Smoking Shisha with Qatari Cops

Abdulleh pours Moroccan tea for Erin as Karim looks on

It’s 7pm in Doha and we’ve just disembarked from a mind-numbing 15+ hour flight from San Francisco in which an entire night and day cycle passed us by. The flight to Kathmandu leaves at 2am, which means we have plenty of time to get into Doha and explore the city. But it’s nighttime, we’re tired–no–exhausted, and it sounds difficult.

It is easy to visit Doha on a layover and you should do it!

A desert breeze made this evening excursion absolutely surreal

Step One: Leave your arrival gate and head towards “baggage” as if you were leaving the airport, which took us to immigration where we got a FREE visa from the nicest immigration agent we’ve ever met. He actually smiled at us.

Step Two: Get some Qatar riyals from the ATM or change some money, and head to the Metro station (trust us: take the Metro, not the bus or taxi). You may need to ask someone how to get to the Metro. If you are like us with non-functional brains, you may also need to ask someone how to use the elevator. It’s about a quarter-mile walk to the Metro station through the airport where you can purchase a day-pass from the agents at the counter in the office (not the machine) to the right before the entrance turnstiles.

Once on the Metro, we decided to ignore the stops at different museums (it was Sunday night after all) and just head to the Souq Waqif, which is a “marketplace” that is also a high-end outdoor dining destination and all around magical place to explore.

After getting lost among the interior halls and alleyways of the market, we eventually decided to choose one of the outdoor dining options that would allow me to try the shisha and hopefully caffeinate both of us. We found a table but there was brief awkwardness as it turns out it had a cell phone on it. That is when Abdulleh told the host that the phone was his and then invited us to join him and his friend at the table. Of course!

We drank Moroccan mint tea, Turkish coffee, learned to smoke the shisha, and chatted with Abdulleh and Karim about their interesting lives as Moroccan citizens who work in Doha and work as police officers. I know that this trip to Nepal will require us to be more open to adventure, say “yes” more often, and push ourselves. In fact, doing this for Erin’s 50th birthday is very intentional; we don’t know how long we will have the energy required for this type of travel. But saying “yes” to Abdulleh and enjoying our short evening in Doha with new acquaintances felt like it set the right tone for our upcoming journey.

Bad idea: selfies after 18 hours flying while smoking shisha in Doha.

10 thoughts on “Smoking Shisha with Qatari Cops

  1. I’m so excited for the return of the blog! And even this first post is super inspiring. (I would have been like, “ugh, now I have to wait in the airport for seven hours.”) Have fun!


  2. I don’t think my first attempt to comment went through, but if it did sorry you’re getting two from me. Just wanted to say how rad it is you’re doing this trip, inspiring me to do some travel on my 50th in a few years. Enjoy! Safe travels!


  3. What an exciting journey to start on your Birthday Eve, Birthday and afterward. Thanks so much for sharing the beginning of the adventure. Love you both, Dad Madden


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