Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Doha, Qatar


Doha is the largest, and basically the only city in Qatar with over 80% of the country's population residing here. You wouldn't know it by looking at the downtown area though since all those buildings are empty. On closer look they aren't even complete. The city is rapidly expanding and attempting to host the World Cup in 2022. Good luck attracting the entire world to your 140 degree summer days, Qatar.


The Fanar Islamic Center. I didn't go inside.


This is one of the alleys of the Souq, basically a massive maze of street vendors and permanent small shops. The two ladies in the picture are dressed in the traditional fashion. The one with her entire face covered is adhering more to the custom than the one with her face showing. The female population here is a mix of no face showing, some face showing, and dressed in what we consider normal.


Here is a policeman and his patrol car.


This is inside one of the shops. The man is selling authentic silk rugs made by distinguished families throughout the Middle East. The one on the floor is made by a family in Iran. The larger silk rugs run about four thousand dollars. The small red one on top costs seven hundred. Buy one and indirectly fund terrorism!


Away from the Souq and more towards the downtown area we have a gigantic mall. Does it look familiar? Doha combined the world famous Bellagio with the world famous Venice to give you the lesser known Villagio. If you pretend enough, the ceiling actually looks like an evening sky - much more picturesque than the brown haze found outside.



This is another mall and not quite as fancy as the Villagio. It still has an ice skating rink at the bottom floor however.


This is a hotel on the outskirts of the city, complete with several pools, a hookah bar, and cigar bar. When we visited, the Hookah bar was closed and the pools were deserted. Maybe they heard we were coming.


The Doha skyline viewed from the hotel's private beach.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Limerick, Ireland


After landing in Shannon, Ireland we proceeded to board a bus and drive for forty five minutes to Limerick. All the speed limit signs were in kilometers and all the roads were narrow...making us narrowly avoid hitting oncoming traffic. We arrived at the Clarion Hotel around 4 am, just in time for the sun rise.


The hotel ended up having one of the best views in the entire city. Unfortunately we arrived right as one billing day was ending and another was for a total of fifteen hours in the city, we were billed for two days at the hotel. A grand total of 404.00. That equals 27 dollars an hour...2 of which I spent in the room.

Walking around aimlessly through the city led us to a river and a good view of this castle. This is the same castle that the Disney castle was modeled after. Just kidding.


In case you forgot...


Across the river, where according to a bartender, you die.


Limerick's noteworthy qualities:
Best / Freshest / Cheapest Guinness
Getting to stay in the tallest building in the city
River of Death

The fifteen hours spent here were short considering what awaited us - endless desert full of bomb-crazed cave dwellers.

Using the time travel mode on my camera I was able to take a picture of what Ireland looked like in the 1940s.