Haley’s Travels • A layover in Qatar

Rehoboth Beach restaurateur Matt Haley is visiting children at an orphanage he supports in Nepal, exploring the Himalayan culture and cuisine, traveling throughout India and then on to Europe, and reporting on an occasional basis.  His reports are presented here to expand our own perspective on other parts of the world and cuisines that may eventually find their way into the local restaurant scene. All of the photographs are by Matt or members of his traveling group.

Doha, Qatar • Mid-November

I arrive in Doha, the capital of Qatar, for a day layover and decide to take in the sites. I have never been to a middle eastern county. This is a first and I am impressed. The Royal Sheik of Qatar is a smart man and has built a strong country. Doha, the capital, is manicured perfectly. Every detailed touch is in place. I find it strange the way we sometimes think of countries before we visit them, after growing up with impressions bestowed upon us most of the time. My impression is usually changed quickly.

I love the way the men dress here: the long white neck-to-toe outfits with the head piece tied elegantly around the top. These guys are on it. The women mostly in head to toe black, with faces covered, still find ways to use their iPhones and seem to be smiling underneath. It feels good here. You got to love a place when the guy in charge is also a world champion speed boat driver.

The food is good. I stop and grab some falafel on the side of the road with some fettosh. Falafel is a chick pea fritter and fettosh is a chopped tomato salsa Arabic style (tomato, onion, parsley, lemon, cumin, chili). These two go well together with, of course, some great flat bread.

Doha is close to Dubai in growth and presence. It is an impeccable city from the inside out. It might be one of the more organized, clean and energetic cities I have been in lately.

I wish I had time to stay but Rome is calling. I will plan a more extended trip to the middle east soon.

Stay tuned. •  Matt

Editor’s Note: Here is one of the photos that Haley sent along with his blog from Rome.  He was most impressed with the art there. The next blog will detail his impressions and include other artworks.

The fountain at Borghese, in Italy.

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