Have you created your bucket list of places to go and have written down particular reasons why those places? Well my travel bucket list includes visiting every continent for starters (4 down 3 to go) then of course going to every major track and field event until my son is old enough to compete professionally and then…. I’ll keep going. 🙂 I’ve traveled to several World Championships, Olympics, Commonwealth Games and a few other relays and invitationals over the years. Fun fact my first Olympic Games was in 2004 in Athens so I’m not knew to this, been here for a minute 😉 …. With the Corona Virus making everything come to a screeching halt I won’t be able to take the journey to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics but lets see how the next 14 months go as it relates to deciding if I want to re-book.
But lets talk about Doha! This place has brought me great memories. When I first decided to go, I knew I had to plan the trip that would make sense for me. FYI, If you’re gonna travel that far, one thing is for sure , with a 22 hr+ flight you MUST fly business or first class to stay comfortable, which means it’s best to plan your trip no less than 9 months out to get the best airline prices or perhaps save the money you need to have a great time. Qatar Airways was a stellar flight going and coming back. Of course, what made my planning easier was the fact that I communicated with close friends, loved ones and personal connections in the track world to find out anything I needed including where to stay and having proximity to them so that we could all hang out and spend quality time together was prime!. But of course that was NOT the main reason for going half way around the world. I wanted a chance to see MY country’s flag hoisted high in what I predicted to be possibly 2 gold medals (1 for 2) ain’t bad, we jammin still!
Surprisingly Doha was not as expensive as I thought it would be. It was actually average. One USD$ is equal to $3.64 Qatari Rial . The price of fruits, gold and jewelry weren’t bad either but because everything was so affordable you could easily find yourself overspending so you have to pace yourself and put yourself on a daily budget if you want to enjoy each day equally. I visited popular places to shop and gather like Souq Wakif and Katara Cultural Village. It was like something out of ALADDIN, the movie, so rich in culture. I bought trinkets for family and friends, a keepsake bracelet to share with my S/O and gifts for my work team. The architectural details of every building was just gorgeous and opulent. I don’t know if I could live in Doha but I’d definitely visit again. The weather made for a very interesting time. Walking even 10 steps made you drown in your own sweat so to see Sheikhs and other Qatari people dressed tight from head to toe without breaking a sweat had me thrown!
My favorite place of excitement is the stadium. The roars of the crowds, the smell of victory and defeat, the energy, the competitiveness of each athlete, I’m here for it all. I adore track and field so much that it’s only fitting that I spend time with the sport I admire so much. Visiting Khalifa Stadium was one of the biggest highlights of my trip. My only disappointments were the poor crowd attendance (considering the tickets were so cheap), the lack of alcohol and the long walks to and from the pick up points. But the rest, OMG… it was truly amazing. I was like a kid in the candy store, nervous and filled with excitement as I watched my friends and loved ones compete….from the first race, the 100 meters to the last relay, my heart was beating out of my chest especially for my Bahamian track family. I have a war wound on my chin from jumping like a kangaroo while cheering Shaune Miller Uibo on. LOL I made sure I chose great seats to be in the thick of the action. I was able to wave, yell, cheer and shout for my favorites and of course co-mingle with other persons cheering on their favorites and family members. I met parents, neighbors and agents of some athletes . It was an awesome experience. seeing everyone laughing together as we cheered for “our peeps”.
THE CULTURE EXPERIENCES & EXCURSIONS
Qatari people are very conservative. I’ll admit, when I was doing my research about the place , I’d reached out to some of my track family who had competed there before to find out what to expect…. by the end of each conversation I figured I’d need to wear a burka, turtle neck, long sleeves, don’t smile, always keep my head down and stay behind the men! LOL smh it was far from what I expected. Although, as I said earlier it been conservative there, I was still able to feel comfortable as a made a fashionable appearance each day. There still were some cultural norms I had to respect like:
- when in public keep arms covered
- don’t wear anything revealing, tight or above the knee
- keep your head covered when entering the mosques
- don’t expect alcohol to be purchased from anywhere publicly
There were a few other important facts and rules that I had to follow but overall it wasn’t too hard to adjust to. During my adventures there I was able to sight see all across Doha. I experienced a city tour, crossed through a desert, drove over sand dunes, rode a camel and held a n Eagle, visit a few mosques, the museum of Islamic art, Aspire Park, checked out the Pearl Island, dune buggy-ed, and although a lot of time didn’t permit, I was still able to spend quality time with the people I love, hanging out at roof top bars, walking through the markets and just lounging. Considering the hotel district was in one big circle that made it easy to connect with everyone.
There’s so much more to share, but I’ll keep some memories just for me. 🙂 If you’re headed to DOHA make sure do your research, plan early and wisely, take someone with you for the fun and for the memories and enjoy every second of the maybe 10 day trip. SALAAM!