Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sporting Week(end)- Part 2

I thought I'd wrap up my tales of last weekend's/week's sporting events before I embarked on another equally busy weekend (Fitness Festival, Anime Film Show/Demonstration/Lecture, Faculty Lunch, 2 Parties...etc).

On Saturday of last week, I finished up some chores around the house before deciding later in the afternoon to swing by the Qatar Masters tournament at the Doha Golf Club. The event was free and didn't require a ticket, and having never been to that part of town or Doha's golf course (heck, any golf course other than the course my boyfriend's parents live on), or a golf tournament, I thought I'd drop by. Before heading into the club, I snapped a picture of the club gate, marveling that this course existed in the desert at all (Remember, I've never been to Vegas). However, the fact that a police SUV was in front of the sign and the policeman saw me take my photo, prompted him to stop me and very politely tell me that I couldn't take photos of the police. I obliged by deleting the image and showing him so. I won't go into much detail about the tournament itself, as I have no experience with with which to compare it. Let's just say- yes, there was a lot of money walking around (some expat, some Qatari); it was very green; there was alcohol; there were famous players (don't ask, I don't know); I ran into a fellow CM-Q faculty member cheering for his fellow Swedes; I received 5 Doha2016 Applicant City shirts (2 of them polos); and I arrived about 15 minutes before they wrapped up for the day. Ah-well. I was more excited about the shirts than anything. :)

Next day-Sunday- continued my sporting 'firsts' and played my first game of squash with a fellow CM-Q colleague and compound neighbor Greg (the same one who shares an SUV with Darbi). Our compound community center has 1 squash court in the basement (with only one door in/out- we'd be so screwed in a fire). He was kind enough to loan me the better of the 2 racquets, explain the game, and put up my muscle memory blunderings, as I tried to comprehend how this was not tennis or racquetball. We volleyed and traded shots for about an hour. We'll maybe keep score next time.

The following evening-Monday- continuing the sporting variety- as I played 2 hours of friendly competition co-ed volleyball with CM-Q faculty, staff, and students. This was the first time I've played volleyball in years (minus the pool volleyball games last summer with a few drinks and against former-collegiate volleyball scholarship girls and professional hockey players at a reality tv personality's wedding in St. Thomas... but that doesn't count). My forearms and shins were quite sore after all those games but I enjoyed waking up forgotten muscles. At one point we had about 22 people playing volleyball, with at least 6 women (all staff). We had a few Qatari males and they removed their thobes to join the game in normal t-shirts, jeans, or athletic shorts. I plan to continue playing with the group every Monday, guaranteeing me at least one workout a week.

I saw my first bike race the next day-Tuesday- as Stage 3 of Tour of Qatar finished right outside of Gate 3 of Education City (an 8 minute walk from our building). I was in the middle of an environmental chat with CM-Q's Dean Chuck Thorpe when we remembered the race was nearing and we dashed out. We arrived well ahead of the cyclists, and milled around, chatting with fellow cycling enthusiast colleagues, having a free drink from a bottled water supplier or McDonald's with 'orange drink' and chicken sandwiches. (haven't had either of those in years either) We also kept busy watching the hired BMX bike exhibitionists show off their tricks on the mini ramp and trick park they set up- complete with massive tires and balance beams. The blaring hip-hop, the food, the bikers, and three girls with the event walking around in short shorts were in glaring contrast to the nearby Bedouin black tent with Arab men in white thobes enjoying tea and coffee service. After half an hour of waiting- the pace SUV finally appeared and the first pack whizzed by- faster than I've ever seen anyone on a bike. Darbi nearly got clipped by the leader in capturing this picture (my camera was out of battery). It was certainly something to see; make me wish I had my bike here. The Tour wraps up at tomorrow's 'Wheels and Heels' event, a Fitness event on the Corniche sponsored by Reach Out to Asia, another Qatar Foundation organization. How this event reaches out to Asia, I'm not sure...

مع السلام

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