Thursday, December 19, 2013

National Day 2013

This year I started National Day (December 18th) on the wrong foot -- I overslept so there was no way I could get down to the Corniche in time for the parade. I had to make do with watching the aerial show from the street outside my apartment building.

From there it was off to Katara to see the National Day festivities. There was a long line up to get in I soon found out that was because they were stopping cars to hand them gifts.

I was given a big box. Inside was a garland of flowers. That was nice of them, I wasn't sure what to do with it though.

Many Qataris decorate their vehicles for National Day. Plenty of shops offer painting or other forms of patriotic covers for their vehicle.

Many were also wearing clothing with national colors (such as maroon thobes, something I don't see any other time of year).

It was pretty busy down at Katara, and most of the events hadn't started yet.

There were all sorts of things for kids, like horses for kids to sit on.

There was also a huge book where people could write their support for Qatar.

And stunt parachuting.

And some activities on the beach.

Waiting outside the amphitheater was the Emiri Guard’s band

So I went into the amphitheater, took a seat, and watched them give a 40-minute performance.

I left around 4:45 in order to get home before the traffic got bad. Too late, the roads were already jampacked and it took me about an hour to get home. From there I walked to Souq Waqif (it would take me longer to find a parking space than to walk there). Not surprisingly it was packed.

In the square they had traditional singing by Arab ladies, which was a rarity. Almost any time I've seen traditional singing it was by men.

After dinner at the Souq I went down to the Corniche to watch the fireworks. No surprise that the Corniche was packed with people waiting for the fireworks. I think tens of thousands were there.

The road was also packed with vehicles. Many of them were waving flags and generally celebrating the holiday.

After the excellent fireworks display (sorry, my pictures didn’t turn out) I wandered back home. Thankfully I lived close enough to walk back, I'm sure it took some people hours to get home.

Happy National Day Qatar!

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