Iranian Souq, July 2001. I arrived in Doha during the summer of 2001, without a clue as to what I would do there. Those first weeks were spent wandering about the city, with regular visits to the corniche, City Center Mall and the Iranian Souq. The locals were quietly friendly and largely unobtrusive in their attempts to attract my business. Many shop owners were happy to be photographed, like this old spice merchant and his Indian assistant. To read more about my experiences, check out my short story Ashraf.
Qatar Desert Safari, Aug 2001. One of the highlights of my time in Doha came with this trip out to the desert in a 4×4. Led by a highly skilled local driver/guide, we negotiated the dunes at high speed before being dropped off at the inland sea for a swim and breathtaking views of Saudi Arabia from across the water. Later, as our guide cooked up a freshly caught fish dinner, I was treated to this private-performance-desert- sunset.
Khalifa Stadium, September 2001. Qatar never had a hope of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. But that didn’t stop my friend Scott and I from cheering them on for two of their home fixtures at Khalifa Stadium. Surrounded by buoyant locals, we took in Qatar’s 1-1 home draw against China and the 2-2 tie with Uzbekistan, a valiant performance that cruelly resulted in their elimination. To read more about my experiences following the national football team, check out my short story Khalifa Dreams.
At Abdul’s house, October 2001. I befriended Abdul while taking my TEFL course (Teaching English as a foreign language) at The British Council. A colourful and often unpredictable character, this photo was taken during a movie night at his place. We were in the middle of watching Pulp Fiction when he hit the pause button and disappeared from view in a cloud of excitement. Returning a few minutes later, he carried with him a pair of samurai swords, his reaction to the Bruce-Willis-deals-with-Zed scene. To read more about Abdul, check out my short story Pulp Friction.
At T.L.I. (The Language Institute) January 2002. Having been given the green light to “go forth and teach”, I quickly secured an evening job at T.L.I., a run down little institute in the city centre. Incredibly challenging, frequently stressful but always entertaining, my first teaching gig proved to be a steep learning curve. To read more, check out my short stories Baptism of Fire, Like it Too Much and The Little Pronghorn.