We finally made it to the horse races. They are held quite often, and remember we are in "Arabia" so thoroughbred "Arabian horses." The day we happened to go was the Heir Apparent Sword race (or something like that). It was a prestigious race, nonetheless.
The races are completely free to everyone, so there are a lot of workers who come for a little free entertainment. Everyone also receives a coupon booklet when you enter that is for a type of raffle. They don't gamble, so instead, they have a raffle with prizes to fill that anticipation. I think this may be another reason a lot of workers attend, hoping to win big. Being a big race, it was quite full.
So, there are a lot of pictures in this post because I found some things interesting, sorry if you don't.
Foreign media guy filming the race right near us. Check out his very European fashion.
Leoni checking out his fashion choices
And being slightly confused by it
Before the race, the various teams of jockeys (I am guessing they are teams because they all had the same uniforms) met together maybe with their owners?
The horses were brought out and walked by the crowd by these handlers before they were taken down to the starting line
Horses headed out to the starting line far to the right
And they're off
Talk and congratulations
I am guessing this is the Heir Apparent (Emir's eldest son and next in line). If not, he is some other royal who was there for the presentation of the sword
Waiting to congratulate the winner--and texting
Then a call
Here come the jockeys
The winner and his boss
All the while, armed guards were stationed throughout the crowd
Every so often, you see a house covered in lights here in Qatar. It isn't any particular day to you and me, but it looks beautiful. My understanding is that for big milestone events (births, weddings, etc.) families cover their house in lights for the celebration. I keep intending on taking a picture of one of these houses, but I always forget and then they take the lights down. Here is a truck either on the way to set up lights or returning from taking them down. A little different than your few bags of Christmas lights.
The Asian Cup (soccer for those not in the know) took place in Qatar this year, so we took the opportunity to attend a few games. This was very exciting as a forerunner to the recently announced World Cup 2022 that will take place in Qatar. There was a lot of time and effort put into the Asian Games, but I think they learned there will be much more to prepare for 2022.
Because of Travis' background in Japanese, we chose to attend an earlier game with Japan playing. They played Korea (red) and are pictured below in blue (fans to match). The two crowds were very entertaining with drums and bull horns galore.
You see that though the picture above looks very full, the stadium was much more sparse in other sections (see below). You will also see the line-up of photographers. If you had a large camera, you better be sure you were down in that row wearing a fancy orange vest. Otherwise, you could be questioned and have your camera confiscated. I am not sure if they were concerned about pictures being taken of local women, but we watched this happen to a very innocent seeming Japanese man with a giant lens sitting in front of us.
Leoni got in on the fun as well. Clapping
Beating the thunder sticks
We saw the mascots at Souq Waqif during the games. They looked like rats to me, but we later found out they were actually a desert rodent. There were five, all representing different regions of Qatar as well as characteristics of athletes. If I find our program with the info, I'll scan it and add it here.
We attended another game (Saudi vs. Qatar) with our friends the Priedemans. It was a very cold and rainy (uncommon) game, so attendance was pretty low, but Leoni enjoyed it. She mostly enjoyed the mini Reeses cups the Priedemans brought with them.
Travis also attended a semi-final game with the YM between Australia and Uzbekistan.
I love this abayaed woman (below) getting into the spirit of the game.
Today I posted a LOT of posts through the beginning of December. (OK, so I left out Travis' family reunion in Kanab & Italy). Feel free to browse. If you don't want to see lots of pictures of my kid or have an aversion to unedited photos, don't bother.
We headed out to Souq Waqif for the New Year. It is sometimes just fun to walk around and take in the ambiance. While we were there, a young boy with his pet falcon let us take a picture. We was happy to show off this prized pet and probably would have let Leoni hold it on her arm, but we felt she was a little young for that (and skittish about touching animals).