Tuesday, May 20, 2008


With all my children promising they wouldn't cook (we've had at least three near fires) and no one would do a handstand into a brother or sister's mouth (my 10-year-old nearly lost a tooth recently when his younger brother enthusiastically practiced gymnastics), I took off for Doha, Qatar last week.

I joined M in Doha for two nights at the end of his business trip there. I didn't have time to see much of the city, but what I did see I liked. Doha is smaller than Abu Dhabi and much of it is under construction, but it seemed quiet and calm. (The numerous roundabouts, I think, would make the driving difficult. But separate from that, I've heard the locals are more friendly to ex-pats than in Abu Dhabi.)

Above is the championship football game we attended on the last night of the trip. It was fun to watch the two Qatar teams, both supported by thousands of fans in the stands, play their best for first place. The tied game went into overtime three times, finally ending with a competition of penalty kicks wherein the first team to get 6 goals won.

After the orange team made the winning goal and both teams were congratulated by the emir of Qatar, huge streams of confetti flew out of "cannons" on the field, followed by magnifcent fireworks.
Qatar is a dry country, and I believe the pleasant atmosphere at the game was owing to this. There was no vulgarity or bad behavior in the stands - nice for female attendees, in particular.

The hotel we stayed at was ultra luxurious and therefore super-relaxing. I felt like a celebrity, since everywhere I went the staff knew my name. I felt so pampered that I didn't even mind that I resembled a male lion after getting my hair washed and blown dry at the hotel salon. (A few brush strokes and I was back to the real me.)

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Ilka said...

"Qatar is a dry country, and I believe the pleasant atmosphere at the game was owing to this."

what do you mean? i heard qatar is super small so there isn't much to do. it's nice to get away with the hubby once in a while...that is how i first visited dubai....my husband went on a business trip there and i tagged along.

Frances Gunnison said...

By a dry country, I meant no alcohol. Sorry about that if it wasn't clear.
I hate to say it, but in the US, by half-time at a big basketball/football/baseball game, a good percentage of the crowd is drunk. People can be loud and crude and it can ruin your otherwise nice evening.
The fact that thousands of spectators were enjoying the game in Qatar and were sober while doing so, I felt, made for a more pleasant atmosphere.
Yes, Qatar is small and I've heard there's nothing to do. I wasn't there long enough to judge. I guess it depends on what a person is looking for. If it's a big nightlife, I suppose Doha is not the place to be.

Anonymous said...

Frances, I am planning a trip with family to Fujeira soon. In one of your older postings you mentioned about this nice hotel that had moroccan restaurant. Would like to know what hotel you stayed at. I'd like to book a weekend there.
Appreciate it! ;-)
I love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

Frances Gunnison said...

We stayed at the Miramar Hotel in Fujairah. Brand new, really really beau.
Have fun. The bar/lounge is the place that has a Moroccan decor that I absolutel loved. (They probably serve some food there but I would opt for one of the other restaurants in the hotel for dinner).