I am a faithful morning radio listener. Recently, I found out that Qataris have one of the highest per capita rates of Type 2 diabetes in the world. An interviewed Quatari female nutritionist explained how Qatari lifestyle had changed in the recent years and underlined the relation between the quatari genome and the changes in lifestyle of the once upon a time Bedouins…
Interestingly enough, my first stop over was an opportunity to experience the modus vivendi of the inhabitants of this sandy country. Doha is like an artificial flower sprung out of the desert, watered with crude petroleum and fertilised by oil money.
Tall buildings scrape the blue skies. The city looks like it has been built with Lego: wide auto-routes and well-defined building blocks. Car transport is a necessity here. Firstly because the city is not made for pedestrians. Secondly because most of the year it is just too hot to be out in the open. Thirdly because showing off your fancy car is part of forging an identity.
The sea promenade, the Corniche, is to Doha what a cool breeze is to a hot day. However, in the summer it offers very little shade and high sunstroke odds.
As for the locals, they are easily spotted in their black (women) and white (men) traditional apparel, leaving very little room for personal style. Therefore, men proudly sport their very expensive watches, cars and electronic gadgets, while women try to stick out with heavy jewellery and make-up, funky handbags and feminine shoes.
Doha offers slim opportunities for entertainment. Time is spent in airconditioned shopping malls, or at home. Occasionally, locals organise family outings in the desert. Hence the generalised lack of exercise.
In less than 24 hours I had enough time to do the basics: visit the landmark museum, walk by the sea, go to the Souk and chill out in the company of excellent hosts who confirm that a day’s visit is just enough for this coastal capital.