I have travelled to the Middle East a few times now but this was my first time visiting Qatar. I flew into Doha via London Heathrow a couple of days prior to heading offshore. The heat hit me as soon as I stepped out of the airport, 36C a dramatic change from the cold October English weather I was leaving behind. I am all for exploring, so as soon as I arrived in Doha I dropped my bags at the hotel, freshened up and headed out to see a few of the key Doha sights.
I had done a little research on 'what to do' in Doha whilst sitting in the airport waiting for my flight - first stop The Museum of Islamic Art. The museum is FREE, so a great way to escape the midday sunshine and soak up some culture. The museum can't be missed, it is located right on the waters edge with amazing views of downtown Doha. After getting lost in Islamic art myself and a few of my colleagues took a traditional arabic Dhow boat river taxi across to downtown Doha. The Dhow boats are moored up directly next to the museum. Travelling via water taxi was only fractionally more expensive than taking a conventional taxi, but way more fun. The crew turned on the music and we all got to have a little dance while we sailed across the Corniche Sea.
Downtown Doha - sky scrapper buildings, multiple shopping malls and a huge variety of restaurants. The malls are large with a huge selection of stores, stocked well with summer clothes - not ideal for someone who will be returning to a British winter. After grabbing some final supplies we strolled along the water front to the Sheraton hotel where we had a delicious lunch and a cocktail at their pool bar before hopping back on a water taxi. Fortunately we were still downtown after sunset, this is when the cities skyline comes alive, full of colour and lights.
I also visited the Souq Waqif - unfortunately my cameras batteries had died so I couldn't capture any photos of this. The Souq was extremely busy with locals selling all sorts of goods as well as cooking local street food, the place smelt amazing! If you are looking to purchase a souvenir then this is definitely the place. For those of you who follow my Instagram account, you will know I am a huge animal lover, dogs in particular. I stumbled upon the animal section of the Souq and this place broke my heart. Numerous puppies and kittens were stuck in small cages, it was awful to see. I just wanted to buy them all and take them all home to England to live with me!
After a day of exploring it was time to get into work mode. As we were working in the Al Shaheen Oil Field we had to all successfully complete a half day H2S course prior to mobilising. H2S is one of most deadly occupational hazards affecting operations in the oil and gas industries, a topic which must be taken seriously.