Qatar
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Camp and day’s information: Friday, 6th May 2005

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Doha
Movenpick Hotel
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Hot, late 30°Cs. Very dry wind

Airway meals, hotel buffet

The drive to the airport in Bangkok was hassle free with very little traffic on the road.  The same cannot be said for the Qatar check-in desk.  Nevertheless after a long wait we checked in, paid our 500 baht departure tax and went through to the departure lounge.

Qatar Airlines has won a number of awards (so their website says), but we did not see any evidence supporting their claims of excellent service with over 51 different nationalities employed etc.  The staff on board the flight were pleasant enough, but we landed late in Qatar and missed our connecting flight to Istanbul.  They told us to sit in a certain part of the lounge and took our passports from us.  We kept having to ask what was happening as nobody was telling us what the plan was.

It turns out this happens on a regular basis (missing the connection), so you would think they would have some system in place and know how to communicate it effectively to their passengers.  We were taken to a hotel for the day and most of the night.  We went for a brief walk outside, but have to say that Qatar didn't hold much appeal for us at all.  Unsurprisingly, it is dry and desert like, but it is made worse by an incessant, sand-filled wind which blows through the streets and across the open spaces.  When we flew over it it was incredibly barren and somehow lacked the beauty of the Sahara.

We were provided with both lunch and dinner (the former we skipped in preference for a good, long sleep in the very comfortable hotel bed).   The buffet was quite good, but certainly not what we would have paid for.  At midnight we returned to the airport where we checked in to go to Dubai, where we had a three hour stopover before arriving in Istanbul at about 10h00.  What was unbelievable was that nobody from Qatar Airlines could tell us what time we were due to arrive.  Eventually we found a transfer desk hidden behind duty free shopping in the departure halls and they were able to give us a bit more information.  When we arrived in Dubai we had to get boarding passes for the next leg of the journey and then we whiled away the time watching a movie on the laptop.  Dubai is a very impressive Airport, but Michael says Singapore still beats it.

The one good thing about all this is that we are saved a night's accommodation in Turkey, so we are happy about that!