4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

We’ve made it! We are FINALLY here in Doha. We haven’t quite arrived in the state we were hoping, the house in Houston is still on the market, the children don’t have confirmed places in school but we have everything we need and it feels really exciting to be somewhere unfamiliar.

Our final few days in Houston were busy with packing, drinking, home showings, drinking, moving trucks, drinking and all those “little” last minute jobs we’d forgotten (the memory loss is possibly a result of the drinking). We had a bit of excitement when G discovered a burst water pipe which meant we had to cut a hole in the bedroom wall, have a plumber fix the pipes, plaster and repaint two walls and a hallway (all done on the morning we left). When you’re moving it’s always good to throw in a bit of last minute drama!

The drive to the airport involved a van, pickup truck and two stops along the way, but eventually we made it. After paying the excess luggage and loading the barking beagle there was a great sense of relief to finally set foot on the plane. We flew Qatar Airways, direct from Houston to Doha. The new plane was great, the inflight entertainment system superb, the wine and bubbles came when requested, everyone was very happy. When we arrived in Doha it was an Adelaide flashback with a walk down the stairs to the Tarmac and then on to a bus to the arrivals lounge. The children stood wide eyed amongst their Chicken Little and Barbie carryon luggage whispering to G and I “is this it?” and “are we here?” We were then escorted to a lounge area and two incredibly efficient and glamourous women took off with our passports and handled the immigration and customs details. What a neat idea! Somewhere in the background a team of people collected our 20 pieces of luggage and still barking beagle. We were then whisked out the door of the airport, which was all thanks to the barking beagle who was making the airport staff a little uncomfortable. For those who are not aware dogs are mostly unfavoured animals in muslim countries, and our barking beagle was certainly not making a quiet and unassuming entry in to Qatar.

After a very squishy ride with seven of us in a five seater vehicle we arrived at the hotel. As I stood in the foyer of the Ramada watching a myriad of guest arrive and depart it really struck me how international Doha is. The children were speechless (for a few minutes at least) as they looked around the room. African women in bright floral dresses, Qatari men in their dishdash, French businessmen, a group of Australians in jeans and matching polo shirts and our hotel manager a very kind Indian man who upgraded our room to a suite! It’s early days I know but I feel that we are going to be very happy in Doha, I’ll keep you posted.

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