079

Jun 28, 2001

I’m nearly finished in Istanbul and just about ready to return to Dubai.

On Tuesday I went to see the Whirling Dervishes.  I had heard of this group before and had seen photos and video clips, but I wanted to see it for myself.  I had bumped into Sufism in New Delhi: the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, the mausoleum of a Muslim Sufi saint.

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078

Jun 22, 2001

I’m still in Istanbul and there are still a couple of things I want to do.  I was able to check one of these off of my list this past week.

Topkapi Palace, the former palace of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, was at the top of my list.  The problem was that it was at the top of the list of thousands of other people: it is the number one tourist attraction in Istanbul.  I asked my concierge and she recommended that I go first thing on Wednesday morning when it opens.  For some reason which I didn’t understand, she thought it would be less crowded on a Wednesday morning.

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077

Jun 14, 2001

Istanbul is really growing on me: I think I could stay here longer than I originally planned.  Of course, staying at the Four Seasons helps a bit: what a beautiful property!

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076

Jun 9, 2001

I’m starting to find that I can only spend so much time lolling about in this pampered environment before getting itchy for an adventure.  I spent last weekend in Dubai thinking about the other countries I could visit while I was still in the UAE.  I’ve always been fascinated with Turkey, and how it and its major city, Istanbul, straddle two continents.  It’s really quite unique in that sense.

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075

May 31, 2001

I’m nearly finished in Qatar, but I needed to explore some things in the city of Doha before I wing my way back to Dubai.

As I mentioned before, Doha is quite a modern city, but yet there are some old and interesting traditional things waiting to be discovered.  You just have to look hard!

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074

May 24, 2001

I’m still in Qatar and plan to stay a little while longer.  It’s pretty relaxing and there are some cool things to see here.

Yesterday, I hopped on a bus to Al Khor to see another fort.  Like Doha, Al Khor is on the eastern side of the country, but it is north of Doha, the capital city of Qatar.  Al Khor sits on the Persian Gulf and has a corniche, a very busy little harbour, an old mosque, and lots of sand-coloured houses, mostly one or two floors.

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073

May 18, 2001

I really do love spending the weekends at the Burj Al Arab.  Stomping around the nearby countries can be challenging, but rewarding.  So it’s always nice to have a bit of luxury to return to after the stomping.

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072

May 10, 2001

I thought I’d seen just about all I want to see in Oman, and I was ready to return to Dubai.  But yesterday the concierge insisted there was one more thing I needed to checkout: Muscat’s corniche.

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071

May 3, 2001

I’m still in Oman and enjoying it here.  It’s quiet and laid back.  I’ll probably stay another couple of days or even a week before heading back to Qatar.

I’m always on the lookout for interesting places to visit.  The staff at the front desk recommended that I check out Sohar, a small city on the coast north of Muscat.  So on Tuesday I hopped on another local bus, this one following a coastal road from Muscat to Sohar.  The ride was about two hours long, not too bad.

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070

Apr 28, 2001

On Friday I flew back to Dubai and spent the weekend again at the Burg Al Arab: I can’t seem to get enough of that hotel. It really does pamper me.

My next destination was Oman, so, on Monday afternoon I left Dubai and flew on Oman Air to Muscat, the capital city.

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