I really enjoyed my time in Qatar, as I mentioned in my in-depth post about my trip to Thailand.
Okay, maybe “time” isn’t the right word – more like 24 hours.
Regardless, I’m continuously fascinated in general by the Middle East. For those of you who have been around a while, you’ll remember my trip to Istanbul I took back in 2016. I thoroughly enjoyed it, apart from the fact that the airport got bombed 24 hours after I arrived and I spent the rest of the trip on pins and needles.
I tell you though, you can get some fantastic deals and experiences, even if you just stop over for a day or two.
For example, with the round-trip business class tickets on Qatar Airways, I got a free night at the Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels (5-star) for free.
They’ve since adjusted that price to be a whopping $23 for the stay.
I could have also picked any number of other 5-star hotels, such as the Intercontinental or the Hilton, all which look nothing short of stunning.
I really enjoyed Doha. I wouldn’t go back, as there’s simply not enough to do, but I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if I had to spend another layover there. In addition, it’s continued to make me interested in taking some more trips to the Middle East, as I’ve definitely got my eye on the very similar Oman Air deal to have a long layover in Muscat (maybe next year if I decide to return to Asia).
Anyways, here’s 3 quick thoughts on Doha, Qatar from my 24 hours spent there.
1. Qatar Is Brand-Spankin’ New vs. Classically Old
If you walk through the Souq Waqif (old town square, you could say) in Doha…and then walk along the Corniche (the waterfront walkway/promenade) to the modern downtown, you’d honestly think that you got on a plane and went to a different country.
Look no further than the photo above and the one below to illustrate that.
There’s so much money floating around Qatar, it’s nothing short of incredible. The airport is probably the nicest one I’ve ever been in. Their business class product (QSuites) is nothing short of over-the-top. The lounges in the airport resemble a private mansion than an airport.
The actual city itself is no exception.
The downtown area is completely devoid of bums, trash, or anything that makes you think of a typical “downtown”, cityscape environment. It’s more akin to being on a foreign planet that you only see in the movies, like Wall-E or Xandar if you want to bring out the Marvel references.
2. No Qatari People Work
Honestly, I don’t think I had a single interaction with an actual Qatari person in my entire 24 hours.
Taxi driver from the airport to the hotel? Indian.
Hotel staff? Mostly Kenyan.
Taxi driver from downtown to Souq Waqif? Iraqi.
Server at the Iraqi restaurant we ate at (delicious)? Iraqi.
Taxi driver from hotel to airport? Pakistani.
Everyone working for Qatar Airways? Everything but Qatari.
Not saying they’re lazy or anything of the sort, simply making the observation that there’s so much money floating around that there just isn’t a need to have any locals working in low-end jobs. They’re just importing people by the boatload to take these jobs. From what I hear, sometimes the pay isn’t too bad (airlines), but at the same time, there’s the whole “slaves building the World Cup stadiums” issue.
3. The Middle East Will Rule The World…
You take one step into an airport in the Middle East and you realize how far behind America is.
What’s our nicest international terminal?
Tom Bradley at LAX?
And while it’s nice, it’s still a disaster to get anywhere else in that airport. Heaven forbid you have an international connection of less than two hours. You might as well just plan on being late.
Then, look at our airports in other major cities…
Chicago is a dump.
I haven’t been to JFK for a while, but I wasn’t much to write home about. I’ve never heard a nice thing said about LaGuardia.
Maybe SFO isn’t too bad, and Seattle was nice when I flew from Canada to California, but other than that, I have a hard time thinking of any American airport where I’d enjoy spending an afternoon willingly.
Then, you look at downtown areas like in San Francisco, where nearly 30,000 turds a year are being dropped on the streets.
But you know, ‘Murica.
We are so laughably far behind countries in the Middle East and China as far as infrastructure, cleanliness, and more.
I doubt I’ll be alive to see us ever catch up.
Keep causing trouble,
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