Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Car-R-Us

The Shuttle Bus
Without a car, it is virtually impossible to get anywhere in Doha, especially in the heat, and especially with a young one among the three of us. The heat just crumples the tender. We tried taking cabs for a few weeks, but they have to be hailed well in advance for both coming and going, which can be a little tedious. We went back and forth about it for a while, but finally decided we should rent a car.

Unfortunately, I can't drive yet. Angela went to the traffic department a couple weeks ago, showed her Italian license, paid 150 riyals, and a temporary Doha license was issued. I have to make an appointment to take the driving test; however, Ramadan ends in the last week of August (or close to it), and I won't even be able to make an appointment until then. I heard a story that a sheikh went to the USA and was forced to take a driving test, so now USA folk have to take the driving test in Qatar, but I don't know if there's any truth in it. At least, I can take the shuttle to and from my office every day. It literally picks me up right outside my apartment and drops me off at the steps of the LAS building.

A Traffic Sign
Among the car rental shops that we called, Petra seemed to have the best deal, so we made arrangements to  acquire one of their cars, a Nissan. I had heard that we could have a rental car delivered to our apartment, which was great. For whatever reason, though, we had to go down to their office to get it. Over the phone, Petra said that they would send a car at 9:30 the next morning. We met a German couple, and they laughed at us when we told them. "We waited around until 7PM or so," Jorg said. Well, that wasn't going to happen to us. At about 11AM, after a few disgruntled phone calls, a cab arrived to take us to Petra.

While we were filling out the paperwork, Vito saw a red Tiida in front of the shop, and that was what he wanted. Weirdly, that's what we got. We reserved a different model, but whatever. Anyway, it looks OK on the outside, but the engine makes a little whistling sound. The interior is not so nice, either, but the air-conditioning and the CD player work. So far, it makes grocery shopping much more convenient, but we haven't taken it into the heart of the city, yet. On the way home, we hoped that we would be able to find the way back to our apartment, but we arrived home without incident.

14 comments:

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There was something really sticky on the tire. One week later, changed a flat. That something sticky was the patch coming out of a giant hole in the tire...

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