Day 5 Tue 21 Feb 2006
Up for breakfast at 8am, and then rang a few local tour operators. I want to do an overnight desert trip, I tried a few in the LP, the first isn't doing any tours, the next may be able to do an overnight tour tomorrow. The LP map is wrong about the location of the company, they are just around the corner from my hotel. So I'm going to walk up to see what sort of deal I can do.
I thought it might be a good idea to have some cash (I'm more likely to get a discount on the tour), there are three banks opposite the hotel. I enter the first and show a travellers cheque, "No sir, sorry, but the bank next door will change that". Okay, so I pop next door. "Sorry no foreign exchange, try next door". Hmmm! So I head next door. Three guesses? Yup, sod this for a game of soldiers, I'll pay by credit card.
I find "Gulf Tours" with no problems, but it seems that the overnight tour has been booked by a single family group, and they might not like a single "hanger on" as it were. I've signed up for the day trip, and they are going to attempt to contact the family to see if I can join them. I will ring later to find out. Used the Internet cafe downstairs to e-mail home.
Back to the hotel to dump some stuff, and then head out to see Doha Fort, trouble is that it's shut and padlocked. Walked down to the Clock Tower (the clock is stopped, telling everyone it's ten to twelve. No one believes it.) Caught a taxi to the big City Center Doha shopping mall, did lunch and found but didn't buy a pair of nice Puma shoes. Spent an hour or so window shopping, and then entered the huge Carrefour supermarket - I wonder if they will have any Pocari Sweat?
Oh Joy, they do! I purchase six cans as well as some bread, cheese and chocolate. All the basic food groups! Then back to the hotel. I rang Gulf Tours to find out if I can do the overnight - but the answer is no.
Out again, and walked the entire length of the Corniche - about 5km! After that I got a taxi back to the hotel.
Doha is a city being built, I guess a bit like Dubai was maybe 5/10 years ago? But where Dubai has dhow's unloading on the creek, a stones throw from the spice souq, Doha has none of that history (or at least I can't find it) There isn't an old part of Doha, it's all modern, or just been reclaimed from the sea. Doha in 10 years time will be a very different place.