Doha, Qatar

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Back in December, as part of my larger Middle East trip, I decided to take a long (1O hour) layover in Doha, Qatar to take advantage of a free city tour offered by Qatar Airways before continuing on to Jordan and the UAE.

I was thoroughly amazed at this unique and incredible city! Growing leaps and bounds before my eyes, it’s certainly the newest and sleekest city I’ve seen yet and has a lot of wealth, much like Dubai. It’s so very new that it also, in many ways, lacks the charm of a better weathered big city such as Tokyo or Shanghai.

Doha City

The Souq Waqif in Doha is one of the few remaining parts of the city to keep an authentic feel. In a city that’s under tremendous modernization and growth, it’s a nice spot that retains its historic charm. The souq is noted for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs.

Doha Souq

With some free time scheduled on my convenient free city tour, I managed to sample some of the local Arabic coffee at the Souq Waqif.

Coffee at the Souq Waqif

If you’re a Middle East novice like me, you’ve probably never heard of it either. It’s difficult to describe. Sort of like a mix of coffee and lemon tea served in an espresso size cup. Originating in Yemen, there seems to be a wide variety of flavor depending on who’s making it. When I tried “Arabic coffee” a week later in rural Jordan it was dark and thick, like the consistency of a hot chocolate and tasted wildly different (although just as, um, potent). It’s sometimes served like this with a tasty date (another thing I’d never tried but grew to enjoy).

Kyle in Doha

People asked me if I was nervous about visiting Qatar but I had no issues whatsoever though I was only there for less than 24 hours. However, I know some Americans who live there year round without issue so don’t let the media hype put you off visiting!

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