Tag Archives: world cup

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A tourist’s view of Qatari culture

By Colin Hallibuton

Recently I got the opportunity to visit Qatar for the World Cup. I was excited to see the games of course, but also to discover Qatar. Like many others, before the World Cup I had barely, if ever, heard of it. But when I got there and looked around, it was a little different to what I expected.

Qatar is an interesting nation culturally, because it has no culture. It feels middle-eastern, borrowing many traditions and ideas from its neighbours, like foods, architecture, sports, but nothing of its own. Only 8% of the 2.3 million people are Qatari, the rest being migrant workers or immigrants bringing their own cultures. The oil money has allowed it to build a shiny, but thin, veneer of cool skyscrapers and stadiums, but lurking close behind are the rows of empty apartment buildings, deserted hotels, and Lebanese restaurants. Qatar has spent the past 12 years rebranding itself and building everything around this tournament, which brought in over 1 million new visitors. The cost of focusing so heavily on what everybody thinks of you is that they forgot to focus on what they actually are. Even the national museum, while it has an impressive exterior, it only has a couple of exhibits about the nomads that used to live on that land, and where they came from.

These images are some of my favorites that capture the essence of Doha.

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One of many stray cats hangs around the new cruise ship port, built for these floating hotels used to accommodate the influx of world cup visitors

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A shop owner walks through his falconry store, popular in the middle-east and the national sport of Qatar. The store is noticeably empty of customers, and full of stock.

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Souq Waqif is the main market in Doha, built to emulate the traditional trading markets of the area. There are some higher end restaurants and craftspeople, although it mostly has lines of fake jewelry stores and cheap sports jerseys for tourists.

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A lone camel rider passed our desert tour, riding into the sunset.

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The view from the Qatar national museum, built by French architect Jean Nouvel to resemble a ‘desert rose’.


The view going into Ahmad bin Ali stadium before the USA v Wales game.
The view going into Ahmad bin Ali stadium before the USA v Wales game.


The view going into Ahmad bin Ali stadium before the USA v Wales game.


Killington makes good on world class promise (Or Michaela Shiffrin is Goddess)

Mr. Alex Merrill, Special Snow Correspondant

They came, they skied, they shredded. The best female skiers in the world took to the slopes of Killington on November 26 and 27, for the Audi FIS World Cup. This was the first ever World Cup stop at Killington, the first for New England in 25 years, and the first for Vermont in 50 years. None of the athletes competing were alive for the last VT world cup. By all accounts, the event went flawlessly.

The world cup is the highest level ski racing circuit in the world. Each winter it consists of about 45 races held all over the world, though most races are in Europe and North America. Athletes compete for points and the athlete with the most points at the end of the season wins the 9kg crystal globe. This winter 16 of those races are being held in North America, the second highest ever.

Image courtesy of Snowbrains.com
Michaela Shiffrin kicking serious booty at Killington.  Image courtesy of Snowbrains.com

Aspen, Colorado traditionally hosts a few women’s WC races Thanksgiving weekend. This year Aspen was selected to host the WC finals, a big deal for a ski resort, so it was not eligible to hold the early season races. FIS (WC governing body, Federation Internationale du Ski) wanted these races to stay in North America and Killington leapt at the opportunity. Killington officials started trying to host WC races in 2010! WC races have not been held in the East because of concerns of inadequate snow. Race officials felt that advances in snowmaking technology ensured that the races would not be canceled.

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