Sunday, January 03, 2010

musafir hoon yaaro!

I have to admit that I have been very lazy about posting my travel notes regarding One Baby Four Countries Four Weeks. What if Marco Polo had been half hearted regarding his travelogue “The place is all right, though no one knows what American chop suey is”
or Ibne Batuta had written “Yaar I just didn’t get a decent exchange rate”. 
And perhaps just perhaps there might be a new mother out there wondering whether there is life after bub? Whether babies are allowed on planes? And do babies and elephants mix? Read onnn..

Our story begins with an early morning flight to Qatar. The baby checks out the accompanying travellers and air crew and is very disappointed with whats on offer. No Scope to Terrorize he tells himself and decides to doze off in the bassinet. He just loves playing with our mind. Gman and me look at each other with undisguised glee at our reprieve , our head reeling with giddiness . I exclaim In flight Entertainment and scroll the screen for options.
Sleep Sleep sleep suggests Gman.
I pull the card of We Never Do Anything Together and select Julie and Julia.

I have no idea whether it was a good movie or not. But after what seems like ages I was watching a movie uninterrupted and it seemed like the bestest movie ever. There were no grubby hands pulling the remote off me, pressing random buttons to place parental locks and locking the parent in question from accessing anything. Yup, it has happened to us.

I loved the movie, and promised myself to start baking, growing and chopping my own vegetables and wearing pearls to the dinner table. During the movie I did random spot checks on Gman to see whether he was following the movie. He was snoring true to form . I am now a grudging convert to osmosis as he appears to have absorbed the movie plot and is scoring well on impromptu quizzes on the movie.

My first impression of Doha was that it reminded me a lot of Karachi. Something about common built construction and migrant laborers bringing in a similarity of sensibilities. And a lot sun and sand. What will stay with me about Doha is the Museum of Islamic Arts (which I admit does sound like an oxymoron at first reading).

The good Emir has decided to put his money where his "Islam is Beauty" mouth is and gifted the public with a pretty interesting collection. I suspect he has gone through his own palaces and decided to conduct some spring cleaning . But well there are worse things one can do to free up some cupboard space eh. The inclusion of some of the items displayed might leave you puzzled. Why have all  things bling for Islamic Art in India. Granted the stones were from India, but these are 20th century designs set in place by Cartier? But as I soon discovered it is a difficult task to multi task. One cant complain about putting in jewels and be wiping off drool at the same time,as I slobbered all over the displays.
Mad angles. The museum at night..

window cleaner nightmare at the museum of islamic art

Preedy bird doesnt poop on your sofa.

Loads of bling.

There was also this wonderful wonderful farewell dinner at a restaurant in the trendy souk area. We were given our selection of courses on being seated; and as it is when there are 10 mains on offer, Gman and me did our whispering and serious bargaining making solemn promises to share if the salad greens look greener on the other side and/or the roast more glistening. There has been a sad side-effect of Arhaan’s love affair with fish. Considering it was the only meat we still partook (yes partook is a word!) his friendship with fish (fish are friends not food ****) has hit us bad. Kind of cruel to amuse him with the restaurant aquarium and then amuse our palette with the same friend fifteen minutes later. Anyways going back to the dinner, we soon discover that our dinner contains all ten mains. We start out by good natured back slapping Good call, Excellent farewell dinner. But soon discover that our hosts are literally killing us with kindness, neykee ki maar and all that. A couple of mains down we are virtually diving over our plates begging the restaurant staff for no more. The wait staff is nothing if not determined and will have none of our tears. They parry and thrust and plop another serve on our plate. Gman coughs out “Its just like being at a wedding, itna kiya tuqallaf”. Fifteen minutes down and Im crying for my mother, I want to go home, hellllppp Im drowing in food. And the smiling waiter goes “Al-Chinese frrieed rice still al-remaining ahlan wahsahlan”.

The highlight of the evening (besides Death by Food) was free head and shoulder massages, I dont understand the connection, but it was free, there are magic fingers at work on my scalp and I dont want to ask any questions. Note to Idiot Guy sharing our table, Did you have to grill Magic Fingers while she was working on my shoulders? About Philippines? About her divorce? About life in Doha. Grrr, for every response to your stupid question she had to take her hands off my shoulder and would lose her train of thought. that was really upsetting. Some people just dont have any manners. I hope he had a rotten massage as well.

And then for dessert and tea, coffee they took us to the roof top. Beautiful, beautiful view of the city skyline.
A smiling young woman introduced us to the local coffee, and the ‘code of conduct’ to let the server know whether you had had enough. For holding out the cup for someone to take it away will not work. You shake your coffee cup from side to side to say no to a second helping. Though the coffee is a fairly light concoction with loads of cardamom which means you can have seconds and thirds. Smiling coffee server continues with her p.r spiel for the local coffee and tells us where can buy some for ourselves. We ask her how she likes her coffee. “I cant stand this coffee. I drink tea”. Uh oh.

As Gman was busy with his workshop, it being really warm during the day, and Arhaan for some inexplicable reason deciding that he would sleep till noon; I would stay indoors most days, venturing out to the souk come evenings. Where I discovered Pakistani falcons at the bird section, come meet your Pakistani cousins I tell Arhaan. And then quickly retreat when I

discover they sew their eyes shut. Yara, Pakistanis have it bad under detention anywhere they may be lately.

qaid may hai bulbul sorry falcon

I did visit the museum three times and have memorized each exhibit. One day we went to a local mall (shopping is a spectator sport and we are pretty sporty people) where we discovered an indoor gondola ride

and the ceiling of the mall painted to reflect the Florence sky at different times of the day. It takes all kinds I guess. I promptly clicked pics of Arhaan and me in the gondola so I can tell him at some time in the future. Arhaan, do you remember when I took you to Venice?

Part 2 to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the last para especially! You dhokheybaaz ammi!


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