Jan and Ian

Aloha from Doha (sorry about that…)


Day two in Qatar dawned murky and grey, at home it would have been misty rain on the way but here in the Arabian Gulf it was admixture of dust, sand and smog. The ominous sky was made even more disturbing when we turned on the TV to find that the U.S. had finally caught up with Osama Bin Laden… just a few hundred km away across the gulf. Did I mention yesterday that we were staying in room 9-11 of our hotel? Seriously!
Undaunted by the potentially bad omens we ventured bravely out… to breakfast, a wonderfully laden table of delights and new flavours.
Satisfyingly full we headed out to explore beyond our walking range. Finding a taxi we headed along the waterfront Corniche to the big end of town, the diplomatic district, which absolutely dazzles with skyscraping works of fantasy and imagination. Woe betide any architect who suggests a simple, “boxy kind of office building thingy”… each successive building we passed involved more twists, curves, flourishes and embellishments than the last one built and would remain cutting edge for exactly as long as it took to build the next one, already being excavated for on the next vacant piece of sand. Actually, the end result is kind of impressive but I’m a bit worried about what it will all look like in 10 years time…
Since it was over an hour since breakfast we needed a break and we treated ourselves to the Shereton’s impressive pyramid shaped interior and a pair of date confections. We were joined for morning tea by a collection of oil rich sheiks and other billionaires who kindly ignored our relative poverty and didn’t insist that the hotel staff should unceremoniously remove us from their presence.
After brief spin around Qatar’s version of THE BIGGEST SHOPPING MALL IN THE GULF we needed lunch (yes there is a recurring theme here!) and off we ventured to the Four Seasons Hotel’s famous High Tea. Actually we didn’t bother with high tea as we were really rather full so we settled on a simple soup instead- if seafood, rich lentils and bucket loads of amazing breads can be classes as “settling”.
Back in a taxi ( we really should have walked) and off to the rather extraordinary Islamic Art Museum, a wonderful building and a suburb collection of artifacts detailing the Middle East’s rich cultural history… Really good!
Of course it was time for dinner now and we took a chance on a very prettily decorated Qatari restaurant. Finally our luck with food had run out. Whilst not unhealthy it was certainly not a treat to match our precious discoveries… probably serves us right!

*Note: The answer to our ” which picture doesn’t belong?” puzzle from the previous post is, of course, the blue eggs. Sorry about that, too!


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