Friday, June 22, 2012

Al Khor and 7-Up

Al Khor: the heart of Qatar's pearling industry.  Before Japanese cultured pearls - and the discovery of oil and gas, great wealth and shared profits superseded difficult, dangerous, life threatening labor...and flushed the Gulf right out of the market.

A few minutes north of busy downtown Doha, there is water, desert, a tiny Corniche museum (closed), and dhows. Lots of dhows - in the harbor, at intersections and seaside playgrounds (empty). But otherwise not much to enlighten the hopeful writer about pearling: gwais (divers), nahhams (singers), tabbabs (youthful helpers), tawwash (pearl buyers). How did they live? What did they eat? Personal histories?


What we did see: charming, architecturally interesting homes

beside ever encroaching modern development

Concrete Easter-type basket planter in front of home under construction.  Huh?

a series of restored watch towers (plus dhow):

public library (closed).
The highlight of our hot (110F) tour was a crumbling, seaside, maybe heritage site (unmarked)


And a hummus and ta'ameya meal at a little Turkish restaurant where the upstairs bathroom was separated from the dining area by a screen and the male server spoke only to Bob - even as Cindi attempted to engage the server in Arabic with shokrans, itfaddils and min fadlaks (thank yous and if you pleases).
The only woman we saw - the entire day - was the restaurant's Filipina hostess.
The rest of the week went like this:
the usual one or two site plan packets demanding attention yesterday
in Egypt we called it "gyppy tummy" - in Q it's a mojo-killing, energy-sucking, life-draining, queasy-producing...sideliner

But more about that…when it can be funny. :)


Anonymous said...

Do people actually live at Al Khor or were you there during the siesta time? And, you have to EAT! You can't just drink 7-Up and expect gyppy tummy to go away... Finally, why do we have to click through so many things to get to the most recent posting? How about putting in a link that goes directly to it? :) Love AK

Anonymous said...

I have the same question: why was it so deserted and closed up? Love PaPa

Lucinda H. Kennaley said...

Bob's only day off is Friday when everything is closed in the morning. Usually the sidewalks unroll and shops open up between 1-4pm-ish. There were a few things open in Al Khor that day (like the restaurant), but the things we wanted to see didn't open at all while we were there.