The blood test results were not so encouraging. Doctor told me that he will have to categorize me as pre-diabetic. The dreaded ‘D’ word was looming large on me! Doctor suggested that I do some exercises and the best one was to do brisk walking for 20 to 30 minutes, at least 5 times a week.
This was the proximate cause for me to get into a ‘relationship’ with Doha’s Corniche. For a walk, there no better place in Doha, possibly in this whole universe, than Doha Corniche. It is serene and at the same time lively. The great thing about Corniche is that it is incredibly clean! I have seen it being cleaned by automated equipments daily and also washed with water at regular intervals. This cleanliness adds a lot to the appeal of Corniche.
It is more than seven kilometers long along the water body known as Doha Bay. I am told that the Corniche, as it exists now, was formed after the extensive dredging work carried out during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Corniche welcomes you at any time of the day. In the day, you can admire the incredible colour of the Doha’s bay, in the evening you can appreciate superb sunsets, and at night you can watch the lights of West Bay towers in an array of colours!
In the morning you will come across lots of Doha residents taking a walk or jogging along Corniche. They have strategically placed distance measuring marks to watch their progress! You are also treated to a magnificent sight of orange sun rising over Doha Bay. The Palm Tree Island in Doha Bay appears to be eager to soak in the glory of morning sun! This is that magical moment when clear sky comes alive with orange hue and gentle waves lapping on the waterfront provide the background music. Added to this heavenly experience is the cool breeze during this time of the year (February- March) and florescent flowers which appear to vie for your attention! This is the moment which makes our lives worth living!!!
These days, Corniche also attracts a different set of people. These people are more interested in using the open air gym facilities than walking or jogging along the Corniche. They are lucky because they have been provided with large number of open air gym equipments at different places along the Corniche. No need to wait for using any of these as there are plenty of them around! Children too have many things to play which also exercises their brawn as well as brain! State of the art public toilet in Corniche is an attraction by itself!
There is yet another set of people who love Corniche. These are the Anglers patiently waiting for fish to bite their bait! Though there are boards saying that Angling is not permitted in Corniche, this has not really deterred many. You can see many types of Anglers. I generally classify them as (a) Lonely Angler – One who sits alone in a remote part and appears to be praying for fish to catch his bait! (b) Optimist Angler – This guy comes with lots of equipment such a telescopic spinning rods etc. and yes, he has a large bag to hold his catch! (c) Family Angler – The whole family is there along with the Angler and many a times the noise made by all these family members scare away the potential catch! And (d) Dedicated Angler- This guy is a regular on Corniche and usually comes in at the same time and occupies the same spot!
In the evenings, Corniche is home to families, kids, youngsters, and also some health conscious guys! It is colorful, the horizons are plastered with towering towers of West Bay with their attractive lighting patterns. There are dhows inviting you for a ride into Doha Bay and there are coffee shops. This is the place where the young and old and all in between come to when they have some time to relax or when it is time to recharge their souls!
In a way, Corniche tells you about the character of Doha and Qatar – It is clean, It is well organized, It is modern, It is a place where people from many nationalities mingle harmoniously and above all it has good sports facilities and beautiful manicured surroundings. Corniche is the very soul of Doha!
(First and third photographs were sourced from internet)