Doha, Qatar

Written by on November 27, 2012 in General, Middle East & Gulf States with 2 Comments

Do you know where Qatar is?  I honestly had no idea until I took a look at a map.  I’m not one to go to countries just to “tick the box”, however this is an obvious exception.  I had been researching connections to get me from Dubai to Johannesburg and kept coming across Qatar Airways as not only the cheapest option, but also as a Star Alliance partner where I could potentially use some of my hard-earned United frequent flier points instead of forking over cash for the flight.  Most of the flights connected through Oman, a country I also had never considered to travel to until a few travel friends I’d met this summer spoke so highly about it.  The kicker was when I met Radina in Bulgaria, who is a flight attendant on Qatar Airways, and had offered to show me around should I ever find myself in Doha.  So, I booked a frequent flyer ticket to fly from Muscat to J’Berg, with a 12 hour layover in Doha, giving me time to check out the capital city…and collect another stamp in my passport 🙂

Radina had set my expectations low, and I had heard from others there is not really much to see there except skyscrapers and shopping malls…and a few old boats, called dhows, still used for fishing and transportation.

But, unlike it’s richer neighbor, Dubai, Doha wasn’t as flashy and didn’t need to be the biggest, tallest, largest anything.  The city did have a nice corniche/waterfront, although with temperatures near 100 degrees when I was there, which was COOL compared to most of their year, I’m not sure how many people actually take advantage of it except for a few months a year.  The cityscape was cool, though, with several interestingly designed skyscrapers.

It did not take long to see the city, so I first went to the City Centre Mall to catch a 2p showing of Skyfall, as I really needed a movie fix before heading onward to Africa where I don’t expect to encounter too many movie theaters.   I dropped my bag off with the bell desk at the attached Renaissance Hotel and headed to the cinema, where I indulged in a huge bag of popcorn and 2.5 hours of Daniel Craig.  I liked Doha already!

After the movie, I took a walk along the corniche and took a bunch of pictures of the skyline, before heading over to the Souq Wadiq to meet up with Radina and her friend for dinner and a couple drinks before heading to the airport for my overnight flight.

It was great to see her again!  After dinner we took a stroll to see some of the Doha landmarks by night. This is the Islamic Center.

And then we went to the falcon souk.  Falconry – such a STRANGE hobby/sport, but I guess it’s really popular here.  These were a few of the falcons we saw for sale.

I have to say that the extra 10k United miles I spent on getting a business vs economy class ticket was well worth it.  The business lounge in Doha was probably the nicest I’ve seen anywhere.

And, the service on Qatar Airways was amazing.  I only wish I wasn’t so tired so I could’ve tried everything on their wine list.   Their “goodie bags” were insane.  Before boarding, they handed me a shopping bag full with a black kit, which I expected to find the typical eye mask, ear plugs and socks you’d get on any overnight flight.  But no.  They gave us an entire kit of tiny travel size electronic adapters, including a mouse, thumb drive, headphones, usb cable, and usb hub.  Not that I needed most of it, but still.  And, in addition to the typical toiletries bag, they also gave us a Salvatore Ferragamo goodie bag, with a mini perfume, hand lotion and cleanser.  NICE!  Am I really backpacking???

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  1. Herb says:

    wanna review “Skyfall?”

  2. DebAdmin says:

    Not the best Bond ever, but still awesome. But then pretty much anything with Daniel Craig in it is fantastic!

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