Souq Waquif

Trip Start Oct 25, 2012
Trip End Nov 07, 2012

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Flag of Qatar  ,
Friday, October 26, 2012

The Old Souq Waqif
Next we get to the Souq Waqif, the popular bustling maze of authentically stone-clad alleyways that exude an old-world charm. Doha is celebrating these days. It is something like our Easter and all businesses, government offices and Embassies are closed. Everyone is out in the streets watching the different happenings or events that take place in the city. Earlier there were some fireworks in the sky which were amazing. The roads are congested with traffic and it is difficult to find some space to park the car. We finally spot one and we step out for a walk.

My daughter-in-law insists that I should cover my shoulders if I want to walk among the crowds. Luckily I have brought along a thin silk scarf and I play with it at first putting it around my face to acclimatize with the country and its culture. The scarf covers nicely my shoulders now and  I will try to take in the spirit of the locals.

The stadium is just opposite the parking lot where we parked the car. It is full and a live program is on with spectators acclaiming the band and the singer. Some spectators move to the sound of the music and everyone seems to be having fun tonight. The people here seem to be enjoying the moment contrary to what is happening in the rest of the world. The economic crisis will never touch this country no matter what!

Souq Waqif has its origins as a weekend market, held in the shade of Al Koot Fort which was used by the Bedouin when they came to town to trade their meat, wool, weaving and milk for other staple goods. We walk in the narrow alleys with the small shops that are crammed full of merchandise that spill out onto the walkways. Here you can find anything from the exotic to the mundane in an atmosphere redolent of the East and its aroma of spices and coffee. Whatever you can think of can be found here from the Qatari clothing, to souvenirs, dried fruit and nuts, sweets, honey and kitchenware.

As we wonder around in leisure I feel as if I am part of an Arabian fairy tale. There is magic in the air and everything is so different to what we experience in Europe. It is a whole different culture and we ought to respect it.  There are so many "No" in the list, -things like hugging, kissing, touching in the streets that we can not do and it is not that easy for me not to touch Yianni or hug him as we walk. When I get excited even in the street I kiss him ....but not here and I have to be alert not to forget.

I try to take in the sites and sounds and when I find the opportunity I get inside one of the most popular restaurants….the others follow me, I climb up the wide spiral staircase very quickly for some photos. There is loud music and smoke from cigars all over. It is surely not my piece of cake. I manage to get a few photos before somebody from the restaurant notices me and politely asks me to put away my camera while Yianni and the children are watching me.

The area has many other restaurants some big others smaller and people sit outside in the alleys. It is indeed an ideal place to sample a wide variety of Arab and other international cuisines -the air is filled with the fruity aroma of shisha – Arabian water pipe.

The local ladies are in their Abaya (the black long dress) and in high platform heels. They walk in groups with their female friends and you can hardly see their eyes. Wealth cannot be hidden and they wear the most amazing jewels I have ever seen. Golden bracelets with diamonds and chains, expensive bags! I am sure that underneath their black dress there is surely a Pier Cardin or an Armani piece. The Qatarian man wears the long white traditional costume which is so bright white with the crease from the iron showing, but they are wearing slippers or shoe brakes instead. Older men are usually fat while the younger generation is slim and usually bearded.

I want to believe that you got the picture, even the aroma and felt for a while that you are along with me. If not, then I am sure you will the moment you see my pictures. Step with the mouse on the first picture to see them all in a bigger size.
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Clive on

Looks like you are having a good time! Very different to what we experience in Europe,but guess that is what makes it special.

greekcypriot on

Exactly Clive and I want to live all this....

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