Katara - the Cultural Village

What a beautiful sight-- I sat at on one of the giant-sized benches across the boardwalk and gazed out at the night ocean and the Kashmiri pink-plum sky. It was one of the most relaxing moments I have had in a long, long time. Although probably not the best time to be taking pictures, considering the sandstorm that was here a few hours ago, it was the perfect time to be walking around the Katara. There was a calmness in the waters, a stillness in the sky, that made everything feel just right. I walked through art galleries, with arabic calligraphy and modern art, expensive fashionista galleries (from where I bought a dazzling bracelet ;)), an Olympics gallery, and a stamp collection of over 50 years from all over the Middle East. It was quite an impressive collection, accompanied by some of the humblest and nicest Qatari people I have come across. The galleries were far apart, with an amphitheater, an opera House, a mosque, and fancy restaurants nestled in. How did I get around to all of this on foot? I didn’t :) They had little golf cart buggies giving you rides to wherever you needed to go around the Katara. Just an FYI, the word “Katara” means the old cultural village, and it’s actually where Qatar got its name from.

As I walked back towards the water, where the famous little Karak & Chapati stand stood, I asked the old man there for 1 Karak. As the story of my life here holds it, this Karak cost only about $0.75, where I carried a much bigger bill that the gentleman had no change for. Disappointed, I  told him I would come back if I am able to get change and he said, “No, you have this cup. Come back if you can pay me otherwise enjoy your Karak. I insist.” After finishing my sweet tea, when I went back to pay the old man, he smiled and said that someone had already paid on my behalf. SubhanAllah, double the sweetness. The heart of a Qatari is sweet, so sweet.