of things for me.