I just came from a brief visit to Qatar, I attended the Opening ceremony for Doha 2006 Asian Games, and let me tell you, it really looks like Its going to be the Games of MY life!
Never did I imagine Qatar being able to host such an event. Turns out that I'm wrong, way wrong.
Qatar is not only hosting the event, Qatar is undergoing a huge metamorphosis. It is rapidly evolving into a modern age country in a very systematic style.
I know Dubai had a growth spurt, but look at it, its devoid of locals, where as Qatar is working hard to include locals in this changing process.
A sense of pride enveloped all of Qatar. You can easily see Qatari flags on cars, on a mast or tied to a side mirror or bearing stickers of Doha 2006 on the car bonnets, not to mention these giant buildings tall adverts stuck on hotels and banks.
Qatar revamped the cities, with new buildings, new roads and new everything.
To a poor Bahraini like me, I was shocked. The sidewalk they had, was as big as a 3 lane highway here in Bahrain. And you know what it was made of?
No, not bricks, no, not sand... no not that ugly fat plant that we try to pass off as grass in here.
It actually had GRASS!
Honest to god, real living GRASS! I know! I was shocked too, I though grass growing up in the gulf was a myth! if you recall, 11 Mumtaz (premier) league football (soccer if your a yank) games in Bahrain were postponed due to the rain which created puddles on the pitch. For shame...tsk tsk..
Qatar had the opening ceremony IN the rain. Heck, if you see the picture of the beautiful grassy sidewalk, you'll notice it was raining at the time. Poor us Bahrainis.
Not only that, they had roses on the street too! The kind that we see poor labourers planting hastily on the 14th or 15th of December., only to be removed two weeks later (are they on loan or something?).
anyway, back to the astonishing public involvement, everyone chipped in. Individuals, big businesses & small ones.
The inside of the hotel lobby of the Marriot.
A small restaurant advertising one of the Cultural events in Doha 2006
Big franchises got in on the act.
Qtel, one of the main sponsors had ads that state "We are all Qatar كلنا قطر", this slogan was widely seen on T-shirts, the Internet and on cars.
Behind it you can see Tissot's Asian Games Ad.
- End of Part 1 -