Friday, September 12, 2008

Qatar (Brian and Jon say we are "Qatar Heroes")

Jon and I are in Doha, Qatar at the moment. Qatar is a peninsula in the Middle East, connected to Saudi Arabia. Jon is on a business trip and we thought it would be neat for me to travel with him to experience a part of the middle east.

I took a couple of pictures from the inside of the Abu Dhabi airport where I had a layover. I thought it was such a neat airport, so bright and colorful.

We have a great room at the Marriott. The people here are so nice and very willing to help. I was so tired when I got in from my flight and they were so kind; it was really nice to get that kind of treatment. Not to mention the bed is soooooo comfortable! It's going to be tough to go back to the hotel in Germany! I took a couple of pictures from our hotel room. It has a view of the bay.

Right at the moment, it is 11:22 a.m. and we're guessing about 105 degrees with 100% humidity. When I say 100% I actually mean it! It is unbelievably hot! But we do have air conditioning here, unlike in Germany. Thank the sweet Heavens for that! During the day most people remain indoors. Jon and I are here during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. I found a great explanation on Wikipedia that will help explain this tradition:

"Ramadan or Ramazan (Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍān) is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Qur'an was revealed to Angel Gabriel, to deliver it to Prophet Muhammad. It is the Islamic month of fasting (sawm), in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the person patience, sacrifice and humility. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of God, and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance into the future, ask for help in refraining from everyday evils and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds."

So, this means during the day it is hard to find open restaurants, and eating and drinking in public is not allowed. We do have two open restaurants in the hotel during the day so we are able to eat lunch. But when we are out in public we respect their tradition and do not drink or eat in public. I asked Jon if water is allowed because it is so extremely hot here it would be horrible for your body to not be able to drink water, but he said it is not allowed. Because of this alot of people do get sick and are hositalized of severe dehydrtation.
Once the sun sets and it cools down, the town comes alive. The streets are crowded, traffic is terrible and it is busy until after midnight.

Tonight we are going downtown to the Souk, which is the traditional old style market. I really look forward to this, because I want to get a feel for their culture. I also can't wait to buy some neat antiques, souvenirs, etc.

Last night Jorge, one of Jon's co-workers, took us to the mall for dinner. We ate at Macaroni Grill, and I got some great pictures of the inside of the mall. The name of the mall is the Villaggio. It is so much like the inside of the Bellagio in Las Vegas and also reminded us of Ceasar's Palace because of the painted ceilings. They also have a canal built in the center of the mall with gondola rides just like your were in Italy! Here are the pictures from our evening.

The ceiling

This is the view of the ceiling at the entrance. It looks like the night sky.

Krispy Kreme Donuts in Qatar!


Macaroni Grill

Jon and I at dinner

The Canal and Gondola

Inside the mall

This is such a neat picture, it looks like a little village.


valerie said...

That is so cool!
I love the restaurant. How beautiful & yes, colorful.
The hotel is great too. It reminds me of the Belligio in Vegas too.
I'm so glad you are able to travel along with Jon. Enjoy!
These are great times in your life.
I love the fact that we can keep up with y'all through the blog.
Thanks for sharing!

Kristen said...

How cool you guys get to travel to all these awesome places! Looks like so much fun!