May 2nd, 2000
Integral Copy of Mark Coates' Letter From Qatar
Qatar the initial experience
Dear all, sorry this is bulk mail but it's all I can do for now. Been here 
for about two weeks and staying at the Ramada hotel in downtown Doha now and 
for the next couple of months. Very hot but dry here[although not as dry as 
I feared thankfully-hotels all have bars and people have mini-bars in their 
houses]. Passed my medical including the blood test which as some of you may 
well understand was a bit of a relief! The military academy is a beautiful 
place to work and everyone[except one stroppy,highly strung french cow] 
seems really cool.The locals seem polite and friendly but their tottie seems 
to be resolutely indoors or covered in a fetching black sheet. However more 
than half the population are foreigners from every country imaginable and a 
'social life' looks well possible. Prices are lower than England here and 
the food is great especially the many curry places. So looks like I'll stay 
for a while[three hours a day work by the way!]. I'll try and write to you 
more personally soon but it may not be until I get my house and phone line, 
Salaam Aleikoum, 
July 10th, 2000
Integral Copy of Mark Coates' Letter From Qatar
Qatar considered
I've not given much info about my time here so far so if you are interested here goes.
Arrival  April 17th. Gulf air flight from Heathrow to Doha via Bahrain arriving early morning on the 18th. Good flight with many Arabic types over indulging in the free booze[along with us infidels of course]before arriving. Met at the airport by the baking sun and Chris Evans my e-mail contact,recruiter,and boss[?].
Accomodation:  Taken directly to the Ramada hotel where I have been staying for almost three months.Chris explained in his amiable manner that I would be here for a while and that it was infinitely better than the navy base[oh dread words!]which had been the option for previous incumbents until they quit sighting accomodation problems.It seems like a three/four star hotel with flight crews and such like using it. There are four restaurants and a bar[yes indeed!]but the gym and pool complex has become the regular hang out[believe it or not!].We don't get full board however because two french teachers here previously took the piss eating in Maxims[posh restaurant for those who don't know] every night which irked us somewhat but the place is ringed by eateries of every stripe which are significantly cheaper than Japan or England[more on this later].We were taken to see various flats and houses which varied in quality but we were consistently advised by 'Gulf veterans' to refuse them[the same ones are offered to almost every state employee apparently] and hold out for a nice villa on a compound.We were finally shown some almost completed ones about a month ago and we are waiting for them.They look lovely so everything is being kept crossed.
The job:  Qafti[armed forces training institute] teaches Qatari officers and their footsoldiers[arabs from countries that don't have oil/gas basically] what they need to know to help the Americans defend them should they need it.The school is a good looking building with a state of the art language lab[still trying to work it out!],big airy classrooms,a cafe,and offices with computers[alas no internet]for the teachers.The chain of command is thus[you're in the army now!].The commandant is a Qatari navy officer who speaks good english,hates his job,and basically is relaxed and non-invasive.The Major comes from Sudan[big,black,portly,and hectoring]and tries to run the place like a soldier. Sometimes he's efficent but sometimes he's evasive and unhelpful.Neither of them try to involve themselves in teaching at all however.Next comes Chris who is on a really cushy number.Gets paid a lot but delegates everything to his 'wing commanders' and refers all Q's/problems to the major.I want his job!
There are two wings,English and French[with whom we have little contact really].Our wing-co is Elena;a fifty year old dynamo who basically does all the work from designing courses to giving an outline plan for every lesson and help with suppliments.She filters out a lot of the shit and makes life very easy and holds her own in the bar with the lads.Has had some rough bureaucratic treatment but is always cheerful.There are five teachers,three native speakers and two muslim recruitments.My mate is Meester Paul from Brighouse in Yorkshire,cynical and sarcastic gulf veteran,gym/pool/bar/curry house buddy.The native speaking disappointment is Meez Vicki who has lowered my opinion of Australians somewhat.In her forties,front row material,divorced from an Egyptian,and never taught Tefl before.Sporadically bossy,ignorant,snobbish,and simpering to the major.But she's alright I suppose and seems to be relaxing with me and Paul a bit.Then we have a Bosnian muslim woman who speaks English loudly and not too well but has the major round her little finger with tantrums, crying etc.A sympathy job I guess.Our new kid on the block is Sale;a Jordanian bloke who is friendly enough but can't speak English which is going to be a problem!The poor sod has been put in the navy base as well.
Students:  Our students are all Qataris and officers[colonel Mubarak,Major Mohammed etc.]who have on the whole been a pleasant surprise.Usually good students,very keen to talk,friendly,and mostly polite.Most of the 120000 full Qataris are millionaires in our terms and employ servants in large numbers.They are very arrogant to these people but we as whiteys seem to be treated almost as equals and we have often been invited to their palatial homes for feasting where we are waited on hand and foot by servants who beam at us because we say please and thankyou.Last time I went to one of these I was picked up in a white Bentley and dropped off in a silver Rolls Royce.I had to smile as his kids played with their new pet;a tiger cub!And like a lot of the Gulf Arabs we then retired to his semi-secret bar room for drinks and 'hubbly bubbly' which is a very pleasant smoke!
We teach groups of around 10 usually with the odd private between 7 and 12 in the morning. Two to three contact hours a day and home for lunch.Now it's July so we do less work!
Doha:  So what else. Now it's 40 odd degrees every day and it hasn't rained since I've been here.Apart from us infidels and the Qataris[men always white sheet,women always black sheet]there are about 700000 Indians,Pakistanis,Sri Lankans,Philippinos,Palestinians,Egyptians,Sudanese etc.who do the work for the Qataris.A tribe given the land by the English who found oil and gas aplenty and ,guided by a modernising Emir,are living happily ever after avoiding the harshness of Saudi or Kuwait. Could be here a while, Any Q's you may have just ask and I'll try to answer. Salaam Halekum, Mark