Christmas in Qatar

Qatar – December 2015

I’ve always enjoyed traveling during the holidays as it saves me form figuring out how to celebrate them if at home. It was during a celebration in Peru on Christmas Eve that I learned I have a high tolerance for Vodka. My hotel in Tunisia went all out on another Christmas Eve, with a seven-course meal and band straight out of the eighties. It felt more like a prom than a Christmas party, though I appreciated the effort.

We arrive in Doha, Qatar’s capitol, on Christmas day and the only sense of the season is that it’s raining—snow would be too much to ask for. We take a taxi from the airport to our hotel, which is more like an apartment. We’ve just come from something similar in Dubai, though our accommodations there included two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and dining area. If we’d known anyone in the area, I would have thrown a party just to use the space. In Doha we’ve been downgraded to a more sensible single bedroom and bathroom, living area and kitchen.

It’s getting late and the rain hasn’t let up. Our hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, so I do some online investigation and discover a Yemeni option just a block from where we’re staying. Only problem is, we weren’t expecting rain in this part of the world and neither of us have packed an umbrella. We ask at the front desk before departing and they offer us one, which we promise to return.

We walk slowly to the restaurant as the ground is rather saturated. It’s a large umbrella and covers us both. As we find the entrance, I happen to look back toward our hotel only to find we’ve been followed this whole time by an employee. Seems we have their only umbrella and he followed us to make sure to return it in case another guest needs it. Here’s hoping the rain lets up by the time we’re ready to return.

Yemen is high on our travel list, but this will be the closest we’re going to come for the foreseeable future. If the country is as amazing as the food, we’re certainly missing out. The restaurant has an open seating area and a more private section, which is where all the families and groups with women are seated behind curtained booths. This is the area we’re taken to and, with the curtain closed around our table, our friendly waiter starts to bring us bottled water and the most delicious meat broth. Yemeni dishes are mainly comprised of meat and bones either stewed, grilled, or boiled in soups, which suits us perfectly.

Merry Christmas to us!

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