Posts from the ‘QATAR’ Category
When I landed in Doha for the first time back in 2005, I was surprise that I had to take the stairs and walk on the runway to the bus to take me to the airport arrival lounge and the immigration counter. Then I learned that for 2006 Asian Games, Qatar would use a new airport, for the athletes. As the time got nearer to the event, I wondered when would this new airport open. Then I heard the gossip that ‘they’ couldn’t make it for the Asian Games and instead they would open a temporary arrival lounge especially for the Asian Games athletes and officials.
Now, more than six years on, Qatar is still working on the New Doha International Airport, or rather the Hamad International Airport; but it’s now very close to the opening time, at least the authority is sort of announcing the soft opening date, the 1st of April 2013. The question is whether this is for real or an April Fool?
I think this is now for real, as now I am part of the team involved in the construction of this new airport, at least I know how far it is to go for the finishing of the airport and at least I know and I can see how the airport will look like; as six years ago, I never knew anything about the design or the shape of the airport.
Did I mention that it’s only a soft opening? As only 10 airlines will fly from HIA on the 1st of April, namely:
- Air Arabia,
- Air India Express,
- Biman Bangladesh Airlines,
- Iran Air,
- Nepal Airlines,
- Pakistan International Airline,
- RAK Airways,
- Syrian Air
- Yemen Airways,
So for the frequent flyers with Qatar Airways and from the other bigger airlines, they will have to wait until at least the end of the year when officially the airport will be fully operated.
Here are some interesting facts about the new airport as of Doha News which said:
“There are 41 contact gates in the main passenger terminal – Those gates have some 88 Passenger Loading Bridges. That means no more long bus rides to and from the planes – passengers can just walk down the bridge onto the plane, like at many other airports in the world. Also, the terminal itself should be able to handle 28 million people a year.”
Does this now mean a competition between 3 airports in the region? (namely Abu Dhabi Airport, Dubai Airport and Doha Airport) and is there a need to have 3 hubs in the region? I just try to compare the competition of airports in the ‘80s between Amsterdam and Frankfurt airport, when both tried to be the European air hub, but never fulfilled it’s expectation.
“Terminal 1 will have 150 passenger check-in stations. That includes 14 check-in booths for First Class and 16 check-in desks for Business Class. Ideally that also means no waiting in long lines, although that remains to be seen.”
I guess Qatar is gearing up toward the 2022 World Cup (which is 9 years away from now) when they will expect an influx of tourists and football fans. But between now and then, I can’t see any possibility that Qatar will have so many visitors except business people and expats. I wonder what will happen after the World Cup? I just remember the building of new airports in Barcelona, just for the Olympic Games, but after that, the airport was too empty….
“The next phase of the airport will handle 50 million passengers a year. Dubbed Phase 3A, and due to be completed by 2017, it will include the development of an expansion of Terminal 1 and the addition of a training center, rail station, car rental facilities, a “sea rescue” harbor and a multi-story parking structure.”
Well, I don’t think I will be there by the time the next terminal opens. Will I still be a Seasoned Traveler and using Qatar Airways to see the “New” terminal…? Who knows…..
Hosting an international game is hard as the organizer is under the scrutiny of the public eye. After saying that, Qatar, a small country of 1.5 million population and 11,571 km sq. in land area will be hosting the most popular game on earth in 2022: the FIFA World Cup. This will not be an easy quest, however, Qatar has 10 years to practice to be a good host the way London proved this year by hosting 2012 Olympic Games.
Below is one of the many practice matches that Qatar will have until D-Day, as described by my office colleague who is a football freak and went to see a qualification football match between Iraq and Australia in Doha. The above was the title of his story, which I only copy paste from his email to us:
“Went to watch the Socceroos play Iraq last night – what a joke!
It must be the emptiest stadium I’ve ever visited for an international football match (refer attached) – even when Malta play San Marino, there’s more people than that! Official attendance was a mere 2183! It felt like security outnumbered fans!! They even had this enormous anti-riot armoured tank outside the stadium. God knows what for! Maybe they thought we were all hooligan poms?!!
Mind you, they decided I was a hooligan as I got chucked out for a couple of minutes coz I was a very naughty boy & spat water out of my mouth when one of the Ozzies carrying a blow-up kangaroo had me in stitches. After all, I do look exactly like a hooligan Geordie, don’t I??!!! (They let me back in 30 seconds later!!)
The Oz fans were made to sit in a corner at one of the far ends, so our view wasn’t great. But I would think there were more of us than Iraqis, which I thought was surprising. When a bunch of Ozzie kids (5 to 10 year olds!) were playing/running around & climbing the handrails in front of the riot squad (!), they promptly sprung into action & used their walkie-talkies to get some reinforcements (2 more!), then insisted with the Oz parents that their children were not allowed to act in such a threatening manner!!! Boos from the Oz crowd then erupted!
Standard of services was pathetic. To go to the loo, you had to exit the stadium through the turnstiles then walk around to the men’s somewhere around. The food outlet was also outside. AND useless! One Oz fan decided to buy the only box of Gulfa plastic-cup water that they had for sale on a free-standing table to be able to distribute it to the rest of us. After that, THEY RAN OUT!!! And that’s with a grand total of 2183 people. Other than that, they were only selling twistees & crisps!!
Then, traffic after the match was horrendous. And that’s with an attendance of 2183! Does not augur well for the World Cup!!!
The game itself was quite boring & only got interesting in the latter half of the 2nd half. Most Ozzies got bored & were just having a social chat while the game went on. It was only after we went a goal down that the Socceroos & the Ozzie fans lifted. In the end, the better team won, but as usual we did it the hard way.
Other than Pampano Restaurant where my husband (mostly) and I posed for their promotion film, we invited ourselves the next day to another fancy restaurant, this time it’s MEGU, a very posh Japanese restaurant.
MEGU is very different from Pampano, facilities are so much more elaborate; aside from a very nice dining room, and sushi bar, it also has a lounge as the mezzanine, looking down to the dining room, a gorgeous terrace overlooking the alcove of the Pearl Qatar, and as normal practice in Asia, they also have private dining rooms. Last but not least, they have a bar, where they sell the alcahol.
I am not a boozer, but I’m always intrigued with the variety of the cocktails they can make out of alcohol. And while waiting, the keen bartender showed us his skill of making different cocktails using different types of Japanese alcoholic drinks, like sake and their very own vodka.
Check this out as my claim to fame appearance in MEGU’s commercial video clip:
MEGU – Modern Japanese Cuisine6 La Croisette, Porto Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar T: +974 44953876 M: +974 77809513 F: +974 44438971 w: http://www.hdc-global.com
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Horse Racing is not common in Indonesia, but as Arabian Horses are very famous, and living in the Arabian region, it’s hard not to miss that the Arabs are very proud of their horses, and one of the most famous competitions is the Endurance Race, when the organizer invites people to watch this spectacular event. Along with this competition there is another event involving horses which is the Qatar International Invitational Cup for Thoroughbreds at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (REC). A week before this race meeting there is
Tennis is Life -
Well not quite, but yes in a way. Ever since I move to Qatar, more than 5 years ago, I never missed any single tournament. I always go and see the tournament. I enjoy being at the tennis stadium, be it watching a match, on the outside court or on the main grand stand. I also enjoy the atmosphere, the antic of the supporters, the entertainment that looks like accidental performers even though the actual fact was the they were appointed by the organiser.
This time I will not write anything about the match, but just post the photos I took from and around the tennis court, so that you could also feel the atmosphere.
Normally Arab people don’t like to be photographs, but this one does….