Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

John Lockerbie, Catnaps and Islamic / Arabic Design

One of the reasons I love going to museums over and over again is because I can only absorb so much at one time. Every time I see an exhibit, I learn something new. The next time I go to the Doha Islamic Museum I am going to go by myself, get the headsets, and get an overview. It will be my seventh trip to the museum. I am ready to go a little deeper.

You know you have read a good book – even if you didn’t like it when you read it – when your mind keeps going back there, time after time, mulling over questions, thinking of alternative endings, thinking even about what you didn’t like – a book that troubles you enough to make you THINK is a good book.

John Lockerbie’s website, Catnaps does the same thing for me. As I drive around Kuwait and Doha, I see things and get the great “aha” because I have read articles he writes about Islamic / Arabic houses, their origins, how the earliest houses were constructed, problems with modern constructions. I can’t absorb it all at once, so I visit again and again. I look for window shadings, and I look for air conditioning. Because of his website, I am more aware when I take in the architecture.

Here, for example, is a relatively new building, but look what they did for air conditioning. I was in the building next door; the offices are air conditioned but the hall is hot and breathless.


As I went to the site today to get the reference, I got lost once again in the boat section. Now, I do know my shuw’i from my booms! I’m still working on the others. The very cool thing is John Lockerbie is always learning new stuff, too, and often updates what he has written, so there is always something new to learn on this site.

Don’t try to take it in all at once. Go often to visit and peruse. There is so much there that will enrich your stay in the Gulf if you understand a little more about what you are seeing.

Mr. Lockerbie used one of my photos to show a shaded garden. I haven’t the heart to tell him that the very next week they came and took off the tops of all my trees so the lawn would grow, but now my garden has harsh sunlight like the rest of Doha. The trees grow really fast – several feet per year – so it won’t be long before I have some shade once again.

August 9, 2009 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Blogroll, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions | , , ,


  1. Oman is the best when it comes to blending Window type A/C or split unit A/C with the building ,they require the unit to be covered with arabesque design so it doesn’t stick out as an eye sore

    Comment by daggero | August 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. No kidding, Daggero? I don’t recall noticing the A/C which is probably the whole point. I really like visiting Oman.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 9, 2009 | Reply

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