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I landed in Doha on a warm evening in April. 

The immigration guy leafed through my passport with a vaguely disgusted air.
Beautiful dark eyes, lean facial features, impeccably white dishdasha.
An eye pleasing ensemble which I was to revisit with equal (purely aesthetic) joy over the next few days.
Pam pam, stamp stamp, out I go to meet my Sri Lankan driver. Nice guy.
Do you like living here? I asked.
Well, he answered. It is quiet.
And off we drove through the quiet of the city. Wide lanes, palm trees, dark buildings. And then more of the same. It was like a film set with no actors.
You know that Bjork song, it’s all so quiet……… bruuuum? Well it was like that but without the bruuuum.
In the evening I went for a walk. Not a soul in sight.
I walked and walked and then walked some more. Past quiet office buildings, past palm trees, past traffic lights (past the Green Sea, past the Live Forest and the Magic Cave – sorry, wrong story) and then I got to a restaurant.
Hurray hurray, weary traveller, I said to myself, now is your time of joy and plenty.
I walked in with a huge expectant smile which froze as 48 male eyes measured me from head to toe in disbelief. A lonely female walker goes into the local bar? Good one, next joke please.
So I went out and walked some more.
And no doubt I’d still be walking today if I hadn’t had to go back and see that immigration official again.Dubai&Doha 034
LE: The word “bar” as used above is part of the joke.

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