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Friday, January 27, 2023

What I’m Doing Here Travelogue, Day 4: From a world of kindness to some trouble with the police

Businesses have additional staff on hand to meet the demands of the flood of fans arriving soon. And there is a lot of security too.

4 days left for the fair to start World and in Queue, as I told you in the last shipment, the fever of the World Cup has not ended boiling – and that the weather is still favorable for those purposes -. Besides the heat and the eternal highways—self-censorship prevents me from telling you how I got lost in collusion with the GPS at three in the morning and how I entered the wrong avenue like a champ—there is a situation. which is striking. At least for my cropped view, without as many passport stamps as I would have liked.

The assumption is that there are too many people in the business to serve and guard. They are all super hospitable, yes, and they all speak perfect English. The question that nagged me (or not so much) was whether it had always been like this or if it was just a momentary overshoot caused by the ball.

¿Vote 1 or Vote 2? I’m not going to make it long: vote 2,




Balloon seller in Souk Waqf and an official controlling the place on horseback. Photo: Giuseppe Caces / AFP)

One month ago, The population was around 2.7 million and has grown rapidly to around three million these days. For this reason, as an Argentine who lives in and knows Doha very well, for example, there are three managers per restaurant, whereas in reality there is always one. Of course it’s not bad. There is a flood of tourists coming and you must be on hand to contain them. Everything will be back to normal once the fans leave.

the city is full of police officers And in most hotels you have to put your luggage through a scanner, With uniform and without uniform but with traditional clothes, with turban and abaya. And lots of personal security too. The latter has a slogan. You can’t stand still. pauses for a second in an inconvenient place and immediately, as if by magic, some cash arrives to suggest that you resume the march. “Siga, Siga, Lamolina”.

A Policeman Stands Guard In Souq Al-Wakhra Area Of ​​Doha.  Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Afp)


A policeman stands guard in Souq Al-Wakhra area of ​​Doha. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP)

Above all, there is a lot of skepticism about taking pictures. Something that special envoys, usually with prying eyes, can’t stop doing. Everything is still amazing. fortunately. Those of us who are accredited have special permission to move freely everywhere – except those closed by FIFA – and we also have the right to register images that others can not take.

But everything is not so simple. In the past few hours, a picture of a Danish journalist who was surrounded by two police officers, one in uniform and the other in plain clothes, surrounded him and demanded that the cameraman take away the pictures that had just been recorded, which went viral on social networks. , This was not an isolated case.

messenger of Bugle We have already fallen prey to this excessive suspicion. This happened at IBC, on the first day, when the excitement of taking back the recognition and showing it off on social networks with a new chich to the delight of children was stopped by an official with a very bad attitude. “No photos, no videos,” he warned with a serious face.

And it was repeated in the last few hours, while we were exploring the outskirts of Qatar University, the place that will be the home of the national team, while this dream that is getting stronger by the day. The situation was very similar to the scene experienced by the Danish colleague. And it was troubling to say the least.

We were in the car and suddenly, when we applied the brakes, a shouting security guard stopped us. He banged on the passenger window and demanded the phone with which we were being shown the place. They forced us to delete the file and pretend that we had actually deleted it. We asked him why and the answer was clear: “You cannot register the faces of security officers”, They didn’t believe us and asked for our phone number to check. And there the one who got ahead of himself was the man in uniform. The plainclothes policeman challenged him to slap his cell phone. And he offered us an apology. A sight, at least, rare.

It’s like a slide. From a paradise of hospitality to extreme skepticism with a naughty cellphone. It will be necessary to see if all these safety measures are maintained once the World Cup starts and hordes of fans from all over the planet do whatever they want with the passion of football as a (crude) excuse.

Doha, Qatar. special envoy.

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