Having just accepted a lecturer position at Qatar University, I got a sneak preview of my future life by attending the Qatar TESOL conference in March 2009. Although the three trip was primarily a business function, I managed to sneak in a couple of sightseeing moments to catch a glimpse of the world's second richest country per capita. Unlike the United Arab Emirates, which has several urban and tourism hubs - Qatar is a much smaller country that just about centers almost entirely around it's thriving capital city, Doha.
Talking to fellow expats in the UAE about the prospects of moving to Doha, the general synopsis is that Doha is very much like Abu Dhabi or Dubai used to be some 10-15 years ago. This assessment is not too far from the truth. No doubt Doha is developing; however, it's yet to reach the somewhat insane proportions of its nearby neighboring cities to the east. Doha's splendor pretty much revolves alongside its corniche. One unique aspect of Doha's corniche is that the high-rise development is almost exclusively contained in the northern side of the corniche. The southern part is mainly made up of low-rise and more traditional structures. These include the spiraling Islamic Center building, the bustling souq, the new Museum of Islamic Arts which offers fantastic views of the new city as well as the nearby pier packed with traditional dhows.
With seemingly unlimited funds for development, the skies the limit for Qatar. Doha has changed a great deal over the last decade, what it will look like a decade from now is anybodies guess.
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