Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Grand Photo Spot – Erich

I was compelled to take this picture. One might argue it was optional, but I would disagree with that assertion.
This is a grand photo
Those men in the photo, I don't know who they were. They were just passing by. And no, they did not compel me to take the picture.

The building is the Museum of Islamic Art here in Doha, Qatar. It's a very impressive museum. Their collections are varied, extensive, and some of it quite old. I was looking at parchments from the 10th century. (Yes, I recognize that there are older parchments in existence, like the Ahmes Papyrus in the British Museum. Though technically that's papyrus, not parchment. Just sayin'.) The building itself is gorgeous with fascinating architecture and tons of details in the decor.

But this isn't even the best angle from which to get a picture of the museum.

So why was I compelled to take this picture? Because right where I was standing when I took it, on the ground under my feet was this:
X marks the spot, where X is a variable denoting whatever that animal is
Yes, I was standing at The Grand Photo Spot. To be honest, I'm not sure to which grand photo it refers. Perhaps I was facing the wrong direction, though I spun about and didn't find a picture from this location that I thought was better. (Of course, what do I know.) I'm not even sure what that animal is. A cat? With antelope like legs? Maybe a fancy prancey cat? But what's with that nose?

The thing is this: Doha really is a great place for grand photos. The buildings are magnificent in their height, design, color, and architecture. The skyline is a sight to behold. It's just you see a lot of those views at places that are not labeled as "The Grand Photo Spot."
The Doha skyline
I wonder if there is a spiral staircase in this mosque
Doha is not a huge tourist destination, probably because it has very few tourist sites. It more or less has two: the Museum of Islamic Art, which I mentioned, and the Souq Waqif.
A view from a souq
A souq (or souk) as we learned in Morocco is a marketplace where there are many stands and shops lined on narrow streets. The Souq Waqif in Doha has the distinction of being the oldest continuously used souq in the world. There has been a souq on this location for about 2000 years. Of course, the buildings have been renovated in that time. In 2004, Qatar decided to do a major renovation, keeping the old style of the buildings, but putting in modern construction so they would stay standing. In addition new art and fountains were installed at the outskirts.
Like a well, but the bucket pours water in. So an unwell!
The souq has plenty of shops selling spices, clothing in the Arabian style, draperies and other linens, and birds. In the main souq, you see lots of pet shops and outside of them are tons of cages with small birds in them. But if you go one block to the west of the main souq, you reach the Falcon Souq.

Falconry is huge in Qatar. Many people own and train falcons. And you can see shops with falcons and all of their accessories. This is their main business.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get any good pictures of the falcons. I'm not sure if they would like that, and I didn't want to see who would win between the bird of prey and me.

Though the falcons probably would have let me take their pictures if someone has just labeled one point on the ground in the souq as The Grand Photo Spot.

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