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Doha Layover 1: Just One Night

Back to Africa, baby!

As usual, trip planning started a year ago for me and Brenda to return to Africa. Normally, I would choose to visit a different country but Tanzania is so big and there were still some parks I wanted to visit for the first time. The full itinerary:

Thursday, June 13 - Fly to Doha.
Friday, June 14 - Arrive in Doha. Long layover.
Saturday, June 15 - Arrive in Dar and overnight.
Sunday, June 16 - Fly to Ruaha National Park and spend four nights.
Thursday, June 20 - Fly to Katavi National Park and spend four nights.
Monday, June 24 - Fly to Mafia Island and spend five nights.
Saturday, June 29 - Fly back to Dar and overnight.
Sunday, June 30 - Fly back to Doha and spend two nights.
Tuesday, July 2 - Fly home.

A few days before leaving, on Sunday afternoon while I was packing, straight line winds came thru Dallas unexpectedly and knocked out the power. It was a sunny day. There were no storms. It was the weirdest thing. Even more weird was that the power outage and wind damage was city wide. Power at my house did not come back on until Wednesday night. In the meantime, I stayed at my friend Melissa's house so that I could have a/c and light. I was grateful it came back on before leaving so that I didn't have to worry about it.

Because Brenda is sometimes on her own time schedule when it comes to making planes and it was several hundred dollars cheaper per ticket, I decided to drive to Houston so we could fly together. I left about 10a on Thursday morning and met her at our mutual friend's house in Madisonville where she would leave her car. We then made our way to Houston (thru horrendous construction on the highway) and arrived at the airport for our 14 hour flight.
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At the Qatar counter checkin, I learned for the first time that our carry-on had a 15lb weight limit. This was a problem since my camera equipment alone was 7lb. So Brenda and I had to do some re-shuffling of things between us but we finally got the problem solved.

We grabbed some dinner at the airport and boarded our flight. Unfortunately, Qatar changed our seat assignments from two aisle seats across from each other to two seats in the middle of a five across. I was not pleased. Luckily, after a dinner of beef peppercorn and potatoes au gratin and two movies, I was still able to get 6-7 hours of sleep.

We arrived in Doha the next day at 5p local time. We breezed thru immigration and currency exchange and our hotel transfer was waiting outside. We stopped in a very busy shopping area at a drug store to get some Flonase for Brenda and arrived at our hotel, the St. Regis, at 730p.
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Bathroom entrance
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Some very dry snacks waiting in the room for us.
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We both needed a shower before dinner but it took the hotel almost 45 minutes to deliver our luggage to the room. We should have done it ourselves. So we had to settle for just changing clothes and sprucing up.
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We were in Doha at the hottest time of the year. At 8p, it was still 102 degrees outside.

We had an 830p reservation downstairs at Restaurant Opal, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and our reason for staying at the St. Regis. It was freezing cold inside the restaurant which was basically empty.
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We started with a sushi appetizer which we shared.
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Brenda had seared fish.
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I had beef wellington, the restaurant's specialty.
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The food was ok, not to the caliber I was expecting and service was beyond slow. Or maybe we were just tired and cranky after such a long travel day(s).

After dinner we walked along the pool area and admired the view.
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It was around midnight when we fell into bed. We had a 9a flight but a 6a airport pick up. I didn't sleep at all. Our neighbors talked all night long and at 4a, the alarm went off playing Arab music so loud it could have waked the dead. We couldn't figure out how to turn it off so we had to unplug it. I hope it woke up the noisy neighbors.

I got some departing pictures in the daylight just before our driver whisked us away to the airport.
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We found an open breakfast place at the airport and Brenda ordered french toast.
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I ordered eggs benedict which came with guacamole and asparagus which was...weird...but ok.
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We boarded our flight and then it was off to Tanzania!

Posted by zihuatcat 01:07 Archived in Qatar Tagged safari qatar doha brenda

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