Hannah in Qatar, blog 2: The Souq

Hannah poses on a camel while on her visit to Doha, Qatar.

Hannah poses on a camel while on her visit to Doha, Qatar.

Today we went to the Souq, which is a giant market that has everything. It was for sure one of the greatest experiences of my life!

We got there by a cab because the road system is nuts. We met my brother Matthew and his girlfriend Maribel at the Souq and they gave us the tour. We started out in the animal and pet district. Immediately, we went to the camels and watched them for a bit. Next we visited the small animals. They had chicks dyed a variety of colors: hot pink, blue, and purple, among a couple other colors. They also had bunnies dressed as: clowns, pirates, and ballerinas. ┬áThe falcons were next; they had many hunting trained falcons for sale because in Qatar having a pet falcon is a more popular choice than a pet horse. Even though horses aren’t terribly popular here, there was still a horse section in the Souq. The horse section was sweet! There were about 5o horses total, a few in the sand pasture(because Qatar is a one big desert) and the rest in the stables.

 

The animal district was followed by the perfume district. Perfume is super popular, so there were just alleys and alleys filled with perfume shops. After that we sent to the spice district. The spice district had an amazing and distinct aroma. There were lots of people in the spice shops. The spice shops had sacks and sacks filled with spices I had never even seen.

After hours of looking around we had some dinner. We went to a Lebanese restaurant and ate outside.  The food was great and had a very different taste. During lunch we made a new friend: a stray cat. It just sat underneath the table the entire time we were eating and hoped we would give it some scraps. There are many stray cats in Doha and they tend to hang near outside eating areas in order to get food.

All of the districts in the Souq were fun, but I enjoyed the animal district the most. It wasn’t just the cool districts that made the Souq such a great experience a large part of it was all the culture I got to see. The Souq wasn’t just a tourist destination, it was mainly Qataris there. It was really cool to get to see the Qataris interact with each other. At one point a little Qatari boy wandered up to me and stared curiously at me and then showed me his awesome spiderman shirt. All the time his mother was watching and didn’t call him back because it seemed like she was just as curious about me as he was. Another cultural thing I noticed today was how Qataris prefer cats than dogs. I read that Qataris don’t think dogs should be pets because they are dirty. Today I got to see that first hand. The whole day I didn’t see anyone with a dog, but saw multiple people with pet cats. I even saw one man who had his cat trained to follow him around and when he entered a shop he would snap his fingers and the cat would stay and wait for him to come out.

I had a great time today and I can’t wait to go to the Souq again!

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