Our journey home, via Central Asia

Our Qatar adventure is coming to an end. After two years since Travis first landed in the country for work we have decided to head back to Perth. We have had an amazing and memorable time here and will sincerely miss this place which we have called our home away from home.

We have decided to take the opportunity to do some travelling on our way back. Our planned trip is loosely based on the Silk Road, a trading route between Asia and Europe since ancient times. In addition, whilst in China, we plan to travel from Tibet to Nepal and from there, to India and Sri Lanka.

We will update our blog with our adventures to come, so stay posted!

Doha Zoo, Qatar

We were a little unsure about visiting the local Doha zoo, I had read a few negative reviews that claimed very poor conditions and animals mistreated, but it was new years eve, a three-day long weekend and we didn’t have too much else to do.

Entry price was five Qatari Riyal and as usual for Qatar, it was family-day, where single males were unwelcome (unless you were Caucasian of course).

First up was the a single white-tiger, which didn’t help with the zoo’s negative image, a tiny domed cage with the tiger strutting back-and-forth along the edge. You couldn’t help feel sorry for it.

Onto the birds, a much more pleasant encounter, many varieties including Grey Crowned Cranes, ducks, geese and flamingos, which we had never seen before.

Next was a lonesome elephant, the small enclosure brought the elephant only a few metres away, so close that a man was able to extend his arm with popcorn and the elephant was able to extend its trunk to grab it, and would have, if the man hadn’t been stopped by the zoo keeper. Feeding the animals was a common occurrence in this zoo.

Similarly to the elephants, the monkeys were in arms reach, however nobody seemed to mind that they were being fed, and young Qatari boys and girls were happily feeding them popcorn and biscuits, even though there was a “Don’t feed the animals” sign right above them.

The open savannah enclosures housed zebras, giraffes, deer, antelopes, and of course Oryx, one of the main reasons for the zoo visit. Surprisingly, Oryx weren’t very lively animals, preferring to laze around on the ground.

Finally, we visited the nocturnal and small animal enclosures, similarly to the other animals the animals were easily visible and accessible, however there was minimum security, and many children were banging on the glass trying to get the animals attention.

Overall the zoo was enjoyable, animals were visible and accessible, maybe too accessible in some cases, the small enclosures and children feeding them being a result of this. Unfortunately, like the rest of Qatar, Qataris are ‘above the law’, and this isn’t a good thing for the animals.

Grey Crowned CranesFlamingosFlamingos
ElephantGirl feeding monkeyBoy feeding monkey
Girl feeding monkeyCrocodileZebras
ZebraSpotted deerOryx
Sugar GliderRed-handed Tamarin Red-handed Tamarin
BatRed-handed Tamarin Meerkat

Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque, Qatar State Grand Mosque

Mosques, one of the defining components of the Middle East, for every city we have visited, there is at least one ‘Grand Mosque’, a big, beautiful, lavish mosque, which tells the city’s story.

The Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque or Qatar State Grand Mosque is no different, opened only two weeks ago for Friday prayers, the extravagant mosque has a very modern feel with crisp lines and large open outdoor spaces. However, the mosque preserves some of the traditional aspects of the gulf region’s past, the sandstone facades, the modest building height and ninety smaller domes mimic the building constraints present when Qatar was in its early years.

Looking past the construction directly outside our apartment window, we have a clear view of the Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque, and five times a day we hear the mosque’s ‘call to prayer’.

Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque
Side wallCones on each cornerOne of the many wooden entrance doors
Side doorsWomen entranceIntricate metal work
Single minaretSome of the mosaics featured in the outside courtSonya sitting in the outside court
View of Doha city West Bay, Ezdan Towers and the new Barwa Financial DistrictView into the inner courtTraditional water spouts and lamps
Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque at night taken from Ezdan Towers