I like stories.
I had a really nice chat with a lady during my transit in Doha today. It is funny as we started chatting when we got on the bus and both feeling a little lost as to where to go. She was transiting for Saudi and I was heading home. The bus ride was about 20 minutes (the airport landing ground was massive) but the airport was really organized and color coordinated. We got drinks and started exchanging life stories. She had just moved to Saudi Arabia about 4 months ago for work and found the culture a big shock. I was aware of the lower status of women there but not entirely clear about the life as a woman, especially for an expat. Having experienced the free and more independent life in London, she struggled a little to adapt. Apparently, women are given an apt while a man is given a town house at her work place. Many decisions are made based solely on gender. For example, she is not allowed to drive outside of the expat neighborhood, she does not have a changing room in the shopping mall, she will be served after a man and the list goes on. It sounded crazy and unreal to me as I have been brought up in a relatively gender-fair country (thank god). An interesting fact that I didn’t know about Saudi, only salt water is provided in homes. So basically people there shower in salty water! I was really intrigued and definitely want to visit and explore middle east some day. But maybe in a group.
It is little moments like this that makes life interesting. Everyone has a story to share and by listening and exchanging stories, you learn a little more about life around the world. This has taught me to appreciate the freedom I have.
On a side note, what do you call people from Qatar?