Thursday, December 22, 2011
Okay lots of blogging to catch up on. December 18 is National Day in Qatar, celebrating when the Al-Thani family became the rulers of Qatar in (I think) 1877. They always start National Day with a big military parade on the Corniche and I promised myself that this time I would go down to the Corniche and see it live.
So naturally I slept in, waking up around 7:45 and the parade starts at 8:30. I quickly showered and grabbed a bite to eat before walking down the Corniche. All the streets around my apartment building, including empty lots, were jammed with cars and hundreds of people were walking towards the Corniche as well. By the time I got there this is what I saw:
*sigh* that's what I get for being late. You need to get there early to get seats (or even a view).
Thankfully in the nearby park they set up a big screen so that people could watch it. Of course this meant that I was essentially watching it on TV, which I could've done at home. Anyway at least I was in a festive atmosphere with everyone wearing Qatar gear and waving flags.
Afterward I wandered over to Souq Waqif for coffee and a snack. All the restaurants and cafés were crowded, thanks to thousands of people having the same idea I did, but I managed to find a table at my favorite Lebanese café (Saida).
Later I went to see some Arab Games events at the Aspire Zone. (I'll discuss that in my next blog post.)
After that I went to a nearby park just to see what they had set up for people to celebrate National Day, before going to a nearby restaurant for dinner. It was already night so things were winding down.
Unfortunately I was now far away from the Corniche so I missed the evening fireworks. Trying to get back home was a nightmare, traffic near the Corniche was generally gridlocked. Never want to go through that again. I'll know better for next time.