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Ooot and Aboot in Qatar

January 17, 2010

Courtyard at the Museum

After spending the afternoon recuperating from our desert-trek, we headed out with the group to a very interesting museum that housed a tremendous collection of Arabic (and other assorted cultures) items. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani created a museum that has over 3,000 items ranging from traditional Islamic clothing to dinosaur bones and ford pickup trucks. The grounds were huge and we’ve heard from colleagues here that the Sheikh himself even pops out once and awhile to enjoy tea with visitors.

From the Shiekh’s museum we headed over to the nice shopping mall that we visited in the earlier in the trip and enjoyed a chicken shwarma – which was After a quick bite to eat, we proceeded to the symphony hall (boy do I feel regal saying that!). We grabbed seats among lots of other Westerners and Europeans and got ready to listen to the Philharmonic Orchestra. While we were a little sleepy, it was something super cool to watch and it felt like Mozart or Beethoven themselves were up there conducting the orchestra. My fave part was the large cymbal players.

Inside the concert hall

Today we spent the day touring two more universities, a vocational Canadian-based college, the College of the North Atlantic (eh?) and Qatar’s flagship university, Qatar University. Qatar University is unique to the rest of the university system because courses and buildings are gender segregated (well I guess it isn’t unique to the Qatari people). What was really interesting was that when the men entered into the women’s building, they announced it over the loudspeaker so the women could cover up if they wanted to.

Qatar University Campus - kinda looks like SDSU

Everywhere we’ve visited has been so generous and hospitable it’s overwhelming! Cookies, food and tea are the norm at every visit! Later this evening we headed over to the big kahuna’s home for a nice reception/buffet/dinner with the Education City peeps and our group.

Some of the Education City housing

Since today was a little more low-key, I’d thought I also share a little bit more about the culture and some interesting things we’ve learned.

Thobe: Traditional dress worn by Qatari men – typically a white long garment worn with a scarf type headpiece over their heads.

Abaya: Traditional dress worn by Qatari women – that covers their entire outfits and is typically black but could have some embellishments

Hijab: Head covering for women

Burka: Facial covering for women

Emir: The head honcho of Qatar – the current Emir staged a coup in 95′ and overtook his fathers throne.

Al-Thani: The last name of the royal family. Anyone with this last name is related to the royals, so they mean business! But apparently there are a gajillion of them!

“Yallah! Yallah!”: Hurry up in Arabic

Wasta: One’s influence in the society and use of who you know to get something done…or as one student put it, “networking skills”

Let me know if you have any questions about anything else and I’ll try to answer them! Tomorrow we start doing work work with the various university staff members. I can’t believe it’s less than a week  left! Here’s hoping the Chargers win!

p.s. Pappa – make sure you tell Nanny Happy B-day for me!

p.p.s. Our host mamma and pops are AWESOME! haha she washed our clothes and ironed our jeans for us today 🙂 And they are waking up early to drive us to school tomorrow! so spoiled!

One Comment leave one →
  1. dad permalink
    January 17, 2010 8:00 pm

    Hey Shorty- forgot to ask- how’s the weather?

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