Friday, August 31, 2012

Best Time to Buy Fish at a Black Market? At Night, Of Course

Sometimes one finds the most interesting things just by wandering around a foreign city.
Case in point: My friends and I had decided to take advantage of the cool winter temps in Doha during the first evening of the 2010 new year by walking back from the re-invented tourist bazaar that is Souk Waqif to our gorgeous Sharq Village and Spa resort. We estimated it would take perhaps no more than 15 minutes along the corniche that overlooks the ever evolving city skyline, and we'd also pass by the two landmarks that are the quaintly retro Pearl and Oyster Fountain, and of course the beautiful I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art.
Museum of Islamic Art
But what we didn't count on seeing was a makeshift and semi-clandestine fish market that had seemingly materialized along one tiny section of the waterfront.  There were perhaps 15 fishermen who had laid down their wares in full glare of portable flourescent lamps, ready to serve their predominantly local customers in the most expeditious manner possible.   Unlike typical fish markets, the ubiquitous hagglings were done with minimum fuss and in lower decibels, and it felt like I'd finally experienced something authentic in a city that's determinedly cannon-balling towards its explosive no-holds-barred expansion goals. 





Doha city skyline, circa 2010
(All photographs by Weng Ho)
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