Transition to Summer? Already?

Uhhh…I wish winter last longer!

I think the paper needs to understand the difference between transition time and the beginning ūüôā . I mean Feb and March are still winter but approaching its end for its transition to summer.

Dusty weather marks beginning of summer

Sunday, February 28, 2010-
Web posted at: 2/28/2010 7:2:39
DOHA: The unstable weather conditions currently experienced in Qatar mark the transition from winter to summer, according to the Meteorology Department. The dust storm that has been lashing the country since yesterday is expected to continue today. However, the winds would subside by later part of the day.
‚ÄúQatar is currently witnessing the transition from winter to summer and such weather conditions are usual at this period,‚ÄĚ said a forecaster at the Department last evening. Some parts of the country witnessed light drizzle last evening. The department has forecast more rains today. The day would remain ‚Äúpartly cloudy and dusty to cloudy at times over places,‚ÄĚ according to the daily weather forecast issued by the Department.
The maximum temperature expected today is 28 degrees Celsius- one degree less compared to that recorded yesterday. The minimum temperature is expected to settle at 20 degrees Celsius, against the 24 degrees Celsius recorded yesterday. The northerly to northeasterly winds are expected to blow at a speed of 10 to 18 knots inshore and from 15 knots to 20 knots offshore, reaching 24 knots a first, according to the Department.   








Jetty Boil-Off Gas Project

I was only once involved in this project Рknown as JBOG Р for a HAZOP meeting.

(Source: Qatargas website)


Doha – Qatar, 24 February 2010: Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and RasGas Company Limited (RasGas) have given the initial go ahead to a key US$1 billion environmental project to recover gas currently being flared during Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) ship loading at the Port of Ras Laffan.

The project which is part of the Common Facilities Projects at Ras Laffan Industrial City in the north of Qatar is known as the ‚ÄúJetty Boil-Off Gas Recovery Project‚ÄĚ.¬†

The project will enable boiled-off gas to be collected from LNG ships and compressed at a central facility.  The compressed gas will then be sent to the LNG producers to be consumed as fuel or converted back into LNG.  This project, when fully operational, will recover the equivalent of some 0.6 million tonnes per year of LNG, which is enough natural gas to power more than 40,000 homes.

Qatargas Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Faisal M. Al-Suwaidi said: ‚ÄúWe are very pleased that Qatargas is able to lead this project on behalf of all the LNG producers at Ras Laffan Industrial City.¬† Qatargas, Qatar Petroleum, and RasGas are all focused on reducing our emissions and energy use so that we can bring our emissions to the lowest levels possible to meet or beat international standards. This project will contribute greatly to reducing emissions from our facilities.‚ÄĚ

Qatargas, as the project leader, is working with Qatar Petroleum and the Ministry of the Environment, to execute this project which aims to significantly reduce overall flaring and emissions at Ras Laffan Industrial City.

It is anticipated that the project will be completed by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

(Don’t) meet me at the Roundabout

A roundabout is a feature of Qatar road system. A roundabout is a type of circular intersection in which traffic must travel in one direction around a central island. Traffic entering the circle must slow down and give the right-of-way to drivers already in the circle. As driving and navigating in Qatar is by landmark and roundabout is one of the most obvious landmarks, roundabout becomes an easy-to-find  meeting point.

Now imagine if there is a car stopped at outer roundabout perimeter at any of 12 or 3 or 6 or 9 o'clock position (Image from Wikipedia)

This, however, presents undesired consequences: waiting car in the sideroad of roundabout (normally found at the edge of road demarcation, opposite roundabout island, if you know what I means). Sometimes you will find this car with its hazard lamp on, or turn signal on or not at all. This waiting is bad for two reasons: one, it chokes the flow resulting potential car accident from traffic merge; two Рit blocks the left view of incoming cars.

Fortunately, with many major roundabouts in Doha are converted into circular traffic-lighted intersection, this abuse is decreasing.

If you read this post, don’t ever accept or offer to wait inside a roundabout. I will surely honk you :). It is not safe for you and other road users. Why don’t¬†you wait or pull over at the sideroad after/before a roundabout if a roundabout is the only landmark you and your friend know. Or alternatively¬†choose a safer meeting point: a parking lot of a mall, or a mosque may be?

Peek into “Katara” Cultural Village, Doha

I visited Cultural Village the first time on Feb 2010, while it was under construction. Afterwards, I have paid couple of visits so the pictures here are collections of many visits.

Built on reclaimed coastal land to the north of Doha, the Cultural Village conceptualized to reflect the heritage of Qatar through traditional architecture that accommodates lots of activities. This US$82million project includes an amphitheatre, heritage centers, libraries, art galleries and other academic facilities, not to mention retail outlets, coffee shops, museum facilities and market areas.

Located in the West Bay area of Doha with a total area of 99 hectares, the Cultural Village is accessed for free through a gated entrance opposite Doha Exhibition Center (coordinate: 25 21’05.45″N 51 31’27.86″E (entrance gate)). ¬†Another entrance will be made¬†¬† is available through Lusail Street (continuation of Al Istiqlal St), about 400m before the next roundabout after Exhibition Center R/A (coordinate:25 21’35.02″N 51 31’14.04″E). If you enter through the latter, you will see a big underground car park (which I think it’ll become a commercial/shopping center in the future).

Map showing Katara Entrance and nearby landmarks

Cultural Village is now rebranded as “Katara”

The Katara Project has been divided into different areas, the first of which will encompass societies and institutions. Visitors are free to meander around the main Katara area which has been built in the style of the traditional Qatari alleyways, call al fareej. 37 traditional style buildings will be home to various societies and institutions (see Layout below).

The project additionally includes a media center, various academic facilities, a handicraft souq, book market, cafes and coffee shops, green areas and information centers, as well as access to the beach. The latter (Al Yazwa Public Beach) unfortunately requires fee to access (if I’m not mistaken QR100 for adult and QR65 for children; other water sports facilities incur separate fees).

The second area features several restaurants, all exclusive to Middle East, and all themed: Saffron Lounge (indian), L’wzaar (fish market), Khan Farouk (Egyptian) and Sukar Pasha (Turkish). There are also street/beach vendor selling cai and gahwa (tea and coffee), and La Gelateria (ice cream).

The third and fourth areas will incorporate retail and residential buildings, with views to having a mall, hundreds of shops, and hundreds of villas.

The final area is the minaret center, based around three towers. The first, a hotel, will be 580m in height, making it Qatar’s tallest. The second tower will be for additional accomodation and the third for office use. The center will be built on the old Aladdin Kingdom’s site.

Katara has held various performance since its opening: Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Doha Tribeca Film Festival, Photography Exhibitions (i.e. Our Time, Doharama), Cultural Performance during AFC Asian Cup Jan 2011.

Katara has been built out of a desire to make Qatar foremost in the ME as a center of arts, music and literature.

Updated 16 March 2012 РDiplomatic Bazaar

Wow, it’s been 4 months since my last visit. No major changes – in terms of physical – but Katara is more lively. I visited Katara, 16 March 2012,¬† to have a look at Diplomatic Bazaar, participated by 25 countries/diplomatic reps.

Katara's Diplomatic Bazaat, near gate 23 of Katara Beach
Watchtower at Katara Beach
A wider view towards Diplomatic Bazaar location (from the spot in front of Amphitheater)


Katara Beach, from Gate 22, view towards Intercontinental Hotel area and West Bay

Updated 8 Nov 2011 – Eid Al Adha

MAMIG - Armenian and Lebanese Restaurant

Updated 10 Oct 2011

Bird's-eye view of Katara (10 Oct 2011)

Updated 20 August 2011

See more pictures in Katara in 50mm

Katara at night during Ramadan

Updated 2 June 2011

The Official website of Katara is now active presenting calendar, venues and activities, and about facility itself. Good informative website. Taken from the same website below is an updated map of Katara.

Katara Map (source:

Update 25 March 2011 after visited an exhibition in Main Purpose Hall


Building 16 in Katara
Near Qatar Photography Society
View from Building 12 Multi Purpose Hall
View from Ampitheater towards Qatar Marine Festival location
Inside the Friday Mosque - Katara
Inside Wall of the Friday Mosque Katara
With my kids at amphitheater


Update 18 March 2011 – Taken from Seafront East Side Qatar Marine Festival location

Katara, Dhow and Zigzag Towers
Katara from Seafront East Side (Qatar Marine Festival location)
Katara beachside - seen here birdtowers, and seaside restaurants
Katara's Amphitheater

Update: 2 March 2011

Got this aerial view shot from the window of Qatar Airways’s Airbus, 18 February 2011.

Katara and West Bay Lagoon

Update Jan 2011

Katara Al Yazwa Public Beach at night
 Update December 2010 
Katara - Valley of Cultures site plan (Source: Katara adv. in Marhaba, winter 2010/2011 edition)
Bird Tower at night
Amphitheater at night
Katara used as center stage for Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010

First issue: February 2010

Striking structure. "Real estate" for birds
Monotonous yet impressive architectural curves

Easily found is the amphitheater which seats 5,000 people.

Side entrance to amphitheater
Different expressions of us
Traditional elements are maintained
A door at the base of birds tower
Water tap
Mosque in Cultural Village
Parking lot view towards Doha city
Beach at Cultural Village; view towards The Pearl. Zigzag Towers on the background




A window in one of the Katara buildings

Toko Jakarta (Jakarta Food Stuff)

Indonesians in Qatar must know this store. Otherwise, they are subject to be questioned for¬†their Indonesian¬†…:)

Toko Jakarta (lit. Jakarta store) is what Indonesian calls for Jakarta Food Stuff. A specialized store selling Indonesian consumer goods products. Items such as the legendary Teh Botol Sosro, Indomie (made in Indonesia), sambal, Indonesian cosmetics & medicines, snacks are among products you can find there. Miss tempe (fermented soyabean cake) or tahu, hurry up to Toko Jakarta as these two are among the fast selling items.

You need to be aware, however, that during some periods there will a limited stock or even, out of stock due to late delivery, or supply-demand applies.

Toko Jakarta offers scheduled home delivery service for purchase more than 100QR [Monday – Dukhan. Tuesday – Messaied. Wednesday – Al Khor. Saturday – Doha]

Toko Jakarta can be accessed from Airport Road. Turn right to Al  Matar Al Qadeem St, at the fist traffic light after airport entrance intersection. Toko Jakarta is the second shop at the right side, opposite Pizza Hut . Parking is available in front of or behind the shop.

Coordinate: 25 15’16.35″N 51 33’46.51″E

Telp: 4666377

Toko Jakarta
Inside Toko Jakarta

Buying a used car in Qatar

My buying of old Cherokee is an example of buying a used car in Qatar.

For used car information, I normally depend on Qatarliving, classifieds section. Qatarsale or Oasis car  are another sites offering selling of used car. For Qatargas employee you might want to check internal Qatargas Online Souk. Some brand dealers also offer used car section such as Honda, Mercedez, GM, Audi & VW and so on (they normally offers certified used car that undergone various point checks. Check their websites! You may also find posted ad in some hypermarket i.e. Family Food Center information board.

The process started with calling, sending an sms or email to seller and make an appointment for viewing the advertised car. Once you know which car you¬†target at, you’d better immediately give¬†a call to seller. Some models are just quick enough in classifieds.

For viewing,¬†I recommend¬†you bring along a friend who knows car very well. He will help you in spotting car negative points and help you in negotiating with the seller. I managed to negotiate my Cherokee from 25K down to 18K. My friend has even negotiated and secured a deal for his range rover from 30K to 18K! You need to be good in “reading” a situation whether the seller is in hurry for cash, whether the car is properly maintained, and whether the car needs some repairs afterward. For additional benefit you can take the car to Vehicle Check shop in Salwa Road for comprehensive check of car condition.

Once you secure a deal you need to finalize car ownership transfer. The process of transfer is straightforward. The seller and the buyer both need to go to Traffic Police Department in person. Prior to that you need to fill in a form (normally it is done by a typist in Traffic Police Department for a 10QR fee. Just present your ID card, car istimarah and he will do the rest. Cost for car ownership transfer is 200QR. Unless agreed by both parties, normal practice is seller absorbs the cost. Insurance does not need to be transferred to new owner.

Renewal of Istimarah (Car Registration)

On the 1st Feb last week I renewed my Outlander istimarah (car registration). Time flew so fast heh. Renewal of istimarah in Qatar is so straightforward.

For new car (less than 3 years) like mine, go to any traffic police department with your old istimarah, take a queue number, go to the counter, and pay 100QR (using credit card or debit card). Your new istimarah will be ready by 5-10 minutes. However, you need to have your car insurance renewed as well prior to go to renewal counter. In Madinat Khalifa or Rayyan traffic police department, there is an insurance representative office for third party insurance. You can even ask them to process your renewal for minimal fee. Don’t forget to ask for a registration sticker for your car plates.

For old car (more than 3 years), you need to have your car inspected by Qatar Technical Inspection (for 75 QR), have traffic police clearance, and with the inspection report go to insurance company for insurance renewal and then go to any traffic police department.

Btw, you can also go to City Center Mall in lieu of traffic police department. There is a traffic police booth. You just have to be hanging there as sometimes the officer is away.