Prayer is serious
DOHA, Qatar | After a week in Doha, we might as well say it, we don't feel out of place at all.
It must be said that here, everyone speaks English and that the urban organization does not It's not much different from what you see at home. It's a big city after all.
There is the heat or the men wearing the traditional dress, but it's not very destabilizing.
However, the Friday is something special here. For a few hours, everything stops.
Indeed, Friday is a holy day in this part of the world where the working week runs from Sunday to Thursday.
Friday is a day of prayer, and several rules are linked to it. For example, the metro only opens at 9 a.m.
Shops, cafes, restaurants, hospitals, clinics, offices, hotels and factories must close for a period of 90 minutes, between 11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. And we're not kidding about that, not respecting the mandatory stop comes with a fine of more than $3,000.
We understood the extent of the phenomenon when we went to the Mall of Qatar, located very close to the Ahmed bin Ali stadium where we had gone to meet the Iranian and Welsh supporters.
We go to the mall around 11:30 a.m. with the intention of having dinner , rather than going to the rather average buffet in the media center.
Impossible to sit in a restaurant since the service was over, the supporters of the two teams trying for their part to order at the food court before the obligatory break.
Returning to the metro, we walking through the halls of the mall and all, all the shops are closed, while the men gather in front of the prayer hall.
< p>While the call to prayer resounds across the city, traffic is almost at a standstill.
The highways, usually very full, are almost empty.
In the city, the streets are deserted and you could walk in the middle of the main thoroughfares.
Note, this is not necessarily a bad thing because being a pedestrian here can be a dangerous sport.
There are stop signs all over the place, but it seems like a much more suggestive than an obligation.
If a motorist arrives at a corner and he thinks he has time to pass, he will not stop to rush off, and to hell with the pedestrians.
You must therefore have eyes all the time. turn your head and look twice rather than once before setting foot in the street.
Once the prayer is over, in the early afternoon, life resumes, and we assure you that the expatriates, who represent 90% of the population, take advantage of it.
In fact, a new tradition has been added to the ancient of prayer. It's Friday brunch.
It basically consists of going to the restaurant of a luxury hotel to drink and eat until you're hungry and thirsty with an all-you-can-eat buffet and mimosas.< /p>
And there's something for everyone. It starts at around 100 riyals ($33 ) and if you really want to spoil yourself, you will pay more than 400 riyals ($133 ) in their best houses.
We would have liked to test , but our sense of duty made us go to Canada training.