Monday, December 04, 2006

ive just had a question from a very good friend of mine about two of her lesbian friends who plan to visit doha as tourists, i wrote the following which i feel is quite poiniant


doha on many levels leaves alot to be desired, but is also fairly civilised too, doha is fundementaly a town under construction, a town run by a man who has literaly more money than god (qatar has the worlds largest gas reserves) and is keen to drive doha into the 21c and not be reliant on its natrual rescources.

as a place to live, doha is a rougly 50/50 mix of tatoween & bladerunner (if you get the scifi references) or a scene from a very distorted western with large 4x4's replacing horses. it also entirley depends what you want to do here at the end of the day, if your into sand theres lots of it, going out theres not much, some good resteraunts but forget it if you want a bottle of wine with dinner, some bars (think of a social scene out of the hotels in lost in translation) but there also full of loud fat oil/gas workers. there are some beautiful beaches but are a pain to get to.
another thing to bear in mind is that doha is incredibly expensive as a tourist average prices here range from 170-350 euros a night for doha or 130 out of doha for the hotels with a pint of beer coming in at between 4&5 pounds. the upside is that shopping is tax free, there is some stunning cloathing out here both hand made and off the peg (if your into hand made cloathing you will be in heaven)

however and here comes the big BUT given that the current thaught in doha is that you can cure homosexuality, and the current cure is 40 lashes and a stretch at his emeirs pleasure, it may prove problematic, on the other hand muslim countries are funny in that way regularly i see arab men walking hand in hand down the road (this is not seen as gay here just a sign of friendship), there is queerness here but its underground (read not very) and have had friends pick up in local bars.

the problem may be that you will are two western women out here, as currently there is a 10:1 male to female ratio, and some friends of mine have been treated appallingly here, with the whole stalking and eve teasing thing being huge here certainly around doha itself. i have heard stories (and this can go under unconfirmed speculation) of women being alone in taxis and the drives whipping their johnson out for a quick play during the drive, there are other much worse stories too - but im not sure of howmuch urban legend to truth factor there is,
but just to relate a story a male gay friend of mine out here brought a 'friend' home, the taxi driver/gate security guard (he couldnt work out whom) called the cops on him and the cops turned up at the door all ready to arrest him, luckily they were still drinking in the livingroom at the time, but that was/is a very close shave that really shook him up.

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