When I moved in Doha I didn`t know much about its culture and lifestyle. Although I did my research scrupulously and I came to realise that no research equals lived experience.
After a year in Doha, my enthusiasm doesn’t flow through my veins as in the first days, so I can make a realistic analysis about this city. Certainly I do like Doha for many reasons, nevertheless there is always a “but”.
1. The traditional souq full of spices, scarfs, coffee shops and street food cooked in large ovens which instil an archaic touch is something out of the regular city vibe, so it is one of the things I like about Doha.
2. The most amazing thing about Doha is that has access to the sea and, as I love the sea almost more than I love myself, you can imagine how happy I can be living in a city where I can go to the beach whenever it feels like it. Also the diversity of beaches is quite astonishing, not like Thailand, but still. You can have a five star experience on hotel beaches, which by the way it`s pure luxury, or you can enjoy wild beaches where man has not intervened at all. I like to do both 🙂
3. The Corniche is a pretty long waterfront promenade, extending for several kilometres with the Doha skyline in the background. I have never seen before a seafront as impressive as the Corniche, I even started jogging here because it felt like an experience I couldn’t miss. Sometimes the water, the skyscrapers, the lights, the city vibe and the coffee shop at the end of the road are everything I need.
4. One of the things I like the most about Doha is its cultural diversity. Doha is a bunch of expats from all over the world. It`s beyond interesting to understand how other cultures really are, different and in a basic way very similar. Bonus, there will always be somebody to teach you some good swears in a lot of languages.
5. The financial earnings are consistent, so you can earn a lot more money here than in other countries. I like to think about myself as a non-materialistic girl, but it`s definitely a convenient plus. On the same note, I have to admit that luxury around here is something that I have never experienced as I do now. Luxury cannot be isolated as a single experience like going to a nice restaurant, but rather a lifestyle. I like that a lot, but there is a part of me that senses the lack of authenticity.
6. I really like that I can enjoy almost 8 months of nice weather, sunbathing in the middle of December, but… and here starts “the buts” – in the summertime the weather is unbearable. I couldn`t imagine before what 45⁰ Celsius means. I like the heat and maybe I would`ve adapted, but combine that with an 80% humidity and even higher you get the recipe for a living hell. You can imagine that there is no chance surviving without the A/C on, so that`s why you might be always sick during the summer, nothing serious but very uncomfortable. Sometimes the AC noise makes my skin crawl 🙂 .
7. There are a few museums quite impressive that are worth mentioning, like Museum of Islamic Art and Sheik Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum. Here you can find more cool info about the cultural heritage of Qatar and even more. Most of the cultural heritage is about Islamic culture and less about Qatar, but it make sense considering that Qatar is an emerging civilisation in the middle of the desert.
8. The lack of wild green areas is a big inconvenient. Desert landscapes can be breathtaking, but I miss a lot the woods, the fresh air, the mountains, the autumn’s colours and the rain. Fun fact: in Doha it didn`t rain for almost a year.
9. The pollution is a big downside. There are a lot of cars due to the lack of public transportation, but soon enough they will improve that. Sometimes in the summertime, the sky is so grey that you barely see the Doha skyline, mainly because of the dust mixed with humidity.