Author - Founder CoolBrands People - Maarten Schafer

We are having breakfast on a terrace in Doha’s Old Town when we meet Charne, a South African woman working in Qatar. “What do expats do in their spare time?” we ask her. “Most people work six days a week, with a day off on Fridays,” she says. “There are things to do out of town: beaches, dunes and an old fort but most people stay in Doha and go shopping.” She explains that the air-conditioned malls are popular with expats, especially in summer when temperatures regularly hit 40ºC.

She proposes to take us to Souk Waqif, the city’s traditional market made up of narrow shady alleyways and hundreds of little shops. We weave our way through the bustling crowd: shopkeepers enthusiastically tout their goods, customers inspect the pashminas, shoes and shiny handbags and old men sit in front of their shops drinking tea together – it is a fun…

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