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Boat Roundabout sans Boat

the boat, no more
Another of Doha's landmarks has disappeared, possibly temporarily but time will tell. This excavation site is Boat Roundabout which, as you can see, has been levelled to the ground and the boat (an old Dhow) removed.
Another missing landmark is the old red fire engine (built on a bull-nosed Mercedes truck chassis). For years it sat outside the Civil Defence building by Defence Roundabout. This week I was disappointed to find an empty plinth where the fire engine had been. I hope it turns up again as I was planning to photograph it to add to my bull-nosed Mercedes collection. Doha life engenders odd hobbies like that!

If you knows of a better 'ole. . .

"Well, If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it"
What you do, of course, is scramble over the mound of rubble, picking your precarious way until you can go no further, leap across the trench grabbing the red boom to stop yourself slipping back and into the hole, then squeeze out between the red and the white booms to the relative safety of the road beyond. You do this on average three times a day if you're a Doha walker. You do it in Musheireb, in Muntazah, in Mansoura. You do it because the alternative is usually to retrace your steps for up to a hundred metres and walk round the outside of the barriers, cheek by jowl with the crazy traffic. You do it because, second only to demolition, Qatar's national pastime is digging up the roads and pavements. And unlike most other cities, in Doha they generally make no provision for alternative walkways, probably because if you are insignificant enough not to be driving a Land Cruiser you don't really merit 'normal' consideration.

My caption, "Well, If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it" in case you were wondering, was first used by the World War One cartoonist Captain Bruce Bairnsfather. If you've not come across his work, check it out. Nearly a hundred years on, we're still blowing ourselves to bits. Only the weapons change. The inhumanity is constant.

You too can have a Smile like Mine

There's a delightful innocence in unsophisticated advertising that takes you right back to the fifties. The little snippets from domestic bliss: the smiling wife, the preening husband. "It's like a new suit, Jack, thanks to Castlebank Dry Cleaners". Such happy tableaux have long disappeared from Western advertising, but are alive and well in the Middle East.
This cheery couple, let's call them Khalid and Noora, are in every way the perfect role models. Khalid is traditionally attired and, though he sports the beard and moustache, he is extremely well groomed. Nothing swarthy here. And Noora, though modestly robed in black with her hair completely covered, is a modern young woman, confident to show her face, at least while in her husband's company. And of course, both have perfect teeth, almost too perfect, which is only to be expected of patrons of Alkharashy Dental Center. Inevitably, they have two children, one boy, one girl, with whom they share and perpetuate their wholesome delight in good dental hygiene.

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