Tiny Qatar, with a per capita wealth of $128,930 (IMF, 2018), often tops the list of world’s richest countries. Despite its wealth, however, capital city Doha seems sedate, somnolent even, as I get driven from the swanky Hamad International Airport to my hotel on a sunny morning.
En route, my impression about the city gets further reinforced through its sombre architecture—uniformly beige in colour—the monotony of which is broken only occasionally by a phalanx of anodyne, glass-fronted buildings.
This first impression, however, changes dramatically as I begin to peel the city’s layers one by one over the course of my four-day stay. A whole new Doha emerges then. Of spiffy malls, fun-loving people, glitzy hotels, eateries helmed by Michelin-anointed chefs, malls brimming with international goodies and atmospheric souks. A Janus-faced city? Perhaps.