A Date With Doha – We Needed That!

Last weekend was the Qatar International Food Festival. This was our third year attending and it just keeps getting better! The first year was basically in a big parking lot. The Qataris know how to make any place comfortable. Maybe because of the 1% chance of rain spoiling an event, they’re not afraid to set up couches and chairs and beautiful carpets anywhere! Parks, deserts or parking lots. This seems to be the only picture I have from that year. It doesn’t even depict the lovely couches. At the time, this was the extent of my daughter’s culinary curiosity. She’s grown since then – thank goodness. Honour at QIFF 2012 The following year and this year they moved it to the beautiful MIA (Museum of Islamic Art) Park. It’s a perfect waterfront setting with grass and palm trees and one of the best views of the city skyline in Doha. On any day the MIA Park is a beautiful place to visit. Pimp it out with food from around the world, music and entertainment and it’s a big hit. I think the parking situation was handled a bit better this year. Apparently there were shuttles…although we never found one. We parked in our secret parking garage about a block away. Based on the traffic there’s still likely some improvements to be made there. WE NEEDED THIS DATE DOHA! What I liked best about the QIFF, and any other festival Qatar has to offer, is that it’s a chance for all of us to enjoy time and space together. If you don’t live in Qatar, let me explain. The numbers fluctuate a lot, but at any given time Qatar’s population consists of 85-90% expats. The Qatari population (10-15%) has to deal with their country being invaded and greatly changed by the masses. Now, you might say…”they invited us here! Without us they wouldn’t have the wealth they do.” And you’d be right. Technically. Did each and every one of them invite the world to their doorstep? Did they know what it was going to mean, day-to-day, when we all arrived? Does this mean they don’t have frustrations with a rapidly changing culture? And then there’s the rest of the population. We are a mix of people from all over the world. This might be the most culturally diverse place on earth (I have no idea if this is true so don’t quote me on that). What I do know is that most days we are bumping up against each other, trying to identify the proper way to queue up in line, an appropriate way to treat each other and how to deal with so many different driving…”styles” on the roads. If you have to deal with much traffic (and if you live in Doha you do) it’s a constant exercise in self-restraint, breathing and staying alert to save your life. Some drive too fast, some drive too slow, lots are texting (LOTS!), everyone is pushing in to get ahead. Yesterday we saw a motorcycle driving down the road and the driver was standing on the seat…yup, mid-afternoon traffic. So, when there’s an opportunity to get together when we’re all just being humans who enjoy food and music, families having fun, cultures celebrating the food from their home countries….well, that’s a good day. We really needed that Doha. I needed to laugh and celebrate with you. (If you live in Doha, there seem to be a lot of things going on these days. Make sure you’re on Facebook and you have ‘liked’ the pages that keep you in the know. Qatar Happenings, Doha News, What’s Goin On Qatar and Katara Cultural Village, to name a few.)

The city was all decked out for the occasion.

The city was all decked out for the occasion.

 

The Museum of Islamic Art is a gorgeous back drop for...just about anything!

The Museum of Islamic Art is a gorgeous back drop for…just about anything!

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City behind the food tents

City behind the food tents

 

Islamic Cultural Center in the distance.

Islamic Cultural Center in the distance.

 

The MIA again and the Dinner in the Sky. I will do that one day...I will.

The MIA again and the Dinner in the Sky. I will do that one day…I will.

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Dads and babes hanging out, having fun.

Dads and babes hanging out, having fun.

 

Music! What is food without music!

Music! What is food without music!

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Celebrating culture with dance!

Celebrating culture with dance!

 

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

 

Pizza Pie Theatre. Comical and fascinating.

Pizza Pie Theatre. Comical and fascinating.

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Random Fair Attendees

Random Fair Attendees

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “A Date With Doha – We Needed That!

  1. How spectacular! Enjoyed this Tracie… are you coming home this summer?

    • We have so many plans for this summer, and our girls are going to be spread around the west coast. Nothing is pegged down just yet but it’s looking like Ontario will get a quick 2 week tour, likely toward the end of the summer. But plans are still in motion if you know what I mean. We’ll see. Hope to have a catch up with you.

  2. Shan

    Wow – beautiful!

  3. Johnny MacDonald

    What a ridiculously incredible experience you are having!!! WOW!!! Way to go!

  4. The park looks beautiful and the cultural dance looks wow! Tracie, Dave, you’re not going to believe this but Mary-Lynn and I will be in Doha Int’l Airport on Saturday, May 31 from 6:15 am – 7:30 am as a stop over on our way to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). I was going to tell you guys earlier, but at that time of the morning on a Saturday you’ll be sleeping (I hope) and I’m not sure how we could do anything more than go outside the security area to say a quick 20- or 30-minute hello.

    • Well we would come and meet you but I think the transit terminal is in the middle of nowhere. Do you stop here coming back? We’ve had people stop for 12 hours and took them on a whirlwind sightseeing tour. I’m thinking you should be altering your flight…right? 😉

  5. auntychacha

    Looks like a great night out… Can’t wait to experience it ourselves! That sky restaurant looks totally mad! Thanks for sharing.

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