• 14th Qatar Classic Squash Championship • 29 Oct-06 Nov 2015 • Doha •  





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Continuing the visit that started with Katara, my guide Mohamed Ali and myself headed for the famous Souq Wafiq. Yes, it was my first visit in 10 years coming to Doha. What can I say, while others go and and
have  fun, some are working!!!

At night, the place is superb I must say. The way the Mosque is lightened on the plaza gives a eerie feel, and just coming out of the parking, which walls are covered with lovely old photos of the Souq and Qatar puts you a bit in a time walk atmosphere….

The Souq Wafiq, “the Standing Market”,
because the merchants used to be just standing there, selling their items, was founded at least a century ago in proximity of the dry riverbed known as Wadi Musheireb. It was a gathering place where Bedouins and locals would trade, just standing up, on both sides of the river banks.

In 2006, the government launched a restoration program with the purpose of preserving its architectural and historical identity. Buildings constructed after the 1950s were demolished whereas older structures were refurbished. The restoration was completed in 2008, and what were before just open sky alleys are now closed, allowing a bit of fresh feel when you enter the place. And it’s soooooooooo clean!!!!  

What is one of the main attractions, for kids in particular is the pet stalls which sell a variety of domestic pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles and birds. There is also a separate area in the Souq reserved for falcon handling.

There is a Mediterranean feel to the restaurant Alley, you could be in Italy, or Tunisia for example, the way people just sit outside and enjoy the fresh – tout est relatif – air of the night.

You have a multitude of restaurants, of all different countries, style of cuisine, prices, you could basically eat every day in a different country for a month!


A little particularity is that large café and also a nearby carpet shop, it’s a “charity” one.

I am told there is an old lady on the market, that make
s sure young ladies with no work or who have been stricken by bad luck or just life have got a job and income. I tried and did some research to see if I could learn more about it, but I couldn’t find anything. Girls are coming from different places, and just sell their items, or work in the café. Great initiative anyway

Also, interesting to notice, this is apparently, one of the cafés/hotels, the Bismilla Hotel, built in the 1960s and is today one of the oldest in Doha.

Nestled in a small building at the corner of the street it is a charming low budget accommodation meters away from the Souq. It has - wait for it - 6 rooms only! A great place to stay for budget travelers perfectly located! I think Mohamed Ali told me it was Portuguese initially, but I could be wrong, he told me a loooooot of things...

Of course, you have all the little shops, with everything
you can think of!

rom pots, vases, carpets, shoes, food, dry fruits and other great items I’ve got to stay away from, not to mention a few perfume shops, one apparently extremely expensive one – from Saudi. Love my perfumes, you know…

Also of course, for the ladies, beautiful old style and new style fabric – the fashion in Qatar has evolved, and some of the young ladies wouldn’t been seen dead in the good old bright colours/older design of the old days.

And one of my other weaknesses, the dresses, abayas, and all the different capes I just love soooo much! The price
s are not too expensive – compared to Kuwait for example – and the cut/design are lovely, but I had to “walk away from the stall now, Fram, just walk away”… Times are not easy at the moment, really can’t go mad on clothes… Oh well, things will get better Inshallah…

To finish the visit, Mohamed Ali took me to Ras Abu Abbuud Café, a very little place that doesn’t look much from outside, or from inside for that matter, that you can’t see or won’t notice if you don’t know of its existence.

It’s an Iranian café, very small, where the Shisha is a bit different I’m told, but which specificity is that a lot of very rich and very poor people come alike. I’m told the Sheik of Qatar himself comes here sometimes,
to sit to chat with people. Of course, it could be a rumour but…

Anyway, I had a good time with my guide, we sat in the fresh of the air con of the place, had a shamshiri tea with plenty of sugar – sue me – chatted with a gentleman that saw us while we were browsing in the Market – not that I stand out or anything, relaxed a bit, listening to quiet music.

I know, basic pleasure. Simple pleasure. Just enjoying the time, the minute you are living. Without over thinking on or metaphysic choices. Really peaceful.

That was the calm before the storm of this week where basically, it’s already the finals today. I haven’t “touché le sol”, haven’t touched the ground yet. It just never stopped.

I can only thank the Qatar Federation for the work they have been doing for all those years, the longest tournament on the PSA with Hong Kong, their President, Mr Ali Bin Ali, of course, Mr Hisham Algosaibi and his wife Debbie for their hospitality and warmth, you make it truly special for us/me, truly, and Mr Alaaeldeen Alouba, who has made our life so easy this week, yet again.

Hoping to have the privilege to be invited again next year Inshallah…

Old & New...

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