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Dohanian Rhapsody

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dohanian Rhapsody

Enjoy a few pictures from my trip to Doha, the capital of Qatar. I tagged along at the last minute on a driving lesson (I wasn't driving), but it was a trip out to lunch, and a windshield tour of the city.

I started snapping pictures as soon as I thought we were off base, but we weren't quite off base and we got pulled over by the USAF Security Forces (police) because they could see me leaning out taking pictures. As I've said many times, they're quite strict about where I can and can't take pictures...and if I'm anywhere near the USAF aircraft, it's illegal.

I thought to myself, "Oh no, I just got this camera for Christmas! Maybe I can talk him into just taking the SD card?"

Fortunately, the SP was kind enough to merely delete all the pictures from the camera and sent us on our way. It was all of a 3 minute setback...phew!

The trip into the city was quite the adventure -- the country is in the middle of constructing an 8-lane-wide interstate-style highway and the city's growth and building is fanning out several dozen miles from the city. Construction everywhere!

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

The driving is much than in the U.S....but I'm not sure if aggressive is the right word. Offensive? Selfish? Cars would just pass us all over the place, whether there was a lane on one side or the other or not! It reminded me quite a bit of Korea, except there were cars of all nationalities around: Japanese (Toyota), American (GMC), British (Land Rover), French (Renault), Italian (Fiat), Indian (Tata), definitely lots of German (Mercedes). Between our base and Doha are many quarries, harvesting for concrete for all the construction I would see in the city. So trucks absolutely DOMINATED the highways, reminding me of I-95 in Virginia!

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

First we stopped at a mall outside of the city to hit an ATM. The mall reminded me of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, with a gondola ride inside and everything. This mall had many western stores, so it probably isn't worth it to shop there, I can go to H&M, The Body Shop, and Emporio Armani at home (well, if I really wanted to!).

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

Covered parking for the expatriates' European SUVs!

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

We then drove into downtown Doha and stopped at a "souk", which is a traditional marketplace. It was mid-day, so it was rather quiet, and the 3 of us enjoyed a Indian lunch at a restaurant called Royal Tandoor. After a wonderful lunch of hummus, lamb curry, basmati rice and garlic naan (I was so full!), we learned that the restaurant was part of a chain...oops.

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

When we came out of the restaurant, it was after 2pm, and most of the businesses were closed for their "siesta". One of the guys I was with wanted to buy a necklace for his daughter, so we drove around till we found a jeweler that was any foreign shopping, it took a lot of bargaining till he found what he wanted at the price he wanted. I took a look at some of the pearl jewelry...I'm going to have to find something better quality before I invest several hundred dollars in anything!

After the shopping, we continued a windshield tour and I got some nice pictures. It was nice to pull over at a park that sits right up against the Persian Gulf...I just stood there and inhaled the sea air -- nice! Doha is a VERY clean it isn't like inhaling at, say, Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. You smell the sea, and for someone like me who grew up near it, it was very nice.

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

From 2009 01 26 TripToDohaQatar

Note: Pay no attention to the flag flying on top of this building...I was stunned by the tilework: so beautiful!

I'm going to close here so I can add in the pictures and get this blog out...stay tuned for captions in the next 24 hours in the photo album!

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At Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 5:22:00 AM CST , Blogger Paul said...

Nice pictures - you even look awake in them!

As for the "siesta", was it afternoon prayer time? ( In Taif we always had to plan our shopping trips around the sunset prayer or just hang out until they were done.

But, ahem, what's wrong with how Fisherman's Wharf smells?

At Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 2:39:00 PM CST , Blogger Lou said...

You look wonderful, Patricia! Glad to see Paul will have so choices over there. I'll start my list now. ;)

At Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 5:15:00 PM CST , Blogger Christina said...

First... somehow your blog disappeared from my list. I'm back!

These pix remind me of my days in Qatar. Pretty good deployment. Love all of the pix.

The souks were off limits when I was there.

I love the pic of you w/ the gulf behind you - I have a very similar pic of myself there!


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