Things I’ve discovered along the way.
Get the Metrash App for your phone upon arrival. After you get your RP go to OOREDOO and register your phone with your RP. After a few days, try to register on the Metrash app. From what I know so far, because I am still waiting for my phone registration to go through, there are several things you use Metrash for: request an exit Permit for your sponsored family members, find out if you have traffic fines, etc… Check a later post for more details on this. Also find out if the phone companies offer discounts for your company.
Update: I moved from mobile service with OOREDOO to Vodafone because they offered discounts to QF employees.
Update: You need Metrash, download it immediately.
Purchase the Entertainer app. You can also purchase the book but the app is cheaper and more convenient. It’s $65.00 USD. It is more beneficial to purchase this closer to the beginning of the year since it is good for the year. It includes coupons for many things. I used two of the bogo dinner deals in one weekend. It’s well worth it. I made my money back in two days. I only wish I had began using it sooner. Update: I used it to book a two night stay in Dubai. BOGO at the JW Marriott Marquis, a savings of over $200.00. I am working on a BOGO deal for a room in the Maldives.
I went to the QDC (Qatar Distribution Center) for the first time on Wednesday around 4pm. It wasn’t crowded at all. It is where you can purchase liquor and pork. Here is the process (but remember it may be different tomorrow). You have to request a letter from your employer (employee relations). The letter basically gives permission for you to purchase liquor and states that they are your employer, and that you are not Muslim and how much you make. Once you get your letter, you take it along with your RP to Qatar Distribution Company where they will send you upstairs. Once upstairs they will take your picture and issue you a permit to purchase. You have to give them $1,000 QAR deposit made through your debit/credit card. You can get your deposit back once you bring your ID back. Darryl and I both were issued permits. Since I am his sponsor, we only had to pay one deposit. At the QDC, I purchased 1 bottle of Martini and Rossi, 6 Coronas, 1 bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey for a friend, Malibu rum, 2 bottles of Pinot Noir and 1 bottle of Pinot Grigio for a friend, 2 bottles of sweet red wine, and 1 bottle of pink moscato for me, 2 packages of pork bacon for the boys. The total was QAR 736.60 which equals $203 USD. This after I received a 20% discount for purchasing 6 bottles of wine. There is a lot of variety. Not too bad ‘EY’.
Update as of Feb 2017: Now you pay a certain amount per year for your license, no more 1,000 QAR deposit.
Get involved in groups. Doha Foodies is a good group on FB. I work with the administrator and she is fantastic. In this group are many suggestions of where to eat in Doha. Another good one is Buying and Selling Doha. Join Qatar Living online. It is a very informative website and you can find vehicles for sale on this site.
Download Waze for directions. You will get lost. Download Uber to take you around. Download Talabat for food delivery services and Zomato for reviews. Get a good conversion app, for obvious reasons.
Purchase shoes with thick soles. I brought some flats here with me, but the soles have worn out. I bought some Birkenstocks recently. I caught a good BOGO1/2 price but they also offer discounts for QF employees.
You may have to shop at several food markets to get everything you want. Géant is located across from the Villagio mall in the Hyatt shopping plaza and is pretty good. Also the Megamart near C ring road, behind the KFC is also really good for finding American brands and vegan choices. I’ve also heard about a place called Spinneys and Monoprix but I haven’t been to either yet. Al Meera is close to me, so I go there for quick visits. Lulu’s is big and sells veggie crumbles. Also they don’t sell cilantro as cilantro; it is sold as fresh Coriander.