When Penelope Gordon was headhunted to go and work in Doha, Qatar, her sole experience of the Middle East had been a brief luxury break in Dubai. Her husband Lionel, a much-travelled naval officer, was more blasé about the move, but neither was quite prepared for the experience that followed. Penelope left her NHS job at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth to head up medical leadership and education in a state-of-the-art set of hospitals in Qatar - a country, she discovered, where there were no maps, where everyone drove their cars rather like they'd drive camels (fast and wildly), where many of her female staff were completely swathed in black with only their eyes visible, and where no-one expected to have to do something when there was a servant to do it for them, even if it was only pressing the 'start' button on the coffee machine. In this captivating and amusing memoir, Penelope shows how she managed to find the humour in dealing with a culture that was often baffling and opaque - and how she not only survived 800 days in Doha, but turned it into an adventure.
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