Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Walking through Doha

Back to work, back to staying away from home.
This trip i flew to join my crew in Doha, Qatar...After a lot of visa/ticket problems, and coming to and from the airport, and switching airlines, and getting the ticket the night before flying (taking into consideration that the flight is at 9:30, i.e. i'm supposed to be there at 7:30!!!), i finally landed in Doha...And after the taxi came one hour late, and the hotel booking wasn't ready, i finally got a room, caught my breath and went out to see Doha.

Although there are a lot of Indians, Pakistanis, Philippinos and so on in Doha, it still has its own Arabic Gulf taste, and you still feel that this is an Arabic city, i see it as a mixture of Dubai in the new areas, and my home town in Jordan: Irbid (yes, that small town) in the old areas, but still it's nice, it's not a wow thing, but not a city that makes you depressed either. And another thing i noticed here, women and girls are great rarety in the streets, i saw only 3 or 4 walking in town, and 2 of them were foreign, but you find a lot of them an el Corniche or in the malls though. But it gets quite creepy in other streets, for example when a bus full of workers pass by, and suddenly they all turn to look at me.
I started walking from my hotel towards the shore on a long street called wadi Musheireb, passing old markets and going into a place of the city that makes you feel like Ataba in Egypt but of course much less crowded. At the end of that street (where it actually changes name to Al Muthaf st., =the museum) you find a traditional big white building that serves as the Qatar National museum and looks quite nice, a lot of sweet roundabouts with traditional gulf symbols like essence pots, fishing boats, water pots, pearl shells...etc
Getting to the shore isn't a big transition feeling as you actually don't see the water straight away so it comes to you quite gradually, walking along the shore (on El Corniche st.) is a real pleasure, it's made in a very beautiful way, you have a pedestrian wide path right next to the sea then small beautiful green areas separating it from the main street. It's a long street, well, very long, but it's worth it to walk it from the start right to the end.
The most empressive part for me was the old market, with all these really touching beautiful old buildings, and small streets and lanes in between, just gorgeous, they're also restoring it so it looks just like a story from "A thousand and one nights", you start hearing Shahrazad in your mind, and waiting for people with swords and on horses to appear.
So my trip walking took about 4 hours, after which my feet stopped carrying me, i started dragging them, and when i manage to do that, find myself walking zigzags,but i enjoyed it, made a lot of photos, had a nice chinese meal, took a taxi and got back to my hotel. I'm writing this while i talk to my mother, making sure everything's fine with me here, will finish that and straight to bed, tomorrow is a long day, i'm joining my vessel and the journey won't be that short, wish me luck!

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