Thursday, 22 November 2012

Qatar – it's dry, meaning no alcohol, but believe me, that's good!

You know, sometimes the Brits say things about the Middle East along the lines of it being the sort of place where, if you get caught drinking they cut off your hands or something similarly ridiculous. They don't, of course, not in Qatar at any rate, or Dubai, but let's deal with this whole 'dry' thing. To be totally honest, it's alright. I feel a million times better and I haven't gotten into that whole 'let's meet for a beer' thing that happens so often in places where alcohol is available. By 'places where alcohol is available' I mean most of the rest of the world.

Doha airport. I'll be there in the morning, although we're flying Emirates.
No, it's really nice drinking fruit juices and the occasional Sprite or Coke, there's also no danger of encountering unreasonable people who have been drinking. It's great! And listen, if you want a drink, you can get one in most of  the hotels (except mine) where it's a little more civilised than a high street pub where, invariably, there's always one 'nutter'.

Also, it's nice NOT to see crushed beer cans in the gutter or mildly 'down and out' people coming at you with a can of Tennants in the their hand. There's no rowdiness, just a nice and pleasant calmness, which I really enjoy.

I was told yesterday that in Qatar you need to have a license to buy alcohol and that is dependent on how much money you earn. Alright, I'm sure there are loads of arguments to be thrashed out about that, but taken at face value, the whole 'no booze' thing works because it means that all the rubbish you have to put up with that is connected to drinking, simply isn't there.

And let's not get it wrong, Qatar doesn't appear in anyway threatening. On the contrary. Because there are no unruly drunken people walking around the streets, there appears, on the surface at any rate, to be little in the way of crime. There's not much of a police presence here either. I haven't seen a police car yet and I've been here all week.

In fact, as I have to fly back tomorrow I must say that I've enjoyed my time here in Qatar and would recommend it as a holiday venue.

As for the World Cup in 2022, Qatar is taking on a game fuelled by alcohol so it'll be interesting to see how they cope with it.

Qatar is a good country with a prosperous future ahead of it, hopefully. The weather's good, the people are friendly, the food's fine and there's plenty to see and do.

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