I went on a sand dune tour outside of Doha. To drive across the sand the tires are partially deflated. I was encouraged to stand on the seat and stick my head outside the sun roof while my guide drove down a large dune.
Some time after that we hit the bottom of a dune wrong and ended up getting stuck. So while my guide went to get help (as no one was answering the radio) I wandered near by and took pictures of the strange flowers and collected sea shells.
This is the Islamic Museum of Art. It was designed by the same man (I.M. Pei) that designed the pyramids at the Louvre in Paris. It stands on land reclaimed from the ocean and houses many different kinds of art. I saw knives, tombs, books, rugs, and so much more there.
This is one of the many many stores at the souq (market) that we visited one night. It was loud and crowded and colourful. I haven't seen anything else that can compare to the souq. Everywhere you looked was something new and amazing.
This was the view from my balcony. It was just a tiny little thing but the sunshine and heat after Nov in Alberta was amazing. Below you can see the beach as well as two of the hotel pools. I've never stayed in a place so nice and I imagine I won't again unless I win the lottery.
After a few days in Qatar we left for Sri Lanka, a few hours away by plane. One of the first places we visited on our tour was the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This is the current location of the orphanage since 1975. More than 100 orphaned or injured elephants live here.
Sama lost part of her leg to a landmine when she was two years old and so was taken in my the orphanage. You have the opportunity to touch an elephant here while they stand around eating.
Each day (when weather permits), the herd is led down the town streets to the near by river when they drink and play while visitors sit at the restaurants and watch them while enjoying a drink.
Near the end of our trip we had a chance to visit another type of orphanage- a turtle hatchery near Habaraduwa. The hatchery collects eggs (that look like ping pong balls), buries them until they hatch and then keep the tiny little turtles for a few days before shepherding them down the beach to the ocean.
The hatchery was started in 1986 (my birthday year!) and has released over 500,000 turtles of five different varieties.
This is a portion of the floor of the Groote Kerk church in Galle, a fort first occupied by the Portuguese then by the Dutch. Can you tell what they are? They're tombstones! I don't have ny proof but my theory is that that because the graveyard ground was starting to collapse (because of the catacomb?) and because the church saved some tombstones from closed cemeteries that there wasn't enough room to display the all so some were put into the floor. (If anyone has info on this I'd love to here it!)
Along our trip we also saw the lovely, if slightly graffiti-ed, waterfall of Ravana Ella. It's one of the widest waterfalls in the country and is a popular tourist spot that happens to be along a major road long a mountain. You just pull over along the p=side parking and visit for a bit. Some tame-ish monkeys were hanging around the road opposite the fall. Perhaps collecting treats from travellers?
Looking for more info on travelling to Sri Lanka or Qatar? Why not check out these books by Lonely Planet? Sri Lanka Qatar