Ray Toh / Doha News

Aqua Park

Qatar’s largest water park is officially open for the season starting today.

The Aqua Park, located down Salwa Road, has several offerings for adults and children, including a wave pool, lazy river, “Jacuzzi Cave,” lagoon pool, tube slides and an “African Village” for small kids.

To woo visitors, the park is taking a different approach this year by dropping prices instead of raising them.

Aqua Park/Facebook

Aqua Park

Last year, it sparked anger after increasing rates. Adults were charged up to QR180 at the door (and QR130 per child over 90cm tall).

However, this year the rate has fallen to QR120 per adult whether buying online or in person, and QR100 per child.

The rate for special needs guests and domestic workers is the same as last year, QR70/person.

Attractions

Meanwhile, the cost of popular attractions such as Stingray surfing and a “Space boat” remain QR50/person.

Something else visitors may notice this year is that Aqua Park has done away with ladies days, which used to be every Tuesday.

Surfing at Aqua Park Qatar

Aqua Park Qatar / Facebook

Surfing at Aqua Park Qatar

Instead, it is emphasizing its family days, which are Saturdays from 10am until 8pm.

The park is closed on Mondays and open from noon to 8pm on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesdays. It’s open from noon to 10pm on Thursdays and 10am to 10pm on Fridays.

Regarding the dress code, Aqua Park recommends (but does not require) swimwear that respects Qatar’s tradition and culture, officials previously told Doha News.

More information about Aqua Park can be found on its website.

Who’s excited for the opening? Thoughts?

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Ashghal

Dukhan Highway East works near Slope intersection

One of Doha’s last iconic roundabouts is set to be bulldozed shortly to make way for a new multi-level intersection near Education City.

Work commences tomorrow (March 31) on the rebuilding of Slope (Tilted) roundabout, Ashghal has announced.

During the nine-month construction period, the roads will be reconfigured to create a temporary, signal-controlled junction north of the busy roundabout.

Ashghal

Temporary road configuration at Slope intersection

This is to enable construction of a two-level intersection that will ultimately allow free-flowing traffic along Al Luqta St. and on Gharafa St.

The plans include creating a 2.2km underpass linking north and south Gharafa, the public works authority said in a statement this week.

The work should be completed by the end of this year, it added.

Congestion

The junction is the main link connecting Education City with central and north Doha. It currently tends to get very congested during peak traffic hours.

To avoid further traffic snarls, Ashghal said that three lanes will remain open in each direction on Al Luqta St. and Al Gharafa St. during the construction.

Two lanes on Huwar St. will also remain open, as well as all right turn lanes.

However, motorists should be aware that the speed limit on Al Luqta St. has been reduced from 100km/hr to 50km/hr during the works.

Improving access

The rebuilding of Slope/Tilt roundabout (nicknamed as such because of its sloping gradient) is part of the QR6.9 billion Dukhan Highway East project.

This commenced in 2011, and has a completion date of early 2019.

It involves the overhaul of 6.5km of highway on Dukhan Road and a further 3.2km on Al Gharafa Road.

Ashghal

Construction on Dukhan Highway East

The new road runs connects the Bani Hajer interchange to the west with Slope junction.

Once complete, it will have eight lanes (four in each direction), as well as service roads and interchanges, and should provide a speedier route between western Qatar and central Doha.

Iconic roundabouts

For the past several years, Ashghal has been working to replace many of Doha’s busiest roundabouts with signal-controlled intersections.

This includes old landmarks such as Oryx, Burger King and Rainbow (Arch) roundabouts.

Marvin Fernandez

Oryx Roundabout

These iconic junctions previously helped visitors and residents navigate their way about town.

But they have all been bulldozed to improve traffic flow amid a rising population.

Thoughts?

Weddings tend to be a lavish affair in Qatar, especially for local women. Typically, the celebrations are separated by gender.

While men’s weddings are generally casual and open to typically everyone, women’s are invite-only and pretty fancy.

This is because women take weddings very seriously, according to Aisha Al-Ziani at I Love Qatar, which came out with a Qtip on the subject this week.

Lesley Walker

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Speaking to Doha News, she explained that weddings in Qatar are large and “far from being considered simple.”

She continued:

“Sometimes thousands of people can attend the wedding, and therefore the wedding has to meet the needs and standards of most of the guests.

Wedding halls have to be big enough to host such a big number of people, and different kinds of delicacies and cuisines are served in abundance, all to express generosity and welcome people that are here to celebrate the union of the two souls.”

In her Qtip, Al-Ziani highlights some things you may not already know about these celebrations:

1) No phone zone

During wedding celebrations, women aren’t wearing their abayas and hijabs.

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

So phones and cameras may be taken away at the entrance to the wedding to protect guests’ privacy and modesty, Al-Ziani says.

2) Don’t bring gifts

When going to a Qatari wedding, there’s no need to rack your brain about what to get the new couple.

FutUndBeidl/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The bride and groom aren’t expecting their guests to bring any gifts, and instead will likely show their appreciation to attendees by giving them stuff, Al-Ziani says.

3) Dress to impress

Expect the evening to be filled with dancing and fashion show-esque fun.

Ren Wlasiuk

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Women will be dressed in their finest clothes, and some might even throw cash at you. This is simply to celebrate the bride and “express generosity,” Al-Ziani says.

4) No men allowed (except the groom)

Though this is a segregated affair and men aren’t allowed in the hall, there is one exception: when the groom arrives to take photos with his wife.

David Precious/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

“And that’s when you see everyone running around trying to cover up,” Al-Ziani quips.

Have you ever been to a Qatari wedding? Thoughts?

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

2013 Qatar International Food Festival

From breaking out your eating pants for the Qatar International Food Festival to dancing the night away at a Beenie Man concert to checking out a new spring festival, there’s lots to do around town this weekend.

Here are our picks:

Qatar International Food Festival

The 8th annual edition of QIFF will kick off today at the Hotel Park in front of the Sheraton Grand Doha at 2pm.

This year, the festival will feature several new additions, including a garden picnic where families can buy a basket, collect a blanket and sit on the grass to eat their meals.

There will also be food trucks, kiosks and stalls selling small bites for QR5 to QR35, along with Dinner in the Sky, a live cooking theater from 5pm to 9pm daily, and outdoor screenings of food-related movies from 9pm to 10pm, courtesy of the Doha Film Institute and Qatar Foundation.

And each night at 8pm, a fireworks show will take place.

QIFF

2015 QIFF fireworks

To avoid wastage, unsold and “untouched” food will be given to Eid Charity to distribute to those in need.

The festival will go from 2pm to 10pm on weekdays and from 2pm to 11pm on weekends until April 8.

For more information on participating restaurants and menus, check out QIFF’s website.

Spring festival

Mall of Qatar is launching its first spring festival on Thursday, March 30. The event runs through April 22 and includes live performances, prize drawings and hot air balloon rides.

There will also be flower arrangement workshops, mall-wide parades and new shows from the mall’s resident troupe. More information can be found on MOQ’s website.

Beenie Man concert

Grammy award-winning Jamaican reggae dancehall recording artist Beenie Man, also known as “the king of dancehall,” will take to the stage this Thursday, March 30 at the St. Regis Doha’s Oyster Bay area.

The concert will also feature several DJ’s, including EarthKry, DJ Teddy Jam and DJ Mubarak.

It will run from 7pm until 2am and costs QR120 per person for early birds. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for QR150.

Only those 21 years and older are allowed entry. Passports/IDs are required. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Rang Barse

Two weeks after the Indian spring festival of Holi, local events company Red Apple is hosting Rang Barse, a colorful dance festival on Friday, March 31, at the Doha Marriott Hotel Beachfront.

Van Darren Martinez/Flickr

Rang Barse 2014

The event, which starts at 3pm and runs until 10pm, features several local DJs playing Bollywood beats, a food court with Indian food, color stalls, water guns and various other activities.

Tickets cost QR150/person for regular entry (QR200 at the door) and can be purchased online.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page here. The event is open to the public, and children above the age of eight years old are required to enter with a ticket.

Movie night under the stars

Sherborne Qatar Prep School is hosting a Star Wars and Trolls themed night this Friday (March 31) on its campus in Al Rayyan. Participants can come dressed as their favorite characters and watch both films “under the stars.”

The first screening will be of Trolls (2016), from 6pm to 7:20 pm. Star Wars – Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) will then be screened at 7:40pm. Doors open at 5:15pm.

Trolls/Facebook

Trolls

Entry costs QR50 per person and QR150 for a family ticket. Children below three years old enter free of charge. A “buy 3 get 1 free” deal is also on offer for tickets, which includes kid’s popcorn. More information about the event is here.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their blankets and and picnic snacks, although BBQ and soft drinks will be available for sale.

Souk Areej min Baladi

The College of the North Atlantic – Qatar (CNA-Q) is hosting a multicultural night this weekend that features multicultural foods, performances and activities.

CNAQ

CNAQ souq

Souk Areej min Baladi or “flavors of my homeland” is an annual campus event where students from more than a dozen countries showcase their traditions and heritage.

The event will run from 6pm to 10pm at the CNA-Q courtyard and is free and open to all. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Bonus:

  • Korean film: A three-day Korean Film Festival concludes today with two screenings of Born To Sing (2013) at the HBKU Student Center. The South Korean comedy-drama directed by Lee Jong Pil tells the intertwining stories of people seeking redemption at a singing contest. The film will be screened at the Student Center’s cinema twice, once at 1pm, and a second time at 4pm.

What are your plans this weekend? Thoughts?