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Published: November 30th 2008
Just Checked In
Reading up before the flight...........
We left Manila 5 pm of October 9, 2008 for a nearly 10 hr flight to arrive in Doha, Qatar well before midnight of the same day. I met up with my traveling group where all I had was a list of names and a single cellphone number. But I'm pretty good at this game. I looked around, found all 3 'strangers' in my group. Never missed. A 100% batting average. The fourth guy I spotted when we landed in Doha. I knew it was him the moment we stopped to get our bearings to prepare to leave the airport. Not bad. I haven't lost my touch. Ahem.
Qatar airlines is a good airline and my business class seat was most comfortable. As always, I couldn't resist watching all the movies I missed, and this flight was no exception. But well into my 3rd movie, the comfortable seat beckoned and I was soon fast asleep. Look ma, no pills and I drifted off to dreamland!
We all breezed through immigration and found our ride to take us to the convention, then to our apartment. Doha Grand Apartments, right beside Doha Grand Hotel, has very big apartments . We 3
Doha Grand Apartment Hotel
Big Apartment with 3 Rooms for 3 Ladies!
girls took one apartment with 3 big rooms. Two of the ladies in our group wanted to share a room , but the hotel/apartment won't let us share a room because "we are not related". Huh? It's the same story with the men in our group. Each of them had to have a room to himself. What's with this custom? Did they seriously think it isn't possible to move from one room to the next in the middle of the night? Oh, my.
The next day, we all trooped to the ground floor dining hall for our buffet breakfast. Soon after a cup of coffee and a slice of bread and a piece of egg, I knew that I would rather sleep in in the next few days than wake up to a lousy breakfast. Lunch did not disappoint though. We tried this Middle Eastern restaurant serving real good hummus (the best in my book----must be the chickpeas they grow in Qatar), tabouleh, all sorts of kebabs, and a truly savoury lentil soup. Soon after this heavy lunch, I wanted to go back to the apartment and sleep again. Sooo good. Even the rice was so good.
been 'rewarded' with a good lunch, we thought we should work off all the calories. So, we did serious work today. But we didn't deprive ourselves of the TFC show that night in the same convention hall. ABS-CBN brought some of their stars to do a short program , so we watched that as well before calling it a night.
The next day, we were free to make trips outside of Doha. We thought we'd check out the desert and the sealine resorts. Sand......everywhere. We did not try the desert safari since this adventure would have required us to wake up early to avoid being burned under the sun. A pity. I would have wanted to do it. There were even motorbikes or ATVs to ride around the desert, but it would have been disastrous to try it at high noon. We stepped off our airconditioned cars only for a short while when we got there, but not for long. The temp must be a blistering 40 degrees celsius. But long enough for Odes to try a camel ride. I got busy taking his pictures. Then I sprinted back to the air conditioned car. It was so hot, but
not humid. I felt so dehydrated I must have downed 2 bottles of mineral water one after the other.
After our trip to the desert, we went back to this airconditioned mall for our late lunch. This time around, we went Italian. I would have wanted another Persian/Middle Eastern lunch, but I was outvoted. I must say though that my dough-covered pasta marinara was one of the best I've had. No wonder there were so many Qatari men and women who dined in this place. Just before getting back to our apartment, we made a stopover at the famous Cornische. A pretty sight, but it is not something that will set Doha apart from another place. The 'pyramid hotel' - i think it was the Sheraton, though I may be wrong --- had good architecture. Oh, by the way, I have to say that I found the new constructions in Doha quite impressive. The architecture certainly has character..........you know money was no object when they planned to erect the buildings.
Our last whole day in Doha, Qatar was spent shopping. We went to the gold souks but I simply had no appetite for shopping. Besides, I don't need
No Desert Safari For Us
Not the best time to be at the desert. It's high noon!
another jewelry. The gold selections are simply awesome, but I wasn't tempted one bit. From the bazaars, we hiked off to the mall. Now, this mall is the exact replica of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and Macau, complete with a canal and gondoliers. Even the costumed doges and clowns were there to entertain the shoppers! We had a few shots taken of the place. Some of us in the group who have not been to Las Vegas or Macau were in awe of this entire spectacle, complete with ceilings of painted skies. We had a very simple lunch right inside the mall, nothing grand nor fancy.
Having packed our bags good, we all went to the airport to catch our flight back to Manila. Not much to say really about this adventure. It pales in comparison with the previous travels I have made, but then again, I did not expect much. So there.............
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