I have noticed a few times from occasional passive aggressive comments some readers left on Scary Azeri Facebook page that they were under the impression I got paid for this blogging thing. That, in reality of course is, very sadly, not true. Nobody pays me and nobody wants to sell me any ads. Nothing of the sort really happens, it is just something I do. Like other people who, you know, maybe enjoy nailing their bits to the dining table. For fun.
But, in all fairness, there are some random different perks that do occasionally happen. For instance, a few years ago I got offered some freelance work, wrote a couple of articles for Oryx (Qatar Airways
in-flight magazine), got invited to contribute to some online stuff.. and got interviewed by Global Voices Online. All great fun. And since I moved to Doha, I occasionally get emails inviting me to media only events and launches. I sort of missed a few of them throughout the year due to…well, laziness on my part. Also, frankly, I was thinking it must have been a mistake or a spam. “Exclusive media only” events. I mean, I am not a media person, am I?
I had an image of cool, young trendy media people hanging out at these parties, looking glamorous and gorgeous, all knowing each other, glancing at me and thinking who the hell is that? Is she lost? Gatecrashing? Until one of the organisers would approach me with an official list, check, sternly, what my name was, and who I worked for, and then ask me to leave, immediately.
But one of the things I truly love about Doha is that living here, I can do things I would not have done back home (homes? Both countries) Like attend a fencing championship, or a world cup tennis match, or…well, a media only event. So when I saw another email in my scary azeri inbox, I read it out to Husband. ‘Hey, check this out...' I said. ‘Exclusive! Media! Invitation!’
It was to the Oyster Bar at St. Regis, which was introduced in the invite as the finest address in Qatar, on the beach, with Cuban live music and hand-crafted beverages.
Is it free? Husband asked suspiciously. I decided it probably was. I had to send my name and my 'plus one' to confirm our acceptance.
Come on, I said. Lets go, check it out.
It took us forever to find the place. St. Regis, ‘the finest address in Qatar', is full of suspicious corridors and winding labyrinths that were designed to confuse the inexperienced media persons like myself. As we approached the Oyster Bay, a lady with an official list was waiting for me. Just like I imagined she would. I had a momentary urge to ask for the bathroom and quickly disappear. But I had my high heels and ripped jeans on, and a bright lipstick and I was (really, honestly!) invited. I have to say, I was impressed. I suspect the’d never heard what Scary Azeri was, but as soon as I mentioned it, her face lit up with this most excited, most flattering smile, as if I was (almost single) Brad Pitt asking her out on a date. Oh, wow, she said, we had sent you a few invitations in the past, but have not had the pleasure of meeting you yet!
Blimey, I thought. I am a celebrity!!!
A security guard slapped a green paper bracelet on my wrist, which immediately made me feel all happy and warm inside: Any of us who had been to anywhere knows what such a paper bracelet means. It means, you are in. And you are in somewhere with free food and drinks.
Please, enjoy yourselves! The friendly lady said, ushering us to the beach. Everything is on us!
Husband was clearly impressed. Suddenly, all the times I spent at the computer, all the Twitter and Facebook ‘crap’ he had endlessly complained about made some sense.
He of course, could not resist to wind me up a little: Have you not checked in yet?
‘Shut up, you are my Plus One, I said. Know your place! It is my event.’
And so we did enjoy it. The music by ‘Gerardo Contino y LosHabaneros’ was chilled in the way only Latin music can be, the drinks and canapés were being served non-stop, and the view of the bay was stunning. The band leader told us that they were invited to perform at the White House but chose to be in Doha instead. True? Who knows, but they were good.
As for trendy and beautiful people…Well, it was pretty dark, and my attention was entirely focused on a couple of girls in such ridiculous outfits that I could hardly notice anyone else. Posing for endless photos in various, but equally hilarious poses, they were my personal highlight of the evening.
I did not really network or meet anyone, or see anyone I recognized but it was definitely a fun night out. I must make more effort, I thought, to attend these sort of events, when invited. Or to at least, check my inbox more often to even see them in time, in the first place. And it was great fun to keep reminding husband that he could be a 'plus one' for a change.