Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 1: Shining, Shimmering Doha!

Hello Everyone!

After a 12.5 hour, 6,796-mile flight, the Penn Glee Club finally set foot where no Clubber had ever gone before: the beautiful city of Doha, Qatar. The last time the Glee Club was even in the Middle East was in 1992 when we visited Israel! As it turns out, we were a part of Qatar Airways' inaugural flight from Philadelphia to Doha, and we flew on one of the nicest planes any of us had ever been on. There were free movies, TV programs, three complimentary meals, and even a little travel pack to take with us!
The plane that we took to Doha!
Many Clubbers found the plane ride particularly enjoyable (can you say 5-movie-marathons?), especially our bassist, Jay Havaldar (C'17), who can now say he's been on a plane!
We were greeted by this warm sign in the airport. 

Our resident videographer, Shohom Basuthakur (W'14)
After we had all grabbed our bags, we naturally decided to be tourists and started taking pictures in the airport.

Baggage claim couldn't dampen anyone's spirits. 
We then piled into buses and headed to our hotel, the Kingsgate Hotel, Doha. Upon arrival, we were told that we wouldn't be able to check in until around 2:00 PM. It was 9:00 AM. No one complained, though, and people took advantage of the few hours we had. While some people stayed in the hotel (the sleeping pictures will show up on Facebook), the majority of us went out to explore the city. 

Some Clubbers ventured to the famous Souq Waqif, a famous standing market with many shops and restaurants. Some of us had some traditional Moroccan food, while others walked around, watching the shopkeepers convince people to buy their wares. 
The Doha skyline. Look at how clear that water looks!
A few of us went to the Museum of Islamic Art, which was holding an exhibit titled "Kings and Pawns: Board Games from India to Spain." Many Clubbers found the exhibit, and the art, very interesting and impressive.
A giant playable chess set in the museum.
The entrance to the Museum of Islamic Art.

After a long day of exploring, we congregated in a conference room in the hotel to start rehearsing for our concert tomorrow - this is a performance tour, after all! We also celebrated the birthday of our director, Dr. C. Erik Nordgren, with a song and some cake. 

Our various set lists for our performances.
The Glee Club rehearsing for one of its many concerts.

After rehearsal, we all parted ways, some to a late dinner and others to bed. Our first performance is tomorrow at the Qatar Academy, and we're really excited to share our music!

While the Internet situation here is less than ideal, we'll be trying to update this blog daily, check back regularly to keep up with our adventures!

Until tomorrow,

The Penn Glee Club

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