Stuck in the Middle – Day Two

I was still very apprehensive as I woke up this morning. Hubby still wasn’t feeling that well. I was ravenously hungry but didn’t want to go out on my own.

After a little while hubby had a shower and felt well enough to explore the hotel with me, to see if there was somewhere we could get breakfast.

We ended up at the hotel restaurant where they were serving a buffet breakfast for 49 Qatari Riyal which is about $18.34 AUD.
We hadn’t eaten since about late morning the day before so we were very hungry!

They had such a great selection of food! I don’t know why but I felt uncomfortable taking photos in there so I didn’t. Everyone there was so helpful. They just couldn’t do enough for us, asking us if we wanted coffees and bringing it to us even though we were in a buffet restaurant.


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After breakfast we went to the top floor to check out the pool and the views.

Pretty nice views!
We were told there was an indoor pool here but there are no walls around/no roof above the pool and I’m pretty sure that’s what indoor means.

This is the sign outside the spa room. Separate times for men and women! Although, outside of those times, both men and women can be in there together.

Hubby and I walked outside despite the fact that it was almost 40 degrees Celsius at 9am. We went down to the water and snapped some pictures. NOBODY else was about. They’re smart here these people.


We started walking in the direction of the Souq Waqif markets when a cab driver stopped and asked if we wanted a driver. We said no. He then said the markets were closed and not due to open again until 4pm, and he offered to drive us around. He was very very persistent and it was HOT, so when he said “just hop in the cab and I’ll show you where I can take you and for what price”.
So we went in and he convinced us to be our driver for the next three hours. He already had a “tour” planned so off we went.
He wanted 350 Riyal for his time. We talked him down to 280 but I still think that was too much. In any case we were in and he seemed like a really nice guy.

I took a couple of pics as we drove.

That’s his cab there bottom right. It was comfortable.
He stopped here and there for me to take some pictures. He was very informative about DoHa but most of the information he said I haven’t retained.


This is a VERY impressive place!! Very new. Everything is new and more and more is being built.  You can see that there is no one around. It’s just too hot.

I thought it was funny how he and hubby both talked with their hands. I was sitting at the back and watched as they mirrored each other.


At one place there was a board up with references to the signs of the zodiac. I was surprised to see that in such a religious place.

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There is a lot of references to Italy here and I also noticed a lot of programs on tv in Italian. The driver said there is a “little Venice” section of DoHa and it is so pretty!! So colourful and has little canals through it.
Not a soul to be seen on the streets though!

I can’t remember the name of this next place that the taxi driver took us too. Honestly, he had told us about a mall – Villaggio Mall – that I really wanted to go to. I could have easily missed this next stop and had him take us to the mall but I think he really didn’t want to go there. If you hover over “Villaggio Mall” it will take you to the website and you can see the cool pictures of it.

In any case he didn’t take us there, he took us to some cultural place. I think that’s what he said. I honestly can’t remember. There’s a mosque there which is quite distinctive and I took a picture of the front of it. There’s also a pretty cool looking auditorium. Everything looks like it’s come out of The Flintstones.


IMG_7675We were supposed to meet the driver back in 30 minutes but we kind of lost our way.

There were golf carts that were driving people around and the driver said these were free so we approached one and I showed him a picture of the mosque and said
“Can you take us back there?”

Thank you Mr Nice Man.

Next stop was a famous mosque. Our driver wanted us to go and take pictures inside. He said I needed to go around the back to the women’s entrance and I would have to change my clothes into what they wear (forgot the name sorry) but then it would be ok to go in and take pictures.

It was really too hot to think about getting changed into anything and I don’t know how I feel about the whole male/female thing so we just went up and took some pictures of the mosque and the city from the mosque, then came down again.


IMG_7677If you can see it, that last picture is the one showing the way to the women’s entrance.

Oh look (pic right), these signs are all over the place showing you where it’s safer to cross the road.

After all this, our driver said for another 70 Riyal, he would take us to the Villagio Mall and leave us there. We’d have to make our own way back and a taxi back from there he estimated would be about 40 Riyal.  So he wanted about $26 AUD on top of the $105 AUD we’ve already given him, to be left at a mall far from our place.

We decided then we’d get him to take us to City Centre Mall which is closer to where we’re staying. He kept telling us it wasn’t worth going there but that’s where we insisted we wanted to be left so we went. He dropped us there, took our money, and went.

Later on, when we got a taxi back from there to our place, the driver said that most drivers can be hired for about 65 Riyal an hour. That’s about $25 AUD an hour. We had our guy for 2 1/2 hours at $110AUD. We got ripped! Ah well..

And turns out City Centre Mall was quite ok! With an ice skating rink in it too.


They even had a Tim Hortons there.
We cooled off, had something to eat, and had a look around.

Once we were back in the room, we decided to use the pool facilities. YES both of us went in the pool!! Because we left our phones behind there is no photographic evidence.

We were hoping it had cooled down a bit (insert laughter here) and walked down to the Souq Waqif markets at about 7pm. It was still stifling hot. Even though it was “only” 32 degrees, it was really humid. The air was thick and heavy and there was a strong smell of spice in the air.

The stuff there was so interesting! But the second you look at something, the owner of the stall comes out super excited that he’s going to make a sale. And sometimes you just want to look! And they just seem so desperate to want to make a sale. I feel bad! I can’t buy from every one so I bought from none.

I loved those dresses in the bottom pic!!
Some of these style dresses were expensive but others were really cheap. I was tempted to buy one but where would I wear it?

Hubby and I had some food at a local place – that is – a place full of locals. The food was so cheap we were worried there was something wrong with it but it was so tasty!! And as always, I ordered better than hubby!! Look how big my noodle plate is compared to his little kebab wrap thingie.

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It was just so tasty!

I’m glad we spent today here in Doha. We’ve seen a lot of new things and seen an incredibly different culture.

Tonight will be our last night in a strange bed. I’m looking forward to being home.
Love seeing new things but there’s no place like home.

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Stuck in the Middle – Day Three

Our last day away and I can assure you, there will be no “surprises” after today. The next bed I’m going to sleep in will be my own!

I wanted to share another photo from last night. This was taken from the top of our hotel.

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Very nice views from up there!

Oh and a few other things from yesterday, we were talking to one of the servers in the restaurant here about the weather. He was saying they get temperatures of 50-55 degrees Celsius in the Summer!!! Then he added “It’s not too bad now, 42/43”
What?? That’s crazy! Who could ever say that 42/43 Celsius is not too bad!

And we asked our driver yesterday what the haze over the city was. Was it smog? Sand? He said no, they don’t really get sandstorms here. He thought it might be “something from the sea” which sounded pretty vague. I had a quick google and found out that DoHa is one of the most polluted cities in the world. This was one site I clicked on
http://aqicn.org/country/qatar/

Some other observations, even though everyone says there is no dress code for Westerners, I felt uncomfortable as a woman. Sometimes I think they say what they hope to be true, rather than what is true.
I was mostly covered up while I was here but you’re walking among people who are really covered up, and being white and blonde, I felt like I stuck out even more.
Just knowing people usually dress a different way made me feel uncomfortable. I know I’m not articulating this correctly and this is no reflection on the people here, everyone we interacted with was very nice but some of the looks we got made me uncomfortable at times.

Oh and there is a metal detector at the entrance of our hotel. Every time we have to go in or out, we need to go through it.

This morning we had breakfast at our hotel restaurant again and this time I took a few pictures.

 


We found out that there is a man there cooking up eggs the way you want them as you order them. They were so nice! I felt like we were eating so much and that everyone was looking at the gluttonous westerners. We wanted to make it last though as we weren’t eating again until late afternoon at the airport.

Everyone has been recommending the Museum of Islamic Art and it’s free and very close to our hotel so we went there this morning. You need to walk through a security scanning thing similar to what is at the airport to enter.
Again, no one on the streets!! Just a few workers as we approached the building.
The building itself is quite impressive!

 


Equally impressive inside.

 

 

They brought out these little sesame seed biscuit things with the coffee. They were so good!!

I took a few pictures of some of the exhibits inside. Not sure you can read the sign explaining what the exhibit is.

 

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Our shuttle back to the airport is booked for 3pm and as it’s too hot to do anything, we went back to the hotel and relaxed.

 


Our flight was not until 8pm though so we had a lot of time at the airport to wander around and see what’s here.
Again, this is an impressive building. It just seems like they’ve got money to throw around here at anything!

And I finally got to take a picture of the teddy bear! I think that’s what it is.It’s not the only large thing here either.

 

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I also took a pic while we were in the shuttle.

I realised later it didn’t take us very far and we could have easily walked it.

 

I just wanted to share a few more pictures from our plane. We were able to view outside of it via some camera and it made for some pretty interesting viewing during the landing!


That brings this vacation to an end.

Thank you for reading about our adventures and I welcome any comments you may have.

Kalinychta

Buona Notte

Tusbih ealaa khayr

Perth Day Two

I can’t say I’m a fan of this two and a half hour time difference between South Australia and Western Australia although it did suit me this morning because I was wide awake at 5am and wandered down to the hotel Gym shortly after.

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So nice at that time of the morning as I had the whole room to myself! Hubby came down and joined me after a little while and before too long we worked up an appetite.

We started walking towards the Hay Street Mall as hubby was in search of the perfect cafe to serve us a full breakfast.
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Unfortunately, perfection is not easy to find and we were on Barrack St and on our way towards the Bell Tower when he asked me to search for “The perfect breakfast in Perth”.
I said “Haven’t you heard that if you want something done you have to do it yourself?” and took a rest while he did his thing.

So google told us to check out some place in Elizabeth Quay area but when we got there, they told us they only do breakfasts on the weekend. Bad luck for us!

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Turns out it wasn’t such a bad thing as we headed back and found The Riverside Cafe and had a decent breakfast there! Yum!

 

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Next stop was Fremantle so along Canning Hwy we went and just walked around exploring the streets, cafes, bars and shops.

 

What an interesting place this is!

 

The highlight of the day was catching up with my beautiful cousin Lisa and her family. We spent the next couple of hours solving world problems while sipping drinks and eating icecream. Nice! So sad to say goodbye though.

We stopped at some local place for food for dinner and didn’t realise until we were away from the place that they didn’t give us the chips we’d ordered! Can you imagine how upsetting it is when you have your heart set on something! Not upsetting enough to go back for them though. We’d done enough walking today! Probably better for our hips anyway.

50SixOne

Today on the Dining Diaries…

All senses are sent into overload!
One cocktail is never enough and…
I think I’ve found my happy place.

Diners today I had my first, long overdue, visit to 50SixOne
I have driven past so many times and every time the line outside makes me not want to stop in. I also mistakenly thought that 50SixOne was a dessert place.
While yes, they are known for their desserts, they offer so much more!

My daughter and I found ourselves home alone today and on a whim she said “Come on, lets go to 50SixOne, my treat”
How could I possibly say no?

Being a Wednesday afternoon, I thought we’d have a pretty good chance of getting in without waiting too long. As it turned out, there was only one table available when we got there so lucky us!

3It was absolute sensory overload. I didn’t know what to look at first!

The funky furnishings, exposed brick wall, decorative plants or my god, the shakes that were ready to be sent out.

How do they even make stuff like that????

And this was all before I’d even had a chance to look at the menu!

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The atmosphere was bright and vibrant. There was music playing and lots of fun to be had. Every table was full and loads of lucky children and teenagers were whiling away an hour or two in this happening place.

When I did manage to pry my eyes away from the restaurant and indeed, the shakes that were going out, I noticed that the menu had breakfast and lunch options too.

It wasn’t just a dessert menu as I had previously thought. They had lots of things on offer from regular breakfast items to burgers and fries (not to mention cocktails!)

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We decided to try a couple of their cocktails as neither of us had had these before..

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The cocktail on the left is “Toblerone” Baileys, Kahlua, Crème De Cacao, Frangelico and Honey.
On the right was my pick, “Liquid Ecstasy” Baileys, Butterscotch Schnapps, Chocolate and Cream.

Both of them featured my weakness, Baileys.
My daughter and I watched them being made. Honestly I felt like a kid being let loose in a candy store and completely allowed myself this beautiful indulgence.

Our food was out not much later.
My daughter had ordered something she’d never had before.
As per the menu….
Red Velvet Cakes Our Insta-famous Red Velvet Pancakes layered with mascarpone cheese, topped with berry compote, ice cream and chocolate brownie soil.

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I’ve got to say it looked massive when it came out!! Very impressive! I loved the deep red colour of the pancakes.
The pancakes themselves were not sweet and neither was the cream layered between them. This was just perfect as the berries were syrupy and quite sweet, as was the ice-cream.
For me, the best thing on that plate was the ice-cream. I’m assuming it’s made in house but I didn’t get the chance to ask anyone. It had such a beautiful full flavour and was just so creamy! I could have had a bowl of that on it’s own.
It was nice to let the pancake absorb some of the melted ice-cream and then eat it with a few berries. Just perfect!

I was tossing up between the Bircher Muesli and the Granola Wake me up. I decided to go for the Bircher! You can’t really go past “Fancy Schmancy” can you?
Fancy Schmancy Bircher Raise your pinkies and make the perfect start to your day with this bircher, paired with charred peaches and dash of orange blossom syrup.

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I love Bircher Muesli and I love peaches. How could I go wrong with this?
I must admit, when I saw it I thought “Is that all?” However it soon proved to be very filling and I was glad it wasn’t any bigger than that!

While it wasn’t the best Bircher I’ve had, I did really enjoy a lot of things about this dish. I loved the freshness of the fruit. I felt the syrup was a little too sweet but luckily I have a fairly sweet tooth and managed to eat every last speck.
The peach had a lot of flavour and was still firm, but not so firm that I couldn’t cut it with my spoon.

Honestly, if you haven’t been to 50SixOne you’re really missing out!!
I need to go back to this place and try a burger or something else off the menu. I’m not sure what time of day is better to go as it seems to be fairly busy all the time but even so, it’s definitely an experience and dare I say it, worth the wait if you do happen to see a line.

They have an active Instagram account with beautiful pictures of their food that is not only delicious, but artistic. Follow them if you dare!

I’ll just leave you with a few more pictures of items they had on display.

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Have you been to 50SixOne?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Turning Japanese – Part Ten

Only a few more days left of this vacation and I’m sad to be leaving but also a little homesick.

I mentioned in a previous entry that Denny’s had lounge music playing while we were eating breakfast. What I’ve noticed since is that a LOT of places have lounge music playing. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin… that kind of era.
For a country that is so advanced when it comes to technology, they seem to be stuck in a bit of a time warp.
Here in Osaka we found a mall where breakdancers congregate in the basement and work through their routines. It’s quite something to watch!

Unfortunately today is raining crazily. We were going to go to the Shitennjoi temple but looks like that won’t be happening today.

We walked to our regular mall and surprise, surprise, didn’t go to the food court, but we DID go to the supermarket where we are fast becoming regulars.
We grabbed a coffee and some sweets from there and sat and had breakfast trying to figure out what we were going to do in all this rain.
I took pictures of some of the desserts/cakes. They remind me of what is sold through the Bread Top chain if you’re familiar with that..

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Very delcious and light but probably really heavily processed too. Lots of people were buying these things and eating them in the seats provided by the supermarket.

This afternoon we bought tickets for a baseball game that was happening at Kyocera Dome, right near were we’re staying.
I have never really watched a game although I did play it once or twice in Primary School. I soon found myself getting into it though!! I was chanting away with everyone else for the home team – Orix Buffalo’s. It was so exciting!

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Because it was late when the game was over, we didn’t eat anything too interesting for dinner – We ended up going back to the food mall and getting an enormous bowl of noodles – the same dish we had a couple of days ago.

I’ve seen these little desserts around the place – I’m not sure what they are, but tonight I found them in the supermarket so I bought some.
I wish I knew more about them but there are no English words on the packaging and no one who speak English that I can ask.
I took the chance and just bought them.
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They didn’t taste as I was expecting. I’m suspecting they may have lychee in them? I really don’t know. There was a bit of a rubbery taste to them. This is them cut in half

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If anyone knows what they are I’d love to know!

Hopefully it won’t be raining tomorrow so we’ll be able to get down to the temple.
Only a few more days left here and so many foods still to try!