Monday, September 16, 2013

Desert Kokeshi 17 砂漠のこけし17

After our trip to the dunes my friend Atique took me out to lunch at a vegetarian south Indian restaurant. I have to admit that until this time it had not occurred to me that there were any variations in Indian food. But of course there are regional differences, and this restaurant's specialty was vegetarian dishes from the south, including some curries, a wonderful peanut dish, and fried cheese in a kind of sweet and sour sauce. Overall everything was unique and thoroughly delicious! 
The kokeshi agreed that south Indian cuisine is delicious.
After lunch Atique and I parted ways, and then the driver took me to the spectacular Museum of Islamic Art on the waterfront (Corniche) in downtown Doha. It was the famous architect I.M. Pei's last project, and words hardly do it justice. It is a world-class structure that will become (if it isn't already) a crowning symbol of Doha and Qatar. I cannot praise the museum building enough -- it really is amazing.
Part of Doha's waterfront. Those traditional boats are dhows, and are chiefly used for tourist excursions today. 
This sign greets visitors as they approach the museum.
That's the museum building in the background. The park-like grounds are surprisingly lush and green, the result of lots and lots of water.
The building is modeled on an old fort. If you look closely at the top you'll see two crescent-shaped slits that are meant to represent a veiled woman's eyes. A very nice touch. 
While the exterior of the Museum of Islamic Arts is spectacular, I would have to say that the inside is even more so as you'll see in the photos below. The interior was inspired by a mosque that Mr. Pei visited, which is fitting. It was so nice that I just wanted to sit and stare up at the ceiling. I could tell that many people were hanging out and enjoying the view from the large picture window, and simply being in such a beautiful place. I was able to see about half the collection on display, so I guess I'll have to return in the future to see the other half. Of what I got to see I was very impressed -- the Qataris have created a top-notch museum with a tasteful, well-curated collection of Islamic-themed art objects. Visits are free of charge by the way, and kokeshis are always welcome. If you'd like to learn more about the Museum of Islamic Art click here to visit the official web page.
The fountain in the atrium. 
The atrium stairs.
Another view of the atrium stairs.
Looking up at the ceiling in the atrium. 
This window looks out onto the water and provides a great view of Doha's new skyline. 
One of the display rooms on the second floor. Everything in the museum was interesting, and guests are welcome to take as many photos as they like.
Looking up at the ceiling and skylight. 
A Coke is always nice after a trip to the museum. 
After the museum I was taken on a quick drive to see the buildings in the new part of Doha. Honestly, it was as though I had entered into the old computer game Sim City. The architecture was amazingly futuristic and bold, and I'm certain the someday Doha is going to be a world-class city. In fact, maybe it already is.

And so ended a splendid trip during which the Togatta kokeshi and I got to see more of Qatar. It also marked the end of the big Desert Kokeshi Adventure that I've been writing about over the last few months. From now on I'll be back in Japan with Naoko and the girls, traveling around Japan and having all new Japanese kokeshi adventures. I look forward to writing about them soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment