Showing posts from February, 2012

Drinking, Dreaming, Other Men Working

One of life's greatest pleasures is taking time out to sit, to contemplate, to enjoy a quiet beer, and most of all, to watch other folk working. You deserve it. I deserve it, and just occasionally, I'll take the opportunity. Join me. Pull up a bar stool, here, by the window. This bar is old enough to have seen the road outside made and remade maybe ten times. It's seen its share of picks and shovels, smoking tar boilers, fierce hissing steam-rollers. Gangs of Irish navvies in cloth caps and dungarees, filling and heaving buckets, tamping the hot tar or fetching galvanised watering cans brimming with boiling pitch, raking mounds of gravel in front of the roller, and all the time sucking on the stub of a Woodbine. But not today. Half a dozen professionals, three or four heavy machines and the new road's being extruded, foot by foot, right in front of our Victorian sash window. The guys don't even break sweat. This is progress. Soul-less, unromantic, if you like, bu

You can't park here, at all, at all...

I really don't wander round Doha looking for weird signs, but they do seem to lie in wait for me more and more, recently. This one seems to be telling me that I'm not allowed to park here if I'm not allowed to park here. I think I could have worked that out for myself. And as for those who are allowed, let's hope they know who they are because there's nothing here to tell them. Another of Doha's little mysteries, I suppose.

A space too many

Spacemaker is as Spacemaker does. They make spaces. Shame about the space they've made here though, between the D and the C. I wonder if they've chosen the couch yet?

Doha's Finest Building?

top left, sofitel; bottom right, the hidden gem Tucked away in Doha's central slum quarter is my favourite building in Qatar. To get there, from Grand Mercure né Sofitel (that's it top left with the blue swimming pool) you can either walk down to Boat Roundabout and take a right, or, you can take a right stepping out of Sofitel then left at Broken Corner, just before the B Ring. Either way, you're aiming for a very small building near the bottom right corner of the Google Earth view. Alternatively, you can plunge straight into the maze of slums and try to negotiate a South-Easterly zig-zag through it. This can be quite an adventure with no guarantee of success. the gem, from above You'll end up somewhere but not necessarily anywhere near the goal which is this strange double-D shaped building, hidden from almost everywhere by newer. higher and uglier neighbours. You'll also breathe in a lot of sewer gas and fibrous dust from the many upholstery workshops th

The Triffid and the Inland Sea

be very afraid As amateur triffids go, this chap's pretty convincing. He's already ripped the AC units from the house behind and now seems poised to start on the car. But probably not today, as it's the Prophet's birthday, marked by the 24 hour closure of all the bars in Doha. Which reminds me- on no account keep your baking yeast anywhere near your Rauch grape juice, OK? It might cause it to go off. As promised, I did check to see if the candelabra was still perched on the wall. It wasn't. The wall was gone too. Someone was asking me about surrealism the other day. I suggested he walk the old back streets of Doha, but soon, because there's less of it left standing every day. And speaking of urban wadis, we have a good one just around the corner from the triffid. For most of the year it's dry but every few months it floods with raw sewage, to the delight of the local shopkeepers. I'm afraid the 'contre jour' picture is the best I can offe