For her, the biggest culture shock was in relation to the division between men and women in various environments. On her first day in Qatar, she got into an elevator that a man was in. Upon greeting him, he left.
“We were going to the same floor and I didn’t understand that, I felt bad and thought it was strange. I thought I had been rude to him. Later, they explained to me that women here don’t have that tolerance of being in the same room with a man. respect for me,” he recalls.
She, who lives at a Qatari university, explains that the academic environment is more rigid than that of the streets.
“Here [na universidade], the separation between men and women and dress codes are stricter because they are made with traditional families in mind. There is no common area for men and women. In foreign universities, and even in the streets, the norms are more flexible.”
One of the most disconcerting situations experienced by the young woman was at a gym, which was located in a building exclusively for women.
“As there are these divisions, there they can take off their veils and feel more comfortable, since there are no men. Since I didn’t see any notices, I put on leggings [tipo de calça justa] and a regatta. Soon a security guard came saying that I couldn’t stay there because of my clothes, “she says.
“When I said I saw people in shorts, security said I could only use them for certain activities. I had to leave right away, she wouldn’t even let me finish what I was doing.”
In general, Marjorie claims that Qataris are not rude and patiently explain the rules, especially when they realize they are dealing with foreigners.
Despite living in Qatar for eight months, the biggest gaffe faced by Daniel Ferreira, who works with oil in the Middle East, happened when he lived in the United Arab Emirates, a neighboring country.
“It was my second year in Arab lands and I decided to buy some gifts for my clients when I went to Brazil for Christmas. I came back happy with about 10, 15 boxes of bonbons and truffles that I distributed,” he recalls.
“After a couple of weeks, one of them asked me to read the ingredients on the box. I immediately turned purple. He noticed that I had a stutter.”
Daniel was scared because, among the many small prints, he discovered that the chocolates had alcohol in their composition. According to a more literal reading of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, this is a forbidden ingredient among Muslims. In Qatar, the sale of alcoholic beverages was even prohibited inside and around the stadiums.
“I apologized and he gave me the chocolates back. I had to go to the other customers, tell them what happened. A total recall. “
The situation led the friends to joke: “If I don’t know, it’s not haram, it’s halal”. Something like: “If I didn’t know, it wasn’t a sin.”
The term halal is used to indicate everything that is permissible according to Islam. Haram is the opposite, and represents everything that is not seen as acceptable by religion.
See fun facts about Qatar
- Religion. The official religion of Qatar is Islam (most of which are Sunni). The main source of legislation is the so-called sharia, a legal system that mixes civil law and Islamic law. In some courts, for example, a woman’s testimony can be worth up to half that of a man’s.
- Temperature. Located in the desert region, Qatar is one of the hottest countries in the world in summer. Over there it is customary to always register temperatures above 30°C, even during nights and early mornings. At the height of the heat, temperatures between 40°C and 50°C are common, with the thermal sensation reaching 60°C.
- Weekend? In Qatar, the day of recess is Friday. Sunday is considered the first day of the week and Saturday is the same in most parts of the world. The clothes go according to the followed doctrine. It is not recommended to go out with bare shoulders and knees in public places, and that goes for tourists at the World Cup.