Doha Notebook: How Qatari government regulates drinking habits of its citizenry


Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer
Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

In Summary

  • The last time I had a handshake was well, over four days ago at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when I was leaving for Doha, Qatar – my’ home’ for the next ten days as I cover this year’s edition of the IAAF World Athletics Championships.
  • The flight of course took some six hours and upon landing at the Hamadi International Airport than I realized that shaking of the hands is now a past tense.
Philip Muchiri in Doha, Qatar

Handshakes frowned upon in Qatar; a simple nod will just do fine

The last time I had a handshake was well, over four days ago at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when I was leaving for Doha, Qatar – my’ home’ for the next ten days as I cover this year’s edition of the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

The flight of course took some six hours and upon landing at the Hamadi International Airport than I realized that shaking of the hands is now a past tense.

In this part of the world, you’re better of nodding your head in either affirmative or reverse, just to pass your message across – and that is just enough.

Drinking Habits

Unlike many countries where sale of alcoholic beverages are only limited to under age people, here in Doha things are different. Your desire to have a drink after work will not be as fast as you think. The easiest way to drink  is to get into a five-star hotel and have some few bottles if not one too many which will cost you between Sh1,500 to Sh2,500 for a 300ml bottle. The prices are relatively high due to the high cost of taxes applied (300 percent). The other alternative is for one to apply for a one-year license which has monthly limited points to check once intake of the frothy drinks.

Construction Boom

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is set for Mon, Nov 21, 2022 – Sun, Dec 18, 2022 here in Qatar, and so with the nod to host the biggest sporting extravaganza, the Qatari government has pulled all stops to ensure that facilities are ready in time.

This has meant that construction of the facilities takes off in earnest and it is discernible even on the streets of the capital Doha.

In fact, it is a common occurrence to find the very route you had used to gain access to your hotel closed and diverted to other direction just 24 hrs later.

Also, most of the stadiums earmarked to host the 2022 showpiece are being built– majorly in Doha.

Also, with no second hand vehicles allowed in this oil rich nation, coming across abandoned vehicles in parking places near shopping malls or even in less used roads are a common sight in Doha. Most vehicles are destroyed after use or else abandoned in open grounds, especially when one decides to upgrade. Woow! How I wished that was possible in my motherland Kenya.

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Story By Philip Muchiri
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