Our man in Qatar: all that glitters is not gold.
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Our man in Qatar: all that glitters is not gold. © rr

Four journalists from Het Nieuwsblad, one from De Standaard and one from Het Belang van Limburg are co-housing in Qatar. In this section, Koen Van Uytvange inquires about their state of health from the home front.

Hello, Pieter-Jan Calcoen. How is the Casa Qatarthe house you rent?

“Just call it a villa. The rooms are so big that you can almost hold a wedding party in them. We haven’t even seen everything yet. There is also a terrace, for which we do not have the keys yet.”

But do you share the smallest room?

No, each room has its own bathroom. Downstairs, next to the living room there is also another one, but I do my erm… shopping in my room. Jürgen Geril and I are already here, the rest will arrive on Friday night.”

How many bedrooms are there?

“Only five. And we are six. So Yanko Beeckman will sleep on the sofa for now.”

And it’s already full of chips?

“No, the seat is still clean, but it doesn’t seem really comfortable. Some rooms are so huge that you can make three of them. And I have two French beds in my room.”

So now you’re hesitating about hosting Yanko?

“You do need a little privacy in those weeks here. But it’s a shame that he has to lie in a chair. So the idea now is to put a mattress in the living room so that he can crash there when he arrives at three o’clock tonight. Maybe we’ll switch rooms. And if not, we’ll find a private corner for him downstairs. Enough angles here.”

It is also striking how shiny the floors are.

“Especially in the kitchen, the floor is dazzling. When you turn on the light there, you have to put on sunglasses. That’s the style here. Bling bling, like being in a palace. The staircase is also decorated with wood.”


“With the leg down. West Flemish, eh.”

OK, gold. How is Doha? With double h.

Hot, with an h. Bloody hot. More than 35 degrees, I think. As soon as you come out, you melt.”

Do you have enough fresh clothes?

“Too much even. Thursday evening we went to eat something and we were still outside after midnight. You really don’t need a sweater here. But I brought eight pulls. A clean one every three days, I had reckoned. It’s pretty ridiculous that I have so much with it. Fortunately I brought fifteen T-shirts. And sunglasses. For indoor…”

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