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I started off my travels to the Gulf countries a few days ago, starting off in Dubai (I will write more about Dubai on my second visit to UAE next week), and landed in Doha, Qatar. I felt the rush of the city’s rapid development all around me, especially as the country prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Due to Ramadan, it’s illegal to eat/drink/smoke in public between sunrise until sunset (Iftar is at 6:30PM in Doha), so the daytime was very slow. As predicted, I couldn’t find a single café outside my hotel, so I went over to the W Hotel to spend my afternoon there. Right when Iftar started, the city woke up and all the shops, restaurants, and markets lit up. I headed straight to the Souq Waqif and spent hours there, weaving through the alley ways, speaking to shop owners, and buying little trinkets for my family. Here are a few shots I got from the evening.
One of the shop owners turned out to be one of the coolest people I’ve met all summer. This 75-year old shopkeeper had posters of a young bodybuilder around his pearl shop, and it turns out that it was him! He also used to dive for pearls, sleep on bed of nails, and broken glass. When I asked him if he had superpowers, he said yes! Some other shop owners joined our conversation and praised this man. Watch an interview of him here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoL64-ao9dc
Afterwards, I walked along Doha Cornishe (the waterfront along the Doha Bay) for hours late at night, and felt completely safe, just as the policemen and young ladies at the Souq told me. If you’re ever in the gulf, I encourage you to visit Doha!