Thursday, January 15, 2015

My mom and nephew visit Doha

My mom and my nephew Dakota came to visit us in Doha for Christmas this year.  It was Dakota's first time out of the USA and I must give him a lot of credit.  It's a long way to go for nearly 2 weeks without your parents at the age of 12!!  There were times when he got a bit homesick, but all in all, I think he had a lot of fun.  Surprisingly, he didn't have ANY issues with jet lag!!!  Most people take several days to adjust to the 9 hour time difference.  Not Dakota.  He was a trooper!! 

Warning:  this is a long post with A LOT of pictures!  Enjoy...

On Dakota's first day in town, we went to check out the Qatar Mile.  It was advertised as "no professionals.  Just bring your Ferrari, Lamborghini, or whatever and drive as fast as you can."  So it was just a bunch of crazy locals driving as fast as they could.  We saw lots of motorcycles, fancy cars, and even regular old SUV racing down the track. 
Race track at Qatar Mile

Cars lining up to race

Watching the cars

Dakota with a Ferrari

The following day was spent checking out the camel race tracks and Sheik Faisal's Museum.  Since it was a weekday, there were no races at the camel tracks, but we enjoyed watching the practice and training. 
Training day at the camel race tracks

These camels were galloping at full speed.  You can see the robotic jockeys on their backs ... controlled by the people in the white SUV driving alongside.

Grandma with her grandsons at the camel tracks
Next stop was Sheik Faisal's Museum.  This is not a national museum, but a private collection of 1 man.  One very wealthy man!  I believe Sheik Faisal is the current Emir's great uncle.  He has been collecting things since he was a child and his collection includes just about everything!  We hadn't been in a while and we enjoyed all the changes and new additions at the museum.  We took lots of pictures of the boys being silly at the museum.

I love this little yellow truck!  The kids sit in front and learn to drive.  They control the steering wheel, but the parents control the speed from the back seat.  Would that be fun to have??

Entry door into the VIP room

Largest, smallest, and longest Quran are in this case

Dinosaur fossils

Exterior of the museum and they are adding another huge wing to it!  His collection keeps growing!
 We also took Dakota and my mom to check out the yachts at the Pearl before having high tea at the Ritz.
Ferrari and Maserati store at the Pearl
Boats docked at the Pearl

Looking at the boats
Lobby of the Ritz.
Grandma with her grandsons

Pictures of the grandsons to fill the new picture frames my mom got for Christmas...



Unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries before we made it to the tea room.  Such a same!  It's my favorite special treat!  The boys were tired and cranky from all the walking at the Pearl and picture taking around the Ritz, but they behaved beautifully for the tea. 
The torch tower

Riding the gondola in the Villagio mall
Bumper boats ... Dakota barely fit! 

Jaden was so excited to drive the "big kid" bumper cars

Nicholas was happy to ride alongside.
 We celebrated the first day of 2015 at the singing sand dunes with friends.  We had a blast sand skiing and sledding over the sand dunes and the "singing" was louder than I've ever heard it!  Super cool!!  Only place in the world where the sand dunes "sing" (make loud vibration noises when you walk down the dunes).
Having fun at the singing sand dunes
I went first on the knee boards
Standing on the knee board
We couldn't get Nicholas to ride, but Jaden and Dakota had a blast!
Dakota goes down

Jaden is last man "standing"

Just a bit of sand on his face.  But he still rode several more times
Me with Jaden and Dakota


Showing off with the boys
What every show off deserves ... wipeout!  :-)

Trying to push Dakota off his knee board

My mom didn't ride, but she enjoyed the say in the desert sun holding down the fort

Happy New Year

After knee boarding behind the truck, we went sledding down the dunes.  It was a steep big dune.  So fun!

 After church the following day, we went to the beach.  It was Dakota's favorite activity and a gorgeous day.  Makes me wonder why we don't go more often.  It's only 30 min from our house!
The water was warmer than we expected.  Must be because of how shallow it is!
Scoping out our little island
Boys start a sand castle
All four boys
One hot momma!
Selfie with mom at the beach
Sand castle construction continues

Jaden tries to do a "jump shot" but it looks like a high kick

Dakota and Jaden's jump shot

Ken and I show them how it's done

Mom and Dakota's attempt

Finishing touches on sand castle
Finished project
We came home that night and Jaden's wiggly jiggly tooth FINALLY fell out!!
We thought it would be a quiet day at the Museum of Islamic Art and the Souk.  Traffic told us otherwise!  There was some kind of festival at the museum and it was packed!!!  Especially the play ground.  Too bad!! 
Downtown Doha behind traditional pearling Dhow boats

Palm trees line the entrance to MIA (Museum of Islamic Art)

Pretty fountain


I love the interior of the museum... beautiful staircase and lights and floors 

Downtown Doha in the background

The skyline is much improved in the 2 1/2 years we've been here ... far fewer cranes to distract the eye.

Just a bit hazy today.  Can barely even see the skyline in the background!

The museum has an AWESOME playground ... too bad it was so crowded!

 After the museum, we went souvenir shopping at the Souk.  Jaden surprised everyone by secretly buying presents for me, Ken & Dakota.  He has the sweetest heart!
Perfume guy at the Souk

Mom bought several perfumes as gifts for the ladies that work for her

Souk at night with Fanar in background

A rather quiet night at the Souk

I bought a floor lamp that required the services of a wheelbarrow man.  My first time!!!  I've seen the wheelbarrows, but never bought enough to require their services!!

Fanar building near the Souk

Falcon Souk

Dakota with the falcons ... traditionally falcons were used to hunt and retrieve meat in the desert, but now they are just hobbies.  We buy our meat in the grocery story.  :-)

First time I've ever checked out the Arabian horses at the Souk ... there were tons of horses stabled there!

Mosque next to the Emir's Palace

Emir's Palace across from the Souk
WHen the boys went back to school, I took my mom and Dakota to Katara ... a cultural village.  It's mostly a pretty place to wander, take pictures, and have a meal.  Dakota ate Egyptian food for the first time.  :-)
Blue mosaic mosque

Dove cotes ... or giant bird house

Amphitheater at Katara

Gold mosque

beautiful beach at katara

Not really sure what these statues represent, but Dakota liked them

On their last night in town, we had tickets to the ExxonMobil Qatar Open.  It was my mom and Dakota's first professional tennis tournament.  My boys were looking forward to seeing Nadel play.  We were able to watch Nadel (ranked #3 in the world) and Djokovic (ranked #1 in the world) on a small court for doubles.  It was pretty packed!!! 
Picture with Nadel.

Center court wasn't very crowded for the early rounds of play.

All the white thobes would be the VVIP section. David Beckham sat in this section for the finals, but we didn't attend the finals this year.

Everyone happy to see some tennis

Enjoying the entertainment in the food court area

Stage with some amazing acrobat / jugglers

Doubles match on a small court ... super crowded!  Djokovic is in a red shirt.

Same court area ... Nadel is in the teal shirt by the net. 
And that's all folks!!  Hope you enjoyed all the pictures!! 
 It was a great week with my Mom and Dakota.  We had lots of fun and we'd love to have more visitors, so book your tickets to Qatar and come see us!!!

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