Doha, Qatar – June 20

We arrived in Doha early Thursday morning and as expected, we were extremely jet lagged. But, with so little time here, we pushed through the tiredness and set out to see the city. After dropping off our bags at our couch surfer’s house, we headed out on the town. One of the first things we noticed walking around in Doha is its extreme heat. I guess this should have been obvious considering Qatar is a desert in the Middle East, but it definitely felt like an oven. Even at 8 o’clock in the morning, the temperatures were higher than 105 degrees F. The city also requires that women and men wear long pants and cover their shoulders, so there was no hope of losing layers to help cool down.

We did find some sprinklers in Al Bidda Park that we ran though a couple times which did help. And luckily, the ACs inside buildings and houses run constantly. Al Bidda park was beautiful. Everything was perfectly manicured – green grass, flowers and trees everywhere, and perfectly clean pathways. Interestingly, the only people enjoying the park at this time were ourselves and the people who were working to make it beautiful. 

Al Bidda Park
Al Bidda Park with very high winds.
The Pearl – Before oil, Qatar’s main source of industry was selling pearls.
Date trees lining the road

After enjoying the park, we continued our walk to the Dhow Boat Marina and saw many beautiful wooden ships. There were also around 30 mile an hour winds which the locals told us was good because it cooled the city down. We kept ourselves from being blown into the marina, and enjoyed the beautiful skyline of West Bay.

Dhow Boat Marina

Walking around the town, we did start to notice that every cab driver and tour guide in a ten mile radius seemed to seek us out and honk at us for rides. I guess two Caucasian people walking around in 107 degree F heat was a signal that we needed a ride. 

West Bay skyline from Al Bidda Park

After the marina, we headed to the Museum of Islamic Art which had an amazing grand entrance with a waterfall cascading down some steps in front of the building. The local people who worked there were very inviting and excited to show us their library. The art was beautifully laid out on 3 different levels.

Museum of Islamic Art
Outside the Museum of Islamic Art
Prayer book
Astrolabe

Although there were many nice displays of ancient rugs and pottery, the jet lag was starting to set in. 

We did want to make one more stop at the Souq Watif (Souq=market) before we called it a day. The market was closed, but it was interesting to see the many shops with local pottery and clothes.

Souq Watif

There was also a bird store which we were told had falcons, but we would have to return when it was open to see them.

Bird store

It was interesting to see the market versus the lavish buildings near the museum. It was like old world and new world coming together. It was in the 1950s that oil was discovered in Qatar and the wealth from this oil is extremely apparent here. 

We headed out of the market, bought some groceries for the next couple of days and headed back to the place we were staying. By this time the jet lag had really set in and we were no longer able to push through the tiredness. We met our couch surfer host, David, who was now home from work and chatted with him for awhile, but we eventually had to excuse ourselves and take a nap which turned into sleeping the entire night through. 

Packing Puzzle

We have 6 days left until we leave on our 3 month adventure. Jay is currently in Washington DC for work, and I am headed to Colorado for Father’s Day this weekend. Then, we fly out at midnight on the 18th to our first stop in Qatar. We are both still trying to get everything packed. It’s hard to know what to bring on a 3 month trip with many different climates. Plus, we have to fit it all in a backpack and carry it from place to place. For someone who tends to overpack, but also does not want to carry a super heavy pack, this could be difficult. Our plan is to buy things along the way and leave things that we are no longer using, so hopefully that will work. It’s always an adventure with Jay!