I saw a TGI-Friday’s at the mall the other day. For a second I thought I was in Scranton as I ate my halal burger and fries (edit: I ate at Shake Shack that day, Not TGIF’s). If you disregard the Arabic and dress of abayas and thobes, Qatar feels pretty natural.
The culture- what separates us from others or unites us together- is unique here. It’s a melting pot of middle eastern cultures, as well as international ideas and ways of life. But the locals manage to keep their old traditions of appearance, daily interactions, and ways of life- besides the Ferraris of course. It almost feels like post Marcellus Shale boom in NEPA. Some farmers have a new truck and maybe a new home, but they still keep their lives and traditions for the most part.
Qatar, which has exploded from the surge of oil prices in recent decades, has shiny new malls and a beautiful corniche overlooking the Doha skyline. However, the Souq is a replica marketplace that keeps old traditions of falconry and staple small businesses alive. It’s neat to see that contrast and even more interesting to see families out with children at 11pm having some food… On a Tuesday night!
So far, I’ve been to a few malls (with an indoor ice skating rink), LuLu hypermarket (essentially a target), Souq Waqif, and around Education City. We’ve also smoked shisha (hookah) in the Souq among the local crowd as it is commonplace there.
The people here have been incredibly welcoming, going out of their way to make sure I have everything I need.
Tomorrow is the last day of the week, and I have an 8am lab which I’m not too happy about. Then I get to see how FaceTime interviews work from the Middle East, with a nice 8hr time difference.
I hope everyone is staying warm during this “snowstorm” back home. We had some rain today and it was only 70*, but I’m doing okay.
I’m planning on taking scuba diving lessons soon and I’m going to the Doha Open(?) Golf Tournament in a few weeks. They have beautiful horses in education city that are raised here and sold all over the world. I’m trying to get a ride at some point! Skydiving may find its way on the list too if I totally lose my mind.