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My Unforgettable Visit to Doha, Qatar

Cultural and Dining Delights

By Anthony ChanPublished about a month ago 4 min read
My Visit to the Souq

My visit to Doha, Qatar, was filled with new experiences, cultural immersion, and cherished family moments. My daughter and son-in-law had moved there after he secured a position as a government lawyer. My daughter, also a lawyer, found work in the private sector. Their relocation offered me the perfect excuse to embark on an exciting and exploratory adventure to the Middle East.

The anticipation of exploring a new part of the world was only matched by my excitement to see my granddaughter, whom I had missed dearly. When I arrived at Hamad International Airport, I felt warmth and hospitality. My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter were waiting for me with broad smiles and open arms. The reunion was heartwarming, and I knew I was in for a memorable stay.

One of the highlights of my trip was seeing camels up close. Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by these majestic creatures. My family arranged a visit to a local zoo where I got my first glimpse of a camel. They were even more magnificent in person, with their gentle, curious eyes and towering presence. But the real thrill came when we attended a camel racing event. The energy in the air was palpable as the camels lined up at the starting line. The race was exhilarating, and I was captivated by the speed and grace of the camels as they galloped down the track.

My Son-In-Law with My Granddaugher at Local Zoo

Spending time with my granddaughter was an absolute treat. She had grown so much since I last saw her, and we bonded over shared stories and playful activities. Watching her eyes light up as she discovered new things was one of the most rewarding parts of my visit. We spent hours together exploring parks, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company.

In addition to family time, I was eager to learn about the local customs and cuisine. Many had warned me about the no pork dining rules in Qatar, but as someone who never had a strong preference for pork, I found the culinary experience exciting and refreshing. The variety of flavors and dishes available was incredible. I indulged in local favorites like matchbooks, a spiced rice dish with tender meat, and hares, a creamy wheat and meat dish. The blend of spices and textures was unlike anything I had tasted before, and each meal felt like an adventure for my taste buds.

My First Dining Experience in Doha

Navigating the local regulations regarding alcohol was another intriguing aspect of my visit. In Qatar, only tourists and expatriates can drink liquor in restaurants linked to hotels. This meant I had to carry my passport whenever we dined out if I wanted to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail. It was a unique experience, and I appreciated learning about and respecting local laws and customs.

My trip took place after the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, and I had to bring proof of vaccination to board the plane and enter many public places, such as malls and dining establishments. Qatar's strict adherence to these protocols was impressive. It was fascinating to see how meticulously they managed public health measures to limit the spread of the virus. I made no judgments and followed the rules, understanding the importance of these precautions to protect the safety of their residents.

One of the most enriching parts of my stay was the deep dive into Qatari culture. From visiting the stunning Museum of Islamic Art, which showcased the rich heritage and history of the Islamic world, to strolling through the vibrant Souq Waqif, where traditional markets offered a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells, I was immersed in the local way of life. The souq was particularly enchanting, with its maze of shops selling everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and falcons. Watching the sale of many live animals (e.g., chickens, rabbits, ducks, turtles, and many others) was super exciting.

Souq: Live Turtles

Spending time with my family in such a culturally rich environment brought us closer. We shared countless moments of joy and discovery, deepening our bond. My granddaughter’s laughter, my daughter’s stories about her work, and my son-in-law’s insights into Qatari law and governance painted a vivid picture of their lives in Doha.

As my visit ended, I reflected on the unique experiences and memories I had gathered. The blend of family time, cultural exploration, and personal discovery made this trip unforgettable. I felt a profound connection to my family and a newfound appreciation for a distant culture. The warmth and hospitality of the Qatari people, coupled with the excitement of new experiences, left an indelible mark on my heart.

Leaving Doha, I was filled with gratitude and longing. I couldn’t wait to return, but I also understood that this experience was singular and memorable. It was a journey that combined the joy of reuniting with loved ones, the thrill of exploring a new land, and the richness of cultural immersion. While I look forward to future visits, I know this trip was a unique chapter in my life that will be difficult to replicate but will never be forgotten.

family travel

About the Creator

Anthony Chan

Chan Economics LLC, Public Speaker

Chief Global Economist & Public Speaker JPM Chase ('94-'19).

Senior Economist Barclays ('91-'94)

Economist, NY Federal Reserve ('89-'91)

Econ. Prof. (Univ. of Dayton, '86-'89)

Ph.D. Economics

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    Anthony ChanWritten by Anthony Chan

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