Monday, February 2, 2015

Lost in the City

Last Saturday was our first official day in Doha and you better believe Zach and I were up early, ready to explore. 

For those of you who don't know, Zach and I are here for his work, he is a Project Controls Engineer for the Louis Berger Group working on the new Metro rail, specifically on the Red Line. ( which happens to be right between West Bay and the Pearl so I cannot wait to begin looking for apartments over there!) 

When we woke up and started checking things out we noticed this lovely view from our hotel window. Now for most people seeing construction outside is a total bummer but it actually happened to be one of the rail lines ( that Louis Berger is in charge of) so for us it was pretty cool to see! 

* interesting note: construction laborers actually have much shorter hours during the summer in Qatar because of the intense heat. Maybe that evens out with missed days for rain in other countries? 

Huge and wonderful buffet breakfast downstairs * thank you Louis Berger for including this in our hotel package *. Not your normal hotel breakfast though, this thing has at least 10 different types of cheese, all sorts of olives and veggies and even two kinds of beans?! Yes for breakfast lol. But don't worry-- although there is not pork allowed in the city, they make a MEAN beef bacon. 

So the first place that we decided to go was to the market ( because that's where everyone goes when they want to explore right? Lol ) I think we were expecting it to be what you see in pictures with the cool outdoor vendors ( which apparently is actually called a Souq - we will go to that Friday! ) we found ourselves at a hypermarket which is basically just a "super Walmart" if you ask me. 

On our way there we just so happened to notice a little logo on a building ..
Do you see it? Right in the middle with a little globe? Zach's company office! Now this is not where Zach will actually be working, he will be in a smaller building closer to the project site but this is where HR and such are housed. So neat! 
I think I will learn the art of HR just to work in this cool of a building lol Zach said that a project office he visited yesterday for the gold metro line was on top of Lamborghini and Bently dealerships so I am just dying to see what his actual office will be like. 

Anyways- we walked a little further and made our way to the hyper market. 
But first we needed to exchange some currency ( Qatari Royals are the currency here. 1 dollar = 3.64 QR) 
There was a special line for handicapped and women... No comment... Except does this mean we get the same parking spots too? Because if so I will be taking full advantage of that! haha 
An interesting difference is that they weight your fruits and veggies here instead of at the register then print out a label to slap on the bag. For this reason the register lines are lightening speed! 
Tons and tons of fresh spices! Can't wait to get a kitchen again. 
Boxed eggs? And people here loved them, they would get a box or two each! That is 60 eggs!! What in world do they eat with all those eggs?! 

And then there is rice... 
Lots and lots
Of rice!! 
I feel bad saying it but it was seriously in dog food looking bags. Speaking of, apparently dogs are not very well liked here. Looked at as dirty or as we see pigs. 

So after walking around for a bit there and exchanged our money we were ready to go "downtown" or what they call West Bay. We were ready to see those iconic towers! 

So we tried to get a cab.... Then we realized no cabs were around so we just started walking in one direction... And kept walking and walking then a cab just so happened to come and drop someone off where we were so we capitalized on our luck and jumped right in behind her! The cab driver did not understand a word of English and we don't understand but maybe two words and Arabic so we played a game of guesstures to show him where we wanted to go.  He nodded and acted like he knew what we meant (especially since it was only about a 3 mile drive) so we hopped in! 

.....after about 20 min in the car we got worried and soon the car slowed to a stop here 
Well ... He did understand the motion for tower alright it just wasn't the ones we were expecting lol 
This one huge stand alone tower called the Torch is where he brought us. I was ready to grab another cab and try again but Zach was interested in the weird looking mall next to it. So like every good explorer we went with it.  

Then OMG you won't believe what mall it just so happened to be! 

Yes! The one with the full on river running through! It was spectacular!! 

It even has a full on theme park with roller coaster! 
Now let me tell you I lived right by the Galleria in Houston and I loved the Galleria in Houston but it just can not compare. 

So we spent some time here -- tried to set up our phone service 
Saw this electronic fork ( track how much and the speed you eat!?) and were ready to give getting downtown another shot! 
We were worried about giving another driver the wrong location so this time we asked to go to West Bay directly and he understood. 

Next thing you know -- BAM 

Now I am a total skyline girl but this one I still just can't grasp. It it absolutely stunning. I just had to stop and stare for a while. Intermittent sqeals were there too. 

Even the road! The entire city's sidewalks look like this - stunning 

Then just behind the skyline 

Grass and gulf! 
We literally layed in the grass then went and dipped our feet in the Persian Gulf while staring up at these ! 

Kids riding bikes, families having picnics people playing catch. It was SO NEAT!! 
Winter time with 75 degree weather and sunshine all day! 

So we stayed and soaked it in. 

Then once it started to get dark we decided to walk along the shoreline and eventually find a taxi to take us home. 

Fun fitness equipment here and there all along the way 

The world handball championship tournament is coming in apparently a week so the city is all decked out with things like this counting down the minutes. 
Looking back at the city from where we walked 
Starting off the move with memories already! 

Until the next adventure -

Shokran & Gig 'Em 

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