Notes on Trip to CMU-Q (Doha)

3 odd things I saw:

-Starbucks, Monsoon (a British retailer), Burger King and Pizza Hut signs in Arabic.
-Lots of sail motifs and photographs around our hotel—turns out the entire thing is shaped like a sail.
-Architecture which is all about latices—either actual functional lattices to mediate the sun while allowing for maximum natural light, or lattice motifs carved/molded into buildings.

3 odd things I heard:

-A “family day” on Fridays at the mall. Single men are not allowed to go shopping alone on Fridays (I don’t know if this rule is for the one mall we visited or for the entire country). This rule is designed to give women a peaceful day to go shopping without being harassed by single men in the mall (Commentary after I leave the country).
-Western music, the theme song of Shrek, playing during breakfast at my Swiss hotel
-A lower exchange rate for exchanging $20 vs $100 bills—very odd.

3+ odd things I thought/felt

-The hypermart (Carrefor) was very Walmart, with lots of Western men’s and women’s magazines. Favorite item spotted: Aesops fairy-tales in English next to Barney in Arabic.
-I felt a familiar sensation when I saw immigrant workers squatting by a wall near a construction site, taking a drink of water. They looked so similar to the men who wait outside of Home Depot for jobs every morning.
-Pedestrians are not so safe and definitely do not have the right of way.

Notes on Food:

-I ate nuts (pistachios, almonds and what tasted like salted pumpkin seeds) and fresh-cut fruits for breakfast in the hotel. The nuts were held in 18-inch tall glass latch-lock jars.

Additional Note: I thought the lack of representational art would bother me, but to date it doesn’t. I am getting kind of fond of variations of geometric designs.

Inspirational Quote:

“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” Winston Churchill

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