I was at work this evening, huddled around a colleague’s laptop watching a live stream, when the FIFA World Cup bid’s were announced. Upon finding out Russia had won the 2018 bid, someone commented that perhaps, Qatar did stand a chance. Most of the people I had spoken to in the past two months did not anticipate Qatar winning due to its size, it’s extreme heat during July – so it was definitely a nice surprise. As always, Sheikha Mozah looked elegant in Zurich in her patriotic coloured gown.
Travis and I decided to go to Souk Waqif in the old Doha city area after dinner to see what was happening around town. After a few metres down the street we realised we wouldn’t be getting very far by car and decided instead to park and walk to the Corniche. Cars filled every street. Qatari’s and many other Arabs from the region had decorated their cars with flags and it was like a huge street parade all the way down the Corniche. We ended up walking to the souk – as usual, people were enjoying their shishas, drinking tea and eating but there was a common excitement in the air. Most Qatari’s, dressed in their dishdasha and ghutra, had a Qatar scarf draped around their neck.
Whilst disappointed our home country Australia missed out this time, it is really very special to see first-hand Qatar receive such an opportunity – and how happy it has made the people here and the broader ME region.