Monday, February 07, 2011

In Qatar

It's as if my greatest wish when I was eight years old and obsessed with the bizarre flag and u-lessness of Qatar has come true: we are in Doha for a few days. So far, Doha seems a lot like Dubai Lite, though of course I tend to see new places in terms of those I already know. Here in Doha, there are gorgeous, crazily designed buildings strung along a beautiful corniche. Natives in abayas and kandura pretend to be oblivious to the gobs of foreigners from all corners of the earth milling around them in fastidiously manicured public spaces. It's sunny even though it's February. The malls are over-the-top. All of the above exist to a slightly lesser degree than in Dubai.

If we must talk about differences, however, they can be found. For one thing - and this is really what stands out the most in my mind so far - the traffic lights here are soooooo increeeeeedibly looooooong you wouldn't believe it. Cars actually shift into park and put on the parking brake when sitting at a red light. Part of this perceived difference is just that there ARE traffic lights in Doha. I am realizing all over again how roundabout-happy the UAE is.

Another way Doha exceeds Dubai is that they are even more deferential to families with children here. I would not have believed it possible, but it's true. The generous attitude toward kids started upon arrival at the Doha airport when we were whisked to the front of a very long passport control queue simply because we had two small children with us. Then the passport control officers gave the girls each a piece of candy to keep them busy while they processed our documents. We have also been allowed to jump the queue to get a taxi because of the girls and everywhere we go it's like people are waiting to help us take care of our children.

We still have a lot to see but sadly, the studio of Al-Jazeera will not be on that list. I tried to score a tour but they said they only let in people who are journalism students. And you have to be older than 18, too. I guess Qatar's child-friendly attitude had to end somewhere.


Anna said...

I really love this family picture of you guys.

Also, a visit to Qatar = so cool.

Liz Johnson said...

I also love the pic, particularly Majd's 3 blankets. Hahahaha.

I'm very jealous. Please take (and post) lots of pics. :)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Could you count your blog towards being a journalism student ;-)

Take a journalism class at AUS before you go to Qatar next time.

Qatar has always been my favorite world flag.

Nancy said...

I love that picture of you! Did you guys just set the camera on timer? Just wondering. It's awesome.

Crys said...

Fun pic...I could stare at that cityscape for hours!

Katie said...

I'm not gonna lie. I really don't even know where that is. Although I do think it's cool that you're there and that they're so child-friendly.

Mostly, I love that picture of you guys.

Rob and Sara said...

I'm just going to echo everyone else's comments and say I love that family picture!

Bridget said...

That picture was taken using the camera's self timer. We had it on one of those tiny flexy tripods that fit in your camera case. We got so lucky getting such a good shot!


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