Doha Bay and Souq Waqif

Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Qatar  ,
Monday, December 28, 2009

We missed breakfast again this morning and didn't end up eating until 1pm. We started our late morning by walking to the Corniche and then up a long road that juts out into Doha Bay. According to Lonely Planet, at the end of the road, where the pavement meets the sea, there sits their top pick restaurant, Al-Bandar, among others. We walked past rows of boats docked alongside the road until we got to the end where there was a big patch of dirt and a public washroom. Here the straight road ended, but you could turn left or right onto a joining road nowhere on my LP map. There was no sign of any restaurants. Parked in the middle of the dirt patch was a tour bus, so we went over to talk to the driver. He told us the closest restaurant was back where we started, along the Corniche. However, he also had some good news for us. He said the tour company he works for has a boat on the pier we can take to tour the bay. We walked along the new road to the end without finding anything obvious, then backtracked a bit and saw a small dock coming off the main one where there was a boat available for tours. We went over and talked to one of the guys on the boat.He told us it would be 400 QAR for the 2 of us for a 1 hour ride. I told him the bus driver told us 20 each. He said this price is only for 20 minutes. Wolfi talked him down to 150 for the two of us, and away we went. Afterward we figured we probably should have tried 100, but I guess we are both a little rusty with bargaining.

Our boat ride around the bay was nice and relaxing. We were on the boat with one other family, but they got off on the other side of the bay so half the journey was just the two of us.

After the ride we walked across the Corniche to the Souq Waqif to find some money and food. We only had 150QAR between us and didn't think it would last very long. Wolfi tried a bank machine yet again with no success. Then we walked through the Souq and I spotted a cafe with reasonable prices for our budget. We also spotted some restaurants like Cinnzeo and Baskin Robbins that made me excited, but most were closed because it was now siesta.

After our nice lunch with fresh mandarin juice, we walked back through the Souq and spotted an ATM. At last, success! Then we walked around to see the Grand Mosque but the security guard on duty told me I couldn't take any photos before we had even entered the grounds and we thought we probably shouldn't go o the grounds. So instead we walked across the street to see the pasture of Arabian horses I had spotted. Finally we returned to the hotel for our own siesta. It felt so nice to be back inside. I was walking around in jeans today in mid-20s heat because I was hoping it would reduce the amount of attention I get from the men, but it really didn't seem to make any difference. They are still staring and every now and then we hear a yell from a passing car. Men are idiots.

We left the hotel again at 5pm, right when the sun goes down. Sunset is very fast and early here, and I haven't yet actually seen it. I just notice that one minute it is light, the next it is dark, right at 5pm.

We decided to check out one of the shopping centres and went to a big one behind Souq Waqif. It was full of cell phone retailers, money exchanges, and assorted junk. There was no food to be found and we were getting hungry again, so we crossed the street into Souq Waqif.

We looked at a couple restaurant menus and decided on Le Gourmet Restaurant. They had a bit of Lebanese mixed with Moroccan. It all looked delicious and I didn't know what to try. Wolfi got some spicy kebabs and I had chicken breast with mushroom sauce. Both of us were very happy with the food. We also smoked a fruity tobacco in our shisha pipe while seated outside on the upper balcony. It was a really nice place to sit and enjoy a delicious meal and smoke a tasty pipe.

After dinner we walked around the souq and did some shopping. We were quite sure that bargaining was expected and I tried to get a deal on an 80 QAR bracelet. The guy offered it to me for 75, so I offered 50. He laughed and said he can't go lower than 75. Bull crap! But I walked away, saddened. We did much better on the little things, maybe because I let Wolfi do the talking. We also went to get some Cinnzeo after dinner but the man in the eatery (that was clearly not Cinnzeo) beneath the sign told me it was "finished". I guess he took over the shop. He had some delicious looking fruit shakes and his store was called "Pride of Canada" so I guess I better try it out before we leave Doha.
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Susan on

love your blogs. Wish I had the problem of men staring and honking lol

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