Onwards & Upwards – Doha, Qatar

Exactly a year ago, I arrived in Doha. I was excited & nervous which I think is pretty normal for someone who has just moved to a new city or country. The last year has had its fair share of ups & downs, but overall it has been the best year of my life. I feel like I am in such a good space – I love my job, I love living here, I love my new lifestyle. I also love how even after a year, everything still feels new & like an adventure. I have compiled a list of things that I’ve noticed or encountered over the last year which make me giggle.20190328_161344

Most people assume I am Australian.

Really? Could you not have chosen any other nation?

People are surprised that I’m from Africa & I’m white.

“Why are you white?” – Well gee, I honestly don’t know.

People also ask if I was born in Europe & I have to explain that I wasn’t & neither were any of my parents or grandparents & so on. To be honest, this particular situation doesn’t make me giggle as the topic becomes complex & difficult to explain.

They use blue ink pens for official use here.

I’m not sure what colour ink is considered acceptable in other parts of the world, but in South Africa, most official documents are to be filled in using black ink pens. It is still very strange for me to see & use blue ink when I’m at the bank or signing a contract.IMG_20181026_150503_204

People ask me if I can speak “African”.

What is this “African” language I hear so much about? There are literally hundreds of native African languages… and not a single one of them is called “African”.

People ask what ‘Hakuna matata’ means.

Firstly, you’re asking me because you’ve watched The Lion King so you should know that it means no worries for the rest of your days… obviously. Secondly, it is a phrase from the Swahili language, therefore I know nothing about the language so you’re on your own with this one, bud.

South Africans living abroad love each other.

Perhaps the best thing I’ve seen while living here is the strong sense of companionship among South Africans who are no longer living in their country. It is almost as if there is some unspoken agreement that whenever you meet another South African, you are automatically the best of friends. This happens most of the time & it is regardless of where you come from, which language you speak & what you look like. This is monumental because this isn’t something that happens all too often in our home country. I wish all South Africans were as accepting & generous towards each other back home. Maybe one day we will get there, but for now, I absolutely love how we are with each other abroad.IMG_20181002_224004_590

Chips (crisps) packets are next to impossible to open.

I don’t know what kind of next level industrial glue they use to seal chip packages, but it’s almost as if they don’t want you to eat what is inside.

No one ever asks about rugby or soccer.

You better make sure you know all there is to know about The Proteas (South African National Cricket team) because that is the only sport you will ever be asked about &, believe me, the questions are exhaustive.

I no longer call a traffic light a robot.

Yes, you read that correctly. Our slang does in fact call a traffic light a robot. This got me some very odd reactions when I’d say things like “Stop at the next robot.” or “The shop is just three robots down from here.”

Right now, now now & just now.

This is another slang problem. In South Africa, right now means immediately. Now now means any time between 5 to 30ish minutes in the future. Just now means longer than now now, but it might also refer to hours in the future – there’s no real limit to this one. So this really was/is a big problem for me. I would tell someone I would get something for them or get back to them ‘now now’ – they assumed I was doing it immediately with nothing else taking higher priority, but that is not at all what I meant.

People tell me they’ve been on a safari.

While I understand they are trying to be friendly, I don’t see the relevance because they then proceed to show me pictures of themselves posing in front of wild animals at some animal sanctuary. Not really my idea of a safari.

Summer in the Middle East is intense.

Oh my goodness, it gets hot here. Everyone knows this, but experiencing it is something else. I’ve listed this because sometimes I just laugh at how unbelievable the heat is.

It goes without saying that there are times when I miss home terribly. I really miss my family & friends. Anyone would miss the cuisine & culture they grew up with & I’m no exception. However, dwelling on those thoughts & feelings only makes you feel worse. Although, this is easy for me to say when I’ve been blessed to have some of my family come visit me & having the opportunity to go home a few times. I’m looking forward to the highs, lessons & adventures that this upcoming year has in store for me.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels



27 thoughts on “Onwards & Upwards – Doha, Qatar

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  1. the personal angle/in sight is great here dan, I don’t think people know about South Africa too much aside what was fed in the media (especially in the states). One of my favorite things to do is tell people that Charlize Theron is African American as she has dual citizenship… boy does that confuse people ! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh, seems people from the US aren’t the only ones with holes in their geography! Good to know. I’m sure you are very gracious with the questions, hmm, except for about “speaking African”!


  3. I learned about South Africa through watching professional men’s golf many years ago. Many being white, blue-eyed, blondies! Your humor in your life & writing is refreshing! Enjoyed it very much!


  4. What a wonderful post! Love this!!! You made me laugh a few times. I particularly like the whole right now, now now and just now thing. Hilarious! And robot for stop light. That rocks so hard. Thank You for sharing all of this. I’m very happy You’re having such a wonderful time!!! Rock on and Cheers!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The “why are you white” question had me laughing. Have you seen the movie Mean Girls? There’s a similar question and it’s pretty funny. I can definitely relate to a lot of these after moving to Copenhagen from Philadelphia. It’s not the same as “I’ve been on safari” but I almost always have people say “I’ve been to New York” and I’m sort of like… “ok cool… I’ve been to Stockholm.” 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hello Dan, I dropped by to see an interesting and informative blog. Great write up. I must say that I learned a thing or two about your nationality. You’re right, whenever you are in the world, South Africans treat each other like family, I can attest to the small community of travelers here in the Philippines.

    Cheers to a cup of coffee!


  7. “Firstly, you’re asking me because you’ve watched The Lion King so you should know that it means no worries for the rest of your days… obviously.” 🤣 You had me dying with this post. Thank you for the education on your slag by the way! I have a South African friend that I work with, and sometimes we travel on the road together. Never heard him say, “make a right turn at the next robot”. But I will definitely bring it up to him to see if he finds amusing. Thank u for a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading & for leaving this comment. It really makes me happy to hear this kind of feedback.

      I’m sure your friend will giggle when he hears you using the word ‘robot’ for traffic light.

      Take care & be safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So, I have not been able to use the word “robot” with my friend while driving because of quarantine. But I shared with him this little conversation you and I had, and he had a big laugh! Thank you for helping me make my friend laugh. He told me to come back at you and say, “I’m going to fill my ‘boot’”. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

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