Sunday, February 13, 2011


Woke up at dawn and had breakfast and then it was time to head back to Hulhumale the airport island located next to Male for or flight out. Ibrahim docked the boat next to the Departure terminal:
Talk about convenience nothing like stepping off a boat and walking into the airport departure terminal. Not many places in the world where you can do that I imagine. We said our goodbyes to Ibrahim and Issac and sadly had to leave the beautiful Maldives. Getting some last looks at the reefs as our plane climbed into the sky:

It was about a four hour flight from the Maldives to Doha Qatar. I dozed off a little and as the plane was landing in Doha I had the sultan of swing, Frank Sinatra playing in my headphones as the wheels touched down. We had an overnight stay in Doha before our flight back to Washington D.C. the next morning. Checking into our hotel room near the airport I noticed this disk with an arrow in a corner of the room:

Qibla is the ahrab word for direction. The arrow in this points in the direction of Mecca. By the way there is a prayer rug in the room too.

Since it was early afternoon we decided to take a car and visit the waterfront of this desert city. We are a few miles away from the center city of Doha. But, the skyline of downtown Doha is pretty majestic from this location:

I'd say it rivals New York from this waterfront view. And like New York it is still growing as construction cranes are all over the city. Pretty impressive. I think an ad I saw in a magazine says it all:
"Without ambition this would all still be desert."

As we walked along the water front we came upon this giant Pearl monument:

Qatar was once known for it's pearls. Which were gathered from it's waters by free swimming divers. Of course that changed when oil was discovered in the country. Though there still seems to be a pretty robust fishing industry still operating here judging by the scene in this area:

Along with some boats that judging from their bright work look like they are more for pleasure than fishing:

Looks like there is some business being transacted on this boat too:

After spending some time on the waterfront we wandered across the street to a nearby Souk. The Souk is a fascinating place to wander around. It is the Arab version of a mall or probably I should say the mall is an westernized  version of a  souk. Personally I'd rather shop in a Souk. It's alleys are filled with delightful small shops.

If you just looked at some of the architecture of the buildings you might think you were in the desert southwest of the United States:

But you would be mistaken:

It looks like you can get just about anything  you would want here from rugs and carpets:

To pots and pans, spices, food and clothes:

To exotic pets a long way from home who seem to enjoy the passing scene too:

You could even find a dugout canoe or two (needs work):
If that's too much to carry home. The fellow working in the shop would be glad to build you a hand made model: 

Or something larger like a cross section of one of the dhows that sail these waters:

Since Capt, Mike likes things of a nautical nature I of course had to visit this shop. The owners proudly told me they had been here for twenty five years. They had just about everything a fisherman or sailor could need in their small shop: 

 Need some line they got it:

A hand line setup or fishing line? Sail twine? What color do you want?

Sinkers? Check! 

 Need a new bait net? Again what color? 

The Souk is a pretty overwhelming place and one could spend hours wandering all the little back allies looking at the small shops. Happily, there are many comfortable places to sit and relax too:

and enjoy a cup of tea or a hookah smoke if you want.

Well, that's about  it for Capt. Mike's adventure to the Maldives and Qatar. One of the top ten experiences in my travels. Now it's time to head back to the United States and rejoin the winter which is already in progress. Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.


Greg Martin said...

Hey Capt. Mike, I just checked in on your blog and I see you've been doing some travelling! Wow, looks like a cool trip! Keep the stories and photos coming and have fun!


Capt. Mike said...

Thanks Greg! It was a great trip one of my top three vacations. Memories still keeping me warm as the winter winds blow outside.