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Brian Candy

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If you forgot to pack sunblock, there is nothing to worry about. It’s readily available here in Qatar. But perhaps a little more pricey than back home.

Available in nearly all pharmacies and large supermarkets, a decent sunblock will cost around QAR 57 (GBP 11, USD 15, EUR 13, 818 Peso).  And please, please, please make sure you put it on. Or your vacation may be a painful one.

 

Last night I attended a very interesting lecture hosted for Honorary Cultural Ambassadors, on the subject of Intercultural Communications in Qatar. Our lecturer Dr. Irene Theodoropoulou from Qatar University was absolutely brilliant at discussing  the subject utilising many examples, experiences and much humour.

I have been in Qatar for nearly nine years now. And consider myself pretty knowledgeable on Intercultural Communications having spent a great deal of time living and working with cultures from all over the world. Yet she was still able to expand on and clarify the knowledge I have self acquired.

Inspired by her lecture, I am going to make sure that Qatar Quick will have a section on Intercultural Communications very soon. To help you interact with not only locals but also the expats working here from all over the globe.

Doha Fire Station Art Gallery
The lecture was presented in the Fire Station Art Gallery

One of Qatar Quicks top tips while visiting Qatar, is to buy a copy of The Entertainer

Qatar Quick do not earn commission, or make any money from persuading you to buy a copy of the Entertainer. we are simply recommending it because it makes sense.

Qatar Quick Recommended

What is it?

It’s a book or an App containing 2 for 1 vouchers on lots of things you like to do.  Their website states; “Whether you want to dine out for a special occasion, relax in a Moroccan bath or spend time with your family, there is something for everyone in Qatar 2018!”. The vouchers are valid for the calendar year they are purchased in.

How much does it cost?

Full list price is QR 375, but a lot of the time there are offers bringing that down by around QR 100 to QR 275.

Why Should I buy one?

If you traveling alone, then there is absolutely no point in buying a copy of the Entertainer. But if there are two or more of you, you will be able to make the purchase price of the Entertainer back in as little as one transaction. A good Brunch in a top hotel will cost anywhere between QR 200 and QR 350. Use a 2 for 1 voucher and the book/App is paid for.

Once you have recovered the purchase price, you are saving money every time you use a voucher. Even if you are only in Qatar for just a week you should easily get your money back and make some great savings.

Tip

Using vouchers on fast food and hotel buffets is going to give you the best return. Along with beach/leisure passes. We have found that à la carte 2 for 1 doesn’t normally represent a big saving. If you are in a restaurant you will normally use a ‘Buy 1 Get One Free Main Course’. The saving of one main menu item when the bill comes for starter, main, dessert and drinks only makes a small difference. But hey it’s worth having.

Where can I buy a copy?

You can buy online here, or a copy can be purchased in most large supermarkets and book stores.

 

 

You can easily buy a new ooredoo or Vodafone SIM on arrival at Doha International Airport

Once you have made it through customs it may be a good idea to buy a local SIM for use during your stay in Qatar. Qatar enjoys absolutely excellent mobile coms, with fast and reliable mobile data. You will need your passport for ID when buying a SIM in Qatar, and they will take a copy of your passport and register it against your SIM.

There are two mobile networks operating in Qatar; Vodafone and ooredoo. Both charge QR 35

to buy a new SIM. And both have very similar pricing for data and calls. It would take a great deal of comparison to try and decide which one to go for on price alone. And I would not want to be sued by either of them by saying one had a better network than the other. So the choice is yours. But ask them both about their Fexi plans because I believe they represent the best value for visitors.

As you step out of the automatic sliding doors that separate customs from land side arrivals you need to turn left if you want a Vodafone SIM, or right if you want an ooredoo SIM.

Vodafone Qatar

For Vodafone once you have walked to your left you will quickly come across a WH Smiths store. This is where you can buy your Vodafone SIM.

If you walk out of customs and turn right, you need to walk to the end of the building (follow signs for buses) and you will see a big ooredoo stand by the escalators.

Take you new SIM, pop it into your phone and you are good to go.

Want to know more about the prices of Fast Food in Qatar? Here is a price guide for what to expect to find in food courts across Qatar. This section will be updated as often as possible, but please treat it as example prices only. Also please be aware that exchange rates change much faster than this price guide can be updated.

McDonald’s Prices

McDonald's Menu Board prices
McDonald’s Menu Board 4/1/2018
Sample Exchange Rates 10/01/18 0.2028 0.2747 0.229 13.8453
QR GBP USD EUR PHP
Big Mac Meal 18 3.65 4.94 4.12 249.22
Big Tasty Meal 20 4.06 5.49 4.58 276.91
Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
McRoyale Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
Chicken Mac Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
McChicken Meal (Original) 18 3.65 4.94 4.12 249.22
McChicken Meal (Spicy) 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
McArabia Chicken Meal 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06
Grand Chicken Meal (Spicy) 23 4.66 6.32 5.27 318.44
Grand Chicken Meal (Special) 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Chicken McNuggets Meal (6 pcs) 15 3.04 4.12 3.44 207.68
chicken mcNuggets Meal (9 pcs) 19 3.85 5.22 4.35 263.06

Link to McDonald’s Qatar Home Delivery menu click HERE

Burger King Prices

Burger King Menu Board Prices
Burger King Menu Board 4/1/2018
Sample Exchange Rates 10/01/18 0.2028 0.2747 0.229 13.8453
QR GBP USD EUR PHP
Whopper Meal 18 3.65 4.94 4.12 249.22
Double  Whopper Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Triple Whopper Meal 24 4.87 6.59 5.50 332.29
Big King XXL Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Chicken Whopper Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Chicken Royale Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
King Chicken Fillet Meal 22 4.46 6.04 5.04 304.60
Chicken Steakhouse Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Chicken Crisp Meal 15 3.04 4.12 3.44 207.68
Chicken Tenders Meal (10 pcs) 17 3.45 4.67 3.89 235.37

Link to Burger King home delivery menu click HERE

KFC Prices

KFC Menu Board Prices
KFC Menu Board 4/1/2018
Sample Exchange Rates 10/01/18 0.2028 0.2747 0.229 13.8453
QR GBP USD EUR PHP
Dinner Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Crispy Strips Meal 21 4.26 5.77 4.81 290.75
Mighty Bucket Meal 25 5.07 6.87 5.73 346.13

Link to KFC home delivery prices click HERE

It’s easy to get FREE WiFi on Arrival at DOH

When you arrive in HIA (Hamad International Airport) Qatar or DOH as it will appear on your ticket, you can get access to the airports free WiFi. After disembarking from your aircraft simply turn on your phone and connect to #HIAQatar Complimentary

Select #HIAQatar Complimentary from available Wi-Fi to sign into the FREE HIA Wi-Fi
Select #HIAQatar Complimentary from available Wi-Fi

After connecting to #HIAQatar Complimentary you should see the screen below. There are two ways to get free internet at HIA, if you flew with Qatar Airways you should select [Connect using QR booking] if you arrived with any other airline you need to select [Connect using SMS]. If you select [Connect using SMS] you will need to enter the phone number of your mobile.

Select if you have a QR booking code or Connect using SMS if you flew with another airline other than Qatar Airways
Select if you have a QR booking code or Connect using SMS

WARNING: The only disadvantage of using the [Connect using SMS] option is that you must have roaming enabled on your phone to receive the SMS Access Code if you are not using a Qatari SIM. If you are enabling roaming on your phone you may want to ensure that data roaming is turned off to avoid incurring expensive data roaming charges. Make sure you turn off data roaming before turning off your phone during takeoff.

You will receive your Wi-Fi Access code via an SMS if you chose the SMS option
You will receive your Wi-Fi Access code via an SMS if you chose the SMS option

Once you receive your Wi-Fi Access code, you simply enter it and your free WiFi will begin. Then you can turn off all roaming on your phone if you need to.

Now you can use the free WiFi to chat with whoever is meeting you on the other side in arrivals, and let everyone back home know you have arrived safely.

 

The Corniche is one of the gems of Doha

One of the things I love about living in Qatar, is when I step out of my apartment, walk for about 20 minutes. Then find myself in the picture postcard location that is the Corniche.

In an attempt to try and stay alive a bit longer, I am walking a bit more these days. And I am lucky enough to live very close to the Corniche. A quick walk through Al Bidda Park and I am there.  On the way I pop into Woqod to buy a nice big bottle of water to keep me hydrated while out.

An Indian Restaurant worth discovering

I need to tell you about a really nice Indian restaurant Vic and I discovered near Abu Hamour. While out for a drive we both felt hungry and both fancied a curry. So we check our Entertainer App for a nearby Indian restaurant and Kababs and Kurries caught our attention. We decided that Kababs & Kurries would be a good choice as it’s located in 01 Mall and we could pop into the Mega Mart branch there at the same time.

Upon arrival

We arrived in Kababs & Kurries around lunch time. It was not busy with only two tables occupied. Staff were warm and welcoming and Veg & Non Veg Thali offerseated us in one of their booths that had the ability of becoming private by closing their curtains (which we did not). We were working our way through the menu pondering which two courses to order when I spotted an advertisement on an adjacent table for a lunchtime offer. Our Entertainer App had a voucher for ‘Buy one main course, get another main course free’. So we intended to order two main courses and share them, which is our normal modus operandi. But we decided not to use our Entertainer voucher and go for the ‘Non Veg Thali’ at QR 55 each instead (only available 12pm to 4pm).

After ordering we were invited to select which flavor yogurt drink we wanted to accompany our meal. I can’t remember what the options were, but both Vic and I went for mango. Whilst waiting for food, I started sipping away at my mango yogurt drink and considered that in other establishments I would have been charged around QR 20 for the drink alone. And it would have been worth it! I love yogurt drinks and this was delicious. We were also given nibbles and dips to keep us occupied while awaiting the main event.

Tastes as good as it looks

When our food arrived it looked amazing. And it tasted every bit as good as it looked. The meats were boneless and good cuts, cooked to perfection. The sauces were tangy and bursting with flavor. Vic had ordered hers less spicy than mine, and they got both of our spice heats spot on, so we could both enjoy our meal. Amazingly we both managed to finish our meals. But it was a while before either of us could leave the table as we were both so full.

Would we go again?

This meal went straight into my top 10 of favorite Indian meals ever. Was it worth QR 55 each? Hell yes! Would we go back? Absolutely, and we would be prepared to cross town to do it.

If the Thali is a bit more than you want to pay for a spot of lunch, then there is their ‘Executive Lunchbox’ to consider as well. We noticed one of the other tables enjoying Kababs & Kurries Executive Lunchbox, and that looked well worth a go as well.

Executive Lunchbox Offer
Executive Lunchbox

 

A new Multiplex for the Al Sadd Area

Last Thursday Vic and I popped along to Mirqab Mall to tryout the newly opened Flik Cinema. For us the opening of Flik is really good news as it’s very close to where we live and has loads of free basement parking. We went to watch ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ and paid just QR 35 each for their Gold seats (bigger seats that recline and have premium views of the screen). If we had gone for standard seats it would have been less at QR 30 each.

Flik Cinema - Mirqab Mall
Flik Cinema – Mirqab Mall
Price of snacks in Flik
Price of snacks in Flik

Snacks & Drinks

Popcorn was reasonably priced. We had a large caramel for QR 24 and it was large indeed. I actually had some left over at the end of the movie.

Price of Drinks in Flik
Price of Drinks in Flik

I ordered a large Pepsi but it was too small. Made the mistake of asking for large think I would get large, but large is small and XL is large if you get what I mean. If you only have two sizes then surely one of them is small and the other is large. Grrrr….

Vic wanted a bottle of water. But she ended up with a small Pepsi as well. Because Flik are being clever and are only selling expensive water. This makes me so angry. I refuse to pay QR 12 for a small bottle of water. Next time we will pop into Carrefour in Miqab and buy a small bottle of water for QR 1.5 before going to the cinema.

Jumanji

 

Jumanji a reboot of a classic that is better than the original

Loved the move. The new Jumanji was not what I was expecting at all. It was really, really good. Laugh out loud funny all the way through. And it wasn’t just Vic and I laughing, the theater was about 30% full and the majority were laughing with us.

It was easy for us to get to Flik in Mirqab Mall. It was easy to park in Mirqab Mall and indeed free. We watched a great movie at a really good price and had a thoroughly good evening. We recommend the cinema, the mall and the movie.

Would we go back?

We will be returning to watch something else there very, very soon.

The Miqab Mall Fountains
The Miqab Mall Fountains

 

 

One of our favorite breakfasts in Qatar. It’s worth a taxi ride to enjoy the pure pleasure that is the Santa Monica Breakfast Club

Update: The SMBC is now offering their buffet breakfast for QR 80 all the time

We have visited and paid for our breakfast at the SMBC. Our review is first hand informed and independant
We have visited and paid for our breakfast at the SMBC. Our review is first hand informed and independant

While continuing to work our way through The Entertainer App using up as many 2017tempFileForShare_20171223-100806 vouchers as we can before the 2018 edition kicks in, we popped along to the Santa Monica Breakfast Club yesterday morning for… well… breakfast.

We have saved over QR 822 so far by using our Entertainer App and that is in less than a month. For Santa Monica Breakfast Club we were about to save a further QR 80. I say about to, because just as we were about to order à la carte from the menu, our waitress informed us that Chef was prepared to let us have the breakfast buffet at the reduced price of QR 80 each down from QR 150 each as there was only an hour of breakfast brunch left. Both of us were about to spend around QR 80 on à la carte and with our voucher that would have meant that one of our breakfasts would have been free thus costing a total of QR 80 for the two of us. But instead of using the voucher and saving around QR 80, we took chef up on his offer and ended up spending an extra QR 80 (QR 160 for the two of us).

We didn’t regret the extra spend. The breakfast buffet in Santa Monica is outstanding. And even though we only had an hour, it was more than enough to end up full to the brim.

Santa Monica Breakfast Club Doha

I’m always extra happy when smoked salmon is included in any buffet, and if it is included in a breakfast buffet I am super happy. I ordered two poached eggs to go with the above, but at the time of taking the photo they had not arrived yet.

The hot section delivered me a good old traditional English breakfast with pretend bacon, sausages, beans egg etc. And I have to say that their sausages were among the very best I have had in Qatar. Really, really nice.

Next I had an attempt at healthy. Well let’s just say more nutritious than healthy. I hit the fruits section and added some yogurt to be extra healthy 😉

Santa Monica Breakfast Club Doha  See I can do healthy as well

Next and the final round before calling it a day, came the pastries. OMG! Donuts for breakfast. My son is going to kill me.

Santa Monica Breakfast Club Doha

And that was me fit to explode. There was plenty to drink as well. Unlimited coffee, and it was very good coffee, fresh juices including carrot, pineapple (my favorite), orange and apple juice, milk and smoothies.

Santa Monica Breakfast Club Doha

If Santa Monica was QR 80 for breakfast buffet all the time, they would have just knocked the Mövenpick Hotel Doha off the top of my favorite breakfasts list in Qatar. The breakfast buffet at Santa Monica was so, so good. And I would happily return and spend QR 160 for both Vic and I to enjoy a top quality breakfast on a Friday again any time. But would I spend QR 300 for the two of us (which is what it would have cost at full price)? No! That is just too much money for an indulgent breakfast. So Mövenpick Hotel Doha continue to be top of my list giving outstanding value at QR 75 each.

After our delicious breakfast we popped outside to enjoy the garden and beach of the Grand Hyatt. We found a lovely bench and chilled there for over an hour while our food went down.

Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas

 

Qatar National Day Parade is something everyone should experience at least once. The last time I made the effort was 2010. Back then the parade was early in the morning around 7am if I remember rightly. And to get a seat you had to get there around 5:30am.

This year it was scheduled to start at 3pm. We left home and started walking at 11:30am. It should have only taken us 20 minutes to walk down from where we live, but with crowd control involving a much longer route it took us about 40 mins. Then an additional 35 minuets to find an entrance that we could actually enter, and clear security. Because there was only a short cue for the ladies security Vic was through in just a matter of minuets and was able to go searching for seats in advance of me getting through. My experience at security was not pleasant. Pushing, shoving, rude people. How I managed to stay calm I will never know. Being British I am accustomed to orderly well-behaved queuing. There was nothing orderly about this cue.

When I finally got through the metal detectors and was out of that horrible queue, the relief of being in open space again was overwhelming. I still had to have my bag checked, but I didn’t care now that I was out of that horrible queue. The police man checking my bag was very polite and he appologised for having to do it. I replied to his apology by saying it really wasn’t a problem and I could see he was having a challenging day. My bag only contained munchies for our long wait before the parade started, so it was a nice easy search for him. And that was that. I was free to walk around in open space. Phew!

Vic had gone ahead as she was through security a good 20 mins before me. But by the time she got to the seating (around 12:30pm) there was nothing left. But she had managed to secure a small space of ground in the shade of the seating where we could comfortably sit down and rest our weary legs and have something to eat and drink.

At 3pm we stood up and tried to find a spot where we could see the parade. We were in a group of people wedged between two seating stands. The ground was slightly raised so we could just about see the road through gaps in people’s heads. When the parade got under way properly around 3:30pm the view became a little more restricted with people holding up mobile phone (yup I was one of those), and placing babies on their shoulders.

The parade was a box ticked for a second time for me, and the first time for Vic. I’m still glad we went, but the crowds and the cues mean that we probably won’t made the effort again. We will leave space for others to go and enjoy instead.

If you are thinking about going along to see the National Day Parade 2018, then here is my advice; Leave home early, very early. We live near Rumailah Hospital and as soon as we left home we could see people parking to walk down from that location. We should have left home a good hour earlier to have stood any chance of getting one of the public (non VIP) seats. Make sure you take plenty of munchies and water as you will have a long wait, and perhaps a power bank as you are going to be playing with your phone a lot while waiting.

I decided not to take a camera this year. It was a good opportunity to test the camera on my new Samsung Galaxy Note 8. I am very, very happy with the Note 8’s cameras. The 2x optical zoom was a life saver yesterday. We were really far back from the action, and the 2x optical zoom got me just a little closer without using digital zoom. The images included in this post have not had any post production. They were imported into Adobe Lightroom, and with the exception of just one image that I cropped to make it level, they were exported back out again. No exposure or saturation adjustments. I am now very glad I upgraded my phone from my beloved Galaxy S7 Edge. I now have a camera I am very comfortable with, in my pocket at all times.

Qatar National Day 2017
The view you will get if you only arrive 3 hours early. I should have left an hour earlier and got a better position and possibly a seat.