"How long have you been in Qatar?"
"Six years is a long time!"
Six years. That's twice of three years. Four years away from a decade. Babies who were born in the same year I left my hometown are now 1st graders; they most likely know how to read "ant" or "snake" and they probably think by now that 100 is the largest number. I've never felt like I've come that far. However as I look back, it's clear to me how much things have changed — my interests, preferences, knowledge and outward appearance. Bonkers. It feels like just yesterday I was that little girl in her bus ride home from school, not knowing which building was the one she lives in, asking the chauffer after every similar-colored building that passed if we hadn't missed it. We had. He kept driving and driving in circles to no avail, not knowing I have failed to recognize our building two, three times already. The thing is every apartment in Doha kind of looks like the other. Painted in flesh. Tall but not towering. Non see-through blue windows. And diminutive building signs. Frustrating to find if driving with no Google map — most certainly if you were a non-teenage adolescent with only a week of living in (not exploring) an utterly new place and a baby's knowledge when it comes to the city's routes, roads and landmarks.
At least, I managed to get home. That's how I used to call it: "home", but in reality I never felt like it was my home back then. When you've never left your hometown, moving to a new place is terrifying. It was like typing a 1000-word essay on the computer and you're on your 568th when the program started to get problematic. Nothing is responding and you have to restart the whole machine without saving the file. Frustrating, I know. But what else can you do? Nothing but start afresh. Type the whole thing again. As you recreate it, you never know how much new ideas accumulate.
That's what I did upon my arrival in Qatar. I set my mindset to a more positive tone. I learned to learn loving the place. And the six years I've spent here in the Middle East, I realized, is partitioned into a quarter of stages — moving in, adopting, living and calling it a home. If it were a scale, it bears a close resemblance to the red to green color spectrum (like that of the iPhone battery meter). It's rather abominable but slowly getting better.
I am past the three early stages, to say the least. Making Qatar my home has been one crazy rollercoaster ride. It never feels like only time progresses; as I grow physically, mentally and spiritually, Qatar seems to equally boom and make more interesting and louder noises globally. A year after we moved here, Qatar won the bid for 2022 FIFA World Cup. While she still holds the world's richest country title, several schools, malls, parks continuously opened and lots are still in the works up to present. Finally, this year, Qatar Airways was named Airline of the Year.
"Ramadan is a journey to a purer being."
Let's drink to that!
And yes, we all can now. As I type this, my clock says it's 11:35 pm, meaning to say Ramadan fasting has already been five hours over and we're all pining for a sumptuous Suhour as of the moment. We, my friends, have embarked on the third week of the Holy Month of Ramadan. It's one of the Islamic traditions I find starkly interesting every year in this country. Ramadan is not a mere month of fasting or — as we always hear it — sharing, it is more of a journey to a purer being. While generosity plays a massive part of this journey, let us not forget that everyday, whether it is the holy month or not, we are all entitled to share something: a material thing or a bit of ourselves.
Below, I'm sharing with you the top 5 places you should visit at which you can dine for a more unforgettable Ramadan:
Variety of Arabian flavors accompanied with traditional instrumental music and ultra-stylish décor.
Iftar buffet (from 6:00 pm to 8:15 pm): QAR 230
Suhour buffet (from 9:15 pm to 2:00 am): QAR 285
Oriental and international dishes, live cooking stations, succulent dessert selection and flavorsome shishas.
Suhour buffet: QAR 250
Delicious buffet with live cooking stations and multiple cuisines.
Iftar buffet (sunset to 8:00 pm): QAR 240
Suhour buffet (9:30 pm to late): QAR 290
A Grand Ramadan
Chefs de cuisine from the acclaimed restaurants join forces to provide with an international buffet with flavors to cater to all tastes.
Iftar and Suhour buffet: QAR 250
The feeling of a homemade meal with Hyatt’s deluxe twist.
Suhour Tray: QAR 140
Offering Qatari specialities, hot and cold mezze, vegetable salads, mixed grills, ouzi, desserts and traditional Ramadan drinks.
*opens from 6:30 pm to 1:00 am
Iftar buffet: QAR 135
Suhour: Charged à la carte