I find myself staring at my ticket to Qatar. I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not the first time I’ve flown on a whim to another country for my work with horses. It seems there’s always a competition or riding school to develop or clinics to give. Needless to say, when the opportunity to travel to Doha, Qatar to attend one of the largest show jumping competitions of the year presented itself, I jumped at the chance. With two days’ notice, I crammed what I could fit inside my small duffel bag and braced myself for the four-day weekend ahead of me. The flight was easy enough since at the time I was based in Cairo.
I had been invited to attend this grand competition, with all the finest equestrian athletes one could expect to see, by my best friend, whom I had originally met my first year working in Cairo, back in 2011. We had come to Egypt only one day apart and ended up working together over the course of that year. Sharing a two-bedroom flat which had actually been two horse stalls converted into bedrooms with a small kitchenette and bathroom had allowed for her and I to become quite close. Although it was now the year 2015 and we hadn’t met since, as soon as I saw her waiting for me as the taxi pulled up to her address in Doha, it was as if we had seen each other just yesterday.
The Show Jumping Stadium in Qatar!
It's a pretty spectacular arena if you ask me!!!
I had a pass to attend the FEI Longines Show Jumping Competition all weekend and although she still had to work in the day, I enjoyed my quiet time alone in the bleachers watching the beautiful horses jumping the incredible heights. It had always been a dream of mine to compete at this level, but alas without a horse or money or sponsors I knew my dream would have to wait awhile longer.
My friend and I watched the grand finale of the show together and then spent the rest of the days and her free time exploring the city. We went to the Islamic Museum (which was free admission!) and several other sights. We especially loved going to the local bazaar and dining on the delicious Arabic food we had both grown to love over our years living in the Middle East. We also met with another Egyptian gal friend of mine and went for a lovely boat ride in the evening after dolling ourselves in our finest clothes and evening wear. (Though still modest of course!)
We explored the city and enjoyed our girly time together and although it was only a long weekend I found myself feeling as if I had been there for weeks! I felt rejuvenated and revived, something I was in dire need of at the time and I couldn’t help but leave Qatar feeling the glamour and glitz had gone to my head. I knew I would be looking forward to plenty more “ladies’ trips” in the future… it was all just a matter of when and where!
Eating the Delicious Arabic Food (One of my Favorites!!!) in an Iranian Palace in the local Bazaar in Doha