Whatever will I do with my time here? In addition to acing my classes, blogging for my family, playing basketball, singing in the musical, and working as a peer tutor, I want to travel in the region. Using Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula Travel Guide, I have compiled a list of all of the places I want to go and what I want to do while I am there. In the next 13 weeks I will try to go for depth of experience over breadth (and, vitally, give myself time to veg-out so I can process my experiences enough to enjoy my time here).
I’ve broken my list into 3 parts: 1) is full-day or weekend trips (anything outside of Doha), 2) the other is half-day trips, 3) trips I am not sure I want to take.
Outside of Doha:
- Jebel Jassassiyeh (rock carvings about 60km north of Doha, the earliest of which date from at around 4000 BC),
Why: because I think these carvings will give me an insight into how the Arabian peninsula developed that I cannot get just by reading histories (need an organized tour).
- Bir Zekreet,
Why: for its rock formations with camping and a fort nearby. I am related to some serious geology junkies and, having spent my formative years hiking for miles just to look at rocks, a habitual curiosity about rocks has stuck with me.
- Khor al-Adaid (an “inland sea”),
Why: because it looks beautiful and I would love to camp near the warm inland sea and maybe go sand skiing.
- Camel races at Al-Shahaniya,
Why: to see a sport that seems to mean so much to some men in the region.
- Mesaieed (an industrialized town north of Doha),
Why: its beaches have deep enough water to swim in and its “singing sands” sound lovely.
- Souq Waqif,
Why: for its spinners and cooking utensil s. I desperately need a mixing bowl and measuring cups and spoons. I love the idea that I can go to what was once a 19th century market to buy a mixing bowl.
- Qatar Natural History Group
Why: to meet Qatari history geeks (it might get lonely being the only history major in Education City) and go on weekend hikes around Qatar.
- A Dhow ride
Why: because Doha was primarily a pearling port for much of the 19th century, and I think riding a semi-historical boat can help me understand where Doha came from. Also, the view of the skyline from the middle of the bay is incredible.
- Qatar Weaponry Museum,
Why: I’m a bit of an old-tech geek and I am excited by the prospect of seeings its collection of fine gold swords (note: will need to make a special appointment).
- Museum of Islamic Art
Why: because I learned a lot when I visited there last year and want to explore its fiber-arts collection in greater depth. I may also use this trip as insight/research for my class on the historical relationship between Islam and Europe.
- Doha Fort (Ottoman Era Fort near Doha),
Why: for the experience of standing inside a Ottoman fort and because I loved the fort-feel of Winchester Castle in England and want to compare the two.
- Qatar National Museum,
Why: for its wedding room and weapons collection, and because I think the more Qatari museums I go to, the more likely it is I will learn something subversive and cool about the region (perhaps about a little-known female leader, like Zenobia of Syria).
- Doha Gold Souq,
Why: for the chance to see what a gold souq is like but not to buy anything–no one ever lost any money window shopping.
- Second-hand Market,
Why: I have the fantasy that I will be able to pick up some historic fiber-arts equipment. What can I say: old tech is fascinating, especially when its women’s old tech.
- Wholesale, Thursday/Friday, Omani and Animal and Bird Markets,
Why: for the experience of haggling for produce, and because I want to get the freshest fruit I can find.
Maybe (if feasible and with more information):
- A riding lesson at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club,
Why: because I’ll admit it, I have The Black Stallion on the brain.
Why not: The cost may be prohibitive.
- Taking a boat out on the bay with the Regatta Sailing Academy,
Why: to see if I still remember how to sail because I know I used to love it.
Why not: because I may not remember how to sail.
- Qatar Photography Museum (if completed),
Why: for a view of Qatar’s visual history, particularly early 20th century photographs.
Why not: it may not be built yet.
- Qatar National Library (if completed),
Why: because it is one of the oldest public libraries in the region and it was designed by a famous architect.
Why not: it may not be built yet.
- Al-Wakrah (a town near Doha),
Why: to see what Qatar outside of Doha is like and to visit their museum on local nautical history (I like small museums because they provide a local angle to national history).
- Umm Salal Ali (the location of Gulf grave mounds)
Why: I was fascinated by the burial mounds I saw in England and am curious to compare them to Gulf burial mounds.
Why Not: this would be a full day, weekend trip and I am not sure the mounds are enough motivation. I’ll need to ask around.
Why: for its small corniche, museum, watch tower, mangrove trees and gardens. This looks like a small, nice town–probably good to go with a group.
Why not: I am not sure being a nice town is enough for a full-day trip.
I am not listing visiting the Corniche because I think it is more a place to hang out than a place to visit (and I’ve already been there).
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux