Thursday, May 31, 2012

We still suffer very much by the terrible death of those children . With my friends we discuss it all the time .One of my friend says from NZ " I wish we could set back the clock - and go back in the time and make everything for this would not happen "

Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate.
- Charlotte Gray

I know a mum who was just heading to the Villaggio to leave her kid at the nursery ... She was supposed to be there at the time of the fire but somehow everything went so slow that morning .Finally she was late -the police did not let her enter the mall .Since then  the simple thought that they arrive on time gives her chills .

 I read this here :

 We live one block from Villaggio. So this hit me and my wife very hard, like a sucker punch in the solar plexus hard. My wife mentioned that her friend told me that until you have kids of your own, you don’t understand this kind of emotional impact when something like this happens. Now I do.

A mother from Abu Dhabi wrote .

I try to not imagine the children as the smoke gets thicker and they can not reach for their no cell phones to let mommy know they are suffocating and gasping for air.
I try not to think about the sounds and the screams, but I hear them all so loud, the screams and the sounds.

Things that I still do not understand

Yesterday I was reading the account of a fireman on the nursery tragedy . He claimed that nobody survived . "Mohsen, who described Shahboun as "a leader to us", said that all of the children in the nursery had died - "five in the ambulance, three at the hospital and the rest right at the spot."

Question one : how many kids were there in the nursery ? 

 initially they were talking about 20 kids out of them 13 died .. so it is for me now a total confusion

Question two : How the teachers did not call the firefighters to ask for help and describing their location when they were able to call to the Philippines ?

Question three : How nobody felt necessary to warn the nursery about the fire least by phone

Question four : what was the staircase made of that it collapsed in the fire ? Was not it concrete?

Question five :How nobody felt the urge of informing the firefighters about the existence of a nursery ?


How many kids were there in the nursery ? - it seems that 13
Why did they talk about 20 on the first day ? I think they did not want to admit the ugly truth that everybody died there . It seemed this way as they rescued some

  How the teachers did not call the firefighters to ask for help and describing their location when they were able to call to the Philippines ?
 According to co-workers who should have worked in afternoon shift that day they got call from the teachers in the morning complaining about mild smoke .They were told to call the security who told them the fire was under control. How the teachers did not think they should leave  after all? Nobody likes talking about this topic. They died I know - it is terrible  I know but from what we know  at the moment the teachers were not recognizing  that they should act quickly . 13 kids and four adults / it was not impossible to leave quickly.If every teacher  had picked up two kids 8 of them would have been out .And there were bigger kids as well who can follow orders and leave on their own . Later the teachers called that they can not leave they need help .Why the co-workers who got this call did not call the firefighters ?Why were the teachers texting and calling relatives instead of calling the firefighters ?This question is still very confusing I do not see it clearly .

  There was an article in which someone claims that  there was enough time to leave.After the first light smoke 15 minutes had gone until heavy smoke came and blocked their way .
How those teachers did not feel  without any fire safety training that having even light smoke in a kindergarten is not OK and they should leave as soon as possible ?

How nobody felt necessary to warn the nursery about the fire least by phone    the investigation did not answer  this ....  this was not the first fire in Villaggio  the nursery was not a new  one ... the security just told them to stay where they were... was this call registered ?

 what was the staircase made of that it collapsed in the fire ? Was not it concrete?  - I heard that it was made of aluminum

 How nobody felt the urge of informing the firefighters about the existence of a nursery ? no answer on this  the parents could not reach the firefighters they were waiting outside while trying to inform the policemen outside about the kids in the nursery - but there was the language barrier

  and there are more questions  about the missing floor plan , about the security who claim they did not know about the children  though this was not the first fire in the mall

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

society of gold miners

I have never thought that Qatar is the land of the idealist .people come here to get rich and not to be a hero . I have known all that.Still I was shocked when I read  about the Villaggio fire .How little the security and other staff was caring about the customers .A man was trying some clothes in the Zara boutique when he came out - there was nobody . Everybody left the place and nobody cared about people in the changing room .As we learn more and more details on this terrible fire it is getting more and more painfully clear to me that the children  and their teachers were left alone in that ill-fated nursery .
It is clear now that the fire started at the Nike shoe shop then it spread to the Puma and the smoke from there flew up to the nursery . How much time was all that ? How much time until the staircase collapsed ? How much time was there to warn the teachers who might have not heard the fire bells at all . There was no one security man who  would run up and do this little thing which could  have saved the life of the little ones .Or a shop assistant who saw the fire or anybody else being aware of the existence of the nursery .
People come here to make money . There is no hope to get a  citizenship here for expats / plus we always hear that we can go away if we do not like something in the country .And as skilled and well experienced people rarely get the salary they would deserve this way a lots of them leave  the country for good .New ones are coming without skills and experience  and  by the time they  gain some they already  left the country .This is the land of the incompetent .Taxi drivers do not know the main sights of the city  and the security guards run away when they  notice the danger - the mall managers can not find the map of the building when it is about trying and saving the life of babies .

And about the firefighters who  died in the incident  - I am really disturbed by that . I had the feeling that they  were sent to the  death .. Did they have gas mask and oxygen ? Are firefighters obliged to go to the sure death ?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why ? ..............

We have to wait a week until investigations tell us how the fire started and spread to the nursery killing by that 13 kids and 4 teachers and more people .

Until then still there are a lots of thoughts is worth reading :

it turns out that low-cost nurseries have strict rules about fire escape that  they have to follow
"Last year the nursery I work at was ordered to do the following
1. Install all the fire up-to-date equipment.
2. Build/install a fire escape
3. All the classes are to be held on the ground floor of the building.
4. A fully functional water sprinkling system.
5. Practice a fire drill as often as possible
This is a VERY low cost nursery but all this was done ASAP regardless of the cost.
Now how can a nursery as expensive as gympanzies have been running without all that, how and who approved them to operate…

 This nursery was rather expensive .Doha Mums Club was advertising and recommending it/ still  I was reading on their homepage  how safe it was ...:(   Since then they deleted the page ...From this every mum can learn that posh is not surely safe . And  how  little you can trust recommendation of that Club .
another thought about the fire :

"incident yesterday will open all parents and the whole community to more vigilant regarding places or structures where their children go and even the house we live. Awareness is the key word, not fear."
"Required teacher trainings/education: Most of our teachers are CPR & First Aid certified and have a minimum of two years of college studies.  There is a Red Cross office downstairs in case of an emergency. "

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tragedy and Horror - 13 kids die at the Villaggio Nursery

I was busy all the day. When afternoon I was chatting with someone then she asked me what do I think about the fire at Villaggio Mall .I thought that it was just the usual fire - it is quickly put out and no problem  .. no deaths ....
And knowing well the Villaggio Mall is a ground floor structure  you simply would not suppose that massive death toll would  come with the fire .Easy to escape - you do not get stuck in the lift etc .
Then when I heard about the death toll I was astonished ... yes  the nursery was really on the first floor . I visited that place  once out of curiosity and I was shocked even at that time that we have to walk on long corridors without windows and the nursery was like a dead end of that long corridor otherwise packed with offices . I had bad feelings ... as many times when I have to be in a closed area . The location itself was a mistake....
I do not know details yet . But you can imagine how bad the  fire was if you hear the death toll and the four teachers and two firefighters who also perished there .As a mother and teacher I can not describe with words what I feel .MY  sincere sympathy to the parents  who lost their kids there whoever they were whatever nationality it is a day of big tragedy for all of us who live and  bring  their kids up in Doha .

more details and pictures here

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cistanche Desert Flower

I have just came across this photo of this strange flower . Somebody captured this desert flower in Messaid , Qatar and is selling it on an ipad case at zazzle .Very interesting plant - I have never seen it .I spend mt days in the city .No wonder that I am ignorant when it comes to the life in the desert .

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My long lost parcel from mom was found

The ways of  Q -Post are unpredictable . My mom sent us some gifts last year .Exactly a year ago . We did not get it .It was very big disappointment  for all of us . Then at Xmas time she was hesitating  about  sending us a parcel again . Finally we found out a trick . She would address the parcel to the prestigious institution where one of us works and which belongs to a certain foundation ... and our trick worked , my mum's parcel was here within ten days  :)
We forgot about the old  lost parcel . My mum asked me some days or week ago about the kids size . I did not even have time to measure them . Then  the parcel is already here . Thank you mum for the parcel ! - I called her ....Which parcel ? -she asked astonished - I just posted it this afternoon it can't be that it is already there !
So you can guess that it was the parcel from last year . It arrived !Finally . Though we had to throw the chocolates  and the kids have  grown out the clothes mum sent - but it is here .

Monday, May 21, 2012

dream cars in qatar


dream cars in qatar
rolls royce ad in the pearl island
we were not very much welcomed in their showroom
I think we did not have the impression of "serious buyer"
do not touch for the kids etc .
I decided at once never to buy rolls royce :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

aqua park qatar - practical info

Location :  on salwa road   15 minutes driving from industrial roundabout towards  the Saudi border ( Bu Samra)    - you take exit 29
Open from ten to ten
Fee : 100 QR /per person
 for kids under age three it is free
 Some  slides are for extra 30 riyals ( the huge ones)
Ladies only day : Tuesdays from 2 pm 10 pm
Family day: Friday , Saturday
Dress Code : on Ladies day we got the info on phone " any kind of swimming suit that is allowed for sale in Doha department stores is allowed to wear "
 not quite sure about the other days
Food , drinks : not allowed to take your own
Restaurants ; junk food at double price
Photos, cameras : strictly forbidden on ladies only day
Lockers: ten rials
Mini supermarket : offering snacks and swimming suits and other beach stuff
Lifeguards : there are a lots  but  do not seem to be very professional
 when I asked one of them about the depth of a pool - the answer was " I do not know madam"
Depth of water :  there is no warning about the deep areas  - be very careful especially with children

my personal favorites : wave pool / jacuzzi inside a cave

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

water park qatar -ladies only day

My little lad was allowed to enter only because he was under age seven .He enjoyed very much the pool for his age . It was small with shallow water with fancy slides for his size .From every corner elephants were spraying water into . There were three lifeguards inside the pool supervising them .I was just sitting under the trees and watching him .For some reasons I do not trust any lifeguards here  and I prefer watching the kids myself .

My preschooler first did not like the big pirate ship like slides  for the huge bucket in the shape of pirate . In every two /three minutes it poured the water on the steps where  the children were supposed to   go up .So I suggested her the wave pool  shallow part . We were enjoying it very much .She was jumping happily on the waves and shouting "it is Balaton .. mum like Balaton" .Then she was  brave enough  to try the pirate ship slides . When she came down she was all amazed "it is beautifully illuminated inside " like stars on the sky" and she kept sliding down ...

It was dinner time .The park suddenly became crowded .After sunset local  teen girls arrived in large groups .It was not easy to get a meal at the restaurants . We had no choice - only junk food .It was such a great day . I wished to have a gourmet sandwich or a salad /with some kind of premium ice cream . But there   were only fried nuggets .chicken strips , hamburgers .Ice cream of poor quality and all those at double price .I left my small kids with their babysitter sister .I went to swim to deeper water .Though the park was full - it was easy to swim .Most of the teens were interested in huge slides /walking /dancing /sitting by the pools and soaking their feet into the water .I swam into a cave  and enjoyed the jacuzzi there .Then with the kids we tried the lazy river .The slow stream moves  the rubber rings that we were supposed to sit into . Then  my eldest child bought extra tickets for those huge slides -she came down in those tubes which were not illuminated at all  ... total scary darkness ..:) for every age group there was something ...
As we were leaving the park  girls were dancing /sliding /splashing the water ... some carefree mood  I wish there were more places like this in Qatar with more affordable prices .

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

water park experience -ladies day

For you who do not know  : since the 1st May there is an afternoon for ladies only  .Aqua Park Qatar - the first and only water theme park here .It is built halfway on the road from Doha to the Saudi border .
Ladies only day ?- wondered my husband at the entrance . We saw only men security guard outside .But as we entered all the staff was female .So the arrival is not very welcoming ... the security check is strict and thorough .Your bags  your body all  checked with this scanner . They are looking for cameras .No photos here .
We were worried about the dress code . Some Brits claimed on discussion forums that only t-shirt and knee length  shorts are tolerated . We happily saw that they were wrong .We saw women enjoying the water and the sun   dressed in every style : bikinis ,one piece swimming suits , more conservative styles ...  we saw others walking or sitting at a restaurant in colorful or all white summer dresses ... we nearly had the feeling of being at home at Lake Balaton and I felt like  buying  for myself a nice summer dress with extreme  bright colorful flowers  or a nice white gauze dress with matching hat  -something that   we do not wear elsewhere here in Qatar .
If you want a new swimming suit you can buy one at the small supermarket  close to the entrance .It is around 180 rials .
 There is changing room and lockers .The lockers are extra 10 rials and the staff handles it .You get no key just a piece of paper .For me it would be easier to have the keys than this piece of paper .So we were over all the hassle and then started the fun .
 to be continued

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Birds of Qatar

I found in the local daily paper in the Peninsula a photo album full of great bird photos ...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Emiri Cup Qatar 2012

It was 40 years ago that the first  Emiri Cup was organized in Qatar . To celebrate this anniversary  there will be a lots of programs and competitions before the match itself . .
Until the 11th of May, visit one of  the  booths at Villaggio, City Centre, Landmark or Katara, and try to score against electronic goals! Winners will be chosen and given the chance to score at the half-time of the Emir Cup final on the 12th of May for a chance to win QR3,000, QR100,000 or the grand prize of QR1,000,000!

Many more prizes at the final on the 12th of May! Purchasing tickets will enter you for a draw to win: 15 Toyota Lexus cars, 20 motorbikes, 20 iPhones and 20 BlackBerrys. Cash prizes of QR10,000, QR2,000 and QR1,000 will also be given to lucky winners.

many activities planned ahead of the Emir Cup,Stay tuned for more information:

Practical advice : You'd better arrive one hour before the match .

Monday, May 07, 2012

Emir honours Hungarian envoy

Hungarian Ambassador to Qatar Szabo Laszlo was honoured by the Emir of Qatar in recognition of his efforts to enhance
relations between the two countries. The Emir wished Ambassador
Szabo  Laszlo success in his future
posting and relations between Qatar and Hungary further progress and prosperity.

Good and bad News from Aqua Park

  Where shall I start ?
The Good One : Ladies Only Day :) From Tuesday 1st of May

   every Tuesday from 2pm - 10 pm

The entrance ticket is QR 100 per person so  ladies who do not want to mix with male ones got one afternoon there ...

The Bad One ; an 8 years old little boy drowned in the pool of 139 cm - where were  the lifeguards then ?  Terrible .Watch out your kids if you happen to go there ! If you have a lots of kids rather take  at a time only one or two .

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Win a dinner party at a Lebanese restaurant

Dinning in Doha is a gastronomic  page -telling the news of restaurants and rating them .They are also known for organizing online competitions - the winners get usuallly a dinner for two . This month the winner will get a dinner for 14 people. Try you luck !Click here and enter the competition .

the Modern Mexican Cuisine in Doha


Pampano - Modern Mexican Cuisine in Doha

Friday, May 04, 2012

What about our Summer Festivals ?

Qatar is often described in travel books as a sleeping ,boring place . When ten years ago we happened to arrive in Doha we  were pleasantly surprised to see that there was a month long summer festival in the malls .Folk groups ,circus ,play area for the kids . But almost nothing in the last five years or so ...Unfortunately - it seems that this year there won't be any festival either .
I found an article harshly criticizing  this practice.
"While neighbours have been actively promoting their tourism attraction in the country, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has remained silent for months and has not announced any plans for the summer or Ramadan for those not planning trips abroad.
And at a time when schools are closed for summer and kids looking for pastimes. A lot of families are not travelling abroad this time because of the short gap between school holidays and Ramadan. The Arab Spring has affected travel to countries in the region that were usually considered attractive tourist spots.

 I’m convinced that most people working with QTA are on a holiday or spending their summer out of the country because they haven’t lined up any events or programmes for summer here. There are no activities being organised by malls, hotels and other establishments during a season when people have the time and would like to have some fun and relax."

  There are so many kids in Qatar .Local ones and expats . They all deserve some entertainment in the summer months.


restaurants ads on the Pearl island

There are plenty of /at the Pearl Island ...

Thursday, May 03, 2012

It is hot here -too early heat  -I tell to my relatives  who are in Hungary .
It is  hot too here -they answer  it is 25C ...

It was 46.5 C in  the meter of the taxi which shows the outside temperature ...
How can you survive ? - they ask me from my homeland .
 Really how can we survive ? How could they survive who had lived here for centuries ?Praise to be the one who invented the AC .

 It is going to be hot tomorrow ... then a bit less hot .. then the heat returns ...

expat Qatar