Back in the pit

Old Jul 29th 2020, 10:14 am
  #1  
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Default Back in the pit

I recently secured a new position in Doha. I left after an almost 5 year stint at the end of 2017 and have returned on occasion to do small one off short term projects. Now very happy to be back and looking at another hopefully nice long stretch. Was issued with a super duper Mr importante visa so I was able to enter this last Sunday and currently approaching the half way point of the now 7 day quarantine in a very nice hotel, food a bit naff though. Not sure if they will permit full interaction with the natives after the 3rd of August or if I need to endure another week of isolation, I came from a very low risk country.

Putting the word out looking for apartments but most seem to be the same old crap at the same old prices, what happened to the 30% drop and the huge glut of apartments from all the expats who have left in the last couple of years, maybe they just smell fresh meat and are pitching for what they can?

Anyway I am very happy to be back and hopefully in the coming months with loosening restrictions able to get back some of the things I previously enjoyed here.

The swab test at the airport on arrival was returned as negative the next day, by sms. The stick in the throat was okay but the stick up the nose was a bit eye watering.
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Old Jul 30th 2020, 5:02 pm
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Welcome back to the ME
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Old Aug 2nd 2020, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Here's a link to some apartments. I stayed at Old Salatha (near the bottom of the Corniche) for several years, rent was 8.5k/m when I left in 2018. Pricey and crap, but that's Qatar as you already know.
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Old Aug 2nd 2020, 8:53 am
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Thanks for the info. Pricey and crap, yes, sounds about right, though less pricey these days but just as crap. I'm in quarantine at the moment so can't get out to check anything but will spend a week searching once I can. Your 8.5k/m in 2018 I think is much less today. 2 beds seems to be around 5-6k/m and 1 bed as low as 4k/m, maybe less if you want to share with security guards and taxi drivers .

I was paying 7.5k/m for a 1bed in 2016/17 and I'm happy to pay 8-9k/m today but I'm not sure I can find anything that will justify that. A five star hotel monthly rate with breakfast and laundry is around 10-11k/m.
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 7:57 am
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Default Re: Back in the pit

There have been quite a few departures during the summer going on quietly. It may be worth keeping on a a hotel until rents fall further.

There may be a bit more demand at the smaller end as people may be downsizing...
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Originally Posted by martinbkk View Post
I was paying 7.5k/m for a 1bed in 2016/17 and I'm happy to pay 8-9k/m today but I'm not sure I can find anything that will justify that. A five star hotel monthly rate with breakfast and laundry is around 10-11k/m.
There's quite a few studio and 1-beds in The Pearl for about 6-8k per month. Or is that the wrong end of town, commute-wise?
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Good to hear you got back, Martin.

if you want a real bargain/space/brand new/value for money, try Lusail near the Marina. 10 minutes drive into West Bay.
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 9:58 pm
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PS My mate at work pays 6k there for a big 2 bedroom, brand new with pool etc, near the waterfront.
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Old Aug 6th 2020, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Quarantine is up this Sunday so will be waiting for Ehteraz to go green. Likely going to move to a hotel apartment or some such until I can figure out where I want to be. Office planning is underway so until we know where that will be it's not going to be easy to know what the daily commute might look like. If the office ends up in west bay then a place in the pearl or lusail could be on the cards. If the office ends up near the airport though I will likely want to be the other side.
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Old Aug 6th 2020, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Hi Martin +is DXBtoDOH still here?, i've been offered a job in Doha. I've lived in Dubai + Abu for the past 6 years. What is your view on Doha right now? When i first moved to middle east, i was always warned off Qatar (and saudi).

I've also heard Doha is like dubai 10 years ago. As long as i make money, i don't carethat much. Im not to keen on the whole embargo, but hopefully that won't last much longer, it has been 3 years..
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Old Aug 7th 2020, 11:08 am
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Originally Posted by niggardly View Post
Hi Martin +is DXBtoDOH still here?, i've been offered a job in Doha. I've lived in Dubai + Abu for the past 6 years. What is your view on Doha right now? When i first moved to middle east, i was always warned off Qatar (and saudi).

I've also heard Doha is like dubai 10 years ago. As long as i make money, i don't carethat much. Im not to keen on the whole embargo, but hopefully that won't last much longer, it has been 3 years..
Hi,
I've spent some time in UAE, all over, but only for short periods of a couple of months to a few weeks, same in Oman, Saudi, Kuwait and Bahrain. Qatar is the only place that I have spent significant time, almost 5 years. I was here previously from 2013 to 2017 and I had no issues or problems. It could get a bit boring if you are that way inclined but if you are mentally prepared for this sort of lifestyle I don't think its at all bad. Doha is small, tiny, miniscule, compared to so many places that and the staleness that comes from any ME place after time makes leaving regularly a good practice. I typically would spend 2 to 3 months in Doha followed by a 10 day break. You need something to do outside working hours so some sort of hobby or pastime that you can get into to pass the evenings and weekends is a good idea. Doha does not have anything like the diversity of Dubai but it is expanding and it is changing albeit in typical ways.
The embargo was expected to last a matter of weeks or months, it's now 3 years. I don't expect to see much change in the next 10-20 years. My own experience of this region tells me the people generally are not known for compromise, only right or wrong.
I stand by what I said in another post, come for the money, make sure the numbers add up and make sense then plan to leave often, hard at the moment I know.
I think all ME countries have changed significantly over the years, comments about Riyadh being party central might be pushing it on some levels but I'm pretty sure its not what it was 10 or even 5 years ago. I quite like Doha, I like that it is small, I always found it easy to get around I'm not looking for any great social atmosphere, I'm happy if the supermarket has fresh milk and bread a few canned goods and other necessities, I'm happy if the hotel bars are open and serving beer, I earn enough that I'm not bothered if a beer is £20, I don't drink every night. I didn't bring my kids here so I don't care if the schools are crap. I don't play golf or want snowboarding or world class opera.

I'm definitely happy to be back in Doha and looking forward to a good few more years. My bank manager likewise.
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Old Aug 7th 2020, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Back in the pit

I'd had a pretty good social life in the UAE. Beaches, camping, Oman trekking trips, easy (and cheap) flights everywhere for minibreaks. The UAE, especially Dubai, offers a much higher quality of life and amenities. I'd had a blast going to cheap curry houses in Karama and then heading to the Marina for the bars, or exploring the dive bars of Deira. Dubai is a fascinating place of multiple communities. And Dubai faces the sunset, so I saw the amazing sunsets every night from my apartment balcony.

Moving to Qatar was taking a huge step back in quality of life. It's more of a hardship posting on many levels, although in my two years there things were slowly getting better in terms of supermarket and dining amenities. Doha is very small compared to Dubai, it's very limited, your whole social life will revolve around the same half dozen bars, there's virtually nothing outside the city, the only beaches are either a hour north of Doha or a rather rough beach on the Pearl that is for residents only. It's far dustier and far less green than Dubai. Qatar abuts the Empty Quarter so we had many more dust storms and perpetually dusty days than the UAE. Once you get out of the very thin veneer that is the corniche it's more Baghdad. Even the nicer parts like West Bay and Pearl are crap compared to the Marina or Downtown. The expat crowd is much smaller as well.

It's not inherently bad. I did well out of Qatar financially, in part because it was much easier to save money and live frugally in Doha. Even the top brunches were 20% or so cheaper. Apartments were cheaper. There's a lot of cheap furnished apartments and it's feasible to live in dull and boring Sadd in a cheap flat and only be 10 minutes from West Bay by taxi on weekends. I lived in a flatshare in a West Bay tower with other expats my age and it was fine (a surprising number of expats in their 30s-40s flatshare in Qatar because they're there to save and Qatar really isn't the place where it's worth living extravagantly). I never bothered owning a car and took taxi/ubers everywhere and because Doha is quite compact, they were cheap. And I met people and we had plenty of weekend bar trips to keep life ticking along.

If you have the mindset that Qatar is a 2-3 year posting, live/work in West Bay/Pearl, spend all your time between the two, accept having a simple quiet life, take lots of holidays, then the time will fly by quickly and you can leave with a big pile of cash. The embargo was a right pain in the neck because it ended the cheap 45m flights to Dubai and going through Oman is time consuming and expensive. You won't do it as often as you think.

Having said the above, Doha is not Dubai 10-15 years ago. I first came to Dubai in 2008 and Doha is still nothing like Dubai. It's largely because of the mindset. It's not the same. Qatar is much more conservative, you are clearly much more a temporary expat. There were a few upsides. I liked the souk area and there's a large new extension of it that's well done. The museums are quite decent and worth visiting periodically. And I liked the money in the savings account at the end of the day.
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Old Aug 7th 2020, 3:13 pm
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I have no problem with Doha. It pays shed loads of money and is fine for a few years. Like Martin, am happy and able to pay £20 a pint to stay sane. If I want culture I’ll go to watch a Flamenco concert in Zaragoza, not Dubai. Blockade is here to stay, like Covid.
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Old Aug 7th 2020, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Back in the pit

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
I'd had a pretty good social life in the UAE. Beaches, camping, Oman trekking trips, easy (and cheap) flights everywhere for minibreaks. The UAE, especially Dubai, offers a much higher quality of life and amenities. I'd had a blast going to cheap curry houses in Karama and then heading to the Marina for the bars, or exploring the dive bars of Deira. Dubai is a fascinating place of multiple communities. And Dubai faces the sunset, so I saw the amazing sunsets every night from my apartment balcony.

Moving to Qatar was taking a huge step back in quality of life. It's more of a hardship posting on many levels, although in my two years there things were slowly getting better in terms of supermarket and dining amenities. Doha is very small compared to Dubai, it's very limited, your whole social life will revolve around the same half dozen bars, there's virtually nothing outside the city, the only beaches are either a hour north of Doha or a rather rough beach on the Pearl that is for residents only. It's far dustier and far less green than Dubai. Qatar abuts the Empty Quarter so we had many more dust storms and perpetually dusty days than the UAE. Once you get out of the very thin veneer that is the corniche it's more Baghdad. Even the nicer parts like West Bay and Pearl are crap compared to the Marina or Downtown. The expat crowd is much smaller as well.

It's not inherently bad. I did well out of Qatar financially, in part because it was much easier to save money and live frugally in Doha. Even the top brunches were 20% or so cheaper. Apartments were cheaper. There's a lot of cheap furnished apartments and it's feasible to live in dull and boring Sadd in a cheap flat and only be 10 minutes from West Bay by taxi on weekends. I lived in a flatshare in a West Bay tower with other expats my age and it was fine (a surprising number of expats in their 30s-40s flatshare in Qatar because they're there to save and Qatar really isn't the place where it's worth living extravagantly). I never bothered owning a car and took taxi/ubers everywhere and because Doha is quite compact, they were cheap. And I met people and we had plenty of weekend bar trips to keep life ticking along.

If you have the mindset that Qatar is a 2-3 year posting, live/work in West Bay/Pearl, spend all your time between the two, accept having a simple quiet life, take lots of holidays, then the time will fly by quickly and you can leave with a big pile of cash. The embargo was a right pain in the neck because it ended the cheap 45m flights to Dubai and going through Oman is time consuming and expensive. You won't do it as often as you think.

Having said the above, Doha is not Dubai 10-15 years ago. I first came to Dubai in 2008 and Doha is still nothing like Dubai. It's largely because of the mindset. It's not the same. Qatar is much more conservative, you are clearly much more a temporary expat. There were a few upsides. I liked the souk area and there's a large new extension of it that's well done. The museums are quite decent and worth visiting periodically. And I liked the money in the savings account at the end of the day.
Thanks for the well-written break down
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Old Aug 8th 2020, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Standanista View Post
I have no problem with Doha. It pays shed loads of money and is fine for a few years. Like Martin, am happy and able to pay £20 a pint to stay sane. If I want culture I’ll go to watch a Flamenco concert in Zaragoza, not Dubai. Blockade is here to stay, like Covid.
For my own knowledge, why is everyone saying 20quid a beer? UAE is around 30 to 50 AED a beer, is Doha really 90QR a beer?
I literally just checked a well known bar, prices look the same as Dubai?

doha.intercontinental.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Menu-board-Belgian-eng-preview.pdf

Also i've heard people saying QR is more expensive, how true is this?

Last edited by niggardly; Aug 8th 2020 at 12:38 pm.
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