The layover: DOHA

well.. where should I start.
I’ve left the world behind or at least changed current continent. it’s not like the “quit your job and start new life” mantra, as my jobs were never really my life, and I have already quit my old life 2 years ago when I ended my toxic 11 years long relationship. it is more like finally going there where I always wanted to, I just missed the courage or waited for someone else ‘till now or whatever.
I’m changing all the time, I’m more and more myself, finally connect with people on a healthy way and first time in my life experience the WE (not just the you and/or me). I have totally no idea about where-what-how, just go with the flow and wonder every day how fun (in every meaning) and simple life is.

the first step was to get my flight tickets and the first day of this journey was pretty surreal. I’m obviously not prepared for anything, neither have a plan (yet) to follow, but so many things happened in 48 hours that I definitely have to share.

I took my flight with Qatar Airways. one of the main reasons of selecting this airline was to meet someone in Doha who I really wanted to see for a year.. pilots and plans just come and go, what left: 19 hrs transfer time. to enjoy somehow the long layover I used (wisely) QAs actual promotion with free hotel + transfer. good tip: sign up for newsletters or simple just check airline promos (like I do), even while booking your tickets as there’s always something that you can use to make the travel time more enjoyable.
QAs aircrafts are pretty comfy, and luckily I could change my seat for one in the exit line, so the flight for my long legs was a real pleasure. anyway, I have this thing with travelling during Mercury retrograde, so no wonder I experienced brandnu things during the flight.

the first one is pretty shameful even for me. usually travelling with Hungarians is just awkward, but this time I experienced a mentality that’s totally not acceptable. while boarding, I had to face the fact how racist, arrogant, primitive assholes are “we”. 2 men noted and commented loud everything what they’ve seen, especially about arabic people sitting in business class. this envy judgemental attitude is not nation-specific, but being so dumb and rude and specially loud, just because they think like no one will understand their language (Hungarian) is disgusting. and comeooon.. in most cases really no one can even guess what are we talking about, but do you know how many Hungarians work as cabin crew for QA?.. yeah, maybe you should, just in case not to get surprised (btw on this flight worked at least one Hungarian girl too).

the second thing was my very first cabin-drama.. the almost kind of what people upload on Youtube and go viral. I didn’t hear and see at all what was going on and was not extremely interested, but a Hungarian woman was yelling to another because that “pushed” her 10y old child away. wtf. the mother went louder and louder with every sentence, then wanted to call the pilot and at last the police. the crew tried to calm down the situation and nothing happened at the end, except the frustration in the air. what I don’t really understand is obviously the overreaction as the child was not even crying, so what is the unnecessary drama for?

the last little one before landing, thus the first thing that is related to my Qatar-surreality: the pilots right turn sucks (in approach to the airport). sorry man, but it was like someone suddenly woke you up from your nap and you grabbed the aircraft like “damn almost missed the exit”. best airline.. but as we know not always the best experienced pilots.

I arrived to Doha around midnight, and it felt like little India. though Qatar is an arabic country, literally more indians and chinese people are here. arriving in the night was a bit exhausting, especially after the eventful flight, and at the airport it took about 1,5 hrs to get through immigration, find the hotel transfer and then wait ‘till the minibus leaves. I totally wanted to watch the sunrise, but as I got to bed at 2am waking up at 5am was unrealistic. actually, I couldn’t even get out of the bed before 10, it was soo good to sleep in the king size bed and I felt kind of coma. when I finally got myself together and looked out to the world, I had to face this:

if it was not sure that I’m not in Hungary anymore, this picture made the rabbit-hole undoubtably clear.

with this late start of the day I had only 5 hrs to explore the city so I took it easy. first of all: Uber works here almost perfectly. I mean calling a car it’s easy, just maybe the current huge reconstructions in the city make drivers lost or takes simple more time to pick you up.. if you are in a hurry, count with an extra time.

I visited 3 significant Doha places, and if you see them you have seen everything. I started my day at Souq Waqif as I really had to find something to eat. when I got out of the aircon car, that 45 degrees punched me hard in the face. wow. I haven’t experienced that kind of dry and stifling hotness before, it really felt like arriving to the hell. after 5 mins of walking, I was not hungry anymore, just wanted to drink water and survive. only thing I bought were 2 simple but really delicious cakes in a bakery.

the strange thing in this market place was that in the middle of the day it was totally empty, like a ghost town. the small shops and restaurants are actually open, but everything seems to be closed and as no one sits outside it’s confusing. other thing is that the only people on the streets are foreign workers, mostly just sitting and doing nothing.. I’m happy not being a white bitch, others are fighting for their life in the hotness too. anyway I have some “issues” with this, like men sitting in the middle of nowhere next to the road and really doing nothing. ok.. so.. what did they smoke? or at least wtf are they doing there? how did they get there? and why? nonsense sceneries of life from outside, and actually it’s interesting just thinking about what kind of life paths they have. and of course, despite I was dressed properly (yeah babe, strict dress code on the streets), that dumb gaze followed me by walking. honestly, pretty disturbing, but it will never change in these cultures. sad.

from the marketplace I walked to the MIA (Museum Of Islamic Art). not a distance but really challenging under these conditions. I should stop bitching about the hotness, but maaan, go there and experience, and you will understand everything. the museum itself is not really interesting, or at least there were no temporary exhibitions and I was not really interested in the permanent ones. well, I’m not a museum type anymore, I enjoy more to see the world of the streets. sure, there are very exciting collections from the past sometimes, but not this time.

after I got back my normal body temperature, I ordered a car and headed to the Katara Village.. just another ghost-town by day. and the disappointment of the day is this:

really, everything seems to be bigger on pictures, specially this Pigeon towers thing. the Katara Masjid next to this is more interesting with its beautiful ornamental mosaic all around. and well.. that’s all.. again. nothing else to see or enjoy here, anyway I’m sure the place after sunset is more busy. ohh.. almost forgot: the biggest key of the world (seriously?! b*tch please.. where’s the door?!)

as I actually finished my Doha visit just wanted to have a lunch before leaving this purgatory behind. I chose the Ard Canaan as definitely didn’t want to eat any french or italian food in the middle east. I ordered a Freekeh soup (roasted wheat with chicken stock and spices, which was pretty delicious) and a Mansaf.. and the fun began. right after saying it, my waiter started shaking his head that nonono, but okay if I want so. as I didn’t really know what the Mansaf is, got confused about this reaction so stared asking him why.. is it not good.. or not for women.. or what?! as he was just okay with English and I guess even surprised about my back-questions, so he called his colleague for help, who explained that this dish is lamb in fermented dryed yogurt. and I said it’s okay for me. then I went to the restroom and when arrived back the head chef and the 2 waiters were standing at my table, waiting for me. wtf. the expat chef got confused by the situation, so decided to bring me a tasting of the yogurt just to make sure I really want to have it. I tasted and confirmed, and was already laughing about the overreacted (?) situation. of course when I started my mansaf all of them were watching with half an eye. despite I’m not a huge fan of lamb, it has in this area a special place, so I definitely had to taste it, and it was nice with the yogurt-bulgur-lot of nuts garnish. the dishes were nice, but honestly compared to other countries overexpensive.

at last I wanted to see a beach and collect sand as I always do, but after 3 mins of walking in the sand I went totally uninterested. on one hand, because the area (Katara Beach) was literally full with dead fishes and I don’t know what. on the other hand, because Doha is boring.. even the sand on the beach is boring (so first time in my life I didn’t even took it).

the way to the airport was pretty rush as it took about 40mins till my driver arrived (what I mentioned about Uber vs. construction), so I missed the free airport transfer, and definitely needed a shower so had less time (in afternoon traffic) to catch my flight. at the airport everything went smooth, I had even time to get the question in my mind: why did Urs kill Teddy with a lamp??

my compact impression: Doha is a place that wants to kill you with climate and boringness.. no special reason, just for the fun. and it’s not even funny. people (expats) are coming here just because of the money (of course), but honestly I couldn’t see a single reason to live here or even enjoy to stay here. because for what?.. desert and desert colored buildings? uncharacteristic city center (really, I havent seen a boring skyline like this before)? superaircon shopping malls with mainly European high fashion brands (why to leave Europe for that)? overexpensive life? really, in Qatar everything has a price, but nothing has value. and it’s kind of sad. I don’t want to be offensive or judgy with Qatar, just as I see, there’s much more in life than what you can buy. maybe I’m wrong with my first impression, and actually would love to hear the opinions of a “local”, especially if it doesn’t contain material goods, but spiritual or traditional treasures.

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