Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Doings in Doha

Thursday is Qatar National Day, marking the independence of Qatar from British colonialism. I think. Apparently the original Qatar Independence Day was September 3, but that has been done away with last year and now we celebrate National Day. Anyhoo...

Now, Doha is a city rising out of the desert. It's constantly in flux, old buildings being torn down and new glorious ones coming up in their place. It is rising in prominence in the region and, slowly, in the world. Since we arrived in late March I've seen a tremendous amount of change, but not on this scale.

Doha is being transformed right before my very eyes. New Qatari flags are flying on every streetpole. Almost every median, particularly those on the corniche (which flanks the bay) have been replanted with new landscaping including bright flowers, many of them using white and deep red, the colors of the flags. Huge flags drape over buildings and semi-trucks. And then there's this:

and this:

Each night this week there is a fabulous light show going on along the waterfront. Thursday night will also bring a water show and fireworks the likes of which I've never seen (or so they promise). I am hoping to convince Hubby to brave the crowds and take a picnic down and watch the show.

Then today, as the kids and I were driving downtown, we spotted about 10 traditionally dressed men riding camels. Now, occasionally you'll see a camel here or there out in the middle of nowhere or, yes, even riding in someone's pickup truck (in the bed, not the cab!!), but in the middle of downtown??? Got to be something to do with all the celebrations. I'll let you know if I find out.

I'm excited to be here for all the excitement. There's plenty of activities going on, so we will see what we can take in. Hubby will be on vacation for 9 days starting on Thursday, so we are hoping to get to experience Qatar like tourists for the first time. Should be fun!


Debbie said...

How interesting to learn about this part of the world. Loved seeing the photos too. I can't imagine camels in a city like this. I hope you take more pictures if you get to participate in any of the celebrations. You bring a new world to us; keep sharing.

ValleyGirl said...

Oooo, I hope you'll share pictures! Sounds like it should be fun!!

Elizabeth said...

Those pictures are beautiful!

Melissa said...

The city looks absolutely beautiful. It's very interesting to learn about what is going on half a world away. I am sure it is hard for the kids to totally appreciate, but I do hope they can take as much in of it as they can.

Erica said...

Wow, that looks really cool with the lights on the corniche. Wish I could have seen it in person.

Stacy said...

Very neat pictures!

This Christmas, besides celebrating the birth of our Savior, we are celebrating my bff's heart transplant which took place on Monday.


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