A quiet last day in Qatar

July 8, 2016 - Doha, Qatar

Well, here we are. The last of our days in Doha. The day promised to reach 44ºC and was already very hot when we walked around to Al Bidda hotel for breakfast about 9am. We were looking forward to more UmAli and there was plenty of it this time but without the accompaniments. It was still a good start for our usual tuck-in to fortify us for the day. An orange juice, an omelette and brioche with coffee stretched over a leisurely hour or so and we were ready for anything.

 

 

Or nothing much at all which was really our plan for the day. Our driver was to meet us at 3:30am so we would not be getting much sleep tonight. We returned to our room in time to meet the cleaning team so we sat in the lobby reading and writing up the journal until they finished then moved inside to do more of the same. I made sure that we had plenty of capsules for the coffee machine to keep us going and we pottered about for most of the day.

While we were checking emails and general news Margaret received a Facebook post with a photo of Sarah, Lucie, Zack, Rosie and Olly entering the Departures area at Sydney airport ready to fly to Manchester. Ain't technology wonderful. David had already flown out about 6 hours before and is to meet them in Manchester.

Margaret went out for a walk to have a look at the Grand Mosque but it was Friday, prayer day, and she was warned off from the vicinity before she was within cooee. Not wanting to argue with an armed guard even at a distance, or with the heat, she returned to the hotel and we tried to catch a bit of a nap before dinner.

I went down to reception to ask about the driver who would pick us up. There is no vehicle access to the area of the Souq where we are and our voucher does not state which of the eight allied Avani hotels we are in so I thought it best to give them a definite meeting place. The chap on the desk didn't seem willing to ring while I was there but he rang the room a short time later to confirm that we would be met at Al Arumaila hotel at 3:30am so I felt somewhat reassured.

We rested/slept for the remainder of the afternoon before heading back to the Moroccan restaurant for dinner. The exotic flavours and atmosphere and the friendly staff enticed us back for the third night. While we savoured our lemon, ginger and raspberry mocktail and perused the menu our little light on the table expired. One of the waiters noticed this and swapped it for one from an unoccupied table. He explained that the lamps are rechargeable and this one probably hadn't been recharged for a while. He was from the Maldives and usually worked in a resort there and was here for more training. (I am not sure whether this was on his own initiative or through the Avanti Hotel chain that operates the Souq Waqif hotels.) We tried different dishes tonight although we still ordered tajine but a vegetable dish for me this time and a chicken dish for Margaret. While we were eating our new table lamp expired and our waiter swapped it with yet another lamp. Tonight we decided to finish with Moroccan mint tea and were invited to sit over on the soft lounges while we drank. There was much hilarity, ours and the waiters when the lamp on this table expired as well.

We sat there enjoying the drink and fiddling with photographs trying to capture some of the atmosphere. While we were occupied there Jemuel, the Dining Supervisor, came over and suggested he could take some photographs or a movie of us and he borrowed Margaret's camera and tried to line up a shot. He then suggested we should come through into another lounge area for the photograph. He made it appear a spontaneous thought but there was subterfuge afoot. He sent us around to a sofa hidden behind a large column and there was a table laid out, with rose petals spread around a cakestand with a redcurrant cheesecake on a dish with Thank You written in chocolate sauce on the dish. I'm glad we hadn't shown him the movie function on the camera or you would have seen the stunned look on our faces and our mouths gaping open.

Jemuel then carried our teas and Margaret's handbag around from the other room for us and Julie, the Restaurant Hostess came round with the Hotel Manager to thank us for our patronage. All just for eating at the same place three nights in a row. And for being such beautiful people as well, I suppose, but that is a given. Jemuel used Margaret's camera to take our photo with the Hotel Manager and we were then given some Turkish coffee to go with the desert.

What a wonderful way to finish our stay in Doha.


Pictures

Brioche basket at the buffet breakfast
The local Mosque
A dhow at anchor with the city skyline in the back
Walking back towards our hotel
 
 
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