WELCOME, FRIEND!

A modest family house

a modest dwelling
I pass this villa most mornings. It is abandoned now, the boundary wall is breached and, like so many of its kind, it is waiting for the bulldozers to move in. It sits on the C-Ring Road, at White Palace Junction. For all I know, it might even be the White Palace.
For this much is certain. There was a time, not so long ago, when even a Qatari citizen would have been proud and contented to raise a family in a villa like this. Not huge, but spacious, not imposing, but proportioned, with its high ceilings and slender-columned verandah. A wrap-around garden for the children and adequate parking for a family car. It's only blemish is the painfully cramped maid's annexe, (that little lean-to appendage back-left), but that could easily be rebuilt to humane proportions.
Sadly, the era of moderation represented by villas such as this is over. It is now de rigeur to flaunt riches, with fleets of Land Cruisers parked in the grounds of bloated mansions. And to feed this appetite, the demolition continues apace. Soon, there will be nothing to remind us of healthier times.
Except, of course, the painfully cramped maids' annexes. Some things don't change.

Forget those faded jeans, because...

Decent Uniform Works. And don't forget it. This latest in my occasional collection of soon to disappear Doha shop fronts has a certain appeal in its stark confidence. Bold upper case, black on white, the very epitome of formality. And above, one pressed grey trouser, one starched pastel blue shirt hung with a hint of movement - is this a small concession to modernity? And a window clean enough to reflect Paraglider's woefully informal shorts and yellow polo shirt. But in fairness, it was 43 Celsius at the time.
Posted by Picasa

Boggs & the Girls - thank you and good luck!

Boggs & Girls, last night at Le Club, Sofitel
It was a shame really. Last night was the last night in Stufital for Boggs and the Band. Ramadan is traditionally when the clubs change their band and do whatever other refurbishments are planned for the month of closure. So with two sets played and one to go, the guys were just getting ready for their final set when security switched on the lights and ordered everyone out. It was only ten o'clock or a little after, and an early closing was scheduled anyway, for the eve of Ramadan, but everyone was expecting another hour, and the band had a special last set prepared. Oh well, these things happen.
Boggs & co - thank you for your music and fun over the last year. You gave your best night after night to a place made dismal by the ridiculous door policy. I enjoyed your music and will miss you all, especially ... but it would be ungallant to name a favourite! Have a great trip home to the Philippines, and maybe we'll meet again some day.

A planned act of iconoclasm approaches

The bad news is that Doha Ramada Library Bar is definitely planning to refurbish during Ramadan. Some of the changes will be for the good. They say they are going to knock the two small toilets together to make one of a decent size, while building a completely new second toilet. Unfortunately, this requires additional space, which in turn means knocking through the end wall. It's hard to see how they can do this without destroying the mural, so it would appear that my recent forebodings on this theme were not misplaced. I'll keep you posted on progress. Or regress, more likely.

Paraglider in the Paranormal - a flying visit

a very green tree, by contrast
It seems every time I'm back in Dubai that the Paranormal exterior has been recently repainted, and each time in a rosier hue. The salmon pink is gradually giving way to a red mullet. Fair enough.

paranormal interior, reflected, paraglider far right, reflecting
If the place looks surprisingly empty, it was only 12:30, half an hour after opening. I wasn't stopping, just having a quick cooling beer and four identical conversations. Nothing changes!

Doha Ramada Library Bar - in the Beginning was the Word...

Ramadan is only a week away and all the bars will close. When they re-open in September, it would be a great shame to visit the Ramada Library Bar only to find it redecorated, with the famous mural over-painted in a nice tasteful magnolia. Heaven forbid that this should happen, but just in case, I've preserved it here, for posterity. In best Arabic style, the mural progresses from right to left and begins with:

the hand of God giving Adam a book, or the gift of written language:

Then we have earliest cave markings:

Followed by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics:

And the reading of a scroll in an amphitheatre:

From monkish scribes to the Printing Press:

To mastery of Music and Navigation:

To the domestic Study, with TV showing Mona Lisa:

To Modernity, with books launching trains, planes, skyscrapers, computers and beyond:

This detail, the Artist, Muriel Terzano Lamy:

Even to the bar stools:
Muriel Terzano Lamy's enormous and exuberant mural gives the Library Bar a completely unique ambience, making it one of Doha's most amenable night spots (though the friendly bar staff help too!) I've let her mural speak for itself, but the low quality of my photos (ambient light, no flash) doesn't do it full justice. There are many more details to be discovered.

The Restaurant on Al Shatee Corner

Yes, of course I know it's pronounced fool, not fowl, and normally I'd pass such places with nothing more than a private chuckle, but this particular juxtaposition of a Foul Restaurant cheek by jowl with Al Shatee Food Supply is surely unfortunate, by any standards.
This is right up there with Kharbash Institute of Driving (Karama) and the Never Titi abayat (Muntazah).

most viewed posts this month