From the Qatari chronicles

Two weeks in Doha

A 4 minutes read
dated 5th October 2014

It has been a bit more than two weeks since I arrived to Doha. Despite work piling up and keeping me in front of the computer most days, I still seem to have done quiet a few things here already. And added more to my to-do list. Contrary to some opinions I’ve heard around, there is enough stuff to do in Doha, spots to check out, food to taste and what not. It is a matter of doing a bit of research, really, and having some good friends around to ask for inspiration. I’ve been lucky to gather some friendly folk to do stuff with, wether it’s slacking off in the hotel lobby over a cup of tea, lazy hacking or exploring the city. Now I restrain myself from blabbering too much about it all. I will however note down a few highlights. Because you most certainly wanna read all that. Yeah right.

Been there, done that

So an evening stroll and a night photo-walk along the Corniche happened one of the very first evenings. I did manage to take some decent shots actually. Still waiting to expand my selection of those to share a proper album though. It’s a much pleasant walk overall, if done late at night. You can then spot groups hanging out on the shore having their late picnicks, smoking shishas, playing guitars, jogging or… just hanging out. And the view is… wow, just have a look.

A proper gents’ evening took place too. Starting with some cigar dipping in cognac to the sounds of live piano gig at much fancy Four Seasons across the road. Followed by a Harley ride through the streets of West Bay to reach a shady billiard club down the TV Roundabout. All courtesy of @mohsin.

We hit Souq Waqif a couple of times too, where we’d enjoy some deli Moroccan food and took it to other venues for tea and shisha. Souq itself has a nice vibe, super touristy, but pleasant. And if you choose the right spot you get to awe at some marvels around like the Spiral Mosque, Museum Of Islamic Art, or just some local folk in their fashionable thobes strolling around the tiny streets of this cute little “storic” center.

We went for an amazable Iranian dinner together with the office folk the first week too. Now I gotta make sure to drop Aziza a line to make her add it to her list of great places to eat she kindly shared with me the other day. Shebestan Palace Restaurant, just so you know.

One of the first weekends, in between illumination classes and a night out in some expaty clubs on ridiculous altitudes, I managed to squeeze in a photo-walk around the Katara cultural village. That will show up in one of the proper photo albums later on. The view from Strata will now. It’s a lounge club on—correct me if I’m wrong—55th floor of Intercontinental Hotel. Expensive drinks, loud music, cigarette smoke everywhere, but but but… fancy patterns on the carpet.

Oh, I also went shopping to the awkward little Venice replica, Villaggio, a shopping mall taking window shopping concept to the next level: not sure how pricy that is, but you can have a gondolier taking you for a ride along the malls’ artificial canals. Seeing it felt wrong on so many levels I can’t even dare explaining.

And if being “on a boat” is not your thing, you can always ice-skate in one of the halls of Villaggio. That might feel awkward as well though, especially considering that outside temperatures hardly ever go under 35°C. At least this time of the year. That said, seeing it didn’t come with a shock anymore as I’ve witnessed the very same madness in another shopping mall closer to my hotel. Honestly, I would now be disappointed if I spotted a mall without an ice-skate park.

With Eid al-Adha holidays kicking off the other day, I got around to visit the State Grand Mosque during sunrise prayer time. Quite an experience, even if for such short. It does seem like a place I’d love to photo-shoot in the night if ever get the chance. I shall better make it happen as it does look quite astonishing, at least through somebody else’s lense.

Coming up next

And so my first two weeks in Doha passed, rather nicely—I’d say. This week is all about overnight camp on the beach out-town and a whole-day photo-walk in the Museum of Islamic Art. Apart from an immense amount of work that is. Once those are checked off the list, I might come back with more reports from still boiling hot Doha. Till then?

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