Pondering Bastille on the Corniche ...

''All this bad blood here, won't you let it dry?
It's been cold for years, won't you let it lie?

And I don't wanna hear about the bad blood anymore
I don't wanna hear you talk about it anymore
I don't wanna hear about the bad blood anymore
I don't wanna hear you talk about it anymore''

From the song Bad Blood, by Bastille

Today was the first day in many years that I have felt true JOY and elation about being in Doha.  It was an epiphany to me, this realisation that I'd spent the last few years so unhappy about my situation.  

Not my situation in life; my situation on the globe.  My geographical location.  My physical address.

But it came to me in a flash this morning as I walked 10 km along the Corniche.  I realised how perpetual my simmering dissatisfaction with living in Doha has become.  I live here, work here, socialise here, but it's been years since I've let myself be truly happy about BEING here.  

I live in a persistent state of longing to be somewhere else.

That changed this morning.  For two full hours after dropping Kiddo off at a birthday party, I let myself fully enjoy everything going on around me.  I breathed in the salt air drifting off the West Bay waves, I embraced the gentle breeze, I soaked up the sunshine.  I watched the Dhows coming in to port, children flying kites, young men throwing their lines into the water in the hopes of a catch, labourers lying in the grass enjoying a rare morning off.  

I saw a young man get down on one knee in front of his female companion in what appeared to be a promise of undying love.  I saw a little girl playing with a lemon jump rope.

I had a young Nepali ask me to take a picture with him, and for a moment I let my guard down, forgetting that it's always smarter here not to talk to strangers of the opposite sex, and smiled for the camera as his friend took a picture of us on the waterfront.  Doubtless a shot that this young labourer will send back home to his family with reassurances that he is doing very well indeed in his new life, with proof of his successes and new social circle evidenced by the middle-aged blonde in the picture with him.

I saw families picnicking on the grass, and a little boy of about two learning how to ride a bicycle.  I listened to the roar of the dhow motors as it joined the thunder of about 30 Harley Davidson's out for a Friday morning ride.  I watched random joggers pass me by.

And I listened to music.  

Somewhere in all of that, I forgot that I meant to be longing for somewhere else.  I surreptitiously slipped into being happy about being right here.  

What a feeling.  What a truly amazing feeling.

For a while all the fear, tension and negativity about my place on the map simply washed away.

Then a song by the band Bastille came on, and it reawakened the emotions of recent months.  France, Syria, Boko Haram, Iraq ...  

I was at the end of my walk.  I tried to let the good feelings linger.

I turned off iTunes, stepped into the car, started it, and drove off to pick up Kiddo.  Determined to keep a decent dose of happy infusing my day.


The 14 July (Bastille Day) 1790 was a celebration the unity of the French Nation during the French Revolution.  The aim of the celebration was to symbolise peace on year after the  Storming of the Bastille.

Do not forget that behind this 14 July (Bastille Day), where victory of the new era over the ancien régime was bought by fighting, do not forget that after the day of 14 July 1789, there was the day of 14 July 1790.... This [latter] day cannot be blamed for having shed a drop of blood, for having divided the country. It was the consecration of the unity of France.... If some of you might have scruples against the first 14 July, they certainly hold none against the second. Whatever difference which might part us, something hovers over them, it is the great images of national unity, which we all desire, for which we would all stand, willing to die if necessary.

—Henri Martin, Chairman of the Sénat, 1880