When I was looking up flights to India, without hesitation, I chose whatever was the most convenient to my schedule. In this instance, Qatar Airlines was the best choice since it meant I’d only have to deal with one stop in Doha, Qatar. I booked my flight without batting an eyelash.
I realized later though after reading Oneika the Traveller’s post about Islamophobia that some people would have scoffed at the idea of a layover in a Middle Eastern country. Because, you know, the Middle East is such a scary place and all according to American news outlets and Trump’s Muslim Ban.
Well, not only did I have my layover there, I…gasp…left the airport. Let me show you just how scary my 24-hour layover in Doha, Qatar was.
If I thought the Middle East was a scary place, I would have never enjoyed:
Riding in Style to Banana Island Resort
This Lit Welcome Party
Before I stepped off the boat, the first thing that caught my attention was the music I heard playing. I walked outside to see the staff putting on a show to welcome everyone who had arrived. They sure do have a way of making you feel important.
Being Greeted with Rose Water
They went out of their way to ensure my hands smelled like heaven.
This Unearthly Blue Water
For some, the Middle East immediately conjures up images of sandy deserts–not sparkling blue water like this.
Fruit So Good, It Looks Fake
Long Walks on the Beach (in Slow Motion)
A Hammam. Wait What’s That?
Oh it’s just the most amazing traditional Middle Eastern spa treatment that will leave your skin feeling baby soft for days. I guess you can say it’s the Islamic version of a Roman bath. I’m going to need someone to open up a hammam spa in my home city ASAP—seriously, how can I go back to normal spas after this??
If you have ever hesitated to travel to the Middle East out of fear, I encourage you to get over that. And if you happen to have a long layover in Qatar, consider turning it into an adventure! Leave the airport and get out to explore the city of Doha. I spent my 24 hours at Banana Island Resort, and as you can see in the photos above, it was the complete opposite of scary. Welcoming, beautiful, breathtaking—I think those words are much more fitting.