Wallah, we did it!
We were able to brave and survive the summer heat while exploring Qatar and am glad it was somehow a balance of indoor + outdoor activities with DIY trips as well “guided tours” by our Doha-based friends.
Here’s the summary of our 4D/4N adventure, 🙂
16 Aug 2012 (Thursday, still Ramadan)
7:00 pm Check in @ BIA, Bahrain
Parang concert lang ni Madonna, the airport was full! There were long lines everywhere. Holiday mood talaga. It’s good that I always do web check-in prior, so we just had to present our printed boarding pass, drop checked luggage and breeze thru immigrations.
Gala-gala muna sa Bahrain Duty Free, while waiting for boarding call.
Ang mahal ng keychain (e di lalo na yung bag!) hehehe. I’d rather buy air tickets for my dream Euro trip. Pak! 🙂
8:20 pm Aboard British Airways, departed on time and arrived so fast! Feeling ko 5 minutes lang kami sa ere e landing na ulet. Sa sobrang aga namin, wala pa yung flight receiver, so wait muna kami inside the aircraft.
9:00 pm arrived, cleared immigrations, retrieved trolley sa carousel – Marhaba Doha!
9:30 pm took cab to hotel; driver’s familiar with La Villa hotels group (they have at least 3 hotels in Doha area). We told him it’s the one near Gold Souq.
Room was clean, though not so spacious. Or maybe it was the huge bed hogging the space hehe. Anyhow, great value for money.
Ideal location, great staff, best rates. 🙂
10:00 pm We actually just dropped our bags and went out (excited bah). I wanted to go sightseeing already while Buboy, was hungry (as usual). We were walking inside the Souq when we saw this local restaurant with menu similar to Bahrain and ordered fish bukhari & mixed biryani.
While waiting for our order, we inspected the local currencies Buboy exchanged at the airport. I’m aware that Bahraini Dinar can be used as well (1BHD = 10QAR) but Buboy insists. Fine. I don’t want to argue.
Just fascinated they also have 500 riyals like KSA (UAE even has Dhs 1,000 oha! Palakihan ng pera, pak!).
*In Bahrain, the highest denomination is only BHD 20.
Our order arrived and Buboy cannot contain his delight, pak!
We forgot to ask how were the servings and obviously, they were TOO MUCH. Carbo loading lah! 🙂
After our hearty dinner, we dragged ourselves to walk along Souq Al Dira to burn some of the calories,
My first close up encounter with Fanar Islamic Center / Fanar Mosque, its minaret is just striking.
Wanted to walk further to reach the Corniche which was just on the other side of the street, but Buboy said to call it a night as we still have four full days starting tomorrow. I conceded, I don’t want to argue, or maybe it was Bukhari-overload- effect. = p
12:00 mn Back to the hotel for rest + sleep.
17th Aug 2012 (Friday, still Ramadan)
05:00 am onwards – Woke up early as usual, maski weekend. Body clock lah. While Buboy was still far away in dreamland.
It was still Ramadan, so we made sure we had food & water with us. We didn’t want to rely on room service a lot (kuripot!). I even brought my portable kettle, for hot water anytime for coffee or noodles, 🙂
Now, as I have to let my travel buddy with his “weekend sleep entitlement”, I kept myself busy with:
1) Tom and Jerry
2) Scour the local directory (work habit)
Hehe, in fairness, the yellow pages entries are so detailed they even include “key staff,” email and business hours. Ayos! 🙂
3) Top Gear – Dune bashing @ Death Valley, CA (i want!)
still on Top Gear, Interview with Formula 1 champ Sebastian Vettel 🙂
It’s almost noon time. First half of Day 1 spent inside the hotel. Haist.
By this time, naiinip na ko. I was thinking, anak ng tinapa, lumabas pa ko ng Bahrain just to watch TV. Waaaa… I wanted to go out.
Finally, gumising na si Buboy and contacted his friends, who told us to get ready by 4pm.
4:00 pm Buboy’s friends (Joyce & Kuya Ron) came to pick us up at the hotel
5:00 pm @ King Hamad Hospital (bongga ang hotel, este hospital na ito, sosyal ang interiors)
We actually visited their childhood friend May who just had surgery (laparoscopic appendectomy).
Parang reunion lang ng mga taga Catanduanes ang peg. In fairness, happy ang kwentuhan. 🙂
9:00 pm – We didn’t notice the time pass by so quickly (Joyce & Kuya Ron originally planned a road trip that afternoon). It was already late when we left the hospital. Everyone agreed to have dinner @ City Center.
As usual, took photos of the ceiling, (ako na ang adik sa ceilings)
City Center Doha‘s floor directory was so unique that we got lost (it was showing “You are Here” 4 times in the same page, Huwaatda?! Hehe) Anyhow, we finally figured out where we were exactly and walked to our gastronomic destination…
Tada! Wala akong gana… Masakit ang ngipin ko… Carbo loading na naman… 🙂
It was actually Zeke & Pau who chose Shanghai Gardens (Joyce initially suggested Nando’s but they weren’t able to join us because Kuya Ron had nightshift work).
Glad that they chose this Chinese buffet. Imagine the appetite of four famished guys (yes, I’m the fourth one hehe).
Again, photos of the resto’s interiors… they had a plain ceiling but had lovely lamps like this,
And that ship on the buffet table reminded me of my dad (My dad was a seaman),
with tummies full, todo smile na ang mga mokong, 🙂
10:30pm went out of CCD, took a cab and dropped Zeke And Pau first (who still had work next day, too much overtime baya)
11:00 pm asked the cab to drop us at the Corniche, near the Museum of Islamic Art
I don’t know if it’s because it was still Ramadan why it was so dark by the Corniche.
MIA was also closed and will open only at the 2nd day of Eid as per the security on duty.
Buboy & I agreed to call it a night and wake up early the next day for a full walk at the Corniche.
12:00 mn back to the hotel, rest + sleep
18th Aug 2012 (Saturday, still Ramadan)
4:00 am Wake up! Prep for “The Walk”
5:00 – 7:30 am Conquered the seven kilometer Corniche without fainting lah!
8:00 am back to hotel, buffet breakfast, then back to bed zzzzzz….
4:00 pm Our “guided tour” courtesy of Jerome, May & their red car, Bumblebee 🙂
Second stop: Jollibee dinner @ Al Meera. Woot woot! 🙂
11:30 pm back to hotel, rest + sleep
Thank you ulit to Jerome & May! (who were flying to Dubai naman the next day to celebrate Eid)
By the way, the moon has been seen tonight, it’s officially Eid Al Fitr!
Eid Mubarak pipols!
19th Aug 2012 (Sunday, First Day of Eid Al Fitr)
5:00am Morning dose of TV while waiting for Buboy to wake up
Hunger – buster meal: Spicy Thai noodles + Coke + Hopia (hopia not in photo, malamang nasa tummy na)
9:00 am Kaliwali the heat, it’s the First Day of Eid! Roaming the streets of Doha on foot. 🙂
11:00 am reached the Dhow Boats Harbour
11:15 am Summer Cruisin’ at Doha Bay aboard a traditional dhow (wooden) boat, 🙂 🙂 🙂
11:45 am cab to City Center for brunch. The first (and familiar) fast food we saw – > Kentucky Fried Chicken! 🙂 May hangover pa ko sa Jollibee kahapon hehe. Kaso Al Meera was far, so KFC it is.
Actually, in Bahrain, Buboy, my brother Yano & I, avoid eating chicken as much as possible (we go for beef, mutton, pork, salmon instead) as chicken seems to give us skin allergies (ang selan, pak!) But for now, kaliwali allergies. I wanted Jollibee. I wanted chicken. Holiday lah! = p
Afterwards, we walked around a little (to burn some calories, chos) until we reached Carrefour supermarket.There we bought ready-to-eat / easy prep foods, drinks, disposables for our overnight trip later.
1:30 pm back to hotel, rest
6:00 pm Love these ready-to-eat burgers set. In tuna, chicken, turkey and cheese. Hoy, baon yan para mamaya! 🙂
7:00 pm hotel lobby, waiting for Joyce & Kuya Ron 🙂
Day 4 (Last Day)
20th Aug 2012 (Monday, Second Day of Eid Al Fitr)
5:00 am woke up, Good Morning Dukhan Beach! 🙂
7:00 am on the road, back to Doha 🙂
Upon reaching the hotel, Buboy slept while I fixed our stuff and IT for our last day
11:45 am Hotel check out, left bags at the reception.
12:00 nn Finally, a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art
2:00 pm cab to the Souq Waqif’s dining boulevard.
And from the plethora of choices available….Our pick: Malaysian! (Siguro as a prelude to our SE+EA trip in Dec which includes Kuala Lumpur hehehe)
We were also curious as it’s our first time to try Malaysian cuisine.
In Bahrain, we’re too familiar with Thai, Chinese (mi paborito), Italian, Arab-Indi, Persian, Iraqi, et al.
Why is Buboy grinning?
He was looking at my appetizer, Curry Puff – deeply fried pastry filled with sweet potato. It was only one piece and was teasing me if it would be enough for me, pak!
It was actually delicious (the blend of sweet potato + mild curries), and quite satisfying for its size.
Sinlaki sya ng empanada actually so di naman masyadong maliit. Matakaw lang talaga si Buboy. = p
Op kors, the main course!
For me: Nasi Goreng – served with 2 sticks satay & sunny side up egg (almusal neng?)
Yum yum, first time kong makatikim ng barbecue with chunky peanut sauce
For Buboy (na hindi na nakapaghintay at umupak na kaagad bago ko mapicturan): Fried Rice Carbonara Sambal – spicyfried rice with beef, chicken & veggies. – > Spicily yummy! 🙂
I was looking at the Nasi Lemak Sambal choices on the menu but I was worried about coconut+chili vs. my stomach.
Then only after ordering, remembered about Noodles i.e. Char Koay Teow, hehehe. Sa December na lang therefore, in Kuala Lumpur. 🙂
3:00 pm Was waiting for my college bud Rafy to call/SMS back for a meet up before we fly tonight, but didn’t. So we thought of what to do during our remaining free time.
a) Mshereib Enrichement Centre – closed at this time already (as per website sked timings).
b) Qatar National Museum – under renovation (as per website)
c) Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art – in Educational City area, malayo my fren
And as we’re still fresh from “Islamic Art overload”, Buboy’s suggestion won, to kill time at City Centre. Haist.
It’s our third time in City Center, san ka pa?!?
Anyhow, enjoyed window shopping, surveying and comparing prices for electronic items Doha vs. Bahrain hehehe and people watching…
and as it’s Eid, there were special shows + activities for kids, like cartoon character encounters, 🙂
6:30 pm back to our hotel area, walk through Gold Souq streets and shops
Same same like Manama Gold souq my friend, hehe…
And also no shop security guards in the souq like in Bahrain.
Gold bangles, chokers, chains and gems galore! 🙂
7:30 pm Tambay muna sa hotel lobby, free wifi lah, 🙂
9:00 pm cab to Doha airport, sandwich dinner sa departures area
10:00 pm check in, drop luggage, clear immigration, gala gala muna sa Duty Free (No photos daw please… humirit lang ng isa hehe)
10:30 pm waiting for boarding, antok na (body clock lah)….
11:30 pm depart Doha via British Airways ulet.
If our flight to Doha was smooth, fast, early and uneventful, the return flight was definitely the opposite. Nakakaloka, Ate Charo. I’ll write a separate post about being Up in the Air with British Airways for a summary review.
21st Aug 2012 (Tuesday, Third Day of Eid Al Fitr)
12:10 am arrive Bahrain
Breezed thru immigration, bought vitamins, errr, alcohol sa Duty Free, picked up trolley sa carousel then looked for a cab to the flat.
Nakakaloka din ang mga cab sa BIA Arrivals. Bawal ang private transport. Meter flag down rate was BHD 4.500! Anak ng tinapa talaga, I was so sleepy and pissed off but didn’t argue anymore. Didn’t want just this to ruin the holiday mood. Let Karma take care of you, pak!
12:45 am finally at the flat….zzzzz…. Whole day relax + Laundry. Back to station the next day. 🙂
All in all, we had a great holiday!
The hot weather may be a little inconvenience, but it didn’t have to ruin everything. Diskarte lang and how much you really wanna enjoy…
Till next Eid Holiday! 🙂