Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Breakfast at the Beirut Restaurant, Suq al Waqif, Doha

“We want to take you for breakfast at the Beirut!” my friend said with enthusiasm, and I was shocked. She is totally covered. How could we eat at the Beirut? I remember her family loves the Beirut, and I remember lining up with all the other cars along Shar’aa al Karaba’a to buy felafel and foul and hummos, yes, oh yes, such good felafel. But it wasn’t really a place for ladies, especially covered ladies and their daughters.

As is usual with this friend, I never really have the complete picture. When my niece and I go to pick up my friend and her daughter, it is actually my friend and three daughters and we squeeze into my car and head – not to Karaba’a, but to the Suq al Waqif!

When I go to park in one of the new, tiny, narrow little parking spots, my friend laughs and says “You park like an American! I am going to show you how to park like us!” and she points to the one tree off in an unpaved area, and sure enough, there is one spot, not in the shade of the tree but in the shade of a large truck parked in the shade of the tree. “Now you are learning to park like we do!” she laughs, and I laugh too, I am always learning something from this friend.

We walk a short distance and she leads me into a restaurant which on the outside says Matam Beiroot, but it’s in Arabic. If you are walking from the upper parking lot, it is one of the very first buildings you come to, at the top of the street.

Inside, there are all kinds of tables and chairs, but my friend and her daughters lead us upstairs to the family section, where we sit off in the corner, so she and her daughters can sit with their backs to other customers while we eat. We are a strange group, two women covered head to toe, two younger girls in hijab, my blue-eyed-blonde niece and me, laughing and enjoying each other so much in the corner.

Since then, I have been back many times. The Beirut is a lot of fun for breakfast. They have wonderful felafel, and several different great hummos, and they have beans and the ubiquitous french fries, and tea. Grammy and I grabbed a quick bite there on our trip to the Suqs.

I really am so bad at remembering to take photos. This is where the felafel used to be, before we dipped them in the lemon juice and gobbled them all up:

00Wherethe FelafelUsedToBe

here is what is left of the hummos:


And here is the traditional style ceiling with traditional style light fixtures:


August 16, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Cross Cultural, Doha, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Food, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Qatar, Women's Issues | 6 Comments

At Least 41 Dead in Wedding Tent Fire in Kuwait

AdventureMan called first thing this morning on his way to work and said he heard this on the radio. We are so sorry this has happened. What a sad, sad ending to a joyful occasion.

AOL News and Associated Press report the death toll is at least 41 women and children.

KUWAIT CITY (Aug. 15) – A fire at a wedding tent Saturday has killed at least 41 women and children guests and injured 76 others, authorities said.
The official Kuwait News Agency quotes the fire department chief, Brig. Gen. Jassem al-Mansouri, as saying 41 bodies have been recovered from the scene in Jahra, a tribal area west of Kuwait City. KUNA said 76 people have been hospitalized with burns.

Jahra wedding fire kills dozens
Published Date: August 16, 2009
By Hanan Al-Saadoun
Kuwait Times

KUWAIT: Dozens of people were killed late yesterday when a fire broke out in a wedding tent in the Ayoun area of Jahra. Sources said all the victims were women. Rescue efforts were hampered because the burning tent collapsed on the women and the power supply failed. Many of the women were also killed in a stampede that ensued. Twenty fire trucks and dozens of firemen battled the blaze, while the injured were rushed to hospitals.

TV channels put the toll at more than 44. Incidentally the victims of yesterday’s fire, said to be from the Al-Enezi family, are relatives of a few ill-fated women who died in a similar accident in Jahra a few months ago.

The Director General of the Fire Department Major General Jassim Al-Mansouri earlier said fire fighters teams were continuing to recover dead bodies from the tent, noting that preliminary estimates put the number of fatalities at 13. Al-Mansouri said that the death toll could rise due to the large number of injuries as result of the stampede that followed the eruption of the fire at the tent that was packed with people.

The official added four fire fighter teams were mobilized, including Al-Jahra, Al-Jahra Al-Harafi, Al-Sulaibiya and Al-Ardiya departments, in addition to help from specialized departments in combating the fire and transferring those injured to nearby hospitals.

An investigation was opened to probe the reason behind the fire, Al-Mansouri added.

August 16, 2009 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues | 10 Comments

Doha Ramadan Frenzy

As my friend Grammy and I wandered through the back streets of Suq al Wa’ef 😉 yesterday, we came across this frenzied scene, all the machines humming, and new dresses for Ramadan being made. I asked if I could take a photo – I think it puzzles them that I would want to, but I loved watching them stitch away:


August 16, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Qatar, Ramadan, Shopping | Leave a comment