28 January 2012

The opportunity to travel to the Middle East has presented itself again and I’ve decided to make the most of it.  Doha is one of the fastest growing cities in the Middle East.  The city itself rests on the East side of a peninsula along the banks of the Persian Gulf, taking advantage of the expanse of waterfront with development along the city’s downtown ‘center’.  Modern towers by architects like Jean Nouvel , mark the skyline with characteristic buildings that make attempts, some more delicate than others, to address the desert landscape.   One of Jean Nouvel ‘s other notable project, the National Museum of Qatar, is also currently under construction here in Doha and is scheduled to open in 2014.  Development along the water’s edge is a mix between the newer residential towers of the “pearl” and the low-rise villas en route to the airport.  The New Doha International Airport is currently under construction and nearing completion this year and will help to complete a new image of the city as a modern business center along the Persian Gulf corridor.  Doha also is proud to be the host of the World Cup in 2022, which will see many of the current projects under construction completed as thousands travel to the middle-eastern city to watch the games.

Although exploring the city on foot wasn’t as easy as we had hoped, we did get a chance to ‘walk’ to the downtown souk and sample some of the local shisha and Turkish coffee at corner cafés along the markets narrow paths.  One of the highlights of our trip was the chance to visit the Museum of Islamic Art.  Architect I.M. Pei has created a solid geometrical landmark along the water’s edge, which takes advantage of the scale of its surrounding landscape and exploits the views to the city’s downtown.  Once inside, the organization of space and attention to detail is something most architects spend their lives attempting to perfect.   Click here to view images of the museum and the city taken during our walk around town. 

I’d like to spend more time here in Doha trying to find good local food, since most of our culinary experiences have been at places catering more to the ‘tourist’.  As with any place we visit, we enjoy most the opportunity to find local treasures where food and culture are well exemplified.  Hopefully we will have another chance to explore and dig a little deeper to find local cuisine.
Thanks again for reading!

21 January 2012

Welcome to ciraulodesign.com! The newest version of ciraulodesign (V2.0) represents an on-going vision of some type of method to the madness that has been my work for the last ten years. The newest of the new is the addition of this blog, which has been a dream of mine for quite some time. It is only fitting that the subject to my first blog entry is the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Although the Badlands was not our first "stop" on a cross-country journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it definitely marked the first spot where we were able to take in the surrounding landscape and feel something other worldly. Since some of my future blog entries will concentrate so many of our other stops, this entry will be focused on our experiences at the Badlands and our photography from that part of our journey. Please click here to view a small slideshow of images from our visit. Our most memorable part of the Badlands was pulling up to the deep canyons on Bentonite on our first physical stop in the park.

One of the other more memorable things about the park is the buffalo. So interesting, in fact, they sparked our dream to own some type of digital SLR camera to capture the close-up quality of these creatures as seen out of the windows of our vehicle. The process of capturing wildlife on our drive through the park became a welcomed obsession, as my wife and I darted from one side of the car to the other to frantically absorb bison, prairie dogs, and mule deer. Aside from our hunt for wild turkey (photos only), our two alert canines found it hard to keep up with the amount of wild beasts before us.

Although some may claim (and in "some", I mean some hypothetical writer claiming to be a connoisseur of national parks) that the Badlands isn't as spectacular as other locations on our future route, I found it to be one of the more calming and more humbling experiences I've had at a national park. The Badlands is definitely a must-see if you are in the area and it proves to be the perfect gateway into the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore and beyond. Many of the more challenging roads through the park were closed due to the weather (our trip was in November), but not enough snow had fallen to close the Pigtail Bridges and the breathtaking vistas to the glowing presidents of Mount Rushmore.

Come back to ciraulodesign.com for my weekly update of the blog and more about our 2011 trip through the USA. I don't claim to know any more than your average traveler, but I am lucky enough to have married one of the most adventurous women in the world who will eventually travel the world with me and claim to love every minute of it. I can only imagine what some of our upcoming blog entries will provide!

I also won't be adding blog entries in chronological order. I am doing this for several reasons: first, it's chaotic and much like my life. Second, it's more like a human thought process of someone like me, jumping around from one place to another and trying to convince others that what I have to say is "interesting". And third, it provides a better aesthetic for my front page! Thanks for reading.

Link to September Blog Page