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Friday, April 09, 2010

Rossi, Spies, Stoner, Lorenzo, Edwards, and Hayden. Arabian Knights part one, arrival.

This is my first trip to Qatar. It won't be my last.It's an odd thing how historically societal feelings can affect one's thoughts of going to a "strange land." I'll be honest I was a little nervous about coming here as all the google satellite maps made it look all dusty and even more mysterious. Then I started reading about the people and the history of Qatar. Having never been to the East this was my first trip to Qatar or anywhere on the Arabian Peninsula. The flight via Emirates was one of the most amazing flights, even in economy, I had ever been on. Don't get me started about how good the food was either.Arriving here late Monday night, another emotional twig being thrown into my mind's spoked wheel, I zipped through immigration where I paid my 100 Rials an received my visitor's visa stamp in my passport. Into baggage claim where someone had neatly paired my two suitcases ready to pick up and go. Through the alcohol detector (odd having ones bags x-rayed upon leaving the terminal...) and off to the Hertz counter. Signed all the forms, and then someone pushed my bag cart to the rental car, helped me load it and then walked me out through the gates. With my GPS all ready to go I found my accommodation in the centre of Doha. Being a little bit bothered that it might smell of smoke, I even brought my own Fabreez! What a twit. The apartment is huge. Two bedrooms, marble floors and 12' ceilings. Super comfortable and clean. (As an aside note to other photographers who have come here and said it's boring, can't wait to get out of here etc etc..hint: stop staying in hotels). The hotel security gurad even help me carry my luggage upstairs. Finally got to bed at 3pm. Next day, we'd go exploring and find a fort.I guess not too many people venture out of the city. It's a two hour drive north of Doha, out in the middle of nowhere and it's called Al-Zubarah. Restored back in 1835 on the remains of the original fort it sits out in the scrubland/desert and is "guarded" by a nice little old guy who lives next door. One Rial and you get the whole place to yourself. In fact, it is simply rather nice being there with the only other sound being the woot of pigeons. About an hour spent there, a brief picnic and it was back to Doha to do some food shopping in Carrefour. For Wednesday I had planned to go local. To keep it simple as later on Wednesday night another photographer would be joining me as my partner in crime at Andrew's Arabian Palace, joining me for the weekend's fun and games at "the races". So the plan was to head of to the Waqif souk, a reminder of Doha's heritage as a trading post and a sort of antique mall, no, not a mall that sells antiques just a place where one can eat, smoke sheesh and have a browse looking at gold and other objects. I had also planned to head to the Islamic Museum. This was not to be. My laptop power brick decided to end it's own life so with less than three hours of battery life. I had to go shopping. After five hours of discovering the back roads of Doha, and meeting even more kind helpful people, I found a store that sells Apple products. Oddly enough on the third floor for of the same huge mall that contained Carrefour. It was now getting dark. Time to get back on the plan and try to restart my day's plan of visiting "The Souk"..The first thing that hits you? The smell. It envelopes you. Coddles you. Wraps it's arms around you and makes you feel like you're being hugged. It's aromatic, erotic and sublime. Sandalwood, cumin, allspice and cinnamon waft around in the warm, slightly humid evening air.This isn't justa tourist spot. This is an actual working market, products such as 20lb bags of basmati and other rices stacked 10 bags high wait for their buyers. Fruit, pulses and other goods are being haggled over, "ten for that you must be mad" runs though my mind! Aware that it was getting later and not having Emily here to share this wonderful experience with, I decide it's time to take some pictures of the Doha skyline at night. After getting back onto the Corniche, the coast road and promenade around the inlet around which Doha is built. Doha had a huge pearl industry until oil was found, and the pearl business died out. Where the Corniche starts and near to the Islamic Museum is a massive Mother of Pearl monument, that pays homage to Doha's past. With that being the last shot of the evening, I switch on "Gladys", plot a route for home and join the crazy, but fun, evening traffic back to base.Did I mentioned I'm here because Ben Spies, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden and those other madmen on their two wheeled machines that will be racing on Sunday at some stupid hour of the day? Oh no I didn't! More to come.

6 comments:

caferace said...

From the frontlines:

http://rcpt.yousendit.com/850621797/ce6be045340c83e3a0dfb3133550889c 13.1 Mb .mp3....

-vaillitic

NomadRip said...

I want to experience that smell...

blue-baker said...

Andrew, I really appreciate how the compositions of your photographs and how you frame objects to get the colors to work in them. I find the way you're able to uniquely capture the emotion of the moment with each frame to be brilliant. Thank you so much for so beautifully showing us your point of view. Your work is exceptional.

blue-baker said...

Andrew, I really appreciate the compositions of your photographs and how you frame them to get the colors of the objects to work in them. I find the way you're able to uniquely capture the emotion of the moment with each frame to be brilliant. Thank you so much for so beautifully showing us your point of view. Your work is exceptional.

DieselRainbow said...

I can't wait to see your race-day photos :)

rtfgvb7813a said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................