Alrighty! Still in the hotel room staying cool and enjoying the view, but here’s more about our long plane ride and our evening in Doha.
After watching a movie, they brought us dinner. It was pretty good, but the main dish was a little too curry flavored for my liking, so Ethan ended up eating that part. After another movie I decided to try to sleep, but that proved unfruitful due to the child kicking my chair and just generally uncomfortable. I finally fell asleep watching Race, which I was excited to watch, but my exhausted body had other plans. Ethan and I both fell in and out of sleep for a few hours and I guess they trie to bring us a snack at some point and I mumbled incoherently at the flight attendant. Don’t remember that. At some point I had to get up and walk around because my feet were so swollen. Should have brought compression socks! It was borderline unbearable. The walking helped though. Hopefully people didn’t think I was crazy as a paced up and down the aisle.
Eventually, they brought breakfast around and after another movie it was almost time for landing. Ethan had done some quick research before we left and knew that we could take bus from the airport when we landed, so we knew we needed to find the buses when we got through customs. We didn’t have to fill out any immigration forms, which was nice, but the Visa on Arrival was about $27 USD. Eek!
The airport has free wifi (which, they all should in my opinion), so we were able to get a little more information about the bus and text our family that we had landed. We exchanged enough money to get us through our long layover and headed outside. Lord. Have. Mercy. It was so hot!! The buses were right outside and we couldn’t find a map, but knew we were going to the Marriott at City Center. We found the bus the said City Center and the driver confirmed that was a stop. We hopped on an immediately headed out. We were the only passengers so the bus driver gave us a quick verbal tour of the city. We rode past the Museum of Islamic Art and the Souq Waqif, which are among the top 5 thing to don in Doha. The bus driver was really helpful and told us which buses to take to get back there and which one went back to the airport. The bus was super clean and fabulously air conditioned, so we really enjoyed the ride. We finally pulled up to City Center, which is a huge mall in the middle with 4 towers at each end. The Marriott is within one of the towers, so we figured we could walk through the mall to reach it. Nope! we ended up in this super shady elevator, then tried to use the stairs which we were informed are off limits, then ended up in the underground parking lot. We found our way out of the garage and walked all the way around and finally reached the hotel. I was a sweaty mess by the time we got in.
The woman who checked us in told us about what was included and all that jazz then kindly informed us that there wouldn’t really be anything to do during the day because of Ramadan, but we could get food and go to the museum now that the sun had set. We knew that it was Ramadan, but had no idea what that would mean for us. So we decided to take her advice and headed back out once we had settled into the room.
We got back on the same bus, with the same driver and got off a few hundred yards from the Islamic Art Musuem. We walked along the Corniche or Boardwalk and tried to enjoy the ocean breeze even though it was still 100 degrees. The art Musuem is right off the Corniche and sits on its own little peninsula in the harbor. It’s a huge white building that looks like a boxy piramid. The landscaping is beautiful and the steps leading up featuring rows of palm trees and a water fall down the middle.
Inside, the museum is all marble and shiny and most importantly, air conditioned! We explored the exhibits and took lots of breaks to take advantage of the a/c. The exhibits were all behind glass for the most part and they keep it pretty dark so each artifact had its own spotlight. It was pretty cool and we were happy to learn a bit about the history of Qatar along with the art. Once we had our fill of art, we headed back out towards the Corniche, then across the stree to Souq Waqif. The Souq is a huge market place that has served as a central market there for hundreds of years. It has been built up over time and is really more of an outdoor mall at this point. Our first priority was water, then we walked a little more to find some food. We had no idea what to eat, so when we came to a restaurant with an English menu and a/c, we couldn’t pass it up. Turns out it was a Lebanese restaurant and we enjoyed a delicious falafel wrap and another traditional Lebanese dish called Manakeesh.
Once we were full, we headed back out into the heat to catch the bus back to the hotel. It was still 100 degrees when we got back so we decided to check out the pool. We were worried that the water wouldn’t be cool enough to even help, but it was and it felt amazing on our swollen, hot feet. Ethan hung out in the hot tub for a while, but I was not interested in being any warmer than I already was. He’s crazy. While he soaked, we chatted about how crazy it was that we really hadn’t prepared for this part of the trip, but were able to figure things out fairly easily. The Internet is a wonderful thing! After a bit of relaxing, he headed back to the room for bed. I think I fell asleep instantly with my phone in my hand.