QQQatar

I spent a few days in Dubai… not much has changed there, still construction like crazy, still unbelievably terrible traffic, still expensive. With all the things going on there, and the huge amount of people from all over the world that seems to have descended on Dubai, it is definitely a must-see kind of a place… but after spending a few days there again it reminded me of some of the things I really dislike about Dubai, not least of which is how you have to take long car rides to get almost anywhere as the place is so spread out… plus the traffic is so bad, at any time of day or night… not to mention you can sometimes spend an hour just trying to get a taxi. So, for those reasons I will likely not spend a great amount of time again in Dubai in the near future… but why would I, when I could spend time in Qatar, which is fantastic!

I arrived in Doha, Qatar (pronounced similar to Cutter) a few days ago. Doha has a much smaller feel to it than Dubai does, but it still has all the things you would expect in a larger city, giving it a nice feel. The city sprawls around a huge bay which is really impressive looking in the day or night.

The city is very easy to get around in and has a nice, relaxed feel about it.

As with everywhere in this oil-rich region, there is obviously a lot of money here… every car is expensive and new… and things are quiite expensive (though not as much as Dubai).

I am currently staying at the Marriott here and it is great… it has numerous restaurants in the building which all look good and are always busy with lots of people dining and drinking throughout the evening… the gym is good, and also full of people… same with the pool which is out by the beach. As well, there is an exclusive VIP member only nightclub in the building called Pearl which you can’t get into unless you are a member or stay at the hotel. I’ve gone twice and both times were packed and pretty good. Other really busy and good clubs in Doha are the Aussie Bar at Rydges and Paloma at the Intercontinental Hotel. They are all pretty good.

EXCEPT…

Did you know that Qatar has the highest discrepancy between males and females in the world? There are nearly 2 men for every 1 women here, and it definitely shows with the nightlife. Most of those bars almost feel like gay bars as it is immediately obvious that out of 80 people in the club, 70 of them are guys!

That, combined with ludicruously expensive drinks ($30 for a double vodka redbull????!!!) makes me have to give Doha good marks for attempt but failing grade for single guys out to meet some nice girls.

In fact, most places don’t even let guys in unless they are accompanied by girls… which leaves the bizarre site of seeing dozens of guys all ‘hanging around’ outside of bars trying to find some way to get in, followed by going inside to the bar where it is dozens of guys all standing around, most looking quite tense, all ogling the few girls in the place!

Oddly, even given the lack of females, most places had a pretty good vibe and everyone seemed to be having a good time… if it had more women here, I’d rate Qatar very high for nightlife…

I am not sure of the reason why Dubai is so hot, but Doha seems much cooler, which is nice. It was regularly in the 40-50c range in Dubai, with it not cooling off much at night… but in Doha the days and evenings are bearable… in fact, the evening is very nice, with a nice breeze.

In general, if you are in the area, Doha is a definite must-visit… I’d go see Dubai, just to see it, but then I’d go to Doha…

I extended my stay here 2 more days because I like it so much (that, and the internet here in the hotel is SO BLAZING fast that having that alone pretty much made me decide to stay here longer!) and now should be in Jordan on Monday and then likely on to Israel for a few days…

I have revised my trip schedule, but as you have realized by now, there is almost no point to having this list as it almost surely will change dramatically… but I like to kind of have a general layout sometimes.

So, here is the latest list… I’m not sure, but this list seems quite a bit crazier than before… not sure how or why:

May 17-21 Doha, Qatar
May21-24 Amman, Jordan
May24-26 Tel Aviv, Israel
May26-27 Zurich, Switzerland
May27-Jun5 Italy – all – on boat
Jun5-8 Slovenia on boat
Jun8-11 Croatia on boat
Jun11-15 Istanbul, Turkey
Jun15-18 Kuwait City, Kuwait
Jun18-22 Tehran, Iran
Jun22-30 Jounieh Beach, Lebanon
Jun30-Jul3 Prague, Czech Republic
July 3-6 Poland
July 6-10 Ukraine
July 10-14 Estonia
July 14-18 Helsinki, Finland
July 18-23 Oslo, Norway
July 23-27 Denmark
July 27-30 Amsterdam
July30-Aug3 Brussels, Belgium
Aug3-7 Iceland
Aug 7-10 Halifax, NS
Aug 10-17 Edmonton
Aug 17-24 Vancouver
Aug 24-28 Las Vegas
Aug28-31 LA
Aug31-Sep2 Cancun, Mexico
Sep2-Sep15 Acapulco, Mexico
Sep15-20 Huatulco, Mexico
Sep20-Sept28 Cuba
Sep28-30 Bahamas
Sep30-Oct3 Haiti
Oct3-15 Dominican Republic
Sep25-30 Puerto Rico
Sep30-Oct3 BVI
Oct3-7 Antigua @ Barbuda
Oct7-15 Barbados
Oct15-21 Trinidad & Tobago
Oct21-28 Caracas, Venezuela
Oct28-Oct31 Guyana
Oct31-Nov4 Suriname
Nov4-9 French Guyana
Nov9-27 Brazil
Nov27-Dec8 Argentina
Dec8-12 Paraguay
Dec12-15 Bolivia
Dec15-20 Cartagena, Colombia
Dec20-25 Nicaragua
Dec25-28 Honduras
Dec28-2008 Belize
………..phew