FC: Dave and Jen in Doha: The Second Year
1: We've had a busy year: a busy fall with church activities for Jen, a visit by Dave's parents, semester break in India, conference trips to Dubai and Denver. Add in random world-class sports events, and hanging out with friends. Suddenly the school year is over and we're back stateside again.
2: We were excited that Mom and Dad could come visit us in December, 2008. It was the first time Dad had been out of the US since 1996, and the first time for Mom since 1982! Not surprisingly, the travel was a bit stressful for them. They were very glad to have come, though, since then they could have a bit better idea of what our life in Doha is like. | Jen kept busy in the fall preparing for and administering Ministry Fair at church. Then, she updated the church directory. Both these projects took quite a bit of time and energy. Dave fought problems with his voice, with ongoing visits to specialists and a speech therapist. Even though they didn't figure out what was wrong, fortunately, things improved on their own. He also kept busy with general church involvement and school stuff. | The Fall | Mom and Dad's visit | Dad came to class and hung out with Dave's students for a bit. He made quite the impression on several of them.
3: We took Mom and Dad to Villaggio, our local mall fashioned after Venice, complete with a canal and gondola. | We had the first official thunderstorm of the season during Mom and Dad's visit. Unfortunately, due to the storm we lost power. After deciding to go out for supper--can't cook without power!--spent a quiet evening reading by candlelight.
4: We took Mom and Dad for a day trip around the north end of the country. We had lunch at Al Khor, where there is a nice promenade area. We then went to Al Ruwais--the very north end of the country--dipping our toes in the water whose next port of call is Iran.
5: After Al Ruwais, we traveled around the tip to Al Zubara Fort. This is a reconstruction built on the former site of an old fort built during the 1700s.
6: We went to a decent beach about an hour south of Doha with some friends. It was a nice day. | No trip to Doha is complete without a dhow ride and a walk along the Corniche.
7: We took Mom and Dad to see the newly-opened Museum of Islamic Art. It was our first trip there, too.
8: Dave and Dad visited the bird/animal and vegetable/fruit markets near our apartment.
9: And then it was time for them to head home. Unfortunately, they encountered a storm in Chicago on the way, so had to spend the night there.
10: tennis...twice | In November we had the opportunity to watch world-class women's tennis. The marquis game was when Venus and Serena Williams played each other in the semi-finals of the Doha tournament. It was exciting to see such tennis icons. (Venus won.)
11: Later, in January, we watched the men play. Monfils was beaten by Andy Roddick, and Andy Murray beat Roger Federer. We also saw Raphael Nadal play in doubles. We enjoyed hanging out with the sons of some friends from church. The following night the Andys played each other for the championship. (The Brit, Andy Murray, won.)
12: Kyle and Yetunde | Shortly before Christmas, we received a request from a church member to possibly host the son of one of their friends during his short layover in Doha. As result, we showed Kyle and Yetunde around Souq Waqif and the Corniche for a few hours before running them to the airport the next morning.
13: For Christmas we hadn't been invited anywhere, so decided to host friends at our place. We did the Perry-standard Chinese gift exchange after a potato-bar dinner, where guests brought their favorite toppings. | Christmas
14: In February we took a trip to India. It was a bit of a whirlwind affair, with three days in Mumbai, two days in Bangalore, four days in Delhi, then, after an overnight train ride, one more day back in Mumbai before flying out. | Waiting in the airport on our way. | Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel, also two of the locations of the November 2008 bombings. | Trip to India
15: A main train station, alternately known as CST and Victoria Terminal, was only about five minutes from our hotel. | It is pretty wild that Hinduism and Christianity coexist in such close and obvious proximity, as seen in this shop window selling both Hundu idols and a picture of the Last Supper. | The Dobi Ghats is an area where people still do open-air laundry, much as they've done for many years.
16: We traveled an hour from Mumbai to Elephanta Island. The famous attraction there is ancient Hindu caves with statues carved in them. (The statues pictured, known as some of the best in India, are about 18 feet tall.) We also saw a monkey getting his sugar and caffeine high. There was a beautiful sunset on the way back.
17: (Above and above left) Given India's climate, many homeless people--including children--simply live outside. (Left) It was pretty cool to watch Slumdog Millionaire actually *in* Mumbai, the first day we were there. | (Left) Since cricket is the national sport, it's not much of a surprise that cricket fields dot the city.
18: We spent two days in the South in a city called Bangalore, visiting a friend we met in Champaign-Urbana, C. We had fun at a specialty tea joint, where we were quite surprised to see our "beloved" (former) Goverrnor Blagojevich on the front cover of the local newspaper. We also visited a nice botanical garden there.
19: Next we traveled north to Delhi, where we spent four days. It was the part of the trip where we finally started to feel overwhelemd by India, a reaction which R&H said is common. There were just so many sights, and smells and people and activities and people and more people. Old Delhi particularly made us feel that way.
20: We got up early to take a day-trip to Agra with R&H and family to see the world-famous Taj Mahal. After arriving at the parking lot we splurged on a camel ride to the gate, roughly 1/2 mile away. After paying our fees, we entered the outer courtyard and were impressed with the intricately inlaid decorations.
21: The outer courtyard gate is pretty impressive, but it's only a tease of the real attraction that you start to be able to see though the doorway...
23: Visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the (Ancient) World. People travel all the way to India just to step through the doorway and have this view. ('Nuff said.)
24: (Above) View from the Taj Mahal "patio" looking back toward the outer courtyard gate. (Bottom left) Posing on the famous "Princess Diana Chair".
25: (Above) A view up the river from the Taj platform toward some other period ruins.
26: After seeing the Taj Mahal, we visited the Red Fort, also in Agra. It was built about 100 years before the Taj.
27: Back in Delhi the next day, we also visited Hunamayun's tomb. It was built roughly 100 years before the Taj Mahal and clearly had an influence on its design. | We completed our time in Delhi and took an overnight train back to Mumbai. After one more day there, we headed home.
28: Dubai trip | O. and I went to Dubai in March to present at TESOL Arabia. Jen wasn't about to be left behind, so we made a nice weekend of it. We didn't have much time for sight-seeing, but we took a bus tour that ran us by the Burj Al Arab, a sail-shaped 7-star hotel and the Burj Dubai, which, when completed, will be the tallest building in the world (for at least a bit). We also saw Cirque du Soleil's "Alegria" show, which was fun.
29: Trip to Denver | O. and I made a rather rushed trip to Denver in March to attend the TESOL International Convention at the Colorado Convention Center. We presented three sessions and attended a number of others. We got to experience a major blizzard which shut down the whole city for a day or so. We also went to the venerable Casa Bonita. (Ozgur was less-than-impressed. I guess it's the fond childhood and honeymoon memories that I tap into when I go there. It *is* a bit cheesy!) | Denver Trip
31: In March we enjoyed the chance to see world-class diving at the diving facility. We saw the Chinese dominate the event, and watched Dmitry Sautin, a long-time Olympic-caliber diver. Men and women competed individually on platform and springboard, and synchronized pairs did the same.
32: And now to end the book... | ...a few random pictures of friends and local scenery.
34: Museum of Islamic Art
36: Qatar University