New Years Eve

Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
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Where I stayed

Flag of Qatar  ,
Thursday, December 31, 2009

The journey back from camp this morning was uneventful, with only a brief stop at a garage to put air back in our tires. We got back to our new hotel in Doha at 8:30am. We took our small suitcase inside and asked if it was too early to check in. They said "no problem" (nothing is a problem in Qatar) and checked us in. The bellboy even brought us champagne flutes filled with pineapple juice while we checked in.

Our hotel room is so nice we didn't want to leave it. We went to a Moroccan restaurant in Souq Waqif for lunch, then came back to the hotel for a swim in the pool. We were in at dusk and it was very cold outside. The pool is said to be warm in the winter and cooler in the summer but it was not warm enough for me! We didn't stay in for long because it was too cold.

We went back to the souq to do some souvenir shopping. We didn't do too well though. We have noticed that the Indians are the toughest people to bargain with. They will tell you the price, and then they will take 5 QAR off it, and that's the lowest they ever go. We tried out a few different tactics to try to get better prices, but we always ended up walking away. The Arabs are much better to bargain with and don't mind giving you a deal. Or else they mark up their prices more so you think you get one!

While shopping we were invited into a small booth by a young Indian gentlemen. There was an older Indian working there as well. The younger man was quite funny and dressed Wolfi in the traditional Arabian headdress, and me in a head covering and face veil! It was really funny. An Arab gentlemen came in while Wolfi had the headdress on and said he really liked it, and said no he needs the traditional white shirt (as they normally wear a long white shirt that goes to their ankles).

I found a couple things to buy from him and asked him how much. He asked if I wanted the face veil and headdress. Wolfi asked him where he is from and he answered "India". Wolfi replied "oh no, that means we won't get a good deal from you" and the two shop owners started laughing. He told me he would give me a 20% discount, regular 90 QAR but 80 QAR for me (that's 5 QAR off each item). Wolfi laughed and said "OK, 60". And the Indian laughed and said "no, sir" which is a reply we are very used to hearing. But Wolfi was persistent. He took out 60 QAR and tried to put it in the young man's hands. The man wouldn't let him though, and kept saying "no sir, no sir" but he was smiling. So Wolfi said "OK, because I really like you ..." and then took out 5 QAR and added it to the pile. Finally the man let Wolfi put the money in his hands and then he bagged my souvenirs. He said only because he likes us, and then asked our names and introduced himself.

We walked away very happy that we finally got a price we liked from any Indian shop owner. I have heard that the best thing to do in the souqs is interact with the shop owners but it is not always easy, especially when many of the owners in the souq don't speak much English. But it is a lot of fun trying and I am going to miss our visits to the souq. Tomorrow we leave for Bahrain, so our last opportunity will be a brief one in the morning before our flight.

It is New Years Eve and we are back at the hotel. We celebrated by having caramel cream frappes in the souq. It is still early but neither of us feel much like going to a party. I think it would be interesting when there is no alcohol but we are going to stay in, relax, watch some movies and catch up on our sleep.

Happy New Year everyone! Have a wonderful 2010!
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Comments

TL on

this looks like a nice place!

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