Three days in Doha, Qatar are not necessarily enough to get a complete idea of what Doha life is like, but it’s a pretty good start for such a small city. Not having spent much time in a desert, I have very little to compare it with. A friend of mine suggested that Doha might be a little like Disneyland meets Las Vegas. For a guy who had never been, he was very close to how Lisa (my current travel partner in crime) and I would describe it, minus the wonderful themepark rides.
There is crazy city development here – really an understatement though, because I think there are more cranes than buildings. Some areas contain the most amazing futuristic architecture, like the areas along the Arabian Gulf, but in other areas it’s as if we are driving through Anakin Walker’s home in Star Wars.
I’m thrown off by Qatar’s population, which is apparently made up of 80 percent foreigners. I’ve met people from the Philipines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, France, Japan, the U.S…. In some areas of Qatar people are dressed in Muslim attire while in other areas people are in western clothing. Signage is in English and Arabic. Most everyone speaks English or basic English. There are huge western-type shopping centers like City Center where you can get your Haagen Daz and Starbucks fix, or souqs, traditional markets with their winding twists and turns and small speciality shops of all things Middle Eastern.
My initial impressions and thoughts about Doha are:
- There are a lot of men here. Where are all the women hanging out?
- It’s crazy hot. The heat is kind of miserable (understatement).
- Where are all the people? Why are so many of the buildings empty?
- The food is amazing.
- The process of eating out from sitting down to getting the bill takes hours and hours.
- It’s really clean.
- They do glam (in buildings and architecture) really well here.
- Drivers are really nice – they actually stop and let you cross the street.
- People are really nice and friendly.
- The Arabian Gulf is beautiful.
- “Middle Eastern time” is very aparent here (I need to channel my Hawaiian Time roots), lol.
- Uh. There are a lot of men here. Where are all the women?!