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Middle East » Qatar » Doha
October 2nd 2017
Published: October 17th 2017
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Hello my fellow travellers!

I started with a leisure pace today, taking a few laps in the pool of the compound that Kerry and Trudi live in. My plan for the day was to go to Katara, which is a really cool area currently being built that is sort of a mix between Islamic and Roman building influences. Since there are no bus going there Trudi actually arranged for an Uber to get me there, my very first Uber ride!

At Katara there is still a lot of constructions going on so there are many areas that are off limits but even the areas that are open sort feel like and empty shell. It's grand and beautiful but it doesn't carry the same feeling as the old Roman structures of the mosques of old. There is a free shuttle service of sorts that drive you around the different parts of Katara and tells you about them. The parts that are currently open are the amphitheatre and two mosques, as well as several restaurants and lounges. There are a tonne of other buildings currently being finalised and I have a feeling it will look really magnificent when it's all completed.

You could really tell here though that Qatar is a class based society, as I was being driven around by a young man from Bangladesh I kept asking him to stop at various points for photographs and when I apologised for taking up so much of his time he simply responded "it's okay, you are rich, I am poor, this is my duty". I think that feeling is really ingrained here, the rich seem so accustomed to giving orders and the poor so accustomed to receiving them that it in a way this place almost feels like a feudal society.

After I felt satisfied with what Katara had to offer I decided to make my way out to the Pearl, a man made area by the sea that is home to all the wealthy people and I'd heard that it was truly beautiful. Since I was getting hungry though I decided to stop at the Lagoona Mall on the way to grab something to eat. Since I had no wifi and I'm stubborn to a fault about avoiding cash both Uber and taxis where out of the picture and with no bus coming in this route the only option available to me was to walk. It's not really far, maybe three or four kilometres at most but the heat is a real killer here.

Besides the heat there is also the issue that there are no sidewalks or pedestrian streets so I ended up walking on a construction lane cunning beside the road, including over a bridge where I climbed over cables, pipes and tubes of various kinds to get to the other side of the river. When I got there the traffic was to tight for me to dare to cross the street to reach the Lagoona Mall and instead I made my way into a massive construction site.

When the staff there approached me they didn't assume that I was a lost tourist, because as a white guy wearing a shirt here I am automatically an important figure, and they instead asked me which project I was working on, assuming I was an engineer. I set the record straight and one of them drove me up to Lagoona Mall since he was heading home for lunch anyway. Even as I was making my way there, crossing the bridge, people kept motioning me towards the place where the actual construction was still underway. Everyone just assumed that I was an engineer that was there to check up on the progress of the work. As a white guy here you have it really easy, no one challenges you about anything!

At the Lagoona Mall I grabbed a bite to eat and then I took a bus back to the city centre and switched for a bus to the Pearl which is an amazing place. I wandered around the marina there for several hours and when I became to tired to walk there was staff there that drove me around in a beach care for free and when I wanted to go to a different, further away, part of the Pearl they arranged for a tuk-tuk, also free of charge!

After a few hours I met up with Belal again as he finished work and together we went to the Italian looking area of the Pearl which is a real highlight of Doha and then we went to the state mosque of Qatar, Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Masjid, and as a grand finale we went to the Villaggio Mall which is truly spectacular! It looks like an Italian town inside and to stay true to this we ate some Italian food there and again Belal treated me to the meal before driving me back to Kerry and Trudy! I am so fortunate with my hosts being such incredible people!

Tomorrow I'm not quite sure what to do, Kerry have given me the number to a guy that rents jet-skis and I have been looking at a desert tour but at 850 riyal it feels a bit out of my range. There also seem to be some more museums in the centre that are free of charge so I might check them out!

Until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!


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18th October 2017
Golden Masjid

Great image
Nice one Per-Olof. Qatar has been good to you.
18th October 2017
Golden Masjid

Great image
Thank you :-) Indeed it has, I've had a wonderful time here in Qatar and can really recommend it. Everyone is really friendly and open. :-)
19th October 2017

Class based societies
It was sad to read about the driver, but it was a good reminder of how different the world is based on the luck of ones birth. I love Singapore but I have to keep reminding myself of the great masses of imported labour that help to keep the city working in such an efficient way...and I suppose it's no different (and possibly worse) in the Arab nations. Love the crisp blue sky architecture photos!
19th October 2017

Class based societies
I am afraid that it's most likely worse here in the Arab countries, I've read many disturbing reports about the working conditions of their migrant workers, especially for the women coming in from Africa and southeast Asia. I also love Singapore, but as you say, there is a need to keep in mind of the costs to keep such societies running.
26th October 2017

Walking in a Hot Country
I definitely get you on the desire to walk rather than taxi it while travelling, though it seems not many people in Qatar do that. What an experience it must have been for you, walking to the Mall! I bet the AC was most welcome again once you arrived!
26th October 2017

Walking in a Hot Country
Very true, I'm a walker at heart, but at times in Qatar I wish I'd used my head over my feet. xD

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