11 november Fiumicino (ITALY)

To Krists ...

Life runs frenetically and it is up to us to enjoy it the most, every single moment because time does not go back.


Many things have changed since my last trip, till the loss of my beloved fraternal friend Krists. Damn, how much I miss you...

 

 

12 november Doha (QATAR)

Doha airport is a hub for the poor Far East.

90% of people landing here are only in transit and direct to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and so on.


Here we are in Qatar! Let's remember that the famous: "Al Jazeera" broadcastes from here, beyond that I do not know what else could make this little land in the desert and born on oil famous...

[Nick]: "After a quick meal at McDonald we walk along the "Corniche", a long avenue which borders the Persian Gulf ... Suddenly we arrive to a fish market organized, at that time, by local fishermen".

Doha. A city where there is virtually nothing. A long road with many palm trees where huge jeep 4000 Diesel run dangerously and even cross the street becomes problematic.

Qatar: a place where Qatarians enjoy their life resting and smoking their Hookah while the rest of the population (Nepalese, Indians, people of Bangladesh or Eritrea) do the rest of things, that is: everything!

Every person I met along my way, out of curiosity, I have always asked where they were from... no one has ever answered: Qatar!


I wonder: "Is there a local population in Qatar?"


The only thing that struck me was seeing the fishermen, just returned from fishing, selling big and appetizing fishes in the middle of the night, lit by torches along the coast.

They were surrounded by those white ghosts with their many wives covered by black veils... purchased, contract, weighed with old balances ... Very picturesque and romantic...

 

 

 

13 november Doha (QATAR)


We begin immediately with the national museum, although it seems uninhabited...


I approach a guard who, awakened from sleep, a little surprised by my presence, maybe I do not camouflage very well among the population of the place, replies me that the museum is closed!


"Ah, ok. When does it open? "-" No, do not open! "-" All right, and what about tomorrow? What time? "-" No, not open. "
Whatever. We go on.

Point two of our program: Visit the City Center. The heart of every great city! After several information requested everywhere and many steps later, Nick manages to find a ride on a refrigerator with four wheels... A bit faltering, we accept... well... But our suspicion is immediately silenced by this good guy who accompanies us up to our destination: the Shopping Center called "City Center"!

What a disappointment! A shopping center with Western things, even an ice-hockey field inside...
Wandering in the great Mall we often encounter the white ghosts or the black domino until we decide to go to step three: the Post Office.


We are told that a taxi costs about 5 Riyal (1 Euro)!

The driver asks us 30!
At the end we manage to reach our goal all the same...


The post office is huge and full of people. I think it is the only one of the city, very elegant and Arab style! Served by a shy girl with veil from Oman...

I notice that in Doha there are very few mosques and muezzim has been heard only a couple of times intoning the sure of the Koran... I have the impression as if Islam is not very "felt" here! It 's true that religions flourish where there is misery and poverty, here they seem more interested in how to make money...

The Point Four provides a jump to the most popular Arab TV in the world: "Al Jazeera"!
What adventure to get there...

We decide to go by bus... The waiting starts... The thermometer marks 40th in the shade and we, inside the bus stop, all in glass, feel like two chickens in a microwave...
We wait... wait... and wait... Every now and then we chat, or better, gestures, with the Nepalese mason who shares with us this long wait... when finally, after more than an hour, our bus arrives... but the driver tells us that we are in the wrong place!
Sweat and demoralized, we decide to take the first taxi...!
When we manage, we discover that our goal was, actually, only one kilometer away from where we were...

As Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, waiting for the adventures that fall on us, we notice a hole in the fence hyper subsidiary of Arab TV... we decide to go inside... we'd better avoid it...

Luckily someone up there loves us and this time we survive but what a fear...

We approach by taxi to the area of our hotel and we stop for a drink in a bar of fishermen that faces directly on the Persian Gulf... We sip a cocke while around us, Qatarians smoke blessed their "deserved" Hookah! The sun sets in this few interesting little nation...

We decide to dine in a Jordanian restaurant... you can live these things only when you travel as we do! In Petra Restaurant, we eat with some Egyptian and Nepalese masons who watch us and we greet curiously!

It's time to go to the airport. In the middle of the night we have our flight to Hong Kong!

While I was noting my last thoughts on my diary I thought about my friends in Italy: they were preparing for the "Italian Saturday night" while me: dirty, sweaty and tired, was going to immerse in the unknown and mysterious heart of Arab life, enchanted by all that surrounded me...


[Nick]: "Note on Mark: he didn't get demoralized ever, even in a empty city like this! We get through the good and this adventure will remain in baggage of our experience!"

مع قطر

 

14 november Kowloon (HONG KONG)

Seven hours of flight takes us to the extreme border of the Asian world...


What awakening! It's at that time, while flying over the countless skyscrapers of this "city-states," I realize where we really are!

On the ground there are, at the parking area, planes from all over the Far East Asia and Oceania: Air China, Japan Airlines, Quantas, Air New Zeland, Dragon, Macau Airways... We're a step away from Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Australia...

We are in the former British colony...

And just from them, they have inherited the double-decker bus, the left-hand drive... the Queen Elizabeth II remains only a distant memory to track down on some old cent of a dollar of Hong Kong...

The first impact has been very picturesque... Majestic skyscrapers everywhere, some are real human hives, there are hundreds and hundreds of small windows, and almost as ordinary cells they puncture those huge buildings...

Walking along the famous Nathan Road, if you enter one of the many alleys then suddenly a Chinese Vietnam materializes in front of your eyes, hundreds of stalls selling the most useless trash, copies of the best brands everywhere...

What impression those great streets full of thousands of kids who walk, chat, sneer, laugh and mess around...


The silence doesn't exist and there is only a perpetual buzz in the background that, at the end, becomes deafening!

As expected, there are thousands of shops selling items and technology and when we ask if they had a memory card for my photo-camera from one Gigabyte they almost laugh at me replying: "The smallest we have is 8 Gigabytes!

 

 

15 november Hong Kong Island (HONG KONG)

When we travel, it seems that the days never end!

You go out early in the morning, sleepy, and return to the hotel late at night, often for a quick shower and then leave again!

Me and Nick have fun and we enjoy ourselves everywhere, even anonymous places like Doha may leave room for good memories, imagine a city that never sleeps as Hong Kong!

Today, full immersion in the hectic life of the place, we begin with a visit at Tin Hau Temple. Strong colours, the intense incense that surroundes us, fruit offered to the several Gods...

I observe those old women who lit sticks of incense and praying... praying... As usual, I am on the sidelines, deep in thought, wondering how wonderful and strange the world is...


A few days before in Doha it happened you to see those Arabs with long beards that would have made themselves kill in the name of their God and here, in the Taoist Temple, people renounce to their food to offer it to a statue...

We visit the flower market and then Yeun Po Street and its bird market! It's extravagant watching vendors of locusts... Disgusting!

After a long journey finally we arrive at the temple "Sik Sik Yeun Wong Tai Sin." Kingdom of three religions: Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism; famous because every question is answered and every wish is fulfilled.


People takes from a jar containing numbered wooden sticks, in front of the various gods, and makes the question or think about a desire, then they shake the jar as long as a stick falls down, the corresponding number is the answer! Story tellers that grazing outside the temple, are responsible for reading the many guess.

We try it too and three sticks fell form my jar (31, 25 and 92), I decide not to consult Nostradamus: I want to find out my fate by myself!

From here, with the efficient subway that passes 70 meters under the sea and where even your mobile phone works, we go to another island to meet Penelope!


She brings us to a typical restaurant, one of those where only Chinese eat, with menus written only in their language, with very weird dishes!


In the evening, returning to the hotel, I enter one of the many karaoke rooms!

Customers are performing on a real stage singing Chinese songs...

Karaoke is so important for them!

 

 

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