Blogs from Middle East


Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 10th 2019

It’s the last supper, it’s the last sleep (unless you count Lee’s snoozes), it’s the last breakfast, it’s the .... Yes the time has come and that’s said by more than just the walrus! We had a delightful Turkish meal last night as our last night in Doha came around. Really good, even without the sisha that everyone else was sucking on, but again not cheap. The only thing that is sort of OK are sweets and lollies that we’ve seen being made. Stirred in giant copper pots the workers toil in already hot and oppressive conditions to turn out treats that are really good. They have a form of Turkish delight, lots of nut based treats and nougat and halva type slabs that are mammoth in proportion but look good. Having not long ago finished ... read more
Now that’s a witch’s hat.
Beautiful lighting.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 9th 2019

Plan A has well gone. The heat or something has got Lee a bit and despite the fact she slept quite well last night she’s having a little snooze as I type, swim, type, swim, doing nothing, type, swim... As much as the heat, and the ‘feels like’ temperature has risen above 40 degrees, I think just knowing we head home from here means Lee is thinking about that and about winding down rather than getting that last little bit out of the experience. I was planning to go the Museum again and then to ‘village and pearl’ but that too may need to be reconsidered. Not a big problem as it is more than OK by the pool. The complex of hotels, I think there are 9, sends as to number 5 as our hotel, ... read more
Then myself and 2 others walk the streets of Souk Waqif.
Not Lee’s favourite. Still just me walking the streets.
And then....pool time.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 9th 2019

It’s always good to have a plan. Let’s go to Katara Village, see the sights, the works of art, the bird houses and the amphitheater then get the taxi to take us the long way home via Pearl Island, along the Pearl Boulevard, around the man made islands, the Venetian Canal and the Oyster. Good plan. But even with a map to show the driver where we wanted to go all he heard was ‘Souq Waqif’ (our final destination) and off he went. Very efficient but in the wrong direction. So pleased with himself for understanding English and happy to get us there in good time but... There are some shots from Katara and it’s a good idea place. Sort of a home for traditional arts and crafts and a display space for artists, particularly sculptures. ... read more
Bird towers and mini minaret.
 More impressive angle for the minaret.
Sculpture at Katara Cultural Village.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 8th 2019

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 ... read more
Very good!
Our local restaurant and bar.
Beer, wine and not exactly up market tapas.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 8th 2019

Ooo aaah! Lots to look at in Doha. Sure it’s hot but as soon as you get anywhere it’s air conditioned and comfy. And that includes the underground walkways that funnel pedestrian traffic (and not many walk here!) below the busy roads to the waterfront Corniche. They reminded me of the Moscow subways, all cool marble and with lighting that is almost chandelier like. So you leave the souk area and emerge looking at the sleek and modern skyline of DECC, the Islamic Museum of Art and some of Doha’s 5 star hotels that dot the Corniche. There’s some homage to the past with a giant oyster shell and pearl and some boats that still take leisurely motoring cruises on the bay but the overall impression is one of modernity and of some form of ‘creature’ ... read more
Breakfast soup.
Do I have to eat this?
It won’t hurt.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 8th 2019

Sort of an instant replay of last night as I thought Lee would come on the tour but she wasn’t quite up to it. I went again as I said I’d help another woman here in the hotel if she needed any assistance but she too was a no show. I went along anyway as last night I didn’t have my ipad for photos (and I’m the only person in the world without a phone that they use as a camera) but this guide was hopeless and imparted so little information that I actually left mid tour which is something I’m reluctant to do in normal circumstances. I did see the falcons and horses and camels again but didn’t pick up any useful information. I went and learnt to play damar, a checker like game that’s ... read more
Principal character in the Bird market, Doha.
Bird market, Doha?
Spice market, Doha.

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 4th 2019

1. It was Friday in Doha. Arrived Doha Airport 1hr late due to late departure from KLIA. 2. New doha airport seemed quiet at noon. Despite not many people at the immigration counter, the clearance took a little bit longer than I had expected. 3. The temp outside was scorching. That could be the reason why the there’s not many people walking around. 4. I took Uber from airport to Oryx Rotana Hotel. The 15mins drive cost me 21QAR. 5. Other than Uber, one can opt to use taxi to move around. There’s metro in Doha but it is not as extensive. 6. My first tour was National Museum of Qatar. The museum itself is huge and the design is unique that would attract people to come. 7. Since I only had few hours left before ... read more
Inside National Museum of Qatar’s complex
Outside National Museum

Middle East October 3rd 2019

Monday morning we relaxed in the hotel. About 1pm we requisitioned a car to take us out to the Torch hotel as we wanted to visit the Villagio Mall which is next to the Stadium and the Torch. We had a quick look inside the Torch which is an amazing building, then walked through the adjoining tunnel that connects to the shopping centre. This place is huge!! It is designed to mimic an Italian landscape with paintings of Italian type houses, a ceiling painted as a sky and a canal on which travel gondolas! We went first to an area called Gondolandia. This is a theme park aimed at children with rides, rollercoasters and plenty of electronic games. It is vast. We explored further and looked into one wing which contained all the expensive shops such ... read more
In Villagio Mall
The canal in the Mall
A gondola in the Mall

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Pamukkale October 1st 2019

Pamukkale is a well known place to visit within Turkey where there are amazing white tiered calcium deposits, old Roman ruins, an amphitheatre and pools all in the one place, it's a great place to visit for a day! Many people will come here for a day trip and we were the same. We had spent the night in Denizli and caught a bus in the morning to get to Pamukkale. It is better to get there in the morning before the tour groups get there. We entered from the South Gate and walked up the Calcium deposits while Hot Air Balloons drifted ominously above. By the time we slowly made our way to the top, more people had arrived so we decided to go to the quieter places like the pools and amphitheatre. We contemplated ... read more
Roman Amphitheatre Pamukkale
Pools Pamukkale

Middle East » Qatar » Doha September 30th 2019

On Saturday morning, I slept in a little and then we spent a quiet day, mostly in our room. We went down to the Al Hubara restaurant for lunch and had a two for one meal, as Fletcher had been given a voucher for the place when he joined the Marriot Rewards club. The lunch was fine, albeit only accompanied by water, as there are many great salads, seafood and various meats and eastern style dishes to choose from. We went out to the track on the 3-30pm bus. This time, the driver knew where to drop us so it was not far to walk into the VIP area. The night's program was interesting and varied. The qualifying rounds of the Men's Discus saw Matt Denny from Australia qualify in 3rd place with a great throw ... read more
Sculpture in front of the stadium
Fletcher and his "halo"in the VIP Lounge
Waiting fot the 100m start

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