15 January 2003 - Live from Doha!
Greetings from Dohar, Qatar. "Where?'" you ask, well it's a little country on a peninsula jutting out into the Persian Gulf. It's a new year, a new trip, and a new war to cover. Once again I find myself in a strange place, in a strange time, pulling tricks out of the television miracle bag. I don't have any great insights yet tonight to share... we've been too busy setting all our gear up to do much thinking.
19 January 2003 - Into the Air
This morning I find myself in the Doha airport. More on this later. But first some impressions of Qatar. The first and most relevant to this website is the difficulty in obtaining modem access. While Qatar is one of the most liberal states in the Gulf, this liberalism only goes so far. We have been trying to obtain several dial-up accounts for our laptops. Back home, this is a simple matter of a phone call and a credit card. Here in Qatar, it meant a long morning at the local PTT office waiting in lines and filling out forms. And once all that had been done, it turns out I don't have the right visa to obtain an internet account. Of course no heed is paid to the fact that nowhere in the application does it mention the need for any visa, let alone a residence visa. So, back to the drawing board on internet access. Hopefully it will come soon so I can get BenThere.com back online.
Apart from the bureaucratic challenges at the Ministry of Red Tape (which also controls customs, radio liscencing, etc), this is a very nice - if quiet - country. It has less than the population of Minneapolis (my home town) in a land half the size of New Jersey. With so few people, the enourmous wealth of this emirate goes so much further than other countries in the region. The streets are well paved, the walks impeccably clean, the waters clear and pleasant. The weather has been wonderful, the more so that it is quite cold in Washington right now. The food is good, and alcohol available at the hotels, although the prices rival New York. Seven dollars for a pint of Fosters can put quite a lid on any ideas of partying!
The people are most friendly, altough the native Qataris sometimes seem to be keeping their own counsel about our presence here. I sense a small frustraion amongst them that the tremendous development of their small country has been accomplished largely through the work of foreigners from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Palestine. But none of it would be possible without the considerable oil and gas resources that Qatar possess. And the keen sense of management of the Emir and his government is readily evident. There is a conspicous lack of great edifices and monuments to anything here. The focus instead seems to be on reinvesting in the country, and providing a better life for all in Qatar.
But today I'm off to another place. Shepard Smith, one of our prime time anchors, is traveling to the region to anchor the "Fox Report" for a week. His first stop is Amman, Jordan. Part of the plan is to provide Shep with teleprompter (auto-cue to you Brits that are reading) and aparently I've been tapped as the prompter expert. So, to Amman I go to make sure all goes well for the Fox Report. After reporting from Amman, Shep will travel on to Doha, with the rest of us in tow. Or is it the other way around - I'll be moving on to Doha with my entourage of talented people. Well, maybe not. But it's nice to add another stamp to the passport on this trip.
Click here to go to Jordan with me!!
or click here for Qatar Part 2
Thanks to Ellen for the desert shots!!!!!
|Qatar Part 1||Qatar Part 2||Qatar Part 3||Qatar Part 4|
|Jordan||Iraq||Kuwait Part 1||Kuwait Part 2|