Exit Dubai and enter Doha. Exit future and enter the past. From the pompous and glamorous city of Dubai, Doha is a complete contrast….visually…emotionally…and whatever ‘allys’ one could think of! Somehow it feels familiar and full memories. Or it may be so to a person who is perhaps trying to re-capture images of his childhood. The unpaved footpaths, undeveloped patches of desert amidst buildings, never ending days and even longer nights, rare traffic jams, countable population….all remind me of how UAE used to be 8 years ago. And having seen UAE become what it has, I can guess where Doha is heading. But that’s improbable and that’s good!
Everything in Doha is round! Arranged in a radial pattern, the roads always end in round-a-bouts … and continue. Traffic signals are a rare sight ..and when sighted, are at the weirdest positions. The richness and ‘life’ which Dubai, as a city, had due to life size signage’s and colorful advertisement hoardings (strategically placed, mind you!), is totally absent here. It’s raw, it’s deserted…it’s cooler and it’s heaven! Interpret heaven as peaceful.
The sun, which is right up in the sky as early as 4 in the ‘night’, is blinding – going very well with the crisp white cloaks of the locals. They are simply unmistakable and impeccable. Regal and proud. Nothing could possibly shatter them!
Doha is young and carefree. Be it the scale of their development (compared to its scope) or its inhabitants. You can see more number of genuine sports bikes in a day than you may have seen in your lifetime! Standing on the Corniche edge and watching the miniature skyline of the central city on the other side, one can literally feel a city growing …. inching towards the sky. And the most authoritative, and still the best of the lot in terms of design, seal of the Sheraton Hotel is stamped on the skyline saying …. “DOHA – ISSUED FOR CONSTRUCTION”!!
If these two cities were in the famous rabbit and turtle race – considering designing and constructing the ideal futuristic city as the finish line – then Dubai would be the rabbit and Doha the turtle. Ok….maybe that’s an exaggeration….but you get the idea...don’t you!? Only wish that Doha follows and justifies the slow and steady lesson, coz Dubai has throttled ahead…for better or for worse.
There is so much more that an LIK person could observe, analyze and conclude through such an experience …. but there is a limit to the vocabulary of the author and a limit of patience to those reading this!! So this ain’t the end of the tale … yet! Watch out for BZJV!!!
Written while in Doha for Practical Training. BZJV is short for Bari & Zoha Joint Venture - our presentation when we were to get back in college. It eventually happened on March, the 17th 2007 - five months later than it should have.