Welcome to reading Shaking N Baking from Doha, Qatar! I arrived on Saturday, June 11in the early evening after a 20 hour travel adventure from California!
The flight from Washington, DC to Doha was on Qatar Airways and I must say….WOW! Qatar Air really knows how to have their passengers travel in style (even us economy travelers). The seats are spacious, food was good, included a mid-flight service of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream even! I was trying to adjust to Doha time so I stayed awake for the entire 12 hour flight and caught up on several movies (4 to be exact!). The flight attendants were cute young men that were incredibly polite and more like waiters in a high-class restaurant with their customer service attitude. The guy that was waiting on my section of the plane even took time to chat with me about the dinner selections, my reasons for traveling and our new store…even promised to visit because “there aren’t really any good cupcakes in Doha now.”
The culture was immediately noticed upon stepping off the plane. The men in thobes and women in abayas were everywhere in the airport. Going through immigrations was a breeze. I found it a bit funny that the woman processing my visa asked me about having a husband three times…asking me if I was traveling with my husband (no, just me), when he would be joining me (I don’t have a husband), and then telling me that I should have brought my husband with me (I would have if I had one!). This exchange was quite a “Welcome to Qatar, you’re a woman” experience, yet in a sweet way.
We (meaning Lindsay and I) found the people that were waiting for us at the airport after gathering our luggage and just a bit of a wait (our plane was a bit early)…and being oogled at by the male drivers waiting for others. We both felt a little uncomfortable with all the stares, but tried not to let it affect our excitement. The people that brought us to our villa are all very sweet and kind people….fast friends!
We were shown our new home, and assigned our rooms. I’m on the top/third floor. 50 marble steps lead to my room….built in stair-master! I’m also on the same level as our rooftop terrace. It’s quite nice and our villa, while not as good in some things (the internet connection is poor), is great in others. The best news so far has been that the air conditioner in our villa works great! It runs almost 24 hours a day! I’m still adjusting and trying to figure out where I want to put everything and how everything works. (What is that hose next to the toilet and how does it work!?)
After a bit of a slight panic about my carry-on luggage (being left in our driver’s car, but fairly quickly returned), we unpacked a bit but then went to bed. I had heard my first Muslim call to prayer, breathed my first dust-filled breaths and exclaimed with joy just how blessed I am to be here in Doha.
More soon…including some photos!