Learn to quilt
Check out the Qatar Quilters and learn to make yourself a snuggly blanket for the brisk winter months. Meetings are held the last Wednesday of every month, but they also hold beginners’ classes to get you started, as well as presentations and demonstrations from senior members. Plus, the group has a library of patterns and resources to help spur your creativity. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hit the ice
Qatar has a number of ice rinks, and the Qatar Minor Ice Hockey Association (email@example.com) is intent on filling them with the sweet sounds of pucks and zambonis. They offer a hockey programe for kids aged five-17, teaching them the basics and developing their skills at the Villaggio Ice Rink. Over 17, but still want to strap on your skates? The Qatar International Ice Hockey League has six teams in two different divisions for qualified adult players, and also hosts an annual hockey tournament and weekly games, open to spectators. Want to keep your stick on the ice without the ice part? The Qatar Hockey League offers training and games for people who prefer their hockey field-based. More info at www.dohahockeyclub.com.
Write a book
Always wanted to write the great Qatar novel? Or just want to brush up on your literary skills and have a good time with other writers? The Doha Writers’ Workshop holds meetings with creative types from all genres, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction on a bi-monthly schedule. They gather to share new works and critique each other’s stuff, and also hold workshops and seminars with local writers. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ride a bike
Bicycling in Doha can feel like taking your life into your own hands, but Qatar Chain Reaction tries to make it a little less nerve wracking and a little more fun. They ride on road, off road, and basically anywhere else a two- wheeled vehicle can go, on weekly rides for all nationalities and all ability levels. They also organise time trials, mountain bike races and duathalons for the seriously intense – a bike ride and run combined. For more information, email email@example.com.
Learn something about Qatar
Many expats spend their entire tenure in Qatar in Doha, often in the malls. The Qatar Natural History Group (www.qnhg.org) wants to show the community that there is life outside of Villaggio. One of the Qatar’s oldest community groups (it’s been rolling since 1978), its mission is to ‘bring together people with an interest in the natural history of Qatar and the Gulf’. An annual subscription costs QR30, and they hold monthly meetings as well as field trips to places of interest around the country, plus camping and star-gazing trips. They also organise talks and lectures, and a yearly trip overseas for members.
Do some good
www.qatarliving.com isn’t just for internet insanity and used cars anymore: their volunteer group is active and ready to make their mark on the Doha do-gooder scene, organising events from distributing food and water to laborers to charity drives, and they have had a hand in many of the other charity groups in the city.
The Centre Culturel Francais of Doha (4493 0862) offers classes in French, as well as immersion into francophone culture to help you brush up on your languages. Sponsored speakers and French productions (like Waiting for Godot last year) help really bring the language to life in the Gulf. They also offer a multimedia library with a large selection of books and DVDs for all levels, from bonjour to au bientot.