I'm done with being moody.
Ok, not really, but for the sake of maintaining a readership of ten per day, I feel an obligatory injection of humor and optimism is in good order :-)
So I've been wondering of late what exactly keeps us in Doha. Illness and death overseas get you thinking that way... but enough of that.
What does keep us happy in Doha?
Well, this weekend, it was the Great Canadian Snoball ... With entertainment like "Hot Mess" and special invites like "Cirque Eloise".
A band dressed like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (in short shorts) and girls in ball gowns and goalie masks make life in the desert quirky cool. A giant moose mascot and a styrofoam snowball fight bring together people of all nationalities.
We sat united at a table with Doha-ites from Canada, Poland, the USA and England , all joining together in a tandem lip-sync of a bilingual anthem no proper Canadian can sing in its entirety.
We all congregated at the open bar, heaving bosoms from all nations stuffed tight into patriotic white and red ball gowns. A few kilts dotted the room, doubtless a few Nova Scotians who had long since forgotten their heritage but couldn't get enough of the thrill of knee-high socks and dangling jewels.
We rushed (politely .... "Sorry", "No, please, excuse ME", "pardonnez-moi", "please! go ahead") to queue in orderly fashion as our table number was called for the Canadian spread at the buffet table.
Pea soup from Quebec, sheppard's pie from the Maritimes, salmon from the Pacific Coast, mussels from the Atlantic, perrogis from the prairies, Alberta beef, poutine from Quebec (French fries smothered in cheese and gravy. ...... classy, yes?).
No wonder we're the nation renowned for "sorry" and "Tim Horton's". We never came up with a sauce we could truly call our own. (Though all true Canadians will recognize canned Habitant pea soup as a National staple.)
We got progressively toasted as the eve wore on.
The Polish crew invited the far less hardy Canadians to join them in a vodka toast.
The French tut-tutted the absence of foie gras.
The Sri Lankan bar man regaled in the attention bestowed upon him in patrons' quest for more free booze.
The Egyptian got a little too close to the Scottsman's wife.
The Brit sat quietly at the table sipping on gin and tonic until 1:00 a.m., at which point he suddenly broke into a tear-rendering version of "God Save the Queen" (to which we all drunkenly raised our glasses).
The Canadians kept on shouting "He SCORES!!!!!!!" for no obvious reason.
The Spaniards gathered with us kept on countering with "GOALLLLLL"!
The non-smokers surreptitiously lit up, and the TESL teacher started giving lessons on how to tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue.
One by one the room moved away from the accountant who chose this night to display his hidden talent (farting rendition of "Oh Canada"; btw he didn't miss a single note).
We watched in awe as the respectable, reputable project manager went from table to table showing off his amazing skill of pulling the cloth out from under the table contents without tipping a single salt shaker. Until he did. Then we all turned away in disgust.
We listened and sang along as the band played songs from Canadian legends like Gordon Lightfoot, Stompin' Tom, The Tragically Hip, Brian Adams, Chilliwack (sadly, no "1755" or Lynda Lemay ... French wasn't on the playlist ....). Once the band was spent, people of all nations clambered onto the dance floor, kicked off their shoes and danced like Carlton to hits of today.
A few disparate souls staggered out before the night was over. But most, in good Canadian fashion, stayed until last call was called. And even then, quite a few lingered. Reminiscing around the closed bar, much in the way we hang about at a good old eastern Canadian kitchen party, shooting the $&:! and willing a good night amongst friends to go on. And then one by one we made our way slowly back "home".
All in all, it was a wonderful night to be a Canadian in Doha.
To just BE.