A Fun Filled Weekend in Qatar

We drove amongst the Arabs speeding, and dodging each other, going in and out of traffic, some honking at their camels (not allowed btw), kids heads popping out of the tops of sunroofs, handsome men smiling and dare I say flirting with us through open windows, yelling “Yalla!”, watching the foamed mouth camels running together with remote controlled jockeys on top, some whipping the camels.

Often I hear people say this country is boring, and it can be, if you let it.  Lately, I’ve been somewhat of a hermit, just eating, working and chilling.  But this weekend, I decided to change all of that.  I began to evaluate my situation:  the school year is just about 2/3 done, there are only 3 months left, I will be returning home for summer break, my son will be leaving me to finish his last year of high school in the states, my husband will be joining me next year.  I want to make the most out of the rest of this school year, my son’s last childhood year and my last few months of being a married/single mom.  There is always events happening here in Doha and a lot of them are free, especially for QF employees. Just last weekend, my son and I went to the CHI AL SHAQAB International Equestrian Competition.  We watched as horses pranced, danced and modeled, ran and jumped hurdles.  It’s actually pretty exciting to watch in person.

Thursday night I went to happy hour at Zengo.  It was a goodbye get together for Dee, who started the Come Dine with Dee Facebook page; she is returning to Ireland.  I went alone, had good conversation with strangers and it was a good start to the weekend.

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Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.15.38 PMOn Friday, I pampered myself with a manicure and pedicure.  Yes, you can get nice nail treatments here, gel on my fingers and regular polish on my toes.  It’s a little more expensive, usually ranging from $68 USD (250 QAR) and up for these services.

Then, Zamir and I went to brunch.  We tried Nozomi at the Pearl (335 QAR).  There is a small salad and sushi buffet. The sushi was good.  You can order 2 main dishes from the menu and a dessert as well as mocktails.  Our stomachs did not make it to dessert.  Afterwards we walked around the Pearl and made our way back home.

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The highlight of our fun filled weekend was Saturday.   We got up early and met up with my friend Sue and her son.  She was nice enough to go on this adventure with us and drive. We headed to the Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack.  Camel racing is a traditional sport of Qatar.  It was a cloudy day and we were praying that it wouldn’t rain.  Rain here means everything gets canceled.  Sue had read that the camel race at 6:30am then again at 9:30am until 1pm.  It was about an hour drive.

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You don’t see this in the U.S., Camel crossing. lol
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Camel underpass

We were shooting to be there by 9:30.  When we got there, after getting slightly lost, we saw trucks in the parking lots and camels walking across the lots.  Then out of no where, the trucks all headed toward a large screen on the outside of the track.  We followed the crowd, as there aren’t any instructions on what to do.  Then all of sudden everyone starting pulling off and the camels began trotting past.  I yelled for Sue to “GO!” and we got in line.  We drove amongst the Arabs speeding, and dodging each other, going in and out of traffic, some honking at their camels (not allowed btw), kids heads popping out of the tops of sunroofs, handsome men smiling and dare I say flirting with us through open windows, yelling “Yalla!”, watching the foamed mouthed camels running together with remote controlled jockeys on top, some whipping the camels.  It was such a rush and so much fun.

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But just as fast as it started, it was over and many of the trucks disappeared.  We were left wondering, what next?  We waited awhile and even checked out the bedouins nearby. Women fully covered were selling stuff out of tents.

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Then we left and hit the road.  It was still early so we decided to take a road trip to Zekreet. We were already pretty far West so Zekreet was within a 30 min drive.  Zekreet is a village in north-western Qatar near Dukhan and about 90 km northwest of Doha.  Here you can visit the beach and some other interesting sites.  Here is a list of things we did and saw along the way.

  • Murwab Fort- or what’s left of it
  • Zekreet Peninsula– Art in the Desert- East-West-West-East, 4 large, plates of iron, sticking out of the sand in the middle of no where

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  • Zekreet beach– we stopped here and enjoyed a picnic on the beach
  • Bir Zekreet– large, interesting, geological, rock formations, climb up and take pictures

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Me and Sue in the Desert
Sue and I

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  • Film City– replica of an antique Arabic village.  Some say it was built as a set for a movie.

After an 1.5 hour drive back to the city, we ordered Thai food.  My son and I ended our night by attending a Paint the Night event at Misk restaurant in the City Center Rotana hotel.

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The decor at this restaurant is very Moroccan and blue. Love it.

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We were exhausted by the time we reached home, but happy at all we had done.  Other expats have lived here for years and have never taken the journey to Zekreet.  This was one of my favorite weekends in Qatar, full and tiring.

Spring break is around the corner and I can’t wait.  Hubby is coming to visit, then Zamir and I are off to see more of the world.   We are going to EGYPT!  I am so excited, words can’t even explain!  Stay tuned…

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Another Great Brunch in Doha

They serve you everything and we were full before they even brought the main course out.

On Friday, Zamir and I went to Zengo for brunch. People were talking about it on Doha Foodies, so I decided to try it out.  Besides, they had Pan Asian dining and I was missing the Thai food from the Maldives and wanted more.  Zengo is located on the 61st floor of the Kempinski hotel in the Diplomatic area of Doha, around the corner from the City Center Mall.  I made reservations for us and explained my eating preference (no beef, chicken, or dairy products).  When we arrived, we were met by a young lady who by my name recognized me as no beef, no chicken.  We were seated by the window and the view is amazing. We could even see planes going in for landing at Hamad International Airport.

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I love the decor of the restaurant: spiral staircase inside of what looks to be a cage and blue (my favorite color) birds flying outside of the cage from the ceiling.

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I also love the lava rock looking dishes they serve the food on.  Here is the menu.

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It is brunch but they serve you rather than an open buffet.  (Which I prefer anyway) They serve you everything and we were full before they even brought the main course out.  The chef even altered some of the meals to suit my eating habits.  For instance, I was served pumpkin curry instead of chicken curry, shrimp kebabs instead of beef and vegetable fried rice instead of fried rice with chicken breast.  The food was really good.  I especially loved the shrimp rolls, crispy calamari and fried rice.  We didn’t particularly care for the vegetarian rolls because of the lemon gel or the salmon miso because I like my salmon cooked well but other than that we enjoyed everything else.  The service was great and the staff were very accommodating.   It is a lot of food.   Mocktails are also included in the brunch, which is a wonderful added touch.  The price is good at 250 QAR/pp.  I rate it 4/5 stars and I will be going back.

  Don’t these pictures make you hungry?