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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 26.2149, 50.5879
I woke up and prepared for the day, including breakfast around 9:30 on the 2nd floor of the Rotana. The buffet was quite large and included essentially any item you could want.
I started the day's walk by going next door to the Bab Al Bahrain (old British gateway to the piers) and took a picture with my stand-in Geoff. Unfortunately our rendezvous was cancelled due to his work calling him away unexpectedly. From there I walked east along the main road gawking at the odd-shaped skyscrapers all around. Before I reached the bridge to Muharraq I turned south into some neighborhoods and walked until I reached a gate, which I quickly figured out was the country's palace. I inadvertently took the long way around the unexpectedly large palace grounds and walked past the Grand Mosque. From there I walked back west along the palace walls until I reached a hip little neighborhood with several western style restaurants. From there I walked northwest a little further to the Adliya neighborhood trying to find some lunch. With no luck, I took an uber to the City Centre Mall.
As is the nature of gulf-region malls, this one was huge and full of
very expensive brands. The food court had all the usual fast food and given my flight in the evening I partook in my only McDonald's of the trip. After circling the mall several times I took another Uber to the National Museum. Up to this point I had managed the entire day without acquiring any local currency, however, the museum would only accept cash dinars. The admission was only 1 dinar ($2.65), but I had to pass and walk on. Not a big loss, I went to the Dubai museum along with dozens of others.
I walked across the bridge to Muharraq and then veered south, away from the airport, to venture through the neighborhoods. I passed through several neighborhoods full of Indians or Pakistanis before finally coming to a ritzy park in the northeast of the island near the airport. I took a quick video and then headed into the airport for my flight home. I waited for 45 minutes for my check-in window to open, only to have the guy tell me that they had a first-class check-in counter just around the corner. Oh well.
Connecting to over to Doha on Qatar Airways, I was able to take advantage
of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, which must be the finest in the world. The food was fantastic and the space itself was flawless. Every detail had been attended to. Two restaurants, a huge office, a Foosball table, attendants in the restrooms, infinite seating space. During my two hours there, the place went from nearly empty to nearly full. It seems to be designed to operate with a large influx of crowds.
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