Blogs from Qatar, Middle East - page 8

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Middle East » Qatar » Mesaieed July 2nd 2011

We left the best of Qatar for our friend G..'s last weekend. We went dune bashing in the desert south west of Mesaieed, right near the Saudi Arabian border. It was amazing. Those drivers know their stuff, and it helps that they let most of the air out of the tires of the 4x4 before we set out. I think the pictures tell the whole story. Loads of fun, even if you're not an adrenaline junky.... read more
Dune bashing
Dune bashing
Dune bashing

Middle East » Qatar » Doha June 15th 2011

Well after much ado, I am in Doha, Qatar. Almost in Africa. I wrote last blog that I was worried about getting out of Melbourne. By the time I left home on Wednesday morning I was no longer worried about getting out of Melbourne but out of Perth at the other end. The Ash cloud was moving over Perth and looked like it was going to settle there and raise children. By the time we had driven the 3 hours down to Melbourne (after trying for over 30mins to talk to Jetstar in their queue) we found out as we arrived that my flight from Melbourne to Perth had been cancelled. I ended up calling the Travel Agent (many times), the airlines, my insurance company and used up ALL the full battery I had on my ... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Mesaieed May 30th 2011

Visited all the corners of Qatar with our German friend G... Zubara fort is to the north, Dukhan beach is the west, the singing sand dunes are in the east and Sealine beach is in the south. In between it's desert and that's where the Sheikh Faisal museum is located. The singing sand dunes are near the large American military base. We got there in the heat of the day, and the sand dunes were super hot. We found it hard to try and run up the dunes, as the hot sand got inside our footwear (We were not wearing boots). G.. even lost his sandals a little bit up, and was hopping up and down in his bare feet at the bottom while N.. and W.. went back up the dune to recover them. The ... read more
Al Zubara fort
Dukhan beach
Camels by the beach

Middle East » Qatar » Doha April 14th 2011

Hi all Yes, it's a 10 hour stay in Doha airport. Aargh! I'm heading now to find the quiet room, unroll my little sleeping bag inner and hope for some sleep. Brussels was great but I really one-of-those-days yesterday. I literally had only that day to get my visa for Pakistan so I prepped my bag the night before, headed out for some sightseeing (more on that later), met up with the boys from the training course for dinner at one of the girls' places and crawled into bed pretty late for the early start I had planned. Btw I found a great Boschendal wine at the local supermarche for the dinner!! So, up early, first train, at the office 30 min early, go in, can't find passport, panic, run for train back to hotel, punch ... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Doha April 10th 2011

One of my rules is to be critical in accordance with the claims that someone makes; if you are a humble 2-Star then I don't think I'm entitled to criticise you on the basis of 5-Star standards. But by the same token if you claim, as Qatar Airways very stylishly does in its TV adverts, to be "The World's 5-Star Airline" then watch out for the 5-Star criticism. Only fair. I just made a somewhat arduous journey from Bangkok to London and back via Doha on Qatar Airways. Not really THE World's 5-Star, maybe soon, but not quite yet. Now the aeroplane and the cabin crew are indeed pretty good. Compared with many airlines QA runs new 'planes (a Boeing 777 on the BKK-DOH leg and an A330-200 on the DOH-LHR leg - I prefer the ... read more

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Middle East » Qatar » Doha April 6th 2011

The time of our trip seems to have flown around with all the usual excitement and worrying. Getting through Heathrow Airport took a while as we seemed to be at the opposite end of the airport from what we needed every step of the way. There was a brief moment of panic for Pete as Julie disappeared to buy toothpaste as the clock ticked towards departure. Eventually we saw her running across the airport towards us and aboard we all got. On arrival at Doha everyone seemed determined to persuade us not to leave the airport. We were told that we wouldn't have time and that the souq would be closed. Maybe they'd heard about Mam's punctuality problems. Our doubts grew further when the passenger in front of us was refused a visa. The girl behind ... read more
Spices
More of the Spice Shop
Doha's Souq

Middle East » Qatar » Doha April 5th 2011

Almost 10 pm, and decided to do another entry. This is likely the last one. We go to the airport tomorrow night for our flight to London. We have a 6 hour layover and then a direct flight home...back Thursday afternoon. Today, We divided and conquered. Maria's mom had a driver take her to a doctor's appointment early this morning. She left me the car and I drove first thing to the golf course. There is one golf course in Qatar, Doha Golf Club. Every February, this course is the host of the Qatar Masters, a pretty big tournament on the European PGA tour. I think I've said, but past winners of the tournament have been Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Adam Scott...some big names. They have the massive trophy on display in the club house. The ... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Doha April 4th 2011

Getting ready to wrap up our trip in Qatar. We leave Wednesday night (technically Thursday morning). A good chunk of Sunday was spent at Katara Beach. It's in the Cultural Village (which if you have read previous blog entries is where that coliseum amphitheatre and the Fish Market is). It costs to use this beach area - they give you wrist bands when you check in. I think it's the nicest beach area we've seen here. The sand is white and soft, and the water very blue. They have lots of activities, of which some are additional costs. We rented a 4 person paddle boat for half an hour, and distracted the kids from renting sea-dos. They have this massive inflatable play area in the water...it reminds me of that TV show Wipe Out. Ropes to ... read more
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Middle East » Qatar » Doha April 2nd 2011

There's not a lot new to report from our end. Weekends here are Friday and Saturdays. Friday is the religious day. Everyone seems to go out late Thursday nights here. Then Fridays, the streets are empty. Many people work 6 days a week, so Saturdays are somewhat in between. On Friday, we drove west of Doha about 30 km I guess, to where the camel race track is. We were hoping to see some races, but they were not on. We found out when we got home that the races typically happen on Saturdays. The track is very large, with paved roads on the inside and outside of the track. The camels are typically younger/smaller camels, and nowadays are ridden by robots. The camel owner, and robot operator ride on the inside of the track, often ... read more
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Middle East » Qatar » Doha March 31st 2011

We didn't write anything yesterday - we didn't do anything different...just did some shopping and hung out at the pool at the Hyatt. The kids did do go-karting in the mall. They had a blast doing that. Noah had to use the washroom in the mall. He came out a minute later, panic on his eyes. He couldn't use these washrooms....the toilet was built into the ground! I never did go in to see it, but they weren't your typical toilet. He managed to make it to another store and used their washroom. Today, Nick woke up at 5 am and didn't feel good. He had a high temperature and achy. So, he stayed home with Maria's mom, while Maria, Noah, and I went to the Hyatt. We hung out at the pool until 2 pm. ... read more
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