Doha, Qatar, makes its opening salvo as the next big travel thing, looking to prove that big bankrolls for education, science and art can bring forth many happy returns. One of the locals I got to know during my visit to Qatar was Abdul, a big, jovial man who drove my photographer and me over 60-meter-tall sand dunes at up to 50 miles an hour.
The desert safari, also called dune-bashing, is the most popular tourist attraction in the state of Qatar, a peninsula the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island that borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and juts into the Persian Gulf. For sure, Qatar has pockets deeper than most Americans can imagine, thanks to its huge reserves of natural gas. Abdul talked with admiration about change in Doha and the emira€™s master plan for development. The Corniche, a 4-mile-long promenade along the Persian Gulf (known in Qatar as the Arabian Gulf), is a popular stretch for walking and seeing dhows (wooden boats traditionally used for fishing and pearling and today used for day trips and evening cruises).
If you want to get out of the city, pack a picnic basket with goodies from the souk and have your driver take you up the coast about 50 kilometers to Al-Khor. On the ride back, I fell asleepa€”the heat of the desert and trudging through the sand had exhausted me.
The W Doha Hotel and Residences (with a Bliss Spa), the Hilton Doha, the Renaissance Doha and the Courtyard by Marriott Doha will all open next year, followed by the Four Pointe by Sheraton Doha in 2009 and the St. While being held under house arrest there, Paul received a visitor named Onesimus, whose name meant profitable or advantage.
Accessorizing Abdula€™s thobe (the traditional ankle-length white shirt) were a diamond-encircled watch and sparkly cufflinks that could only be described as bling in the United States. Ita€™s not a safari in the typical sense of the word (although one can see the occasional fox or camel), but ita€™s the best way to see the natural side of a country that is, essentially, one big desert.
This little Islamic state, just 36 years old, is ruled by an emir and has a per-capita income of nearly $62,000, one of the highest in the world. English is universal, and the exchange rate of the currency, the Qatari riyal, is fixed to the U.S. Begin at the souks, the traditional markets in narrow alleys where you can bargain for anything from spices and shawls to water pipes and swords. The warm Gulf is ideal for all kinds of water sports: fishing, diving, water skiing and sailing. The coastal town used to be known for its pearl fishing, but today, ita€™s popular with Qataris as a peaceful respite from Doha. The park, about an hour from Doha, is an uninhabited island on the northern coast of Qatar; visitors can see mangrove forests and wildlife, including flamingos, lizards, crabs, birds and nesting turtles.
Soon we stopped, and Abdul pointed out where we were on his GPS, on the bottom tip of Qatar. Weigh down a plate from a spectacular spread of Qatari and Lebanese dishes like hummus, tabouli, baba ghanoush, grilled vegetables and manakish (small breads filled with cheese or meat), and still have a spread of meat, fish (hamour is the local cod) and stews to tackle, followed by desserts and tea. You can order beer and wine at hotels, unlike at the local joints, but thata€™s no reason not to venture out of your inn. The menu is huge, and you cana€™t go wrong with chicken shawarma, followed by puffing on an apple-flavored shisha (a water pipe, also called a€?hubbly-bubblya€?). SUVs speed around ubiquitous roundabouts, taxis weave, and ita€™s not unusual to see impatient drivers climb curbs to circumvent obstacles. While hiring a driver may seem excessive for those coming from the United States, it is customary in Qatar for residents and visitors alike. Friday and Saturday make up the weekend, and on Fridaya€”the holy day for Muslimsa€”most businesses are closed.
The rustic Six Senses Spaa€”the largest in the Middle Easta€”has separate entrances and lounges for women, a prayer room, meditation room and a signature treatment that includes a four-handed massage. The Spa and Wellness Center has a private spa suite for two, a hydrotherapy lounge and a therapeutic ice chamber in the locker room. He wore a gurta (long headdress) and white sandals, drove a 2007 white Nissan Patrol and played a€™80s pop music on the radio. Hearsay, no doubt, but the more time I spent in the capital city, the less unfathomable the comments seemed.


Instead, Doha sets itself apart from its Middle Eastern neighbors by investing heavily in education, science, sports and art, and hoping that when the construction is complete, tourists will come. Out of a Qatari population of 907,200, foreigners comprise a significant chunk of the work force, which makes the population wonderfully diverse. The largest and most popular is Souk Waqif (off Grand Hammad Street), but the gold souk, the fruit and vegetable souk and the camel souk (where locals buy camels for wedding ceremonies or for meat) are also worth a visit. Both Gulf Adventures and Arabian Adventures, in addition to offering desert safaris and water excursions, have good tours of the city (which usually include the Corniche and the markets, among other attractions) and trips to the camel race track and oryx farm.
Al Jazeera, the governmenta€“owned television network, is headquartered in Doha, and visitors can set up private tours of both the Arabic and English stations, with their impressive state-of-the-art studios and robotic cameras.
If you go, stay a€™til darka€”locals say ita€™s worth the trip to Umm Tais just to see the magnificent sunsets over the park.
I wondered how much it would be altered in the next year or five years, and I felt grateful that some thingsa€”like the vast, magical desert and the sparkling Persian Gulfa€”would never change. A local explained that if you go to a Qataria€™s home, he will present a table overflowing with fooda€”the best and the most he can offer.
They will stop anywhere (ideal if you want to tour the city and stop at a museum, a market, a restaurant and a coffee shop). While Qatar is known to be more accepting of Western dress than other Muslim countries, visitors should still err on the side of conservative attire.
The royal villa, called Beit Al Shoukh, can be reserved for just under $28,000 per night and includes an airport pick-up in a Rolls Royce, five butlers, a chef and a driver upon request.
A small bottle of cologne sat in the drivera€™s-side door pocket, yellow prayer beads hung from the grab bar, and A-B-D-U-L was spelled out in silver bubble-letter stickers below the dash.
I met a Kenyan spa director, a Sri Lankan driver, an Egyptian concierge, a Canadian public relations associate, a South African technology consultant, a British masseuse and an American emergency medicine specialist, who told me hea€™s earning six times what he did in the States. We continued our drive and eventually saw the giant Inland Sea, so blue and unexpected it could have been a mirage. And I hoped there would always be spirited Qataris like Abdul who love to show off their country.
The second floor feels like a cafeteria with its fluorescent lighting, but the food is delicious, as are the fresh juices. You can hire drivers for about QR60 ($16.50) an hour, and it will save you a lot of time and frustration trying to hail a taxi.
In general, dona€™t take pictures of the airport, security officers or women in traditional dress.
When Onesimus ran away, he probably took with him money and goods which belonged to his master Philemon.
The glowing sun was setting behind the dunes, so we headed back to the paved road, inflated our tires and drove north to Doha.
Ita€™s OK to bust out the bikini on the beach, but on your way to and from the surf, cover up that itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny. The airline, half owned by the government, last year unveiled its $90 million premium terminal at the existing airporta€”complete with spa, martini bar and 24-hour medical clinic.
You wona€™t find a historic district or cultural center as you might in European capitals, because development and modern business have trumped all, often at the expense of older structures. Paul, however, honored the social tie that bound a slave to his master and respected the duty Onesimus owed to Philemon, his master. Guided by the tenth commandment, which forbids coveting another man's worker, and by the law of love, Paul decided Onesimus should return to Philemon.
Paul was about to send Tychicus, a co-worker, to Colosse with a letter Paul had written to the church there.
Tychicus' traveling to Colosse offered Paul the opportunity to send Onesimus with Tychicus to Philemon.
Onesimus went willingly as a penitent Christian to seek his master's forgiveness and to return to his service in Philemon's household. Rather, Paul commended Philemon for the loving compassion he showed to his fellow Christians and then interceded in Onesimus' behalf.


Slaves, such as Onesimus, who were brought back to their masters were often treated most harshly and under Roman law could be killed. Paul noted that Philemon was having Onesimus come back to him as more than a slave but as a brother in Christ and fellow believer. Since it was quite possible that Onesimus had wronged Philemon and was indebted to Philemon for what he had stolen, Paul even offered to have Philemon charge the debt to him so that Paul might repay him. In offering to repay Philemon for Onesimus' indebtedness, Paul reminded Philemon that he owed him his very life, for it appears that in some way as a result of Paul's gospel ministry Philemon had become a believer in Christ the Savior. In the course of his letter Paul hinted that he would very much like to have Onesimus back with him in Rome.
An automobile may be filled with enough fuel to drive a long distance, but it wona€™tA go anywhere until someone puts the key into the ignition and then turns the key. Even though Goda€™s Word says I have a sound mind, I continually feelA like I dona€™t have control of my thought life. And in spite of the fact the Bible says God has blessedA me with gifts and talents, I feel like a dope who has nothing to offer to this world. But for that potential in you to be released, you have to hold the right key in yourA hand.A Furthermore, it isna€™t enough for you to just possess the key. You have to put that key into theA a€?ignitiona€? and turn it so the latent potential that resides inside you will be ignited. This is a person so sure of his information that when he speaks, he does so with confidence and boldness.
You should study, read, listen to teaching material a€” inA other words, you should use every available resource to discover what Goda€™s Word says youa€™ve beenA given in Jesus Christ. The moment you open your mouth and start confessing the good things that are in you by Jesus Christ, a supernatural connection is made between your faith and allA that Jesus has deposited inside you. At that moment, the gifts and treasures God has placed insideA you become supernaturally activated. Instead of speaking what God says about them, they ridicule themselves, put themselves down, and speak badly of themselves. By acknowledging the basic truths of what you have been given in Jesus, you will release so much divine energy that it will radically transform your life.
When I hear my own words, even I can tell ita€™s wrong for me to speak so lowly about myself. Forgive me for speaking so wrongly and for allowing myself to remain imprisoned in self-defeat.
I am truly repentant for theseactions, and I ask You to forgive me and to give me the power to change my behavior.
I agree with all that Goda€™s Word declares me to be, and I speak these truths about myself. Every dayA Iam getting more positive and more faith-filled, and my mouth is speaking what God says about me. Do you speak well of yourself, or do you find that you constantly criticize yourself and continually point out all your flaws? If you were to ask your friends what they hear you saying about yourself, would they say you speak positively or negatively?A 2. What changes do you need to make in your life in order to change your confessions about yourself? Guided by the tenth commandment, which forbids coveting another man's worker, and by the law of love, Paul decided Onesimus should return to Philemon. Tychicus' traveling to Colosse offered Paul the opportunity to send Onesimus with Tychicus to Philemon.
Rather, Paul commended Philemon for the loving compassion he showed to his fellow Christians and then interceded in Onesimus' behalf.



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