All I learned about motherhood, I learned from you, Mum

On this strange Mother’s Day, where my inner calendar is set on Irish time and Qatar celebrated it last Thursday (yup, it is as strange as it sounds), I want to say Thank You to my own wonderful mother, who taught me all I need to know about motherhood.

I have two girls upstairs who are plotting breakfast in bed for me tomorrow morning. I know them, I’ll get it, perhaps with a splash of milk on the duvet, or cereal spilled on the tray, but it’s delivered with love and the best open hearts. I can remember doing the same as a child, and my heart fills with gratitude that my own girls are taking this and running with it.

We say we become mothers when we give birth or welcome a child into our lives, but actually that’s not true. It happens when a woman enters our lives and starts shaping for us that image of what motherhood is: unconditional love, kindness, gentle steering in the right directions for life. Many of us, myself included, are lucky that this woman takes the shape of our mothers. I know I started learning how to be a mother when my knee was kissed better after a fall; when I was shown how to care for and respect my granny; when I saw her juggling work, housework, kids; when I saw her deal with the struggles life handed her, and the joys too, with grace, dignity and creative embrace. She handed me poems about beloved departed budgies, offered tea when teenage hormones got too much and stood back when I muddled my way through early adulthood.

She was the one who welcomed my early tears of motherhood. Who laughed when I couldn’t stop talking about those first windy smiles. Who advised gently when I didn’t know which way was up from exhaustion, hormones and general muddled-ness. Who took my kids, one by one as the brood grew, and minded them every Friday, and more. Who loves them unconditionally.

So here she is with me now in Qatar. Again helping me — us — on another journey into the unknown. A source of immense support and wisdom as I, and my family, try to shape a new life. She is putting us first at a time that I know must be difficult for her. We’re creating a new distance but I know the relationship will remain as integral to my life as it always has been.

She is joined by so many other mothers as the rocks of my life — aunts, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, friends. All mothers with their own strength and wisdom. All women who have shared their experience with me and helped make me the mother I am today.

So on this day when we in Ireland celebrate our mothers, I say Thank You Mum. For being my Mum, my rock, the much loved Nana of my children. For teaching me, and my girls, how to be a mum.

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I love you.

Sinéad

xx

@sineadorourke

Feeling Alien: First Reflections on Qatar

First confession: Only amateur expat wannabe bloggers fail in style by forgetting their laptop charger in their home country. Mine is somewhere, who knows where, in a small green nation over 5,000km away.

However, for all that this error resulted in itchy fingers and a temptation to start plugging away here on my iPhone, it led to me taking an enforced break from writing here for two weeks, providing time for reflection on all that’s happened in the past two weeks since our arrival in Doha. And reflection has been very much needed!

 

Greetings 

We arrived to a hot, dry Doha. Greeted with open arms by a tired, well prepared expat father who had been working hard to lay the groundwork for our new lives in Qatar. I think the image of our three kids racing across the airport arrivals ahead of my mother, myself and three porters laden down with our massive luggage haul will live with me forever, especially the smiles all around at Alex’s chubby legs carrying him, arms outstretched, for a long overdue hug with his Dad.

reunionWe also arrived just after Pixie was released from customs, so it was a grand family reunion in the car park of Doha Hamad Airport. Kids, check; Pixie, check; driver, check; sanity, check.

First impressions matter. Simon knows from years of travel that arriving in a dusty Dohan suburb would not do. So he had arranged for a drive-through road tour along the Corniche, lit up as it always is against a dark sea and sky, announcing in case of doubt Doha’s ambition to be a city of the world, where success is measured in skyscraper floor totals and grand architectural tricks and illusions. Tantalizing glimpses of Souq and MIA to whet the appetite for exploration and life here.

souq

Feeling green
I will confess now to an arrogance that until two weeks ago I had no idea I possessed. An assumption that I was a seasoned traveller of the world. I had seen continents and sights that would complete many a bucket list or Top 10 travel guide. I was wrong. Totally wrong.

The best introduction to Doha life is not the museums or the scenery, it’s the traffic and the malls. Traffic is traffic, but the cars are larger, roads are faster and the drivers more impatient. The first few roundabouts are navigated with your hands across your eyes — thankfully, I was a passenger and not a driver at that stage!

The malls are where we, as expats, first engage with Qatari culture beyond the immigration desks in the airport. I don’t honestly know what I had expected but it wasn’t what I found. I was an alien in my own skin, feeling weirdly unsure how to walk, behave, even act in this new environment. Qatari men and women are clearly proud of their culture and status and this is evident most of all in their dress. Men wearing the long white shirts called thawbs with headdresses called agals on their heads. They are tall, proud men. The women that initially stood out were a wall of black. It would be wrong to say they all wear abayas – they clearly don’t – but it certainly appeared so at first glance. They also wear headscarves of varying styles, from hijabs more commonly seen in Europe to full veils covering their entire face.

This sea of white and black was hard to see past at first, even while aware of the multitude of other nationalities around us. It took time, nearly two weeks before I could fully stop staring at the newness of it all and start appreciating more in the wider environment. The abayas became less of a black uniform and more diverse. I could appreciate the intricacies in the different fabric choices or embellishments sewn into the material, the glittering sequins on some, the chiffon or lace on others.

If this description makes Doha sound very uniform, I can assure you that it’s far from this. Indeed, I would describe Doha as possibly one of the most diverse places I’ve ever been in. There are people of all nationalities here, and because tourism isn’t yet a huge driver of population shift here, you know most people are living here, trying to shape a life in this rapidly growing and evolving country.

A forest of forms

The first couple of weeks here have been consumed with paperwork, travelling around the city and multiple office visits (often fruitless ones with missing papers, etc.). You’re never 100% sure which website is accurate, what forms are required, whether original documents are needed or just photocopies, and presenting more than required seems to be greeted with derision! However, we’ve got there now – all Residency Permits are approved, my Driving Licence has been received and we’re good to go!

The piece I’ve personally found hardest is dealing with officials, who are as helpful as you would expect from civil servants in any country, but since many are women and also wearing a hijab of some sort, my ability to lipread has been hampered and so conversation is stilted and limited to me head bowing, apologising and repeating shukran (thank you) over and over again. Accents in general are a challenge, whether Indian, Pakistani, African or Filipino, but I’m sure I’ll get there.

Finding the green

MIA ParkWe’ve managed to find some respite from the dust and sand and endless construction sites. Aspire Park and MIA Park have been located and provide the green, however artificial it may be, that we need. I’m not sure I ever realised quite how dependent I was on the clean air and open spaces of Ireland. Give me grass, some water and tranquility and my soul breathes deeply. MIA Park, in particular, will be a spot we will come to relish over the coming years. I haven’t quite picked out our favourite picnic spot yet, but it’s coming!

Next stop – real life

Now real life begins. We’ve been on holiday mode until now. The kids have been off school and I haven’t been working. That all changes this coming week. We’ll start with the 5:30am starts for a 7:30am school day. The girls will start making new friends and joining new activities. We’ll figure out childcare for Alex and I’ll start preparation for work in April (if it happens – paperwork still ongoing for that one).

This is where we need to start getting a genuine routine in place. Finding meals to cook that work for the heat. Creating school lunches where ham and cheese isn’t an option. Adjusting to a world where weekends are different simply by starting on a Friday!

I’d love to hear tips from other expats or you creative folk at home. Activities for home evenings appreciated? Tips for lunchboxes in the heat? Quick and easy meals that stop us visiting the malls for all dinners.

@sineadorourke

 

 

Tribute To My Tribe

Yes, we’re finally in Doha. Safe and sound. All of us. Including Pixie, who has taken to expat pet life like an expat human’s toes to the poolside. There were no toddlers thrown from the plane or seven year olds talked down from the ceilings (no, that was the day AFTER we arrived!).

I am still gathering my thoughts on the mayhem and mania of the past fortnight, from unexpected trips to secure papers for the aforementioned feline to goodbyes, real ones this time with tears and silent gasping hugs.

Now I’m home. Well, I’m in what what should be home. Except it still feels slightly alien. New. Apart from the shopping malls, which are like home but bigger, glossier and inhabited by a populace that looks and feels vastly different. There’s a post in those feelings, but my fingers aren’t yet ready to type it. The fatigue is real. So tonight, in the vein of being still at home, I’d like to pay tribute to my tribe.

0faf745f48eea04dc1092d864b66bf82My tribe

I am aware that there’s no little irony in posting about the importance of a tribe after you move over 5,000km away from them, but actually they become so much more important to you over the course of that journey.

Don’t take your tribe for granted. Look at those in your life and ask who will be there for you and cherish them. My tribe is so much bigger and stronger than I ever realised. 

My own family, without a doubt, were my rock during four months of sole parenting. From grandparent time and care and uncle and aunt babysitting, to sorting, packing and lugging many, many boxes into cars and up and down attic stairs. They also provide tea. Lots of it. I’d have been lost without them.
Equally, I’m blessed with in-laws that I cherish. I know, I know. It’s neither trendy nor cool to say how amazing your in-laws are, but in my case it’s true. From the always there when needed loving support of my parents-in-law, to my sister- and brother-in-law who minded their nieces and nephew through vomiting bugs and loved opening their home to them at a time of massive change in their lives and who dropped everything and ran to help me when A was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. 

Extended family. I have a small but incredibly close extended family. They have all helped in little ways beyond measure to balance me at times of stress, provide a sounding board for my worries and fears and just generally being there if needed.

Friends – you know who you are. The encouragers. The time-out friends who remind you that you have your own identity amidst the chaos. Those who have been there a very long time, and those who are new. 

Colleagues – the ones who say nothing when you come in with food stains on your behind. And your hair not done. Those who take you aside during meltdowns so you can compose and dry your stressed out tears. The ones who buy Eddie Rockets or who simply stop and check in. I worked with one of the best companies in Ireland when it comes to colleagues. 

Broader tribe – I’ve never been great at meeting and socialising with school mums. I’m not great in crowded spots anyway, so school gates aren’t the best for flying conversations for me. So imagine my surprise and gratitude when some of the mothers in B’s class offered to help with a going away party. There was cake, and food, and hands, lots of hands, to help tidy and clean and remove the stress. That’s a tribe I should have engaged with more before. Honestly it was a lesson to me to open up more. Thank you.

Facebook friends. I know some people scoff at online communities, but my sense of tribe includes those who I know only online. That tribe is one that you can often contact when the real world seems too much or too hard. They don’t judge.

They’re my tribe. A vast messy Venn diagram of love and support with me in the centre. I’m lucky to be there. 

I may be far away but I’ll always be just a message, call or email away. Love you all X

Letter to 15-year-old me: Believe it or not, you will become fervently pro-choice

Hi Sinéad,

I thought I’d write a note to you. I feel it’s an opportune moment to look back through the nearly 25 years separating us and explain to you a little of the journey you’re about to take. Personally, I think it will take you far too long to get to where I am now, but hindsight is wonderful and if these letters really worked, we’d be living in a vastly more mature society.

So, you. I find it hard to remember how you are and how you feel, but in some ways we aren’t so different. We’re vocal in what we believe, you and I. We don’t always stop to listen when we should and it takes us a long time to change. What I think I’ve got that you don’t have, and please don’t strop off when I say this, is empathy. I’ve learned to walk in others’ shoes. You should try it, sooner rather than later please. It makes you a better person.

You have a poem inside your wardrobe door. It’s lengthy. Copied painstakingly out in your lovely script handwriting. I’m not sure when you copied it out, but you feel passionately about it to put it up, and somehow ashamed slightly and so hide it behind the door. I wonder why. What’s the poem about? It’s written from the perspective of a foetus in a waiting room waiting to be aborted. Begging its mother to reconsider. I’ve got choice language for what I think of it now, but I’ll wait a little and explain.

I’m not sure where these positions of yours came from. I don’t believe they came from Mum and Dad; indeed you and Dad often have heated discussions about the immorality of the UK abortion system (you patronising little mare – maybe you should have listened #1). And you don’t seem to ask your Mum’s perspective. She lived in the UK for her formative 20s years. (Maybe you should have listened #2.)

So where does it come from? School – yes. You proudly announce that you will be a virgin until you get married after your sex ed class. Well done you. See how that goes for you. You also devour, of all things, the Messenger Catholic newsletter, lovingly delivered to parishioners by your granny every week. You actually love the kids’ section, but I’m sure there’s plenty of content about sin and sinners to pass and subconsciously absorb along the way. You also believe the morning after pill is sinful. You don’t particularly object to the Youth Defence posters outside the Central Bank. You really are a peach. A weird, not otherwise religious peach.

Sorry, I digress. I was going to explain how you come to be sitting here in 25 year’s time, ashamed to be Irish with the discovery of the remains of discarded babies in a sewage disposal site at a Tuam mother and baby home by those who claim to love them both. And waiting and wishing for a referendum to be called to allow you to vote on repealing the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution. So that you can vote Yes to Repeal. Because choice matters.

So what happened to take you from pro-life (anti-choice, to be frank) to pro-choice?

Real life happened. Real live messy stuff to you and to others. There is a story you need to hear about a silver lining that happens in your life, but it’s not for now. But you will need the morning after pill (yup, that vow of chastity worked wonders) and cry afterwards on your now husband about the shame of it all. To be fair, he manages not to tell you you’re absolutely insane. But only just.

You see friends who need the morning after pill, and you realise that it’s not actually about sinning but about women needing control when something goes wrong, or they make a mistake.

You then experience the biggest change – motherhood. Yes, motherhood. I know it’s hard for you to equate the story you’ve created of a monster who aborts her baby with motherhood, but it is motherhood that made me pro-choice.

Pregnancy isn’t fun, or easy. It’s 10 months of ceding control of your body to a growing baby who demands your energy, time, attention. You will relish this, for all that it’s hard work. These are children you have planned, wanted and you love those moments. You can afford those moments. You have no detours along paths of disability or abnormalities that will make your child’s life one of pain or indescribably short. You are not in an abusive relationship. You are not alone. Abortion could not be further from your mind, but that’s because there is no reason for it to be.

But the 8th is there. You’ll discover the 8th when you go to have a homebirth. When legislation and healthcare provision suddenly becomes shrouded in a reality that your wishes for your body and birth can be overruled by consultants and the State because they perceive that it poses a risk to your baby. The 8th, after all, states that:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

You see that now, your unborn child is defended by the full might of the State. So if you wanted a vaginal birth when doctors thought it was too risky, they can take you to Court to try and force a C-section. (Yes, it has happened.) Or if you are miscarrying, but the foetus is not yet dead, they can refuse to give you medication to induce an inevitable abortion to stop you from dying of sepsis. (Yes, that has happened too.)

These experiences and learnings open your eyes to the broader impact of the 8th on maternity care, but it still doesn’t help you understand why some women choose to terminate their pregnancies.

I’m ashamed to say it took real experiences of abortion (not your own but those close to you) to finally shake you out of your moralistic high ground. You realised that while you might not personally choose abortion yourself – at least not based on your hypothetical test cases in your head – you don’t want to see those you love and care for forced to have no option but to travel overseas or illegally procure abortion medication and take it without medical support.

You realised that supporting women means supporting choice. Not exporting our problem to another State. After all, we as a nation rightly protest at people having to seek other medical treatments overseas, so why do we force 11 women a day (and often their partners) to make that journey? Nearly 3,500 women travelled for abortions from Ireland in 2015. These are not monsters. They’re your friends, family, colleagues. People you respect.

And supporting choice means having some uncomfortable, difficult thoughts.

What about disabilities? You grew up with a father working in disability services. You currently think abortion for disability reasons is totally abhorrent. Let me tell you where you stand now. If you got pregnant, by some miracle, tomorrow and that baby was diagnosed with a disability, you are pretty determined that abortion would not be considered. But you accept that raising a child with disabilities is demanding, and that who are you to judge a person who feels that’s an impossible ask. Who might have a large family already who need her? Who might not be financially able to cope?

And what about term limits? Termination post-viability. First, only about 1.4% of abortions in the UK happen after 21 weeks. These are mainly due to foetal abnormalities, conditions that make it unlikely the baby will be born alive, or that they will live a short pain-filled life if they are born living. But you’ve also realised that you can’t be pro-choice and set barriers. You need to let women decide for themselves. You need to appreciate that only they can make a decision that’s appropriate for them.

imageThis isn’t easy for you now, and will be impossible for you to understand back there in 1992, but try. You will listen. You will learn. You will learn to challenge your assumptions. I wish I could use the 25 years we’ve missed to advocate, lobby, engage with your inner rage at injustice and the world. But it’s better late than never.

You will hope that this weekend the Citizen’s Assembly members can differentiate between fact and fiction, recognising the importance of the reality of women’s experiences, and will start the process of recommending a referendum to put the question of Repeal to the Irish population.

You will learn, Sinéad, and I believe you are a better person because of it.

If you want to learn more, check out one of these excellent resources:

(Update: 14th May 2018, pre-referendum. Added In Her Shoes link)

Bye bye, bye bye, bye bye… the Irish long goodbye

Anyone who has ever tried to end a phone call with an Irish loved one will know this closing salutation, usually echoed by your counterpart at the other end: “Bye bye, bye bye, bye bye…” (repeat until hanging up). It demonstrates clearly the Irish reluctance to end a connection, to close a conversation, to say goodbye.

Image result for bye bye bye irish

And so it is when one of us is departing to foreign shores. Ireland has a long tradition of emigration and departure – our diaspora are scattered to the furthest corners of the Earth – but it’s still hard to let go of the homeland. It’s harder yet for those left behind to say that final farewell.

I’m experiencing this now. Final meetings with friends and family are never described as such and so I find myself scheduling a further catch up, chat, lunch, tea, coffee, get together. There are leaving parties and goodbyes before final days in school, creche, work. An excuse to postpone the inevitable tough reality of the pain of goodbye.

Last night was one such goodbye night.

A catch up with my two closest friends, to be repeated again tomorrow night, over probably our worst meal out in years but with satisfying accompanying hilarious critique.

The night ended with a session in the Oliver St John Gogarty pub in Temple Bar, frequented only by tourists, stag parties and maudlin potential Irish expats and their friends (no other Irish people would pay €11 for a spirit and mixer!).

The trip to the (in)famous drinking house allowed me to sing Black Velvet Band, Whiskey in the Jar and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For at the top of my voice alongside the Brits, Canadians, Spanish and Peaky Blinders wannabes.

Because I know those songs will become different when sung on foreign soil, in Irish bars where the antiques are made in China and even the Guinness isn’t real. These songs will become layered with longing and loss.

When my dear friend Catherine played a request for her friend who was emigrating, the long goodbyes and my willing participation in dragging them out suddenly made sense.

I’m not just an expat, I’m an emigrant. I’m joining the diaspora. And it’s hard to say goodbye.

 

Have passport, will travel?

For me, there was no question. She was our first baby, brought into the house when our marriage was young and we wanted to share our household but weren’t ready for the commitment of nappies, etc. Of course, she was coming with us to Qatar!

This is Pixie, our 9 year old moggie, in her favourite human-hug position.

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She’s the most affectionate little cat I’ve ever met, wanting to sit on your knee regardless of laptop placement or, God forbid, the random cup of tea. She made our lives blossom, slept on our chests, woke us by ploughing into the room at night after hanging on the door handle, purred loudly when she had her tummy rubbed, and didn’t flinch when we decided to test her not once but three times by adding noisy distractions to the household.

This was her just tonight during dinner, hoping for a stray meatball to pass in her direction.

So, despite questioning of our sanity (and cat welfare credentials) by family and friends, yes, we’re bringing Pixie to Qatar. We couldn’t imagine setting up a household without her, and it certainly couldn’t be called home without a faint dusting of her black and white fur.

Some things I’ve learned about cat travel though, that might be useful for other expats planning this journey:

  1. It’s expensive. More expensive than child travel, quite frankly. Thank God we were already committed to the decision, because having seen the upcoming bill for her transport, I’d be having serious second thoughts if we weren’t determined to proceed!
  2. There’s paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. I started sorting through this myself but it just seemed to require too much back and forth between Qatar and here, so we’ve got agencies helping us at both ends (yup, I said it was expensive!). But some tips:
    • Get a Pet Passport. It contains details of vaccinations and microchip. Apparently there’s even a space for a photo, which you can laminate! I haven’t quite got that organised yet!
    • Cats need a rabies vaccination at least 30 days before travel. Praise be (!) for her sudden diagnosis of osteoarthritis, and accompanying medical bill, that led to a chance conversation and her getting her vaccination with one day to spare! Organised, moi? Another reason why it’s good to have an agency to help!!
    • Qatar requires an import permit, secured at most 14 days pre-departure. You can find details of how to get this here or, as I may have mentioned, you can get an agency in Qatar to help. We’re using Qatar Pet Relocators who have been hugely helpful to date.
    • From a departure perspective, we’re using another agency called Multi Cargo Ltd to arrange Pixie’s flights and transport. They’ll collect her at the airport (or house in advance) and make sure she makes her flights.

Did you know that cats can actually travel on some airlines as cabin baggage in a container under your seat? I can’t imagine how that could be less stressful than being in the cargo hold, when they can see you but not get out?

And apparently, the only animals that get to be VIPs on board a plane are falcons. If you haven’t already seen it, this is a photo that recently went viral. Lottie’s comment was “ooh look at them all. They all have their own TVs!” She has done far too much Ryanair travel!

170201163751-falcons-plane-exlarge-169Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/01/middleeast/falcons-planes-middle-east/

We’ll follow the obvious steps on our arrival: keeping her indoors for six weeks or so until she’s settled. She’s mainly an indoors cat anyway.

One last tip, courtesy of the doctor who gave us our (human) travel vaccinations, is to keep her water bowl inside or it becomes potentially a mosquito breeding group.

We’ll keep you posted on her journey and how she settles in. We’d be lost without her.

If you’ve travelled with your pet, I’d love to hear your stories or tips. Share them below!

Qatar?

 

Two of the most common questions posed to me lately are: “Where exactly is Qatar?” and “So when are you heading to Dubai?”

The second is perhaps understandable given the first. (For the record, Dubai is not part of Qatar, but rather a city state within the United Arab Emirates, one of Qatar’s neighbours).

Few people would be able to pinpoint Qatar on a map — in February last year, faced with a need to make a rather important decision, I wasn’t either. So, first things first, here’s Qatar in a map of the Middle East.

Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai on Map.  Closer look at where Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai is on Map:  http://pinterest.com/pin/142707881913438836/:

As you can see, the only country with which it shares a land border is Saudi Arabia.

A closer look at Qatar reveals that its capital, Doha, our future home, is positioned much like Dublin on the East coast, but with a very different aspect of the Persian Gulf versus the grey stormy Irish Sea!

Image result for map qatar

This isn’t the place for a long, geography lesson, but some interesting points on Qatar from the CIA World Factbook:

  • Population: 2,258,283
  • Only 0.94% of the population is aged over 65 years.
  • The highest net migration rate in the world, at 18.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
  • Qatar has, since 2007, had the highest GDP in the world
  • Satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera was originally owned and financed by the Qatari government but has evolved to independent corporate status; Al-Jaze (2014)
  • Qatar, like Ireland, used to be part of the British empire, and gained independence on 3rd September 1971.

Qatar is a population primarily comprised of migrants from around the world. I thought this infographic, albeit a little dated, from Doha News gave an interesting insight into the country’s population composition.

Image result for infographic qatar population

 

This is the flag of Qatar.

The cuture

Given the relatively recent development of Qatar and growth in Doha, it’s not surprising that its main attractions are still maturing and gaining importance. However, these are three attractions that I am particularly looking forward to seeing.

The Museum of Islamic Art

@MIAQatar

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The picture at the top is one perspective on this amazing building, which I, for one, am looking forward to exploring in depth. My only experiences to date of Islamic architecture include the magnificent Mezquita de Córdoba and the Alcázar of Seville, all places that have left an indelible mark on my soul.

I can’t wait to learn more about the history of Islamic art and architecture over the past 1,400 years, and so this landmark building will be first on the family to-visit list.

Souq Waqif

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Anyone who has ever travelled with me will attest that I am a market nut. I will travel for miles to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a bustling local market. My idea of heaven is walking through spice markets and taking in the sights of piles of dried fruits and pistachios.

Souq Waqif is already a favourite spot of Simon’s, and he tells tales of wandering through narrow streets, past cafés filled with patrons enjoying excellent coffee and shisha tobacco. I’m looking forward to joining him, and the multitudes of others, very soon.

The Corniche

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Simon has described many hours walking along the famed seafront in Doha called the Corniche. A small step away from the Dun Laoghaire or Bray promenades, perhaps, in terms of perspectives! In a city that hasn’t really been developed for pedestrians, this seems like a rare opportunity to take a long stroll, with beautiful views of twisting skyscrapers and the famous Doha boats called dhows on the water.

 

Photo credits (in order, from Flickr)