Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Blue in Qatar

Continuing the Arab theme of the post before last, here's The Blue in Qatar. Astounding but true. My friend Whena Owen took the book with her on a trip to Qatar and Jordan earlier this year, and now with the Montana Award shortlisting she believes its pilgrimage has paid off. She emails: 'I'd like to take some credit for how blessed The Blue is, after hauling it around the Middle East!'

The photographs were taken in the Waqif Souq in Doha. According to a Qatar heritage website, a souq is a place to both trade and to meet: 'The Waqif souq is the one place in Qatar where you can find anything and everything. Made up of a large labyrinth of alleyways lined with various shops, the popular souq is a feast for the senses. Selections of perfumes, spices, incense, sweets, rice and dried fruits are so plentiful they often spill out of the shops into the alleys where shoppers find them too tempting to resist.'

It goes on to say: 'After shopping at Waqif souq, enjoy a cup of tea and smoke some “shisha” in one of the many traditional teahouses.'

Thanks Whena (and Peter) for all that hauling. I'd love to be able to read the thoughts of the man with the donkey.

Here's a fabulous interactive map of Qatar and the Qatar heritage site (there's even a model mosque to explore).

This opens the link for the post on Al-Jahiz with interesting comments on Gertrude Bell and Lawrence of Arabia.


Vanda Symon said...

For the first time in my life I'm experiencing travel envy for a book!

Are you envious of your book's travels too?

Mary McCallum said...

Yes. I'm afraid I am. Qatar has been fascinating to discover via the net because I knew very little about it. And now I've started researching I feel like I should go to see it's like they say it is....

I have never been to the Middle East except for a touchdown in Bahrain in the middle of the night, and it SMELT wonderful, but all I could see of the local Arabs was men in white holding guns.

One way to travel you know, Vanda, is to set a book somewhere exotic and go and research it. Murder in the Waqif Souk anyone?