(Doha, Qatar) Mar. 30, 2014 – Doha City’s regal and horse-mounted policemen patrol the massive Souq Waquif marketplace in, Qatar on March 30, 2014. Doha’s bustling historic business district is undergoing a modernization and transformation as the nearby Corniche waterfront and roadway grows in population and building construction exponentially every year. Dubbed by many locals as “mini-Dubai,’ Doha’s growing waterfront landscape based-off the fact that the tiny nation state is the richest country per-capita on the planet, the cities growth and popularity is an evident meld of historic Arabic culture and modern European entrepeneuralism.
I was amazed to see how refined the country is compared to where I’ve been living for the past nine months, just a one-hour flight away to the Northeast. The country’s oil riches and more vibrant ocean culture and economy have given the populace of this peninsula a much greater outlook on economic diversity. It is no wonder the Qatari kingdom was able to autonomously stand on its own and not join the United Arab Emirates, that includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi, after the British relinquished colonial ties in 1971.
Sunday shoppers are seen bustling throughout the massive maze-like Souq Waquif marketplace shopping for everything from spices and chai to birdcages and shemaghs (male scarves). It was a great meld of Arabic affluency intermingling with European hostelers. I found the whole vibe of Qatar was much more relaxed than other regions of the Arabian peninsula and that was refreshing in itself.
It was a great short visit to a wonderful Middle Eastern city that I found in some ways more charming compared to the Las Vegas-like varnish of Dubai. I shot a ton of bicycle mounted GoPro video and will eventually post some here, once I get Stateside and I can edit/splice/post for your enjoyment. I have some hair raising video of my riding a road bicycle ‘smartly’ in some parts of the bustling business district of Doha and also video of me walking my bike through the historic city using the bike as a clandestine video trolley. Compared to U.A.E., I will never forget having the sense of senory overload in Dubai. But in Doha, it’s a lot more like Honolulu. And THAT, made me feel more at home.
Stay tuned for more photo and video reportage from this small adventure when I have produce them when I get home to Seattle in a few months. Between now and then, I”ll be busy with my team getting us out of the Middle East and returning to American soil. A hui hou! (“until later” in Hawai’ian)
Photos by Anthony P. Bolante/www.TheImageArsenal.com (c) 2014