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Published: December 15th 2012
Friday was a wonderful day. I had stayed up late doing some work Thursday night, but was able to sleep in Friday. I had wanted to take a trip to the beach town, Al Khor, about 40km north of Doha, but just didn't want to. Instead, I went to the Villagio Mall and shopped til I was about to drop! I bought a (reimburseable) blackberry for work, skirts, shirts, sweaters... I still need boots and a coat though; it is getting cold here. No, really!
I took myself to a movie: Red Dawn. Completely cheesy and predictable, but I enjoyed it more than I thought. The movie almost (but not quite) drowned out the people talking throughout; people here have no respect for others in theaters - they talk on their phones or to each other, walk around, or have their phone lit up texting the whole time. I really don't know why they go to a movie except they must think it is a quiet place to sit and talk with their friends and who cares about those who paid money to watch the movie.. Very irritating and why I only go to early movies or VIP movies here.
I met with a coworker from the US last night for dinner, going to the Lebanese restaurant that I'd gone to previously with "Indiana" and "Tony". We had the usual appetisers (fatoush, cheese fatayer, hummus), my carrot juice, and some apple flavored shisha - such a great place. I think shisha makes me very very sleepy (most of you know what I'm like after I drink); the cigarette smoke from the table next to us was really irritating though - everyone here smokes. Shisha smells fine, and feels clean when you smoke it (I've done it all of 4 times since I've been here), but cigarette smoke gets in your eyes, your hair, your throat and STAYS. Ugh.
Today, I was going to drive to City Center Mall (nearest my hotel) to shop for boots, but I was in the mood to just drive... so up to Al Khor I went! It was a pleasant drive, though I only got to see camels once, and there was more civilization than I thought there would be. The highway was nice and not crowded but plenty of cars so it was not deserted, plus there were even expat cyclists! I
may have to get back into riding...
Al Khor was a surprisingly lovely little beach town. Very clean and well laid out, with some very pretty homes and neighborhoods. There was a "mall" which I'm sure is just mostly basics, and plenty of places to eat (McDonald's of course). They have a lovely corniche that wraps around the little bay there, but even though there was a nice little beach and little umbrellas set up on a lovely day, there was next to no one there. Such a shame.
I decided to drive a little further north to the next town, Al Thakhirah, which is smaller and even nicer. It is at the end of the road to the gulf and ends in a beautiful mangrove area. This was definitely the highlight of my week. I wish I'd brought a blanket and a book. It is hard to describe how peaceful it was. On one side, were some guys launching boats, including what looked like some kayaks. On the other side is the beautiful clear water and mangroves lining the water. Supposedly, there is great bird watching here (not my forte), and I did hear lots of chirps
all around. Just a very pleasant exprience.
I drove back on a different road away from the coast, but apparently a main route to Doha as it was full of traffic and there was not much scenery. Maybe the next weekend I'm here, I will head south towards the dunes...
I tried to go to City Center when I got back to the city, but the parking lot was full or almost full and there was no way I was going to deal with that! So, now I'm home and writing this. Maybe I'll take a cab to the mall later tonight; I really really want my boots!
Qatar's National Day is December 18th and looks like it may be a huge celebration!
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