A Portion of Chicken Fry Ahead of City Souq.

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Goodbye Domes Mosque, a mosque full of history in Old Doha area.

Leaving Old Doha Mosque.

I said “wadaa’aan” from its back door on the edge of Al Jabr Street. Stepping a narrow alley bordered by a smooth wall on left and a rough wall on right. Now, it was time to find a diner to brakes my stomach protests.

Yes…I quickly found it. No more time to compare with better one. Between hunger or worry about being cutted my exploration time, I finally decided to go in and sat down. Obviously I realized, this was an Indian restaurant, it was clear from food composition display, as well as the look of the seller.

“Karak, rice and chicken fry, each one portion”, I said spilling all rote in my head. Chicen fry was my favorite meal since entering Dubai eight days earlier. Indians were kind, every time I asked for a chicken fry they would give two pieces of curry-flavored dry fried chicken. So when I was in Bahrain, I asked for a half so that they only served a piece of chicken.

Apparently this habbit wasn’t same with in Doha, they didn’t know the term half portion. He took a pair of thighs with a smile, he felt that my request was strange.

My order was being prepared by the seller.
11 Riyal, a serving but i ate for two meals….
Making two parts before eating, a part for dinner…. Hahaha.

A full stomach made me ready to heading to Souq Waqif, the oldest market in all of Qatar. It would be a memorable experience for sure. It was just that, before I arrived at Souq Waqif, I was fascinated by the existence of a seven-story shopping center.

“City Souq”, my inner mouth read a large signboard in the middle of building. “Oh, this looks like a modern mall in Old Doha area”, I thought. There was nothing wrong with entering even if it was only for several minutes.

Mall area of ​​half a hectare.

Entering through door number one of four available doors, I was immediately confronted by stalls selling bags, shoes, clothes, fabrics, abaya accessories and perfumes. I myself never knew category prices….expensive or cheap?, because I only had a transaction, which was when I bought a fridge magnet for 12 Riyal at this shopping center.

Bag and shoe shop.
Perfume and eyewear shop.
T-shirt and pants shop.
Sewing supplies shop.

It didn’t take long to exploring around City Souq, and in an instant I was leaving through door number four.

My choiced door to leaving City Souq.

City Souq itself is right at the corner of an intersection with the eastern boundary is Al Bareed Street, the south ones is Al Tarbiya Street, the north ones is Central Municipal Council and is closed by Al Fanar Mosque in the west ones.

Central Municipal Council, an independent entity whose aim is to serve the state and people of Qatar.

Come on, don’t wait too long, let’s get closer to Souq Waqif.

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Al Ghanim Bus Station, Qatar’s Pride Central Terminal

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As I told you at the beginning, if you dissect the whole of Qatar using Karwa Bus, you will automatically go back and forth in a central terminal in Doha, namely Al Ghanim Bus Station.

I am a backpacker who loves city buses and while at Qatar in five days exploration, for seven times, I visited this bus terminal which was the headquarters of Mowasalat (Qatar’s state transportation company).

Not big enough, in terms of size, Al Ghanim Bus Station is still less spacious than Tirtonadi Terminal in Solo (my hometown) or Kampung Rambutan Terminal in East Jakarta (the town which I am living now). This terminal is like a bus terminal in small towns on Java island….Tidar Terminal in Magelang for example….Yes, that’s my guess.

I instantly understood that there was no need for a large terminal to serve the territory of the state of Qatar, which is only twice the size of Bali island.

Riding Karwa Bus No. 12, first trip to Al Ghanim Bus Station.

That afternoon, heat of the sun collided with low temperature of the air blowing over the Qatar Peninsula. Smooth and scorching sand took advantage of wind current to mercilessly beat my face. But now I was wearing a rayban glasses which made me boldly and stylishly walking on Doha streets.

Starting from Casper Hotel, I cutted through the city in a bus which running for about five kilometers and arrived in half an hour at Al Ghanim Bus Station. Not expensive, only 2.5 Riyal to be paid to the Karwa Bus tap machine.

Al Ashat Street is right in front of the terminal.
Small, neat and minimal pollution.
No one shouted for passengers….Very silent.

Facility

Arriving at the terminal, I was in no rush to just leave it. I let my time wasted a little just by sitting on a waiting chair which made from white painted wood. Observing Qataris faces whose majority are government employees, Filipino faces who work in formal sector or South Asian faces who were either from Nepal, India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka who appeared to work in informal sector. All of them passed me with their respective activities, moving in rhythm in driving Qatar’s economy.

Terminal waiting chair…. For those who can withstand the cold, please linger here.
Those who can’t stand the cold, can buy Karak (pull tea) at the corner canteen.

This terminal serves almost all bus routes, leaving or going to Doha. Each route takes 20-30 minutes to depart. The terminal operates from 4am to midnight.

The toilet is at the west end of the front, with a container box structure and you have to step through some stairs. The terminal also provides a closed space that is effective enough to warm the body while waiting for bus to depart.

Terminal’s closed waiting area.

Meanwhile, several Ticketing Vending Machines are provided next to the closed waiting room, so that every Karwa Bus service user can freely refill their Karwa Smartcard here.

On several terminal poles, each Karwa Bus route map is clearly listed, so it’s very helpful for passengers who don’t understand yet the entire Qatar region in finding a right bus route to each of their targeted destinations.

Karwa Bus Route No. 11.

That’s a brief profile of Al Ghanim Bus Station which is located in the Municipality of Ad Dawhah. Interested in visiting?

Routine route to return to Casper Hotel.

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Seporsi Chicken Fry Menjelang City Souq di Doha.

Selamat tinggal Domes Mosque, masjid penuh sejarah di kawasan Old Doha.

Meninggalkan Old Doha Mosque.

Aku mengucapkan “wadaa’aan” dari pintu belakangnya di tepian Al Jabr Street. Menapaki gang sempit yang dibatasi tembok halus di sisi kiri dan tembok kasar di sisi kanan. Kini, saatnya menemukan sebuah kedai makan untuk mengerem protes perut yang kian menjadi.

Yes…Aku menemukannya dengan cepat. Tak ada waktu lagi untuk membandingkan dengan yang lebih baik. Antara lapar atau khawatir tersunatnya waktu eksplorasi, akhirnya kuputuskan untuk masuk dan duduk. Jelas kusadari, ini adalah kedai makan India, terlihat jelas dari komposisi food display, juga tampang penjualnya.

Karak one, rice one and chicken fry one”, ucapku menumpahkan segenap hafalan di kepala. Itulah makanan favoritku semenjak memasuki Dubai delapan hari sebelumnya. Orang India memang begitu, setiap meminta satu chicken fry maka mereka akan memberikan dua potong ayam goreng kering beraroma kari. Oleh karenanya, ketika di Bahrain, aku memintanya setengah supaya mereka hanya menyajikan sepotong ayam saja.

Ternyata tak berlaku di Doha,  mereka tidak mengenal istilah setengah porsi. Diambilnya sepasang paha diiringi senyum, tampak dia melihat aneh permintaanku. Mungkin porsi makan orang India memang banyak, jadi begitulah aturan makannya.

Menu pesanan sedang disiapkan penjual.
Rp. 44.000, seporsi untuk dua kali makan….
Jadikan dua bagian sebelum disantap, satu bagian untuk dinner….Hahaha.

Perut yang penuh terisi membuatku siap menuju Souq Waqif, pasar tertua di seluruh Qatar. Ini akan menjadi pengalaman yang mengesankan tentunya. Hanya saja, belum juga sampai di Souq Waqif, aku terpesona dengan keberadaan julangan tujuh lantai sebuah pusat perbelanjaan.

City Souq”, mulut batinku membaca signboard besar di tengah bangunan. “Oh, ini sepertinya mall modern di kawasan Old Doha”, aku membatin. Tak ada salahnya masuk walau hanya sedasa menit saja.

Mall seluas setengah hektar.

Masuk melalui pintu bernomor satu dari empat pintu yang tersedia, aku langsung dihadapkan pada kios-kios penjual tas, sepatu, pakaian, kain, aksesoris abaya dan parfum. Aku sendiri tak pernah tahu kategori harganya….mahal atau murah?, karena aku hanya memiliki satu transaksi yaitu saat membeli sebuah fridge magnet seharga Rp 48.000 di pusat perbelanjaan ini.

Toko tas dan sepatu.
Toko parfum dan kacamata.
Toko baju dan celana.
Toko perlengkapan jahit.

Tak lama berkeliling di dalam City Souq, dalam sekejap aku sudah beranjak pergi melalui pintu bernomor empat.

Pintuku keluar dari City Souq.

City Souq sendiri berada tepat di salah sudut perempatan dengan batas timur adalah Al Bareed Street, selatan adalah Al Tarbiya Street, utara adalah Central Municipal Council dan ditutup oleh Al Fanar Mosque di sebelah barat.

Central Municipal Council, entitas independent yang bertujuan melayani negara dan rakyat Qatar.

Tersimpulkan sudah bahwa pusat perbelanjaan unggulan di Old Doha ini tak semegah dari tempat sejenisnya di Jakarta. Jadi berbelanja di Jakarta tentu sudah lebih dari cukup, tak perlu belanja ke negeri seberang (ah, itu mah buat elo Donny yang ndak berduit. Kalau punya duit, ya pasti lo belanja ke Paris, Donny….hahaha).

Yuk lah, jangan menunggu lama, kita merapat ke Souq Waqif, jangan mampir-mampir lagi ya, Donny….Wkwkwk.

Al Ghanim Bus Station, Terminal Sentral Kebanggaan Qatar

Seperti yang kukisahkan di awal, jika kamu membedah seisi Qatar menggunakan Karwa Bus maka secara otomatis kamu akan berhilir mudik di sebuah terminal sentral di kota Doha yaitu Al Ghanim Bus Station.

Aku sendiri yang adalah backpacker penggila bus kota dan selama di Qatar tercatat selama tujuh kali dalam lima hari, aku menyambangi terminal bus yang menjadi kantor pusat Mowasalat (perusahaan transportasi negara Qatar).

Tak cukup besar, secara ukuran, Al Ghanim Bus Station masih kalah luas dengan Terminal Tirtonadi di Solo atau Terminal Kampung Rambutan di Jakarta Timur. Bayangkan saja, terminal ini layaknya terminal bus di kota-kota kecil pulau Jawa….Terminal Tidar di Magelang misalnya….Ya, segitulah perkiraanku.

Aku sekejap memaklumi, tak butuh terminal yang besar untuk melayani wilayah negara Qatar yang hanya dua kali luas Pulau Bali.

Menunggang Karwa Bus No. 12, perjalanan perdana menuju Al Ghanim  Bus Station.

Siang itu, panas surya beradu kuat dengan rendahnya suhu udara yang bertiup di Semenanjung Qatar. Pasir-pasir halus penuh kesumat memanfaatkan arus angin untuk menghajar mukaku tanpa ampun. Tapi kini aku telah memakai rayban yang membuatku melangkah gagah nan penuh gaya di jalanan Doha.

Bermula dari Casper Hotel, aku membelah kota di dalam kotak besi berjalan sejauh lima kilometer dan tiba dalam setengah jam di Al Ghanim Bus Station. Tak mahal, hanya Rp. 10.000 saja untuk diserahkan ke tap machine Karwa Bus.

Al Ashat Street tepat di depan terminal.
Mungil, rapi dan minim polusi.
Tak ada yang berteriak mencari penumpang….Very silent.

Fasilitas

Tiba di terminal, aku tak terburu meninggalkannya begitu saja. Kubiarkan waktuku sedikit terbuang hanya dengan berduduk manis di sebuah kursi tunggu berbahan kayu bercat putih. Mengamati wajah Qataris yang mayoritas adalah pegawai pemerintahan, wajah Filipino yang bekerja di sektor formal atau wajah Asia Selatan yang entah dari Nepal, India, Bangladesh atau Sri Lanka yang tampak bekerja di sektor non-formal. Kesemuanya berlalu lalang dengan kesibukannya masing-masing,  bergerak seirama dalam menggerakkan ekonomi Qatar.

Kursi tunggu terminal….Bagi yang kuat menahan dingin silahkan berlama-lama disini.
Yang tak kuat dingin, bolehlah membeli Karak (teh tarik) di kantin pojok itu.

Terminal ini melayani hampir seluruh rute bus, yang keluar atau menuju Doha. Setiap rute berjeda keberangkatan 20-30 menit. Terminal beroperasi dari jam 4 pagi hingga tengah malam.

Toilet ada di ujung barat depan, berstruktur container box dan harus menaiki beberapa anak tangga. Terminal juga menyiapkan ruang tertutup yang cukup efektif untuk menghangatkan badan sembari menunggu keberangkatan bus.

Ruang tunggu tertutup terminal.

Sementara beberapa Ticketing Vending Machine disediakan di sebelah ruang tunggu tertutup, sehingga setiap pengguna jasa Karwa Bus dapat leluasa mengisi ulang Karwa Smartcardnya disini.

Di beberapa tiang terminal tercantum dengan jelas setiap peta rute Karwa Bus, sehingga sangat membantu penumpang yang belum memahami keseluruhan wilayah Qatar dalam menemukan jalur bus yang tepat ke setiap tujuan yang disasarnya.

Rute Karwa Bus No. 11.

Itulah profil singkat dari Al Ghanim Bus Station yang terletak di Municipality Ad Dawhah. Tertarik berkunjung?

Rute langganan untuk pulang menuju Casper Hotel.