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  Before Japanese cultured pearls - and the discovery of oil and gas, great wealth and shared profits superseded difficult, dangerous, life threatening labor...and flushed the Gulf right out of the market.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. :)
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