Travel

Day 2 – Part 1. Doha boondocks

Finally the Qatar staff pull it all together, thanks to two lovely young women who show the male staff up big time when it comes to courtesy and efficiency, and no thanks to one over officious bloke who didn’t want us sitting in the wheelchair area while we are waiting. We get our passports back with visa’s and a hotel, meal allocation and instructions to leave the building via immigration and customs and somebody would be waiting for us to transport us to the hotel. That actually all works out, and we’re on a bus with 2 young poms, an Irish couple heading home to Dublin and an expat Irishman heading to Ireland to see family. The Irish couple are well travelled, I think anyway, because I can hardly understand a word he says and he speaks very softly.

We’re at the Century Hotel Doha, we get a lovely suite, enormous room, loungeroom, and a bathroom as big as most hotel rooms. And it’s f…. hot, and humid, my camera fogs up, I’m sweating, can’t wait to get a t shirt on.

We go for a walk to a “market” , the Navigator is keen for some shopping, but where we are is in the boonies, it’s a 1km walk to the souk and we’re tired and hot so we go back to the hotel for dinner with some fellow travellers. The meal allowance well and truly covers our meals which are fair not brilliant. The chicken is pretty stringy, I reckon they chased an old rooster around a remote oasis, knocked it’s head off in the sand with a scimitar before transporting it 300km in an air conditioned Landcruiser then selling it in Qatar hotel restaurants as chicken breast . The predictive spelling wants to say ” breastfeeding”, I’m fighting WordPress’s inappropriatness as I write this on my Samsung phone. F…..g technology! Drives me mad sometimes. Anyway the Baba Ganoush is fresh and very tasty, and I didn’t take it via a breastfeeding experience.

The Navigator has trouble with the shower, but manages. She doesn’t like the rain shower, can’t explain why. There is a nightclub going until about 1am then at 4am the call to prayer followed by the 2 alarms and the wakeup call. As well as that the fire alarm goes off, so we’re up and ready early. The hotel razor is a blunt as my pocket knife so only a small part of my face is sans whiskers. Pain at 4am isn’t what I feel I need.

The bus is ready for the early starters at 5am and we leave on the 2nd bus at about 5.30am. There is a spectacular sunrise through the fog/smog/heat haze over the Doha skyline and the sea. Doha airport is busy busy, and eventually we find our gate via the information desk, it does come up on the board a bit later. Gate B7 is a long walk, a coffee and croissant costs about 64 dirhams ($24), but something (ie caffeine) in the belly is important this time of day.

We’re finally inside B7, flight is boarding on time, however due to a line-up to takeoff we’re behind schedule already. Brussels and Rome here we come, but as The Navigator points out, we’re now under the pump to get our connecting flight from Brussells to Rome

Ciao from Doha – Paulo

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