Asia, Countries, Culture, Flying

Electric Qatar

They arrived from the East, the Three Wise Men, and as we mark the Coming of the Magi tomorrow, another favour… please send some more.

Because as we witness the Gulf celebrating New Year with real-live people, watching real-live performers, it’s clear they can teach us how to zap this Pandemic thing.

These are good times for the Gulf with a New Year bringing new hope too for solving some differences between neighbours.

Qatar star

Saudi Arabia has reopened its air space to Qatar ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Saudis, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all cut ties with Qatar three and a half years ago over allegations that they supported terrorists.

For all of us who are climbing the walls looking to go somewhere exotic (and Celtic FC) then the Gulf is always enticing… and there’s actual life happening.

The Gulf, as we all know, is a favourite stop-off en route to other great locations although we’d recommend staying a while.

Qatar Airways has the magical Maldives from London, one stop, from £365.14pp.

While we found this London to Dubai offer on the Sky World Travel site flying Qatar Airlines from €290pp.

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And Doha will keep you captivated with the golden opportunity to see city and sand.

With Doha: Private Combo City Tour & Desert Safari from £152.01.

Qatar has something for everyone: Angry Birds World Qatar anyone? Or Circus World.

And if you want something more cultural then there’s the Museum of Islamic Art and Katara.

Where you’ll find those staples of Qatari life, the Katara Mosque and Beach.

And as for Banana Island, well we’ll let you find out for yourself.


Sporting weekend – helping you over the line

New world champions will be crowned this week and new records broken but there will be nobody more heroic than Aruba 5,000m runner Jonathan Busby.

Or more sporting than Guinea-Bissau’s Braima Suncar Dabo.

Now stop for a minute, as Dabo did, and think about the sporting sacrifice that he made in interrupting his own race to help his staggering fellow athlete get over the line.

In the searing heat of Doha, Qatar.

High temperatures. Doha, Qatar. Photo by Dipin Das on

Athletics was my first, and still my best, sporting endeavour and it became my manual for life.

Give your all, never give up no matter how hard the road gets, and always champion your fellow runners.

If you break your personal best then that’s your victory.

If you finish second last when you’re used to being last then that’s a triumph.

Fun run: And no wilting heat. Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on

And if you are last but beat your best then hat’s off to you.

On the occasions my Dear Old Dad, a sporting nut, did see me compete in anything I overcompensated big time.

I was a Scottish Schools athletics winner but it didn’t stop me tearing off like a bat out of hell at the start of the 3,000m Steeplechase only to run out of steam and inevitably get past by everyone.

Flying high: Qatar Photo by Carlos Pernalete Tua on

I was devastated but looking back now, I finished.

Of course your health always comes first and there are athletes dropping like flies in the Qatar heat and humidity.

This is the wrong time to hold such feats of sporting endurance. I only hope that the World Cup there in the winter of 2022 will be less taxing.

Flying high

All of which should not take away from Qatar as a destination.

Qatar Airways are the people to go with, fly from London Heathrow. Both here and to the Far East and Australia.

As a sample of the Maldives which I know and love… from £684pp

The eyes of the sporting world are on Japan at the moment with the Rugby World Cup. And Qatar have Tokyo premium ticket from £2388pp.