Saturday, December 26, 2009

My tour of Qatar hotels continues.

The Ramada wins top marks due to it's internet connection.  Very fast and reliable.  I can finally post some pictures.

Here are some camels.  We see a lot of camels wandering around.  You can also see the mobile phone tower - the generator for this runs constantly.

However, without it, we'd have no cell phones.

But the constant humming may drive us insane.

Is connectivity all that important? Really?

This is my tent.  Well, the left hand third is mine.  I enter through the left-most door.

See how the upper edge of this photo is purple?  My camera is dying.  It just keeps getting worse and worse and now most of my photos are just purple blurs.

This is the inside of my tent.  (Actually, the layout has changed since I developed a leak in the corner right above the pillow.  But now my camera is refusing to talk to me.)

It *IS* usually cleaner, but I was packing for the Eid trip when I remembered I needed to take photos.  That's my clothing on the bed.  It then took me how many weeks to figure out how to shrink my photos down to the size where they might be able to be posted on-line?  Hush, I don't want to talk about it.

Our toilet block.  We share it with all the visitors to the fort.

What fort? you ask.

This is the fort - if you haven't seen it yet.

It looks all big and impressive, but that canon sitting out in front is a regular sized canon sitting right in front of it.  The door is rather small, most tourists duck when they go through it.  It is NOT a big fort.

The inside of that toilet block pictured above.  You put your used toilet paper in the trash can.  Not down the toilet.  This is the old toilet - there was no u-bend so the water would rush back into the pipes after we flushed and the smell was profound.  We now have a new toilet.  Which looks exactly the same.  But doesn't smell!  Yay!  You can't see in this photo, but there is a pipe sticking out of the wall that is our shower.  Yes, we shower in the loo.

You have no idea how nice it is to have the toilet fixed so it doesn't smell.

Then we go and stay somewhere like the Sharq....

The bedroom and the bathtub in the bathroom were very nice.

But I'm typing this up from the best internet connection I've had so far - in the Ramada Hotel.  The Ramada also has the REAL swim up bar (which my roommate and I discovered almost immediately after jumping into the water an hour after we arrived).  And although the rooms are rather 80's styled, we've decided this is the best hotel we've stayed in.  The water in the pool is 31 C/ 87 F!  Of course, it's only 24 C/ 75 F outside, so you really do need the heated water...

My 80's room.

So we spent Christmas lounging by the pool, drinking beer and opening presents.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a late check out so that I can get a few more hours in by the pool...

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Qatar is a country of extremes..."

said one of the archaeologists here.  And boy was she spot on.

For Eid we were given two nights in a very swanky resort.  Very swanky.  My roommate, the girl who intoned the quote above in reverent tones as we pondered our existence on the balcony, was later rather ill from overeating lobster for lunch.  This after we'd stuffed ourselves on fois gras (spelling anyone?) the lunch before.  We seriously over ate.  And did not drink a single drop of alcohol, even though there was a happy hour every night.  Too busy trying to digest while lying on feather beds trying to gear up to take ANOTHER BATH.

I managed to bathe three times in one day, one of those I did in milk and honey.  In the biggest bath tub EVER!  I was able to float on my back in it.  FLOAT.  On my BACK.  In MILK and HONEY and BUBBLES and ROSE PETALS.

It's a lot easier to float, by the way, if you've eaten ridiculous amounts of fattening goose liver.

The week after this luxurious weekend found us frantically digging a trench in the pouring rain trying to divert water from the parking lot, which was channelling directly into the tents, back out into the desert.  We were wet for days.  I had a leak in the corner of my tent and had to rearrange the room so that nothing was getting dripped on.  I've now added the extra blankets to my bed, the nights are rather cold.

This does not mean we haven't had a camel spider sighting in a while.  Oh no, one of the guys had one crawling up his leg while he was in BED.  But, as the guys in the tent point out, they've had Qataris, Japanese, scorpions and cats wander into their tent, why not camel spiders?

Fridays are great for tourists to come out and photograph themselves by our tents.  "And this is me standing by the Pakistani army tent in the desert in Qatar, because I've stupidly come to the conclusion that tents = bedouin and I'm not going to ask permission of the white people sitting over there staring at me because they are obviously only tourists too even if they come over and yell at me for going in and having a look around."

I don't know how many times I'm going to have to march up to someone and say "excuse me but this is my HOME and you can't go into it!"

I WAS going to upload some images, but the internet is too slow.  Our hotel you'll have to look up online: Sharq Hotel Doha and I'll have to find some other solution for the images I've taken of the camp.

Till then!