Friday, May 30, 2014

Twelve Days in Doha: Adventure and Hot

silver and gold hangin' out in Doha
 
It's been a particularly warm May week in Doha with unseasonable temps exceeding 115F. Air like this translates to sweat drenched tee shirts, soggy undies, fogged glasses, beaded skin and high ponytails over rash prickled necks - before 9am.
 
West Bay skyline at night from our pool deck - not in the sun in Doha
 
Hot like this means a bright, yellow fireball halfway to the sky by 4am, burning sand, blazing sun, indoor activities and afternoon naps. Still, creative, dedicated gadabouts may find one or two interesting ways to entertain themselves. Like for example:
 
father/daughter shopping time
 
Wander shaded souk alleyways, bargain with shopkeepers and dig into stacks of plastic wrapped Pashminas as the bracelet maker melts colored blocks of wax; tour the gold/fabric/spice souks for jewelry, baskets, pans, dishes, tea and coffee sets, candy, jelabia, abaya, keffiya (deep breath) and more…
 
bargaining with the basket guy
 
Chat with camels beside a forever-under-renovation downtown fort, below a never ending line of sky infesting construction cranes, near a job site office full of interesting people from all over the world, especially Missouri…
 
some of the best buncha people ever
(missing Ben, Aaron, Tom-on vacay and Ed-who'd stepped away)
 
Eat, drink, cook, eat, read, wash dishes, eat, do laundry, eat, eat, eat.
 
"family room" at the shwarma place
 
Visit museums like the one dedicated to Mshiereb's Heart of Doha downtown renovation project (ie, our reason for being here), located on a barge docked along a tree and flower lined Corniche; view videos, pearl diving memorabilia and historical photos and a model of the gargantuan endeavor…
 
one of three fabulous works of art, created by Bob and Cindi
(genetics underwritten by Charlie and Peggy and Dan and Kitty)
 
Tour IM Pei's famous Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) to see cool stuff from the Middle East and beyond…
 
Kings and Pawns: Board Games from India to Spain
now at Doha's Museum of Islamic Art
 
See Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani's popular private collection of historic Qatari memorabilia and eclectic wonderment (click here to read more about the museum), including cars, planes, boats, tapestries, carpets, tents, a real well, swords, knives, photographs, paintings, doors, walls, Catholic vestments, a full sized confessional booth; and where an artist will ink your name in Arabic calligraphy for 10QR (about $2.50USD).
 
Mohammed animates Kimberly's name
 
The pyramid shaped Sheraton hotel is closed for remodeling but there are still skylines, Doha Bay dhows, Palm Tree Island, the Singing Dunes. There's beach day at 8:00am, sun kissed skin, salty seas, crossword puzzles. Katara's amphitheater, private art galleries, cart riding and cupcake eating in a cupcake shaped chair wearing let's-do-tea hats and skirts.
 
I like her
 
Indoor and outdoor pools, mani/pedis, Ferrari and Lamborghini; the Pearl, camel race track laps inside an air conditioned SUV, Our Lady of the Rosary Church outdoor grotto, stray cats, waterfalls, candles, prayer and wudu spaces, selfies.
 
in a bathroom at Sheikh Faisal's place
 
Tea in a Qatari home with sisters, cousins, nieces, new friends and Yemeni neighbors. Zubarah fort, sweaty desert treks, an archaeological site, artifact exhibit, sand and rock vistas, ancient walls, watch towers.
 
watch tower is coated with a light layer of concrete
as protection from sand and wind
 
Fanar, Shaheen's, Starbucks Frappuccino's, shwarma, tabbouleh, hummus, jasmine tea, Arabic coffee, food sharing at Turkey Central, lunch in a window-less backroom, waiting on Bob.
 
architectural demonstration: laying down the law, negotiation
 
Lessons in Islamic prayer and fasting during Ramadan in a Qatari home majlis surrounded by Qatari ladies and women from all over the world. Abayas, sheylas and the Ibn Abdul Wahhab Masjid - Doha's Grand Mosque.
 
inside the Ibn Abdul Wahhab Masjid, Doha's Grand Mosque
 
Because, after all, psshhhh, really, c'mon: what's a bit of blazing sky, sauna air, shimmering horizon and searing, scalding, burning sun when there's adventure to be lived?


"…Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance: I hope you dance…"
- from "I Hope You Dance" written by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers
popularly performed by Lee Ann Womack
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