I'm blogging on a school night. At this point in our lives here, this is kind of a big deal. I already uploaded the pictures a couple days ago, so all I have to do now is string a few sentences together, right? But after a day of teaching and attending a TESOL conference, even that may be a bit of a challenge!
Here we goooooo...
Friday night, two Fridays ago, was our first ever Doha date night. Our friends Larissa and Darren watched Kaiya for the evening so that Mr. and Mrs. Epp could finally go out alone. It was wonderful. I was giddy with excitement. After some hemming and hawing (sp???) we decided to go to Katara, a sort of cultural village right by the water. Watch the intro on their website. It's very worth it. Gives you a good feel for the place and what it offers.
It was pretty smoking hot, enough that I finally ditched the scarf covering my shoulders. But honestly, I've seen so many knees and shoulders out and about in this country, I'm really starting to wonder. We had a simple plan: walk around, checking out the very cool new/old style buildings, eat at one of the many great restaurants, and then take in the photography exhibition on Indonesia.
This is where we were first dropped off. There was a "cupcakery," a cafe, and then the "Friday mosque."
We noticed groups of expats coming out of the mosque, with women fully covered in black abayas, so we're assuming they do tours of the mosque. And you can bet we'll do that one day.
This is the massive archway leading to the even more massive amphitheater.
A funky stitched-together shot of the impressive amphitheater. The things Jeff can do with his iphone, I tell you...
At 5:30pm the beach officially "closes," but the security guards will allow you into this one section. (This country has a bit of an obsession with its security guards.) On the right you see the stalls they have set up. Very cool. The stalls had a variety of artists, local and not. We will go back one day for some beautiful and colourful art that was a fantastic mix of Indian/Qatari.
They had these really great curtained gazebos all along the beach. Inside were cushioned seats, and the curtains swayed beautifully in the breeze. We sat in one long enough to take this picture. :) So romantic, I know. When the cooler weather comes, perhaps we'll sit a bit longer...
Notice the bit about the "unruly behaviour." :) We made sure not to do any of that!
We finally settled on a Turkish restaurant. It had the most amazing ambiance. The whole restaurant was in a series of air-conditioned tents. (They are those white things in behind me) The lighting was dim, the music soft, and the waiters helpful and friendly. We both ordered the pricey set menu and ended up with enough food for an entire second dinner the next day. But we figured we were celebrating: my birthday, our anniversary, and "Phew! We made it through the first month!" So a splurge was in order. Don't worry, mom. We'll make sure to save a little money too. I loved smelling the shisha all around me. I'm not usually a fan of second-hand smoke, but all the different shisha flavours smell so good!
This is the Turkish restaurant from the outside. We sat on the right side by the window.
I dragged Jeff over to these guys after we left the restaurant. They were cooking street meat, in the super hot heat (yes, that rhymes ridiculously). It smelled amazing, but of course we were pretty stuffed. Next time.
And this is the view we sat gazing at while in our tented Turkish restaurant. I believe the hotel on the far left is the Intercontinental, where we spent that really great day back in August.
Unfortunately, we missed out on the photography exhibit. When we first walked by it, the security guard said it was open till midnight. (I know that sounds late, but in this country, not so much). But when we came by after our two-and-a-half hour dinner, they were closed. The security guard then told us it was only open till nine. (Again, not so strange here, but disappointing nonetheless). But it was still a great night, and I know we'll be back again... perhaps sooner rather than later. We heard they have a Latin festival happening for a couple of weeks in October. Now THAT should be interesting. Will we be drinking margaritas and breaking out the merengue? Perhaps no. But we will certainly go and find out!