In the summer of 2001 I boarded a near-empty Qatar Airways flight to Doha. Reuniting with my family who’d recently moved there for my father’s new job, it was my first time living abroad.
Back in the early noughties Qatar wasn’t the most exciting place in the world for a single guy. There were virtually no pubs or nightclubs to speak of, a non-existent dating scene and as far as live music went things were drier than the city’s surrounding deserts (I’m going to pretend UB40’s depressing stop in Doha never happened).
For those literally unable to survive a few days without a drink, (all my fellow English teachers) there were just two options. A) Get an expensive license that allowed you to drink alcohol strictly in the comfort of your own home or B) Drag yourself over to one of the city’s soulless hotel bars (usually The Marriot or The Sheraton).