Sunday, December 19, 2010

the birthday feast

One of the countless oddities about Qatar is that time is meaningless and schedules are mere suggestions. Nothing is ever as it ought to be. A sign on a business may read Open, when in truth, the establishment is closed.

Today is my birthday. Our plan was to have foot massages in the morning at one of the two hotel spa options, as we were told the three of us (I'm with two dear friends and colleagues) could do so at the same time. Nope. Only one person was working. So we journeyed to hotel option #2--the other locale where we could have a spa treatment. Guess what? Closed ... "for the holiday."

Oh well. We're easy-going. We'll enjoy a beverage at one of only three places where one can purchase a real drink in Qatar--the cove behind our hotel. We sat. And waited. And waited. Finally, after hunting down the waiter who refused to visit our table, we were told, "Nope. Coffee only. You have to wait four hours." Damn.

So we walked to option #2 for a drink. Closed.

Option #3? Take a guess.

Enter the "sure-thing contingency plan:" We convened in my room, chose one of the two bottles of sparkling wine from the room service menu, and placed the call downstairs. I think you can probably guess where this is going. Bottle #1 was unavailable, and bottle #2 would be ready to purchase "in two months."

At this point I asked the woman on the phone, "Vodka?" Room service responded, "Yes, Dr. Alford" [I love that part :) ]. So we ordered 6 shots of vodka and a pitcher of orange juice. Each of the three of us brought snacks in our suitcase, and we decided this was the perfect time to bust 'em out. Pictured below is the result: My birthday feast.

The site of the party: This table/floor in my room
The party spread, prior to kick-off:
Drinks are being mixed! We call this one the Doha Stinger (a screwdriver with Sour Patch Kids):
Seven cubes of ice works perfectly:
After party:

A birthday I'm certain I'll never forget.


  1. only in Qatar.....oh the AERA stories are brewing in my mind :)

  2. I'm certain any one of the major orange juice companies could utilize this ingenuity for advertising purposes ....

  3. I will have to be trying these soon! :)