Sunday, March 6, 2016

 Mid-East Blog # 5

March 2, 2016 - Doha, Qatar

Moslem culture was today's main theme.

We visited one of the main mosques and had to "dress for the occasion" in order to enter the building.

Is this abaya fashionable, or what...?

Getting Ready For The High Holidays

Cantor Or Rabbi?

Where is everybody?

Large, intricate and beautiful carpet

Magnificent Ceiling

Beautiful Tiles

Huge Chandelier  - Each Section Is A Minaret

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Next stop was a cultural center where we had a discussion with a "facilitator." 

Overall, the discussion was quite interesting. There was "an interpretation" about the Koran which "glossed over" some of the issues that we are facing with the Moslem population . In addition, the questions about ISIS, terrorism and the Palestinian issue were deflected. Some of our fellow travelers thought that some the questions from the group were inappropriate.

Typical comment: From the frame work of humanitarianism, Palestinians are entitled to have their own land. Yet, disregarding humanitarianism, they do not deal with the fact that radical Moslems wish Israel is destroyed

Ready To Learn More about Islam

We're Getting Our Name Written in Arabic

Winter Clothing

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Our catered lunch was on an old oyster harvesting boat around the harbor.   There was rush was due to our flight change to Muscat. 

Wonderful Mediterranean-type Salads

The Oyster business is no longer profitable. Boat owners are not allowed to live on the boat (although it appears that some so live on a boat).

Most boats are in a state of disrepair, However, of those that are working, the boat owners may go for an outing during the weekend or they may offer tours of the area, look at the Doha skyline, etc..

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Last minute Doha reflections and situations:

·       Jerry saw in a restaurant six young abaya-wearing women smoking water pipes. He came up with an idea that would provide an opportunity to take their picture. The tables were turned. He didn't get their picture; rather, one of the women took a picture of Jerry smoking one of their water pipes.

·       The Islam Museum of Art is an architectural wonder. Pei designed the building in such a way that we just stood their in awe!  

Looks like a woman wearing an abaya.

Old Painting Showing Traditional Costumes

 Looking Down From One Of The Higher Floors

Beautiful Building

·       The hotel's housekeeper must have been "a little anal." He continually straightened up our room.

·       The hotel's design presents a very relaxing feeling with its Persian/Arab influence.

Fountain Filled With Rose Petals

 Spa area

One Of The Hotel Restaurants

·       We had fun playing a quick game of chess

·       There is no noticeable police presence. There was no military personnel on the streets. Other than CCTV cameras (and there are many of them), people just went about with their business.

·       100% of the water comes from desalination plants but we were told to drink bottles water.

·       The country is getting closer to becoming "First World."

·       90% of the population is made up of Ex-pats. In order to keep the Qatari identity, Ex-pats do not have many benefits as would a natural citizen. still, the jobs offered to the Ex-pats and the amount of compensation available, it is a trade off by not having citizenship.

·       Most people speak English - very few speak Arabic

·       Many wealthy Qatari's live in large homes - not apartments.

·       6 of the 8 stadiums that will be built for the 2022 World Cup will be recycled. They will be dismantled and put back together in other countries
·       Gas costs the same as water. However, a small bottle of water that an American market may charge $1.00, the same bottle size in Qatar will cost about $.35

Typical Water Bottles

·       Al Jazeera has its headquarters in Doha

·       There is no graffiti - there is no trash in the streets. Doha is even "cleaner" than Singapore. 

·       Because of the high cost of goods, people will use Amazon Prime for their needs.

·        We are lucky when it comes to weather. Beginning with April temperatures will be in the 120 to possibly 140 range with very high humidity,

·       City traffic is awful. signals and traffic patterns are not set up correctly - it will get better with new roads, mass transportation, etc.

·       No working Friday and Saturday. The work week starts on Sunday.

·       Cars are inexpensive - possibly 50% less than what we would pay. There are no taxes on cars.

Typical License Plate

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