Recently I came across the word ‘aircondition culture’ in one of my neighbourhood blog, and that kept me thinking…
A tall arched door opens to a silky vanilla coloured pavement, with shops on both sides. All big international brands and chains, but we didn’t have time for all that then. White trident street lights were lining up the lane for as far as the eye could see. A few more steps ahead, there is this tiny little river flowing across the town. Two boatmen ferrying those incredibly romantic gondola-boats, stopping at the bank, offloading passengers and taking the new pack of travellers for another fresh trip at a nominal fare of 10 riyal per person. A small traverse crisscrossing the waterway, and a cool pleasant bridge. Me and Arijit were sitting in the road side Starbuck outlet, sipping our creamy cup of Cappuccino and absorbing the ambience. I was a little chilled, cause the climate was really cool. Like a dream it was ! How I wished this to be the whole of Doha like !
At the foot of the small cross over, there was a person selling balloons. Balloons not like the one I find in parties at home. Here, these were of rich glossy plastic make, of various Disney faces, filled with some gas that enables them to fly up to the sky. The sky was clear blue, and perhaps it was dusk, and the sun had just set, so a little purplish too. I loved holding the string of a balloon that Arijit bought for me. A little childish though, I know, a lot childish actually. But isn’t it fun to be a child every once in a while !
So there we were, sipping our evening cuppa at 2 pm in Doha summer. From the Starbucks courtyard we were admiring the vanilla buildings across the street, with multi coloured glass panes and glittery shops in the ground level. Careless that I was, as always, the balloon from my hand slipped and flew up above the sky. Then it got stuck at a little purple patch, in between two cottony clouds, right above the vanilla rooftop.
We looked around, and there was a security guard of Villaggio Mall. But he said it would take some time to bring my balloon down from the mall’s ceiling. So we moved on, did a little bit of shopping, had a late lunch in the food court, and came outside the mall only after the real sunset. It was still a furnace outside, huge traffic and pollution adding more to the misery.
Villaggio Mall, stands like an oasis in the Al Waab Street, west end of Doha. Theme of this mall is an Italian hill town, rightly complemented with Italianate architectures. The river I spoke of earlier, is actually a hundred and fifty metre long indoor canal, and the boats are highly decorated Gondolas. the Mall also boasts of an ice skating rink, the largest of the two in Qatar and accredited by Asia Ice Skating Institute. Depending on the time and day of the week, a one hour forty-five minutes inside the rink will cost you QR 30 to 35. Villaggio Mall has over 200 stores including all the famous European brands. In fact, I can safely go as far as stating that whatever famous clothes or cosmetic brand names that is popping up in your head right now, you will find it here. Albeit I’m guessing that just like the shopaholic and foodie in me, you too absolutely go crazy inside Body Shop, Charles & Keith, or Mango Stores, dig in Pizza Hut and get dreams about Cartier at night. Do let me know, okay !