Country #66 - Qatar

The Giant Bear and The Horrible Lines

I had five hours when I landed in Qatar until my next flight, which was enough to even think about going into the city. This idea was quickly squandered, however, the second I walked into the immigration line. It was depressingly long and not moving. For a state of the art, brand new, international hub airport this wasn’t a great look. About an hour in (and not even halfway through the line) more immigration officers were added, but it still ended up taking about two hours total. I was exhausted and it was also really hot in line (again, this didn’t make sense for such a nice facility).

Once I finally cleared immigration I made my way to check in for my next flight. Of course, this wasn’t simple either! They sent me to three different check-in counters before I finally wound up at the correct one. Once there they had to verify my credit card by actually calling the airport in Oman which seemed bizarre. Another hour later and I was finally able to go back through to my gate. The idea of visiting the city was definitely a no go.

The Doha, Qatar airport likes to brag about how great it is literally around every corner (the awards it has won are on signs everywhere) but that didn’t matter when I spent eternity in lines with marginal customer service. Hopefully, my experience was an outlier but it definitely wasn’t a great look. When I entered the terminal there is a giant teddy bear statue with a lamp coming out of it. It was a unique site, especially for an airport. I got a few pictures and then walked to my gate, hoping to grab some food along the way.

Unfortunately, there was literally zero food along the way, and signs pointing to the food court proved fruitless. I finally asked an employee and was told I had to go the long walk back to the main entrance to find food. I know that this is nitpicking, but this again didn’t seem like a good look for one of the best airports in the world. Maybe they really shouldn’t highlight those signs so much? Also, I couldn’t get the wifi to work on my phone so that was just the latest in a string of strikes.

I finally found a place to eat where I ordered pizza and sat for an hour. It was astronomically expensive, but by that point it was the only thing I could find and I was both exhausted and out of patience. It was a nice little break before making my way to my flight to Oman, my final destination of the day. It was about an hour and a half flight.

When I landed in Muscat, Oman I took a taxi to my hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel Muscat. I was ecstatic to find such a comfortable room awaiting me and fell asleep almost instantly upon my arrival. I was really looking forward to a great night's sleep!

66 countries down, 131 to go.

To learn more about Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat click here.