Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mobility - a film

I made a video. Leoni has started walking, so this is a tribute to her figuring out how to move around.

video

Also, today is Mother's Day in the Arab world. When my students told me that it was Mother's Day, I got really worried that I had forgotten such an important day. But then I realized it was too early for Mother's Day. Apparently, Mother's Day is celebrated on several different days throughout the world. Now, we can also say that I made this video to celebrate what a wonderful job Lindsay has been doing as a mother.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Waves & the Bear




Too Clever

Gates are not only hard to find here in general, but one that fits on our particular stair arrangement is even worse.  We decided to place a trunk we had in front of them to keep Leoni from climbing them as of yet.  She seems to have found another way.



So proud of herself

We have since put clear plastic along the stairs so she canot climb through the openings.

Dal Al Hamam Park

After several unsuccessful attempts, we finally made it to Dal Al Hamam Park. This is the closest park to our house, but the park has weird hours (like not being open in the morning). It is a fairly large park with a big play area, which is shaded. We packed a lunch and off we went for a picnic. We did have to move our car after being told by security we couldn't park in the employee lot. Signage would have helped, but I guess they pay him to walk over and tell us instead. Also, the sprinklers were on (where is the LVVWD when you need them?).

Eating a carrot along with a little light reading (Life of a Python)

Really enjoying the carrot

Exploring the playground

Getting ready for the slide

First time down a slide, though not the most flattering shot

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Progress

Mom, this is for you. A picture of the microwave cabinet, which has helped open up additional storage in the kitchen.

We, also, finally got the magnetic knife bar hung up (Thank you, Travis). It is great to get the knives out of the drawer and up where they are much easier to access.

For the love of camels

Leoni received a stuffed camel from my aunt T (her great aunt T, since she also has an aunt T). She loves carrying him everywhere, chewing on his tail, giving him rides and giving him hugs.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Al Zubara Fort

At the beginning of February we took a trip to visit Al Zubarah Fort. When we left, we had vague directions found online (which is how all directions in Qatar are). We should have looked a little more so we wouldn't have been so surprised when we realized we were driving over to the western coast.
The drive wasn't too bad, as Qatar isn't very big. Once we arrived, we paid a small fee (10 QR) to the "gatekeeper," who was a very interesting looking fellow.

The fort was built in 1938 on the ruins of a castle. Being right on the coast, it was a great location to protect the country, especially against strained relations at the time with neighboring Bahrain. In the 80s the Coast Guard used this as a post as well.


Leoni checking out the cannon

My mom & me

Keeping watch

Travis ascending a ladder to one of the towers

Lindsay

Nor helping Leoni try to join us

The primitive air conditioning
Wind from the Gulf breezes comes through to keep thing cool

Travis & Leoni checking out some of the downstairs rooms where artifacts from the Al Zubarah archaeological dig are displayed
Since we were up north anyway, we decided to drive the last bit to Qatar's northern tip, Al Ruwais. We saw wild camels along the way.

Al Ruwais is pretty small but lots of fishing boats were docked there

It was low tide

Piles of fishing traps

You can kind of see how clear and blue these shallow waters are here

On our way home, we drove along the Corniche in Doha and stopped to take some pictures

Sheikh Faisal Museum

We visited the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani Museum with my parents. You have to make a reservation, which was surprisingly easy, considering that tour companies usually charge a lot saying "all fees included" but the museum itself is free. We called and they set up an appointment for the following day in the late afternoon.

Sheikh Faisal is a cousin of the Emir (Qatar's political figurehead and leader) as well as a very successful businessman. The museum is for everything he has collected throughout his life, and he has put it together in a museum to preserve the heritage of Qatar.

There were rooms set up to look like traditional Qatari homes, artifacts, the cars that have belonged to his family over the past 100 years, and so much more. He has a collection of money that is currently being worked on for display. He has bills and coins from around the world, some dating back to 250 B.C. that are in VERY good condition. We will have to go back and check those out more when the displays are finished because we only saw part of the collection.

The entrance

A view of a part of the museum

In front of the little lake thing & a ship floating in it (???)

Kind of feeling like Disneyland

Leoni dreaming of her future as a pirate girl

Inside a courtyard

Checking out a stagecoach

We were there at the same time as a girls' school group. They loved Leoni & tried to use her as a part of their assignment of finding things in the museum and what country they're from.

Amazing collection of fossils including this dinosaur skull. It is huge!

More fossils

Fossilized turtle heads

Who knew these would be so "common" in the Middle East

Checking out more displays in one of the big halls

Fancy Arabian furniture covered in inlaid mother of pearl

Sheikh Faisal himself
He arrived and spent time with us showing us different things in the museum including pulling up water from a still functioning well in the middle of the museum and offering everyone a drink. I have a better picture, but for some reason it won't transfer over. He was very nice.

Museum of Islamic Art

We visited the Museum of Islamic Art. I.M. Pei was the architect for the building


We saw everything from old manuscripts of the Quran done in beautiful calligraphy, to astronomical measuring & tracking devices, to rugs and carved doors.


The highlight was the current special exhibit entitled Pearls, which had only opened two days prior to our visit. There is more information here.

Examples of all different pearls
I had no idea that all of these are considered pearls
Indian Baroda Carpet
This was one of the coolest things on display. It is a rug woven entirely out of tiny seed pearls and has precious gems in it as well. It is evidently a world known carpet and was purchased last year for a record amount for a carpet, $5.5 million USD.
Leoni checking out the 4th floor

A little more exploring
Some of the beautiful architecture from inside
Enjoying a view of the bay & Doha skyline from floor to ceiling windows
The view