It’s a strange phenomenon that when you go to an international tournament, you don’t actually spend as much time watching the football as if you were at home. I think this is because you are still on holiday, so want to do tourist-type stuff.
Anyhow, I went to another mall, the Doha Festival City. Funnily enough, while in the UK, I literally never go shopping like this as I mostly do it online. This mall differed to the previous one. As I walked with my brothers throughout the mall, it was peculiar to see so many brands which had gone out of business in both the US and UK still in existence in Qatar… the last remnants of these stores perhaps.
Even though we were in the hustle and bustle of a marketplace, the adhān went for salah – an apt reminder for all shoppers. I went to the bathroom and saw something that we commonly see in masjid bathrooms back in the UK, but rarely elsewhere: bidet showerheads in the lavatory. I wonder if tourists from other backgrounds figured out what they were for?
I then went to the well-maintained wudu room to perform ablution. It was a welcome surprise to have a bespoke area for wudu. I’m sure many reading this have made wudu in bathrooms, whether at work or while out with the family, and have had looks of bemusement thrown at them. There were no such concerns here.
When I went to pray Asr, a jama’ah was just finishing off. This prayer room was well-lit with clean, neutrally-fragranced carpets. Women had a corresponding area to pray in as well. Throughout my travels in Qatar, something I noticed was that there were always cleaning personnel on stand-by to clean the bathrooms, wudu, and prayer rooms, in particular, making sure that the floors were not wet post-wudu. I observed this at both the stadiums and malls we visited. I’m unable to say if this is how it normally is outside the World Cup, but it’s a welcome addition, nonetheless.
Catching some football on TV
After buying some gifts for my family back home, I went back to the apartment with my brothers to watch the football. The coverage of the World Cup, produced by Bein Sports, is very polished. They have multiple channels in Arabic, French, and English, while also having a Spanish language function.
As with any commercial TV station, Bein does show adverts. However, it was a welcome surprise to not have incessant interruptions by the same, particularly from betting companies. There were zero gambling adverts. Normally, you cannot watch a single football broadcast on a channel that has adverts, without seeing gambling promoted before and during the broadcast.
The end is nigh
Only a few days left in Qatar, the Argentina vs. Mexico match will be our last in the country. Hopefully, it lives up to expectations.