Friday, February 26, 2010

Sand Dunes

There are tons more pictures, but I don't have time to put them up right now. They are all on the external hard drive anyway. While my mom & dad were visiting, we went out to the "Singing Sand Dunes." They weren't "singing" because it had rained the day before and the sand needs to be REALLY dry, but the trip was still fun (other than the "vicious" speed bumps getting there - yes, we were warned, but "vicious" was an understatement).


They smell of Arabia, and you can put things inside of them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Souq Waqif or Souk Wakif or...

First of all, it is really hard to know how to spell things here. If you are spelling challenged, you should move to Arabia. Because they have a totally different alphabet, when they spell things in English, there is no consistency. I don't blame them, but it is hard to look for something when you don't know what the spelling is going to be.

Souq means something like store or market. There are several souq areas around Doha, and they are usually categorized by what types of wares they sell. Souq Waqif is located where the oldest marketplace area once was, which happens to be in the downtown area. They have recently (and are still in the process of) knocked down the old buildings and reconstructed new "old" buildings. They have tried to make it look like what it may have looked like many years ago and give the same feel. I have to say they have done a pretty good job of it.

I have been there several times already, but we took my parents a couple times while they were visiting as well. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what it is like.

First Glimpse
notice the turqouise Karwa taxis and the traffic cop standing in his umbrella covered stand

Navigating through the maze of alleys
Bags of peanuts, seeds, and other dried grains, nuts, herbs, are stacked along the alleys

Travis checking out some of the local offerings including the sheesha (bottom right)
You can get lost in this place. I still don't know my way around.Mounds of spices
Spices are plentiful and quite inexpensive. There are many different types of curry as well as tumeric, cinnamon, and more. You can smell the spices along with the sent of incense burning through the alleys.
Woven linens of sheep's wool & camel hair

Enjoying some pistachio ice cream as the sun sets
Behind us you can see a tent set up. These are for special social gatherings, usually only men. Someone must have been planning a get together for that evening because the teapots were all set up and ready to start serving shortly.

The animal section

There are cages upon cages of small animals being sold as pets from rabbits to parakeets, kittens to fish. My favorite are the kittens and rabbits dressed up in little dresses. They look absolutely ridiculous.
Not in the same class with the other animals, falcons are sold in a couple of stores here. They range in price from about $1500-$12,000

Wheelbarrows waiting to carry your purchases
The souq is swarming with older men with their wheelbarrows waiting to carry your purchases for you. In this culture, physical labor is looked down upon and the higher your status, the less you do for yourself. you hire people to do the "menial" tasks. It is difficult for me to hand over something seemingly light to someone else to carry it for me, but they can't stand watching me carrying something on my own. very different mindset.

Our wheelbarrow helping us get all our purchases out to the car
The baskets were NOT very heavy, but this guy wouldn't give up trying to carry our stuff for us although we were heading right for the car.

This is just a little of what you can experience at Souq Waqif. There are restaurants which serve a variety of "traditional" foods from different countries in Arabia as well as more Western fare such as Haagen Daaz and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. There are stores selling everything from fabric to huge cauldrons. [I say cauldron because they are something you can prepare food for hundreds in, so "pot" wouldn't exactly be the right word.] There are many many perfume shops (and strong scents emanating from them), jewelry stores, honey, and so much more.


This is our bakery (Bateel's) and the place where we buy a lot of produce (Falcon). We do have a grocery store right by our house (Lulu, the disco grocery, which someday I will post the video), and though their produce is pretty good, their bread stinks. It is handy because it is all in the same place as where we often buy gas.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Difference in Taste

Some cultures' idea of tasty is different than mine.

P.S. I'll be working on blog posts this week to catch things up. Lots of new pictures to come.