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


Peggy S. Hedrick said...

nice to have a peek into your adventure. It's 4 am here, noon, there--I hope your day is going well for all of you!!

Charles W. Hedrick said...

A curiosity question struck me. When Kitty was bargaining in the Souk, are the shop owners Qatari or some other nationality? What languages do they speak? And can they earn a living out of what they sell? And how many shops are there in the Souk?

Lucinda H. Kennaley said...

Thanks for your comments!! Shopkeepers are rare to never local. Most are Indian, but some are from Arab countries like Saudi, Lebanon, Syria. Salesmen frequently wear traditional local dress (ie, a thobe) as a uniform, so if you didn't know better you might assume he (always a "he" at the souk) is local. Everyone speaks English here, with varying degrees of skill. The living they earn is better than the one they'd earn in their home country - some have been here for 30-40 years supporting families back home on income generated here. How many shops, you ask? many stars in the sky? :)

Bridget said...

Great post Cindi!!!

Lucinda H. Kennaley said...

Thanks, Bridge!