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October 8th 2019
Published: October 7th 2019
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Just a bit of in flight musing.

We have flown Qatar partially because we have been with Emirates before and don’t really want to go back to Dubai. I know the UAE states are basically identical in their treatment of their work forces and their environmental practices but we were quite put out by Dubai last time and we make this small but significant philosophical stance. The indoor snow field and the building that incorporates artificial sea shore as a selling feature we think is too much of a price to pay and just because you can doesn’t make it OK. So it’s Qatar and into Doha because fuel is cheap and air fares low (ish). Doha is certainly the little kid of the Emirates family behind Dubai and Abu Dhabi but we hold out expectations that it will be a good way to finish of our tourist agenda. Qatar meals have been very good on this leg, something I could not say on the flight over. It may reflect the fact we flew early and really only had a light meal and a snack but they were pretty good. Two movies and a little window gazing will see out the flight without too much angst. Currently over the Arabian Gulf, descending and with less than 40 minutes to go it’s been pretty smooth. Madrid airport dwarfs Tullamarine and we were at one of the four terminals. Admittedly it is the largest but even after clearing immigration and security checks we had a 12 minute driverless train trip and another 10 minute walk on escalators and travellators before getting to the boarding gate. Very seamless and very coordinated with the train stopping with centimetre perfect alignment to the doors and all that sort of thing. And to think Melbourne still relies on a bus shuttle to get to and from the airport! It’s almost embarrassing.

At present I'm not sure what the Doha temperature will be but over the last few days it has been around the 40 degree mark and the ‘feels like’ temperature even higher so it will be good to be whisked to our hotel and see a little of the city from inside an air conditioned car. We have 3 nights in Doha which is usually about right for us. It probably means a bit of washing (at least things should dry), a bit of orientation and a bit of sightseeing. We are looking forward to mint tea again and a re both a bit surprised by how much we are missing it. Likewise a walk through the souks and markets will be like Morocco again which already we miss.

It’s landing time so I have to stow trays and all that stuff. See you soon.

Met at the airport which is always pleasant but immediately given a big tourist spiel about tour options, sights and experiences. When the price of $325, and US dollars at that, was mentioned and after we stopped laughing he got the message gave up and just drove us to our hotel. It’s one of several under the same name as far as we can work out and it appears we have to cross the street to another of their hotels for breakfast tomorrow. We will see. Doha immigration exhibited the same charm and grace as other UAE immigration officials (and that is not a compliment) but their customs officers were pretty good. We were detected with drugs (medical ones) probably electronically, were diverted, politely questioned and happy with me pointing to and explaining it was for my heart allowed to proceed. Doha airport follows the examples we’ve seen around the UAE. It’s big, new, super efficient (with the exception of the immigration officials) and thankfully we’ll air conditioned as the outside temperature was 37 degrees when we arrived. Even at night and in the dark there is some impressive architecture here. The Islamic Museum of Art is the biggie but the State Mosque is really impressive as well. A couple of other buildings caught our eye on the way in but we don’t know what they are yet.

Just Back from a little night tour. Right spot at the right time so I got to join the group for free. Went to the falcon sale room, falcon hospital, the horse and camel yards and a few shops and that damar game place that Julie had photos of. As I was only going walking and stumbled into it I did not have my ipad so no photos but I’ll go back and get some soon. Later had some delicious chicken livers cooked with pomegranate and pine nuts. The sauce was thick, unctuous and quite sweet and very good. This is a good sign for the food here as this was in one of the hotels in the ‘Souq Wakif’ chain here.

Must go as it’s past midnight now.

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