Friday, October 21, 2011

A Night in Doha, Qatar

First off, let me apologize for the crappy photos. I left my camera in the Philippines with my husband. In the meantime, I am using my iPad to take photos and it takes really crappy photos, especially at night. Seeing that I am in Qatar for one night only, you are in a ride of crappy photos. LOL. Hopefully as soon as I am settled down in France, I can buy myself a nice camera. It's a shame though that I have crappy photos of my stay in Qatar as the place was gorgeous at night. That image I shall keep in my memory. 

I arrived in the airport of Doha, Qatar close to midnight on the 20th of October after a 9 hour flight from Cebu, Philippines. I was excited to touch ground, but even more excited to be able to see my sister and my brother-in-law. So after several attempts of asking for information, I was in line to get my visa. Thanks to my French passport, I was able to apply for my visa upon arrival after paying a small fee.

I was a little intimidated to say the least. This was a new culture to me and I observed my surroundings qnd the people with the least batting of the eyes. I kept telling myself during this trip over and over again to be alert and not miss anything. This was so much different from what I was used to back home and I observed while waiting patiently in line. Children were quietly standing beside their parents, women were covered (some more than others), men talked loudly with their peers. Finally, my turn came and within minutes I had my visa with me. 

The way out was exhilarating and I walked straight to the exit door without looking at the thrones of men waiting and glancing through the glass divider. And then I saw them waiting for me. I had made it. All on my own.

As soon as we were done with our hugs and kisses, we were on our way to having some fun even though we knew it would be short. They had already planned what activities would be appropriate for the time and day I was there. But all around the street, it seemed the people were also in the mood for some fun. I couldn't help but comment and I was told that people were out and about because the next day was Friday and a holiday. Cars were parked all over the city and it was a far cry from the silence I thought the night would be. We dropped my check-in luggage in my sister-in-law's apartment and went to the Souk. The Souk during the day is apparently a lively area where merchants sell spices, clothes; textiles, and etc. Think about the scene in  Sex and the City 2 movie where Carrie sees Aidan for the first time in Dubai. At night, the noise and action came from the opened restaurants. The Shishas were visible in every establishment we passed through. And the place was full. We managed to find ourselves a little table at TAJINE and we had Shisha (Strawberry and Mint flavor), plates of Kebab and French Fries. We were also given a complimentary plate of olives and dips. This was awesome. I loved the spices. Don't ask for photos. We had minimal light and an iPad, so just imagine. At about 3AM, my body was starting to give up on me and I knew I needed a bed asap. It took us about an hour to find a taxi to go home, but the good Lord took pity on us and at 4AM, I was lying on my sister-in-law's bed to get at least an hour of sleep for the rest of my trip. 

At 7AM, I was cleaned and dressed and standing in the airport's doorway saying goodbye to my loved ones. Goodbyes are never easy, even if you do it with a smile on your face. Doha, to this day, remains a memory of modern Middle East and a scene of lights at night, a place I hope to explore more of someday.


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