Doha is an expanding city that merges several different cultures in a framework of almost continuous change, weak infrastructure, and somewhat rigid social dispersion. Therefore, finding people in Doha can be rather hit or miss. There are no formal methods such as telephone books, and mail is not delivered to homes but to postal boxes. The Internet is really the only way to locate an English speaker or Westerner, but a person has to maintain a Web presence and wish to be found.

Search the directories of the major employers in Doha. Westerners work for three classes of employer: oil companies, the hospitality industry, and education. Two tiers of educators work there: full-time career professionals at one of the six American universities in Education City; and teachers of English as a foreign language, who tend to be more mobile and therefore more difficult to find.

Call the government-owned Qatar Distribution Company and ask if the person is registered there. The QDC is the only store that sells alcohol in Qatar. The only ways to buy alcohol are by the glass in four-star hotels or by the bottle at the QDC after obtaining a license. Westerners usually obtain their alcohol licenses, even if they do not drink. Call 974-469-9413 (974 is the country code) or write to Qatar Distribution Company, P.O. Box 9483, Doha, Qatar.

Post a notice on an expatriate bulletin board or in one of the two English-language newspapers, the Gulf Times or the Qatar Tribune.

Contact the relevant embassy in Doha. Expats are encouraged to register with their embassy.

Tip

  • It is easier to find someone if you know what took him or her to Doha, a job or a family connection.

    Up-to-date information is a rarity in Qatar. It might take several tries to find a working telephone number or email address.

    Most people speak some English, but understanding accents can be difficult.

    The work week is Sunday to Thursday. Everything shuts down on Fridays and between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Doha time (GMT +3).

    Unless there is an emergency, use the embassy as a last resort. Expats tend to be private people. The embassy will probably not be cooperative unless the person you seek is a close relative or if there is an emergency or legal situation.

    Someone can live anonymously in Doha for many years.