Saturday, April 24, 2010

Doha: Beachbums and Mall rats

Day one: husband goes to office. I stay back (we were at a beachfront InterCon resort with it's own private lagoon, why would I leave?) When he returns, we order room service, pig out and head to the beach where we hang out and listen to the waves lap and watch the jet skis until well after sunset.

Day two: eat a huuuuuge brunch, take our tea/ coffee to the beach. Stare at the incredible turquoise waters. Talk crap about how we're going to finally get into diving and get fit. Check out of our 5 star la-la-land and move to our temporary company flat. Unpack a little and head to the mall. We sort of don't know what else there is to do in this town yet, so....the mall it is.

First mall: City Center. We spent waaaaaay too much time in there but I was blown away by the sheer choice and availability of -- everything! After years of living in Cairo where we desperately asked friends to bring cheese, conditioner, zip lock bags and sea salt. Where every trip to the grocery store was an adventure because you never knew what might or might not be there....I was overwhelmed by how very much there is to BUY here. Even Carrefour (which is the biggest nightmare in Cairo) was fairly civilised and offered produce the likes of which I haven't seen since we lived in London. And instead of the free-for-all it is in Cairo, this one had aisles and prices.

So we've eaten Pizza Express (halleluya! I don't ever need to go home) and we're looking for a place to get our visa photos taken (blue background, svp). We look down into the atrium and there's a huge skating rink. Yep. Men, women, children in short sleeves and helmets, gliding on ice. In a mall. In the desert. While it is 35C outside. Ok, ok, we get it: you are rich. But a skating rink in a mall, isn't that a bit excessive?

Heading to another mall today. This one has an indoor canal with Gondolas.

ps -- just returned from the Villagio mall. Very very very trippy place. As if the canal with Venetian gondolas wasn't enough, they too have a skating rink. In the middle of the food court. So that you can eat one million things and watch people skate by. We were in the mall for several hours but it's so huge that I am not sure we even saw a quarter of it. The ceilings have all been painted sky blue with clouds. Each section of the mall represents a different time of day, so you walk from early morning to afternoon to sunset and early evening. If it wasn't for the balloons that have floated up and stuck there, you would think you were walking in the open air....there was a sandstorm raging outside, of course, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief long enough to have some delicious chinese food with a Krispy Kream chaser. Mmm-mmm yummy comfort food (we would never touch this crap back home but here...)I'm sure there is a lot of culture out there (we can see the impressive Islamic museum and the old souq from our apt) but for the moment, I think we'll ease into this place eating junk food and indulging in a little retail therapy. When in the Gulf....

1 comment:

Amreen said...

OMG, this post is like a fairy tale! and i'm learning so much - don't know much about Doha and it's fascinating. got some name suggestions for your blog:
Qatar is like Buttah!
Whoha Doha!!