Friday, May 29, 2009

Chaptette 7: Null Set

I awoke this morning with much on my mind. Better go for a long, leisurely, bike ride to nowhere. This time, no goals, no "nice" numbers, just riding. I didn't even peek at the bike's display panel.

Much. (64.45 minutes at an average speed of 27.6K/H)

Afterwards, lacking the normal vices, I decided to lie out by the pool (it was only about 8.30 a.m.) without any sunblock. I sneer at you, behavioral risk!

Several years ago, at a routine physical exam, I made this pitch to my doctor: "Hey, look, when I was a kid I played lots of tennis, worked on a farm, and served as a lifeguard. I'm sure I've been exposed to 98 percent of the sun that I'll see in my life. At this point, do I really need to worry about sunblock?"

What she said: "Yes."
What I heard: "Don't be a moron."

When we were at The Ritz yesterday, I decided to check out the pool scene there. When I got here, I had fantasies about walking to the beach every morning, going for a little swim, and just enjoying the waves. Yes, that is a fantasy. Even though Doha is on the Gulf, there are no good public beaches here, so if you want the beach experience you buy a day pass from one of the luxury hotels and use their beach/pool. So I had a good reason to check it out. The pool area was glorious: waterfalls, flowers, little reflecting pools, palm trees, and pretty much what you might expect that Brangelina might expect. My synapses really started crackling when I discovered that there were women not wearing veils and drinks not poured from fruit juice bottles. Exit stage left. Besides, it costs 250QR (about $70). That seemed like too much to get wet.

Afterward, Craig and I went to the City Centre Mall: that's where the ice skating rink and a movie theater are. No Qataris were skating, perhaps because they all wear sandels (men) or shoes (women), without socks. Only one Arabic movie was showing, and it didn't have subtitles. I didn't want to see any of the US films (yes, ALL the other 8 or so movies were from the US) so I read and walked around until he got out.

Random Facts:

1. City Centre is to Villagio what Dollar Store is to Gucci.

2. All Qataris wear black (women) and white (men). A few women were fully covered (veils, gloves) with no body parts visible at all. A few more wore face scarves with holes for the eyes. Most wore headresses with exposed faces. All the men wear the long white shirt and white headresses with black ties, but there is an infinite variety in their exact cut and style: I assume that Qataris can determine status differences from such things.

3. The easily-identifiable Americans looked just like they do back home: sloppy.

4. I've never been in a place where it is SO obvious who is native and who is not. Even at football games at Razorback stadium, at least SOME locals don't wear Hog hats.

5. I bought a camera.

6. Smoking is allowed. It's now hard for me to believe, but US malls used to be filled with smoke, too. How easily our definition of what is "normal" can change.

7. You can make facts up and post them on the internet. It's easy to do!

I'm thinking of all my family and friends today, and I'm missing them.


  1. Okay, so are you implying that you are making up facts and posting them on the internet? Tongue in cheek? Why didn't you go ice skating--It sounds so refreshing considering the ambient temps. outside....and I, for one local, never,ever, and will, never, ever, where a hog hat anywhere (I do keep one of my dad's baseball style Razorback hats, dirt and sweat stained that I snitched a few years ago to shade my eyes for the drive back to Florida, but that does not count for the one I know you are referring to). It is good to know that when I was in Japan in 1977 homesick as all get out that it was not an age related thing, just the result of being somewhere very foreign for awhile.... 'tis normal and healthy to miss loved and cherished ones. lee ann

  2. I think I'm remembering now....did you go to Kansai Gaidai in 1977? I went in 1978......

  3. I know this is a post from last years trip but might I still suggest a little pampering and R&R courtesy of the Ritz Carlton ?!

    You see this year they added a new position to their employee portfolio – “ Tanning Butler “, that’s right, you read correctly - “ Tanning Butler “. Their job is to rub, lather, massage varieties of creams, oils and spf’s on you and your skin, not to mention fluff your towel pillow and refresh your cocktail !

    I would say well worth the $70 USD, although it is questionable whether this exists at the Doha location, I feel it is your duty to report on your findings - post sun and rum of course ;)