Qatar Airways

Aug 30th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Qatar Airways

Just finished my first trip with Qatar Airways and they are very good and VERY inexpensive! Great service, food, wine and amenities(Hermes and Aigner toiletries).

In Bangkok they use the Thai Airways lounge, in Doha they have their own "Premium Terminal" with spas, jacuzzi and free flowing Grand Dame champagne! In London they use the Virgin lounge.

I took some pictures for anyone interested:
Hanuman is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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Love your photo report! And, of course, I appreciate the detail on the champagnes!
Kathie is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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They look great, but where were you flying from and to and how inexpensive is inexpensive in dollars and cents?

I wouldn't mind giving them a try and routing myself through Doha and possibly seeing an old flame who's from there...although he's probably married and with a LOT of KIDS...which is one reason he's an "old" flame. Smiles. It's been a good 25 years since we last saw each other which was when he flew from Doha here to be with me one Christmas...back in my youth. Smiles. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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... as always, beautiful pics, monkey god, many thanks ... (and thanks for the "on-the-ground updates" from the Garden of Eden; I'll be returning on Monday; never a dull moment, living and working in the Land of Smiles - and late-night, in-room, massage treatments) ...

... loved your photo of that jacuzzi, although I remain partial to TG's ROS tubs (and chaste murals and sweet masseuses) at BKK ... (even impressed the SQ-forever mrs.) ...

... safe travel to you (and your most attractive travelling companions) ... perhaps, in future, on that certain Singaporean airline ...

macintosh (robert)

... "you are so kind" ...

(TG Royal Orchid Spa, pre-TG676 F, 2_ August 2008)

AskOksena is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 05:14 PM
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Guen, you can look at prices at the Quatar website. Biz from Bangkok to London was listed at about US$2000. Quite a good price. By the way, Qatar is part of Star Alliance, so you can collect miles!
Kathie is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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DH was almost routed on Qatar through Doha from ZRH to BKK in December, but I changed plans. But the photos do look nice, hanuman. Thanks for posting your experiences with them. Will consider sometime...

guenmai... so many mysteries about you... and old flame in Doha... you DO have friends in interesting places! BTW, how did your Danish friend enjoy his trip to BKK a year or so ago?

AO... you are on your way back to BKK? I'm still here until Wed very early am flight home.

simpsonc510 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Glad you guys like the photo. I flew Bangkok via Doha to London and a mix of business and first class. From BKK - DOH was in business class, as they don't have 1st on that route, and DOH - LHR in 1st. The total return price was about 2/3 of TG's business class!

AskOsena, I'll tell my mother that you find her attractive!

Guenmai, Doha was hot but the city center looks impressive from the air with multiple new high rises. Maybe the next time I'll do a stop over in the cooler months.

Kathie, they were serving very good wine and champagne on board and on the ground. Here's the wine list for 1st class:

Champagne Laurent Perrier Cuvee Grand Siecle 1996

White Wine
Chardonnay 2004 Chassagne Montrachet
Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Foreest Estate
Riesling Kabinett 2005 Doctor Berncasteler
Domaine Weinbach 2005 Vendange Tardive Gewurztraminer Grand Cru

Red Wine
Chateau Brane-Cantenac 1998 Margaux AC
Pinot Noir Domaine Georges Michel 2005
Shiraz 2001 Knappstein

and the menu...

palate pleaser
warm balsamic onion filled pastry

to commence
oscietra caviar
sour cream and blinis

pea and mint soup, mushroom and chicken quenella

mediterranean buffet
balik salmon, foie gras and gulf sushi with crisp salad leaves
classic arabic mezza

warm seafood kebab, red garlic salsa

to follow
quail breast cassoulet with gremolata, soft herb polenta

seared salmon fillet, black olive and herb butter, celeriac and fennel salad

lamb crusted with chickpeas and coriander, lamb jus and petit vegetables

thai vegetable curry with steamed rice and eggplant tempura

main dishes are accompanied by your choce of steamed aromatic rice or mesculun salad leaves

chesse plate
an individual cheese plate of farmhouse aged cheddar
double cream brie and mild blue

sweet finale
warm rhubarb and orange cake, creme fraiche

coffee syrup pannacotta

pistachio and vanilla ice cream with forest berries

sliced fresh fruit

tea and coffee with fine chocolate
coffee: espresso, cafe latte, macchiato, american, kenyan estate
tea: earl grey, english breakfast, green, roasted japanese,
moroccan mint, non-caffeinated, herbal
Hanuman is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 08:12 PM
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Kathie...Thanks. It didn't hit me until after I had posted that it was a Bangkok-London route. Smiles. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 10:08 PM
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Carol....My American-Danish friend had a blast in BK. He arrived about 2 days before I did and we left on the same day, but at different times and, of course in different directions. He'd been there before, for three weeks, years ago and even arrived on the day of the big student unrests back then, remember? He and his traveling companion back then were told to get the heck out of Bangkok and they did. So, this trip was a calm trip for him.

As for my Doha was a weird situation. I was living in DK for the summers back in the day and one night while listening to Chaka Khan sing Dizzy Gillespie's song, "Night in Tunisia" I started dreaming about Tunisia. It sounded very exotic.

Well, crazy, adventurous me decided to jump on a train and zip down to Paris to the Novelles Frontiers travel agency and flip through their huge catelogue of world destinations to check out their trips to Tunisia....this was around 1981 or 1982.

So, I flipped through the catalogue and pointed to the photo of a hotel that looked nice and then pointed to a suitable date that the charter flight was to leave. I then told the agent to hold the info I'd selected as I went to exchange some traveler's checks into francs to pay for the trip.

After having exchanged my traveler's checks, I then went back to the Nouvelles Frontiers office and paid for the trip. A day or two later, I caught the train back up to DK , about 16 hours I think , and was there for a few weeks until having to train it back down to Paris, pick up my plane ticket at the NF office and get on the charter flight to Tunisia.

I had booked an independent package which would leave me totally on my own. I was the only American on the trip. But, like I said, I'm adventurous.

They also had trips that one could book with a group or a combination of the some people would book the first week with a group and the second week on an individual package. As I was only going to be there a week, I just did it on the indivdual package.

So, a few weeks later, it was back on the train to Paris and off to Tunisia which, upon arrival into Tunisia, a NF rep met me and put me into a shuttle, with a group of French people ,who were also on the individual plan, and then dropped us off at the different hotels we'd selected. Then they were only responsible for picking us up at the hotel, at the end of the stay, and getting us back to the airport to fly us back to France.

I'd selected a hotel, that ended up in a tiny town on a deserted beach which I wasn't aware of until I got there. All of the women, that I saw in that area, were in traditional dress.

After arriving, at the hotel, I threw my suitcase into my room and then went to get a table, near the pool, where I could have my lunch. Many of the hotel rooms were centered around the pool area.

At the table across from me was a young guy from Qatar. I ignored him, as I was too cool, back then, to pay him any attention. I was soaking up some rays, admiring the beautiful ocean, and trying to eat and, of course, striking a pose.

Well, he started hissing at me, from his table. I wanted to push him into the pool, but thought it would be unladylike. Then I told him to stop hissing at me like a snake! How rude! So, he stopped hissing, but then picked up his plate, walked over to my table, and sat it down across from me, and without being invited joined me for lunch. I was furious. How tacky! I put on my sunglasses as to ignore him.

He wouldn't leave. He wondered where I was from and asked me dozens of questions. I was young, female, and traveling alone and in North Africa and in the early 80s. I was very mysterious to him. How bold and independent of me to be traveling alone, he thought and how illegal if it had been in his country. He didn't know what to make of me. I was a difficult puzzle to piece together. But, every woman needs a little mystery in her life. It's what keeps one interesting.

So, we chatted. He seemed fine, and we actually talked and laughed the rest of the day/evening. Then I went to my room that evening and went to sleep, but was awakened to the sound of someone singing Donna Summers, " I Love to Love you Baby".

He was obsessed with Donna Summers and her music. Then not only I, but the other guests too, wanted to really push him into the pool to get him to shut up. But, he kept on serenading me although my window shutters were closed and I was ignoring him. He was standing out across from my window. What a character he was which is why he's still on my mind 25 years later.

The next morning he was waiting for me at escaping him. It was a very small hotel. So, we talked some more.

Then, the day after, as I was walking through the lobby, I noticed that the whole lobby was full of French people and with Nouvelle Frontier tags on their luggage. Where were they going I wondered? I found a young French couple, about my age, who could speak German as one of them had a German in-law. So, I asked in German what in the world was going on. They said that the whole group was not happy with the hotel and it was not as it had been described, by the NF catalogue, so they were protesting and had called the NF office and told them that they wanted to leave! Mais, non, I thought....where in the world will I be shipped off to and why didn't anyone tell ME? I could have been left behind had I not been walking through the lobby and stumbled upon them.

Well, I was told, in broken German, that we would be all headed to Sousse. SOUSSE, I said, but that's 2 hours away. I hadn't signed up for Sousse! I was then told that the landrover/mini bus was on its way. So, I ran into my room and threw and I mean really threw my clothes into my suitcase and trotted over to the lobby and sat with the protesting, irate group. They were looking all mad and talking nonstop. I was chilled out.

Well, the vehicle being sent over to us broke down on the way which left us, in the lobby, for over two hours waiting for a replacement to be sent.

Meanwhile, Mr. "I Love to Love You Baby" was trying to persuade me not to leave Gammarth (SP?) for Sousse. I told him that I was going with the flow.

So, when the vehicle arrived, we all piled in and were tighter than peas in a pod. And the young, French couple, that spoke German, had a look, on their faces, of "How did we get ourselves into this" . She was VERY pregnant, a few months from delivering their first child. They were both medical doctors, though.

So, I said my goodbyes to Mr. Romantic and even gave him my phone number at home, as he persisted, and then jumped into the cramped vehicle and off we went on the bumpiest journey I've ever been on...just sand and camels.

The young French couple and I ended up the best of friends and hung out the whole time together in Sousse. I found out that he was from Cannes and she from Nice. Her parents grew flowers for the flower markets in Nice and had a huge two-story, Beverly Hills style estate on top of a hill overlooking Nice.

The next summer I went to visit them and stayed overnight with them. They had a condo, right on the water, in Cannes and across from the boat docks. His parents lived in the condo next door. They had one condo and then bought the empty condo, on the other side of them, and later knocked down the walls and expanded to occupy the space of two condos.

Then a year later after that, a friend and I were invited to her parents' house on the hilltop in Nice. It was incredible and we all helped prepare a gourmet meal in the outdoor kitchen overlooking the beautiful ocean below. Her father had made homemade apricot wine . We also went boating on their very nice boat in Cannes. It was a great summer of socializing.

As for Mr. Romantic....after I got home...from Tunisia, early one morning, on a work day, my mom knocked on my bedroom door and said, "Someone's secretary is on the phone asking for you". I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Then she said it's something about a guitar. I was really blankfaced then.
I took the phone and very puzzled said, "Hello". I then heard, " Hello, darling, how have you been? Have you missed me?" Oh, I thought... Quatar, not Guitar!

I just laughed..what else could I do? He was determined. Then he had his secretary put a call through to me about every other week and then ended up getting on the plane and flying over for a visit.

My best friend, whom you met at my GTG, and I jumped in the car and went to LAX to pick him up. He stayed in Pasadena and absolutely loved it and my best friend and I threw a big party for him and she, her cousin, and I stood around him, as he was sitting in a chair in the photo, and he jokingly called us his "three wives!". It was a very memorable time. Plus, the poor guy lost some oil wells when his father found out that he had come to visit me. He'd told his parents that he was flying to London to a doctor's appointment. Well, he did fly to London, but was on his way to L.A. I didn't know of any of this until the day that we went to the telephone company so that he could place a call home. He was talking to his father who had asked him how the weather was.Well, he said that it was cold and snowing. His father then said, "Oh, really, in L.A.?". He then became very quiet and I noticed a change in the expression on his face. He hung up, paid for his call, and then told me that his father had found out and ordered him home and immediately. So, his planned two weeks ended up about 5 days. But was it not a really great 5 days!
Happy Travels!

P.S. Sorry, for hijacking your thread Hanuman...but the forum is a bit slow this weekend, so I thought I'd throw in a little spice to this Doha thread. Smiles! Happy Travels!

Guenmai is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 11:45 PM
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Qatar are excellent. They already fly from Newark, from end of October it is daily non stop from JFK to Doha and then onwards, whether BKK or elsewhere in Asia. They also have flights from Dulles.
JamesA is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 11:45 PM
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Nice photos !!
JamesA is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 12:17 AM
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Thanks for the details! Sounds sooo exotic....
simpsonc510 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 12:27 AM
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No problem and keep on writing. Beautiful story... lost a couple of oil wells for you - wow!
Hanuman is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 07:46 AM
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Love your story, Guen!

And thanks for the full menu, Hanuman. I'm thinking about doing an around the world trip sometime in the next couple of years on Star Alliance carriers, so your post has put Qatar on my list of airline to try!
Kathie is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 09:26 AM
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Well, to continue the story on this very boring weekend.

So, we had to make arrangements for Mr. Romantic to get home and quick. His father was beyond furious at him.
Originally he had faked that he was sick so that his parents would tell him to fly to London to see his doctor. His parents had told him that he could stay at his uncle's estate, somewhere outside of London. His family is from a well-known oil family.

He told his parents that he'd rather stay at a hotel, than with his uncle, which totally puzzled them. He then said that it would be more central. They finally bought that line.

So, he checked into the hotel and paid for over two weeks but told the hotel manager that he was actually flying to L.A. to see me. He said to just leave his things in his room and if his parents called to just tell them that he was out for the day, but to absolutely NOT tell them that he was in L.A. The manager agreed.

Well, his mom kept calling the hotel to try to get a hold of him. He was the apple of her eye. He was very close to her. She couldn't understand why she couldn't get a hold of him. Then one day she called and another manager was on duty and it slipped out that he was in L.A. and would be back to London in a couple of weeks. That's when the furor set in.

Since his parents had no idea how to contact him to ask him what the heck he was doing in L.A., they went and pulled the information out of his tight-lipped siblings. He had told them and sworn them to secrecy. They had to spill the beans as they were beyond being in boiling oil at that point.

So, when he got to me and decided to make a phone call to them to pretend that he was in London, they were just laying low and waiting for an eventual call so that they could pounce on him. And boy did his dad pounce. He had the look of terror on his face after that phone call.

So, he spent a few more days with me until he could board a flight back to London. It was the Christmas season and very difficult to get a flight out. I drove him back to LAX and off he went.

A week or so later, I received a call, and he was at his uncle's estate...basically hiding out. He was trying to give his father time to cool down before returning home.

Well, he ended up staying at his uncle's estate for more than 2 months. That was the severity of the situation. He'd call me from London.

He finally flew home and a little time went by and the calls and letters started up again. His father got the wind of it and stopped the calls. Then when I'd send letters, the letters would be intecepted. He called one day and asked why he'd gotten no letters from me. I said I had written. He said that he hadn't received anything for quite some time. He was quite upset.

I knew that his father had more than likely told the staff to collect the mail and weed out all letters that hadn't come from the region.

I decided to outsmart the father..and for a little while it worked. See, while I was in Sousse, I had met a family that owned a souvenir shop. They were a wonderful family and the owners young nephew worked there. He was adorable, a really sweet kid. He spoke English as his uncle didn't speak a lot. So, he was the one who hustled the customers into the shop. So, one day, he hustled me in. We talked and laughed and the family wanted to keep in touch. I was in Sousse for several days so saw them almost daily.

After I returned home, the nephew and I kept in touch. He would write in French and broken English and I'd correct his English letters and send them back. He'd also draw me beautiful pictures as he liked to draw. He was around 10 years old I think.

I'd also send the nephew tennis shoes and clothes, from time to time, as he was from a very large family and had little. His parents had married VERY young and there were a lot of kids. We wrote back and forth for some years. He was studying hard in school as he one day wanted to go to France and study medicine.

So, I wrote him of my problem trying to get a letter to Doha. So, his family decided to help me out.

We decided that I would send the Doha letter to him in Sousse and then they would put it in another envelope and post it to Doha from Tunisia and with the address in Arabic. Bingo, it worked! Mr. Romantic was once again receiving letters. It worked for quite a while, then no more mail was getting through again and I was worried that Mr. Romantic might have been reduced to Wesson, Mazola, and olive he was being punished for being defiant.

So, it had gotten very difficult to communicate and we eventually lost contact.

However, before having lost contact, he got a call through to me and said that he had been putting in good words about me and that his mother even wanted to meet me. It was his father who was impossible.
He really wanted me to come to Doha. He said that there were no tourist visas and that in order to get into the country, I would have to be sponsored by the family and granted permission.

There was one nice hotel then...I think the Hilton, but can't remember exactly...that I would have to stay in and that he and I could only meet in the lobby and we would be watched the whole time. He said that his family car and driver could meet me at the airport and transport me to the hotel.

His siblings wanted to meet me too as he'd shown them all the photos he'd taken on his "shortlived" trip. His sisters were especially fascinated as he said they could do nothing without being in the presence of a male chaperone. So, I sounded very interesting to them, being young and female and with all of this freedom and mobility.

Now, that I look back on it all, I probably should have attempted to have made that trip. It would have been quite interesting. But, that was also during a time when it could have been a bit dangerous for a young woman traveling alone to that region.

So, to this day, I wonder if his father had forced him to marry his cousin. When I had met him at the hotel in Tunisia, he was telling me that his father wanted him to marry his cousin, but he wanted no part of it. So, he would leave the country as much as possible to keep his freedom to really experience life and meet other people and learn some things of the world and other cultures. He wanted to experience things with his own eyes.
He and his family, when together, would almost always vacation in Lebanon which he said was amazingly beautiful and alive. But, he wanted more. He was very curious about the world. We tried to plan a trip to meet in Paris, but it never materialized. I was in Paris, each summer, so thought that would be an easy solution to our problem. I could easily hop on a train, from DK, and head to Paris.

So, now you have the final episode to the adventure. And would you believe, the summer after that, I went off to Morocco and alone again on another Nouvelles Frontieres individual package. I could write a movie script revolving around Tunisia and Morocco. Smiles.

It was a very exciting time back then and I'm really glad I have liberal parents who allowed me go out and explore the world as I have. I originally left to go out and explore at the age of 17. I have many portfolios of photos as I've documented my life experiences in photos. Happy Travels!

Guenmai is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 02:33 AM
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Do you have your photos online? Love to see them.
Hanuman is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 04:45 AM
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That is one of the best Fodor postings I've read in quite some time. Now we need photos and the date of the future meeting you will have with the Doha man. Surely this was meant to be. Tengo
tengohambre is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 04:47 AM
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Oh yes, one more thing:

Hanuman, those are great photos! I have so plainly been traveling in the wrong end of the plane. . . . .
tengohambre is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 05:41 AM
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great story...thanks for spicing things up on the board this weekend!
cruisinred is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 05:57 PM
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You're welcome guys....Glad I could spice up the forum a bit this weekend. Smiles.

As for the photos, they are in portfolios, in big footlockers, out in the garage. I brought some of the portfolios out a few months ago when I invited over for lunch...the friend who also went to dinner with me in Nice at the huge villa of the French friend mentioned above.

The friend whom I invited to lunch has been living on the east coast for over 20 years and just moved home to California in September, so we had a LOT to catch up on.

So, the morning of my luncheon, I went out to the garage and spent a good hour moving things and bringing out the portfolios of her and me. She was SO excited and had no idea that I had documented all of this. She was really overwhelmed by it all. It brought back so many really great memories.

I also had photos of Mr. Romantic to show her as she didn't personally know him. He had given me a photo of himself in his traditional dress. He was SO incredibly handsome. Plus, I had the photos of him here in L.A.

Since I'm low tech instead of high tech, I don't even know how to transfer them to be computerized. Plus, they are stuck to portfolio pages. I love to organize photos in portfolios....old school style. Smiles. I use the huge, black, Canson pages and a leather, small-ringed portfolio with handles since I used to carry them around to show friends. Maybe one day at a GTG, I can bring a few. Happy Travels!

Guenmai is offline  

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