Tuesday 17 April 2012

Doha - Qatar

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Doha from the plane shortly before landing
What a horrible place! (Sorry if anyone has booked to go there soon...). Luckily I was here for only 3 days.

Unlike it's UAE neighbours, Doha still has some way to go on the hospitality side.The locals' English was about as good as my Arabic and the public transport network is very poor.

I am amazed that Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup ahead of the likes of Australia and USA but that is another debate all together!

Like most countries in the region, the climate in Qatar is very dry and extremely hot. In January, it was at least 30C each day with very little cloud coverage.

I would strongly advise running early, no later than 10.30am, and wear a lot of sunscreen. It is also highly frowned upon to have too much skin on show, although shorts were okay.

I was staying in the 'old' part of town, in Musheirib, the other side of the bay to the new highly developed area where the main western hotels, shops and financial district are all located.
Unsurprisingly, with this said I set off North out of my hotel towards the other side of the bay.
This part of the city is very true to is past; the roads were sand and dust with no road markings or pavement.

Stay with me here, it gets better!!

Approx 0.6km north I reached the grand Government Palace in Corniche, where the road network dramatically improved to that of any other major city.

1.2km into the run along Banks Street and I had reached the bay. A really beautiful part of an otherwise characterless city.
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The South side of the Bay offers some great views of the city's ever changing skyline

The wide and immaculate pedestrian only zone around the bay was deserted and it had quickly become a very quiet and peaceful place.

From one side of the bay to the other was 4.1km. Now an incredible amount of money has been spent on huge skyscrapers of every shape and colour, but what Doha lacks is soul and an identity, something which can't be bought.

I simply then looped back on myself and headed for home. I took a different route once I reached the Palace by running along Al Asmakh Street.

That was a good move as it resembled a less chaotic scene to that I had witness 50 minutes previous.

It's a shame there are so few parks or green areas which would have at least broken up the mass of concrete.

A pretty bland run, but the best of what little the city has to offer.

To rub salt in the wounds, my brother and I decided to escape the hell-hole and relax in one of Westin Hotels.

After a 25 minute taxi journey, we arrived to find we needed our passports just to get in! Early night for us...

For anyone hoping to go to the World Cup, your money would be better spent on a comfy sofa and a big TV!
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I also write for Athleticos at www.athleticos.org and Vinco Sport at www.VincoSport.com


Start - State Government Palace in Musheirib.

Journey- 0.6km north to bay on Cornice road. 8.2km return loop around the bay walkway.

Finish - State Palace

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