It was 2pm, there was still a little time before the chilly afternoon breeze arrived. I purposely put this destination as the closing of my third day exploration in Qatar. From the outside, nothing flashy, nothing special, it was just an ordinary building which had been open to the public since 2006. However, the large nameboard titled Gondolania Theme Park at the gate was able to convey an image in your head about what tourism concepts were offered in it.
I replayed my trip memories, starting to unravel the memory of three years ago, when for the first time, I was fascinated by the shape of gondola which was visible by my naked eye at The Venetian, a famous shopping mall and casino in East Asia, Macau to be exact.
Yups…. I ended my visit at Doha Sports City that afternoon by visiting Villaggio Mall. Mall on the outskirts of Al Waab Street (located between Hyatt Plaza and Sports City ) was developed by Gondolania Entertainment, therefore, the concept of gondola tourism in Venice was adopted in this famous shopping center.
It was designed in 150 meter long indoor canal complete with its gondola. The main retailer at Villaggio Mall was Carrefour, but this shopping center also accommodated 200 stores selling well-known American, British, Italian and German brands.
Come on, you who liked shopping, please stopped by here!
Apparently the word “I LOVE (LOVE was symbolized by the heart)” which was famous in tourism promotion of every nation had also spread in Qatar. The nameboard greeted me in a hall right next to the entrance. Red and white, that was the dominant color, matched the colors of Qatar flag. Red jagged white, or white jagged red, I didn’t know?
Leaving the glitz of main hall, I started down the mall corridor with fantasizing about the artificial blue sky on its roof, while the classic three-pointed black pillars were placed in consistent distances. Cafes and shops were nealy lined up in the left and right…..Mc Donalds, KFC, Pinkberry, Ocean Basket, Donuts & Coffee, Dunias, PF. Clarks, Applebees and Ognam were some of the culinary outlets which I could quickly find when I walked.
I just followed the path which was designed by mall operator, until I finally found a room titled GONDOLANIA, a Funfair Theme Park which was the mainstay of shopping center. You could play Bungee Trampoline, Ferris Wheel, Viking, Catterpillar, Drop Tower, Roller Coaster, Chipmunks Rides, Carousel, Arcade Games, Ping Pong Toss, Ride on Robot, Dino Land, Toy Crain, Deal or No Deal Dance Reco, Basketball Games , Bump Car, Dragon Punch King of Hammer, Lazy River, you could also shop for toys at Toys4me and had fun at Gondolania Ice Rink.
Leaving the theme park, I was still curious to find what I’d been looking for….Finally, the Venice-style Gondola seemed to be rowing in the distance. A long canal branched through the giant space of shopping mall. Several tourists seemed to be queuing up to ride the gondola with Philippines rowers.
Visiting Villaggio Mall for a moment, had killed my curiosity to see the duplication of Venice Gondola tours for second time. It didn’t take long, only thirty minutes to explore.
Hmmhh, ouch….I remembered my promise to fulfill the invitation of hotel staff where I was staying. I rushed back, that afternoon I would cook Pakistani food with them. I thought the agenda would make me feel more relaxed after seventeen days of wandering away from home.
My quick steps towards Al Aziziyah Station were stopped by a young man who was shorter than me. I was taken aback….What was this:
Said: “Hello, do you want to go with the metro?”
Me: “Yes, Brother”.
Said:”Use this ticket, I will go back by bus, So you can use it”.
Me: “Oh, thank you”.
It would be stupid if I refused. Before he left, I had time to ask to get information about his origin….Algeria, North Africa….“My name is Said”, he said after I mentioned my name to him.
I grabbed the ticket from him….”Oh this, the One Day Pass. He took the MRT all day apparently. Said is smart, instead of wasting it, he gave it to me….Hehehe” I thought understanding the reason Said gave me the ticket. An unexpected meeting that bestows sustenance. Now I was going back with free of charge.
Long story short, I took the Doha Metro Gold Line, stopped at Souq Waqif Station and continued with Karwa Bus No. 12 to the inn.
Time to cooking……