Khalifa Dreams – a short story from Qatar.

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In the summer of 2001 I boarded a near-empty Qatar Airways flight to Doha. Reuniting with my family who’d recently moved there for my father’s new job, it was my first time living abroad.

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It was another boiling hot afternoon. Ducking out of a taxi into the insane heat, I made the short dash over to City Center, Doha’s premier shopping mall, where an iced latte awaited me in a café on the fifth floor. I was sitting with said drink in my clutches reading a magazine when a voice called across from a nearby table. ‘‘Hello friend, you are soccer fan?’’

Looking up, I saw two Qatari men dressed in traditional white ankle-length thobes, their red and white headdresses fluttering in the overzealous breeze of a nearby fan. Momentarily confused, I realised the man had been referring to the blue and white hoops of my Q.P.R. shirt.

Smiling, I confirmed that I was indeed an avid follower of the beautiful game, a revelation that saw the two men swiftly transfer the contents of their table to mine. ‘‘You know… Qatar now play qualify for World Cup. For South Korea-Japan” said the taller of the two, the owner of an impressive chest-level beard. ”You should follow them!’’ 

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