Caroline Kessler-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

Caroline Kessler

Saleh said, We had to see the gangsters

Karak is a chai-style-spiced-tea that is the THING to get around Doha. Mel, Jessica DG, and Jenn woke up early to head out to the Corniche with Mohammad Abu Zeinab for some pre-brunch karak. Since some of us lack the ability to wake up in the morning, we declined Mel’s wake-up phone call and missed out on the morning stroll. Luckily, we were presented with the opportunity to go out this evening, after the Qalta finale, for some karak and LandCruiser-spotting. Saleh Alkhulaifi introduced us a part of Qatari culture that seems as impossible as the cranes and skyscrapers that dot Doha’s skyline. Six of us piled into his Toyota LandCruiser and headed off to the Wonder Bookstore shopping center. We’re not sure what the Wonder Bookstore is, considering it only sells plastic binders and kids’ backpacks. Pulling up under an overhang, Saleh passed over his teapot to a man standing on the sidewalk, ordered seven karak and a full pot, and drove off.
As we toured the parking lot, waiting for some indeterminable sign that the karak was ready, we counted the number of LandCruisers, while comparing dusty, beat-up pick-up trucks to the CLS 350 AMG class Mercedes Benz. Groups of men huddled outside, hung out of their cars, or idled side-by-side while they told stories indecipherable to Americans over their tea. Saleh gave us access to a culture phenomenon that we never would have experienced.

Caroline Kessler

Caroline Kessler

H&SS '12- Creative Writing Major
Religious Studies Minor
Doha, Qatar
Spring Break 2008