Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Uniform and Accreditation Centre

It has been a very long time since I have updated this site. It has been a hectic couple of months but now, with a couple of days before the start of the Games it is finally slowing down. My impressions of this country and its culture have changed quite a bit with the Uniform and Accreditation Centre being open for the last two and a half months. I have interacted with the most diverse range of people that I think anyone can ever come across.

Some days have been good, most have been bad but all of them have been the source of invaluable experiences. Every single conversation is more bizarre than the last, 80% of people don't speak a word of English and 50% of people you wonder how they even work out how to get out of bed in the morning, let alone work for the Games. Below is a sample of the types of people that we have been dealing with the last few months:

-Vietnamese housecleaners working at the Village who walk only in single files and bow after each sentence

-Indian, Nepalese and Sri Lankan construction workers who do not know a word of English including their name or the company they work for and have had all their identification confiscated from them by their supervisors

-Qatari locals who refuse to wait in a room with people of Asian background and believe throwing their papers at you with a grunt should be enough for their problem to be solved

-Pissed off "Australians-on-tour" who have just arrived in the country and insist on bitching and moaning to you about every experience they have had so far in the country and believe that because they are Australian and I am Australian they shouldn't have to follow any process and Ishould just make things happen for them

-Over-enthusiastic Asian technology contractors who think if they smile and call you "Ma'am" enough you will let them access "All Events"

It has been extremely hard not to become sucked in to the Qatari culture that tolerates racial discrimination as standard and harbours cultural stereotypes and rankings. I think I have gone a full circle and have arrived back at a place where I am more tolerant of people and understanding of their cultures than I have ever been before.

Other than working everyday, there has been a little bit of time in the last couple of months to go out and have fun... something that was inconcievable at this stage of the Commonwealth Games. We had a mock Melbourne Cup about three weeks ago which was a great night.

Tonight, Qatar play their first football match of the Asian Games so I am thinking of heading there. Tomorrow I have my first day off in about three months so I am planning on locking myself indoors for the entire day and forgetting where I am!! It is going to be great!