Get used to a lot of posts about shopping. Shopping is probably this nation's #1 past time. The folks here love their malls... and there are so many to choose from. Jeff's school has set up drivers for all of us newbies for every night of the week... to go shopping. We don't go every night because it's just too exhausting. With jet lag, by the time 7:30 comes around, we're pretty much ready for bed. Never mind the fact that we have to drag Kaiya through all of the shopping... Kaiya, whose bed time used to be 8:00pm. Qatar has changed all that! These days, we're lucky if she gets in bed by ten.
But tonight we were up for the challenge. It's Thursday, after all, the Middle East's equivalent to our Friday, and so we were ready to get up and get out. Especially since the destination was City Center Mall, located, believe it or not, in the center of Doha. :) The mall is amazing, and overwhelming (I've used that word a lot this past week, haven't I?) It goes up four, maybe five stories, with halls of stores spreading off in every direction. I lost count of the many escalators and elevators, and I started experiencing some serious vertigo on the top floor, looking down to the hustle and bustle below. We're just lucky we found our way back to the driver through the maze of people and stores.
Here's a collection of some sights we experienced tonight:
Kaiya and Jeff hanging out in some random tent that was inside the mall.
Kaiya and I by the skating rink in the middle of the mall. You can look down onto this skating rink from each floor of the mall.
Kaiya meeting the characters of the show Freej. I saw this show once when I stayed with Darren and Larissa in Doha last June for 10 days. Even though Kaiya has never seen the show, she was completely enchanted.
She insisted we meet each and every one of the characters... It was so funny to see all the people come running to meet the characters, dragging their often crying, frightened children along to take some snapshots. We saw one Qatari woman whip out a huge Nikon SLR from under her abaya to take some shots.
Shopping for basics in yet another Carrefour. It was 9 o'clock by this time, and the mall came alive! During Ramadan, the shops are all closed till 7:30pm. But then, the later it gets, the crazier it gets. Thankfully, we were still awake enough to enjoy the buzz of all the excitement. When we left the mall at 9:45, swarms and swarms of people were just coming in. I asked our driver, "Do Qataris ever sleep?" And he just laughed. "Maybe around 5 in the morning, maam, they go to sleep."
Jeff getting more produce weighed at the "weighing point."
The number of checkouts is kind of unbelievable, and they all were a-buzzing.
I like this advertisement... always makes me smile.
One view from the outside of the mall, as we waited for our driver to appear among the masses of cars.
There were cars and people everywhere. All the drop-off points to the mall were overcrowded, so cars just randomly stopped on the side of the busy street to let off passengers.
My favourite picture from the night... the impressive entrance to City Center Mall.
We do intend to get back to our normal schedules one day, really we do. But as long as it's Ramadan, it's late night a-shopping we will go!