In addition to solving the climate crisis, we Tuckies have also been using our time in Doha to explore Qatari ex-pat culture. Here are some highlights:
1) Souq Waqif
After registering for the conference, we took a group excursion to Souq Waqif, Doha’s downtown bazaar that has been in existence for over a century (although more recently restored). At the Souq one can purchase a variety of garments, handicrafts, and souvenirs among other things – including falcons!
As the Revers Board Fellow for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, I was particularly excited to learn more about the Qatari tradition of falconry up close and personal.
The Souq is also the main source of nightlife for locals, expats, and tourists alike. As alcohol is banned outside of the western hotels, the nightlife typically consists of a long leisurely dinner followed by delicious fruit juice beverages and (for the more adventurous) shisha – a flavored tobacco smoked from a hookah water pipe. At the end of our first evening excursion, our resident Persian, Betsabeh, was able to find us a relaxing spot atop the Souq offering traditional Persian desserts and tasty juices which we almost got ta’arof (free of charge).
3) Local Cuisine
The Tuck group has generally been very open to trying local cuisine. In fact, several of us have become regulars at Sabah W Masa, a Lebanese restaurant near our hotel which was ranked by TimeOutDoha as one of the city’s top two Arab breakfasts. For 80 Qatari riyals (US$22), two people can enjoy a filling breakfast of hummus, yogurt, falafel, pita, veggies, olives, and Turkish coffee. We’re pretty sure the name roughly translates to “filled morning to night” which has not been an exaggeration.
4) Prospective Students
While in Doha, Joya and I also had a chance to meet with a prospective T15 working in sustainability consulting in the Qatar, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. In addition to sharing our own experiences around Tuck and sustainability, we were excited to have this unique opportunity outside of COP to not only learn about how companies and governments in the ME are approaching sustainability, but also to learn more about ME culture and customs.
5) The Museum of Islamic Art
Located along Doha’s waterfront is the stunning Museum of Islamic Art. Within its stunning architectural façade, the MIA houses Islamic art and artifacts spanning the 7th to 21st century, from China to Morocco.
The impressive exhibits include calligraphy, ceramics, metals, glass, jewelry, carpets, woodworking, and and astrological tools. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am incredibly into both carpets and Backgammon, and in these regards the museum did not disappoint.
On Friday we go on a desert safari to the Inland Sea – we will have to update later on this “dune bashing” and desert sunset excursion!