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An Alternative Energy Plan

Now, it might be pure coincidence, but a mere three weeks after the second visit to Qatar, in as many months, by the Irish International Alternative Energy (IIAE) Consultant Patrick O'Donohoe (103), from Connemara, the first tentative steps towards establishing a fall-back turf economy are already in evidence. Not that the natural gas is expected to run out any time soon, but as Patrick says, 6 times a day and 8 on Sundays, "A good stack of turf will never let ye down", with the special extra message for Qatar, "Ye're starting a bit late, but that's a fine drying bit of sunshine ye're getting. Ye should make the most of it, before it rains".


Qatar's Transportation Crisis

There are none left on the roads. Or if there are, they are hiding pretty well. Used to be, every time you turned your head there would be an orange monster of a bull-nosed Mercedes truck snarling along the road with a load of demolition rubble or rattling back empty to pick up a new load. They were so much part of the Doha scene that you scarcely noticed them, after a while.


But a couple of days ago, don't know why, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't seen one for a while. So, I started to make a point of looking out for them. And sure enough, they have all gone, as if by fatwa or royal edict. It can't just be their age. There are fleets of JACs and MANs (Men?) just as old and ugly and still working. But the bull-nose Mercs had presence and personality. They were fun and, if they have really been scrapped or pensioned off, they will be missed.

As will the aeroplanes, the food and the drinking water. Thanks Donald.

Al Hamra Restaurant, Doha


This is Al Hamra restaurant, a place I've often walked past but never entered. It looks like nothing else in Doha. The main restaurant area seems to be on the first floor, accessed by an external curving staircase shaded by stretched parasol sails.It has been there for a long time, planted obliquely in its plot of land, not parallel to either road. This is normal in mosques, where the edifice is always oriented towards Mecca, but there seems no reason for a restaurant building to follow this practice. Having said that, it predates all the surrounding buildings, coming from a time when space was less at a premium, and the nonconformity adds much to its character. I hope it continues to thrive, at least until I finally decide to give it a try.

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