This weekend we got an invitation from the HR side of Zach's work to go to an impromptu dinner at the rooftop Tarrace at the Al Gassar Resort, ironically the "resort" we almost chose to live in! Even more ironic we received a second invitation from a coworker of Zachs to meet at the exact same place for dinner-- yes two dinners within two sectors of the same company at the same rooftop Tarrace on the same night. Can you say awkward?!
We went ahead with the first invitation and it actually turned out to be treat because we were able to spend time with both. Even better, we rode to the whole thing with Zach's co worker Firoz and his wife Myriam (a couple from Lebanon that we have begun to spark a friendship with).
(Here they are talking with Zach)
It was an absolutely perfect night right at about 75 degrees with a slight, cool breeze from the elevation. Yes, a cool breeze in the desert, we were just as surprised.
Most interesting if all was that there was alcohol?! Upon stepping off of that Emirates Air Bus I had officially kissed alcohol goodbye. Turns out I kissed too soon and it is actually fairly widely available here if you know where to go. There are ways to get alcohol permits and buy it legally for home use (if your home is in certain buildings) but even easier than that is getting it from s hotel like this one. Hotels have the unique privilege of serving alcohol first hand and it all became clear why all parties wanted to be at a hotel restaurant.
The younger crowd (dinner invitation #2) even went a step further and brought these Jell-O shots! I have never even had Pinterest worthy orange slice Jell-O shots like these in all of years of college and here I am having them in the alcohol forbidden land. What?
As we spoke with the Qatari natives-- okay not totally native ( I don't think I have met a single one of those?!) but more native than us, we talked of all of the must see things in Qatar. When they mentioned the Museum of Islamic Art they said to go, order a nice coffee and relax on the couches by the window and soak it in before you go to explore the museum. So of course we nodded and noted it in our mental checklist of things to eventually do.
Then she mentioned that entry was FREE of charge.
We decided at that point to go the next morning. :)
Haha whoops! Did our frugality show? ...embarrassing..
Only not! We were pumped and ready to go!
Side note: everything that we had read before coming told us that Doha is simply not a walkable city but that is completely FALSE. Side walks line every road and the city is layed out in a way in which it is easy to walk from one side to the other. ( during the winter that is! )
So we did! It was only about a half hour beautiful stroll from our hotel.
AND you get to pass this! And the Souq!
Soon we could see it and it's totally iconic shape.
I never really thought the architecture of the Museum of Islamic Art was too special (especially compared to West Bay) but OH MY WORD just wait until you see inside! My mind has TOALLY been changed!
Then omg walking up was HILARIOUS. First you go through these gates and up this massively long drive way completely lined with palm trees and a fountain of sorts running through the middle. At the top before entering you can lookout to the left and see West Bay then to the right and see acres of green grass. We sat on a ledge and looked across soaking in the beautiful of the city and fantasising of returning to this place to throw the football or play soccer. THEN out of no where a young guy came up to us holding out his phone. He didn't speak a touch of English so we were all !?uhhh!!? And he was all lkdsjfhvlkjbkljdzfj,kgefer,kinsfokn so we kind of awkwardly got up thinking he wanted us to take a picture of him and his friends in front of the museum but he shook his head, that was wrong. He wanted a photo alright but he wanted it WITH ZACH!! Hahahahahaha omg it was so funny! I wish that I had captured the look on Zach's face at that moment.
It may have been how tall he is...or the fact that we are American? Even the light skin we have heard is very well liked here. Whatever it was we may never know but I did manage to snap a shot on my own phone.
What I didn't capture though were the moments after this, all of their friends came ( at least 4 more guys) and all crowded around to get a photo with Zach. It was so funny and so odd. What a way to start a trip to the museum!
So they scattered and we decided we better go ahead in!
Whoa! Who would have expected that kind of entrance?
Beautiful metal work hanging above the door.
Then we went through a quick security scan and ...
HUGE AND BEAUTIFUL AND WOW
You walk in underneath a giant split stairway then it opens up to at least six story high ceilings and a window all across the back wall spanning from floor to ceiling with a breathtaking view of the West Bay skyline.
(View from above)
My jaw It is absolutely just one of those things you have to see in person.
Once we regained composure we did as we were told and grabbed a snack to sit on a couch with a soak it in. You really need this time when traveling to the museum because it's magnitude will take your breath away.
Funny side note -
Noticed that on my can of Coke instead of saying "calories" it says "energy"
Nice twist there Coke
That reminds me of this other funny twist Coke pulled in an ad I saw on the street the other day ..
"Sleeker and taller...the look everyone wants." Haha
HEY! Maybe that is why they wanted a photo with Zach! He is sleek and tall... Just me? Okay.
So anyways we finished our snack and started exploring.
This museum has three viewable floors ( others closed off for who knows what) and the worlds largest collection of Islamic artifacts.
The way it is set up is different than what I have seen before. You move through very dimly lit rooms with what seemed like a mixture of different pieces in each(mixture of time frames, origins and styles). The artifacts were cool to see but even beyond them (I know it is so terrible I moved right past the artifacts) the displays were gorgeous. They would have for example a huge five foot tall and one foot wide glass case with a tiny tiny maybe only inch tall jewelry box inside. It was amazing how the display itself would add so much prestige and grandeur to such a tiny little item.
Every display has this effect and every display was different. Some rooms had two story ceilings with giant rugs on the wall others pillars glowing from below. Even full out chainmail armore on a chainmail ladened horse.
We finished our visit with a step outside onto an open patio. Fountains all around and huge arches with a perfect view of West Bay behind.
I was just in awe. Beautiful artifacts, beautiful display and beautiful architecture. It was all art.
"Art is the last from of magic that exists."
Thankful today for time to slow down and simmer in the moment.
Thankful for a best friend that I call husband to simmer with me.
Shokran & Gig 'Em
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