QIFF 2015, a world of endless opportunities for your mouth

There are so many opportunities for trying out so many different things at the recently concluded Qatar International Food Festival at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, that going there for just half a day is not enough.

If life were under different circumstances, I would have gone all the days. Maybe next year.

But for now, I will just share some of the things I tried and experienced at this year’s event.

The first class dining in the sky by Qatar Airways at the QIFF 2015
The first class dining in the sky by Qatar Airways
Yalla Natural's stall encouraging everyone to grow their own vegetables at the QIFF 2015
Yalla Natural’s stall encouraging everyone to grow their own vegetables. Whih is one of my fave since I am a very frustrated gardener #blackthumb
Mr Taco Mexican Food stall at the QIFF 2015
Mr Taco Mexican Food stall at the QIFF 2015. I was in the mood for churros. I found theirs a bit dry but it was ok. Loved their tamarindo juice though.
an Indian guy making bangles at the Royal Tandoor stall at the QIFF 2015
While waiting for our butter chicken we watched the Indian guy making bangles at the Royal Tandoor stall at the QIFF 2015
live cooking demo at the QIFF 2015
ofcourse, we didnt miss the opportunity to watch a live demo. Chef was from Sheraton in Turkey. The beef dish reminded us of the pinoy dish “kalderetang baka”. i wanted to try the aubergines in bechamel sauce though but we didn’t get the chance. it got devoured the second it was offered to the public… boofreakinghoo!

Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha Qatar Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha Qatar

Fireworks at the Qatar International Food Festival 2015 (QIFF2015) Doha QatarHopefully next year my kids would be bigger and they won’t be sick. and we’ll have a grand time at the QIFF 2016… And we’ll be more prepared for parking. :)

A day in the life of…

I like food. So when I found out that they had a festival for food in Doha, I knew I had to go and be there.

We decided to visit the second day because we were busy on the first day. The Chubby Hubby planned to meet us there from work and I brought the two kids with me from home. We didn’t expect these festivals to be so popular (Doha newbie here) because when we got there, it took 40 minutes to make the u-turn going to the venue. Chubby Hubby complained that he couldn’t find parking and that the organizers were turning cars away to go park somewhere else. So he tried to find parking outside the Museum of Islamic Art vicinity and found himself in a lot of competition with other QIFF attendees.

Meanwhile, the kids and I after being stuck in the cab for 40 minutes at that U-turn, decided to get down and just cross the street. I forgot that I was going to cross the street with a two year old and a little boy strapped to my body. Not to mention the baby bag and Aria’s backpack (which always ends up on my back). We managed though but the area where the event was being held was quite a walk from the entrance too and it didn’t take long until Aria started insisting I carry her.

At this point, I called the Chubby Hubby and asked where he was, to which he replies in an annoyed tone that he is still looking for parking.

It’s already been an hour and I haven’t sampled any food yet at the festival, which was taking its toll on me. But I was determined not to go home until I had experienced at least something with food. So I told the Chubby Hubby that I will be walking around with the kiddos to check the place out.

So I held Aria’s hand and navigated through the different stalls, looking at all the scrumptious looking food, salivating at every corner. I didn’t have enough cash with me at the time and I was saving up for something I felt I had to have. So I was being a stingy woman while I searched for that one thing I had to have in my mouth.

My daughter was thrilled to be outdoors but got bored and tired with all the walking. She would occasionally ask me to carry her to which I would reply that I can’t because I was already carrying Marcus. My little boy was already fast asleep while strapped to me and was snoring a bit.

We have been wandering for about 40 minutes when i decided to give the Chubby hubby another call to which he gave me the same annoyed answer. I concede and tell him that I’ll go and find him and that we could just go home. I was tired too because I haven’t eaten anything.

So I told my daughter that we are going to find her dad. She follows me for a few steps and then stops and insists that I carry her. I say ‘no’ and tell her why. She starts her tantrums. I walk away. She cries louder. People walking by ask if they can help me by carrying her. I politely decline because I know Aria will throw a fit if a stranger will carry her. She cries. I carry her. With Marcus strapped to me. In other words, I start carrying both my kids at the same time. One 15 Kg kid and another 8 kg kid.

I walk for a few minutes and put Aria down. She wants to be carried. She cries. I walk away. And the cycle repeats.

Marcus, bless his heart, was calm throughout the ordeal.

We finally reach the car about 10 minutes away from the park gates. I had both kids in my arms hoping the Chubby Hubby sees that I too had struggles of my own. But when we got closer, his car was empty. I put a distressed Aria down and checked my phone.

4 missed calls. MAAAAAN!

I immediately called back, and Chubby Hubby answers that he is inside and that he’s been trying to call me. I say, ok, I’ll go to him. Aria insists again to be carried.

SO I carry both kids back to the park.

Well, I had some good and not so great food that night. We stayed to watch the fireworks along the very beautiful Westbay skyline.

When we got home, my baby girl had a slight fever. I gave her some medicine and put her to bed and when I got back I saw her in convulsions. Seeing my daughter like that is the most terrifying thing  in my life. I called the Chubby Hubby. Aria loses consciousness and I was afraid to check so I asked him to bring her to the hospital. Tried to be as calm as I could but kept playing worst case scenarios in my head. I was in my jammies as I left Marcus with a dear friend and rushed after Aria and Chubby Hubby to the closest hospital (which was thankfully just a few doors away from our building). They, however, turned us away and sent us the Hamad Pediatric Emergency Center a few blocks away.

At the Emergency Center, they did tests to rule out as many infections as possible. We stayed till the wee hours of the morning and found out that she only had an ear infection and that her seizure was caused by her high fever. Apparently febrile convulsions are common in children from 6 months to 6 years. They happen without doing any damage to a child’s brain. Even though the doctor kept telling me that it is normal, it is still a scary sight. He gives me tips on how to handle the episodes and some medicine and sends us home. Thank God for health cards in this country! I wonder what it would be like if the same thing happened to us if we were in the Philippines.

She was fine earlier that day. I immediately felt guilty for putting my daughter through that just because I wanted so bad to be a part of the QIFF and had to be there.

We got home around 3 am. I didn’t sleep well and kept checking on Aria. She looked fine. As a matter of fact, she started snoring.

I whispered a prayer of thanks as I held her that early morning.

Why I was too tired for Brussels – the last leg of our Eurotrip

Who would have thought that after our recent trip I would finally admit to myself that I am getting older. It really is exhausting traveling with two little babies and a grown man who wants to be babied (kidding). I based my plans on my first Eurotrip in 2009. I was 6 years younger then and got to visit more than 8 cities in 14 days. Now, I want to stay in one city in 14 days! Time can really change you. And babies can really change you.

I feel like we treated Brussels quite unfairly. Chubby hubby was too tired to explore and was going through some serious carbo withdrawal. He was constantly looking for places where he can eat rice. I was too tired to take pictures, so I took out the camera less. The kids, well, they were the same. But us adults, the excitement of being in Europe was kind of wearing off. And I hate to say that I was looking forward to sleeping in our bed back in Doha.

When I was thinking of visiting Belgium, I was looking forward to visiting a chocolate factory and stuffing my face with waffles. I didn’t get to do either. When we went to the chocolate place that offered a tour, they had it on a different day. I just bought myself some chocolate to eat when I got the munchies (which happened the next day). I did get to eat some waffles, twice on the same day.

I didn’t get to see any museums, or discover anything new. We spent half of our last day in Brussels at the train station, just waiting for time to pass us by. I think it would have been an amazing city to explore if we only had the energy. I would have also done a little side trip to Brugges.

Til next time Brussels!

Exploring Qatar: The Rock Formations of Zekreet

I usually avoid the malls during weekends because I hate crowds. But the weekend is the only free time the Chubby hubby has so we make it a point to do something new during these days- whether its trying a new restaurant or hanging out at the park. About a week ago, some friends from church invited us to go visit a site at the outskirts of Doha. Since the weather is slowly transitioning to Summer, it was the perfect time for some off road adventure.

Zekreet is located 45 minutes away from Doha, just off the Dukhan Road (the road going towards Qatar National Convention Center and the humongous Qatar Mall Construction). It is a collection of plateaus in the middle of the desert with a mini Arabic town that was put up for films (hence called Film City) and some archeological sites.

If you want to go and see the rock formations, it is best to bring your own food since there are no places to eat there! The next food stop is more than 30 minutes away from the site.

Endless Photo Opportunities at Madame Tussaud’s, Amsterdam

When I was a freshman in College, Madame Tussaud’s was exhibiting at the Shangrila, Manila. I wanted to go see the exhibit but my allowance was not even enough for the entrance. I knew I had to go see the one in Amsterdam once we had our trip planned just so I can tell myself that I’ve finally seen it. It’s something I can at last cross off my bucket list.

There isn’t much to say about the museum except that it is a great place for lots of photo opportunities. Its awesome that the figures are not hand’s off. As a matter of fact, you can get as close as you can.

Chubby hubby had the best time posing with most of the ‘celebrities’. He didn’t give me much of a chance to get my picture taken. That’s okay though. I am just used to being behind the camera all of the time. But we we both had a blast seeing famous people without feeling starstruck.

Charmed by the beautiful city of Amsterdam

When planning our trip, I was so engrossed with covering as much with in the time we have allotted for our holiday. I really really regret that. I wished I had spent more time in Amsterdam. There’s just so much to explore!

We didn’t see much of the sites but chubby hubby knew how much I loved Van Gogh so that was one museum we didn’t skip and it was really worth it.

The Rijk's Museum in Amsterdam
The Rijk’s Museum which we didn’t get to enter
To the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
To the Van Gogh Museum

And ofcourse, Madame Tussaud’s.

Madame Tussaud's in Amsterdam
Madame Tussaud’s

We didn’t get to go biking and the weather was quite gloomy when we got there. But the old brick buildings and brick-lined streets, the canals, and the beautiful mix of the old and the new made you want to stop and take it slow and just enjoy the moment. It was a nice place to relax and take it easy. The city extruded that vibe.

mini car in Amsterdam
It could not get any more minier than this!
The beautiful buildings of Amsterdam
The beautiful buildings of Amsterdam
the canal and buildings of Amsterdam
more buildings
Amsterdam's shopping streets
Window Shopping
The Gassan factory, amsterdam
Diamonds, Diamonds Diamonds!!!
The Gassan factory, amsterdam
Aria checking out the diamonds at the Gassan Factory
Looking for food at the Museum Square, Amsterdam
Looking for food at the Museum Square
food at the lunch kiosk, museum square Amsterdam
our grub at the lunch kiosk, museum square

Free Workshops at the Museum of Islamic Art Doha

Last Saturday when we visited the museum for the first time, Aria went to listen to her first story time outside the home and the church and I was surprised how behaved my little girl was. She sat there and got up only a few times. She listened to the lady telling the story. However, I did realize that we need to work on her social skills since she seems standoffish most of the time because when ever someone asks her anything, she just stares at them.

Storytelling time at the Museum of Islamic Art Doha
Story telling time. Aria is the one in the black shirt.

The Museum of Islamic Art hosted that event just last Saturday and the next one is going to be on the 11th of April. After that session, the kids had some arts and crafts. I was excited to accompany Aria to the workshop.

More kids at the story time in Museum of Islamic Art Doha
The kids at story time
Aria at the workshop at the Museum of Islamic Art Doha
Aria at the workshop

The kids were going to make pop up cards of the animals from story time. I was right beside Aria during the entire workshop, doing most of the art work. lol

Aria and scissors at the workshop at the Museum of Islamic Art Doha
Ooooh scissors!!!
Aria and crayons at the workshop at the Museum of Islamic Art Doha
Ooooh Crayons!
Aria's pop up card of a red bird at the kid's workshop at Museum of Islamic Art Qatar
Tweet tweet tweet!
Aria's pop up card of a red bird at the kid's workshop at Museum of Islamic Art QatarZxxxa
Aria’s pop up card of a red bird. Guess who did most of the work?

It’s the perfect weekend activity for the kids! Planning to attend more of their workshops, and another plus is that it is FREE! They also have a lot of workshops for adults. You can head on to their website here for more details.

the art of getting by without much

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