Monday, December 19, 2005


Went downtown today, against my dear mother’s wishes.

To start off with, Doha is a very beautiful city. I’ve been to many locations throughout the middle-east and I have to say that this was clearly the best. It’s very clean, the people are nice, and there was a ton to do. Unfortunately we only had time to see a few things.

The trip started off with a run to the Doha Harley Davidson Dealership, the only location I would have left here disappointed for not going to. Although it was small, it was really cool to see how world-wide Harley’s influence is. The bikes were absolutely gorgeous (as if there’s such thing as a Harley that could be described as anything but), and they had enough items there that you could go and still blow some serious cash. I kept it to a relative minimum, buying only the t-shirts I needed to prove I had been there. Unfortunately, on my way there, the batteries on my camera died as they normally do due to it being an old camera. I really need to get a nicer smaller one if I plan on keeping this blog thing going.

From Hog Heaven we headed into town to eat. We stopped at a place called “Three Ships” due to the fact that the three restaurants there are shaped like giant boats. Although the food was awesome, and the scenery (right on the water) was pretty awesome too, it took us an unbelievably long time to eat due to the fact that the general pace in Qatari restaurants is relatively slow. For $25 I got enough food to last me several days. There was a group of ladies sitting at the next table that were smoking from these giant bongs (for lack of a better word). I don’t know what was in there but it was a very sweet-smelling aroma. It reminded me a lot of the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland.

From the ships we finally headed into the main part of the city for our shopping spree. The first stop was the “watch guy,” who sells Breitlings, Rolexes, Tags, and pretty much everything else under the watch sun for remarkably cheap prices. I got a $4500 “Breitling” (no, seriously, it really is a Breitling J ) for a mere $55. Not that I question the quality of the watch, but I bought two just so that when this one breaks in a week I’ll have another one. They look nice, anyway.

From there it was off to the jewelry corner to look at some real quality, and real cheap stuff. They had everything you could ask for, but pearls are their specialty. For about $50 I could get Sarah a pearl necklace, bracelet, and a set of earrings. Not wanting to buy anything without consulting Emily, though, I held off and bought them cartouche’s with Sarah and Sammy’s names on them (only about $10 a piece). I have an idea of everything I want to get now, though. There was a beautiful set of pearls for about $75 that Emily’s going to get for Christmas.

Traffic in Doha is an adventure, and I’m glad I wasn’t driving (never got my license here). It’s pretty much a NASCAR race on the highways, and traffic circles are everywhere. Fortunately we made it back to the base all in one piece.

Upon arrival back home, the security coming back onto the compound was impressive, if inconvenient. They line all the cars up in a garage/tent and stick everyone into a holding room for about an hour. They then proceed to tear your car apart looking for anything suspicious—bombs, transmitters, anything like that. Again, although it was inconvenient to have to wait I was real happy that the security here is so tight.

All in all, I had a real good time. I doubt I’ll be going back downtown during my time here, but at least I have an idea of what to tell people to get me when they go shopping.

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