The diary of the World Cup in Qatar: from billion island with the beer bike to the place of the dead

In the north of Doha, Qatar has carved a gigantic island into the sea: The Pearl.

The diary of the World Cup in Qatar: from billion island with the beer bike to the place of the dead

In the north of Doha, Qatar has carved a gigantic island into the sea: The Pearl. More glitter, superyachts are at anchor, the rich and famous squander their money in the luxury boutiques. Instead of beer bikes, there are coffee bikes here. With them we go to the place of the dead.

Doha is a glittering world. But The Pearl goes one better. Nonsense, at least ten. Driving in the direction of this 400-hectare artificial island in northern Doha, the tall hotel buildings and luxury boutiques on the horizon can be seen from afar. Getting off the Uber. Charming Parisian-style cafes and Turkish-inspired restaurants. The prices are even higher than in the rest of the Qatari capital, which is already expensive. The people in football jerseys are even fancier. The handbags again more like Louis Vuitton.

Countless flags of the World Cup nations, lanterns and palm trees adorn the traffic-calmed shopping arcades. Western music is played over loudspeakers. Gwen Stefani: Let me blow your mind. In the remix. How fitting, because this is where it gets interesting. Qatar actually imported Berlin's worst invention (is this creation even from Berlin? It would at least fit very well!). The beer mobile. Gorgeous and heartbreaking at the same time. Mind blown.

Of course, this vehicle of terror - the device that combines just about everything that has gone wrong in Berlin in recent years - is repurposed here. After all, beer is only available at selected fan festivals. And so here is a coffee mobile ready.

"Al Arrab" is emblazoned on the front of the vehicle, and a coffee bean adorns the logo. The six seats facing the middle on each side with pedals, the small bar with pits for beer or coffee mugs look just like in Berlin. Shishas are offered in the adjoining café. It is quite possible that these can also be hoisted onto the vehicle. But there are still no howling groups of tourists causing mega traffic jams, the German capital has the Pearl ahead of it.

Away from the access road that intersects The Pearl, everything is more tranquil. Decadent yachts are anchored in a port facility, and tourists are looking for the best spots for the best selfies in the evening sun. Like everything in Doha, it glitters for humanity's digital heritage. Behind a Ferrari draped on the waterfront, staff at a Floating Ferrari Lounge wait for guests.

But they sit in the cafés with their Mexico, Brazil, England and Argentina jerseys and watch the game between Ghana and South Korea. Sometimes the broadcasts are in English and sometimes in Arabic, but always on the latest big screens. That's not the case in the old part of Doha, down by the National Museum, where the workers are still drinking their coffee and smoking their cigarettes at two-thirty at night.

Nothing has grown organically on The Pearl. But that hardly makes a difference. Because where there is no story, it is just shipped there. Numerous black Bedouin tents are lined up along the promenade. People in soccer jerseys have their picture taken with a falcon, tea is served, fine goods are offered for sale.

The 64 meter long superyacht "Attila" of the multi-millionaire Mauricio Filiberti anchors a little way. The Argentine, who also owns two private jets, paid around $70 million for the yacht in 2019 with just three private pools, five giant TV screens and other amenities. For the christening, the yacht offered space for 400 people, reports "Boat International". "The design teams had to think creatively about the use of space on board," the portal continues to report about the "Attila".

On the other side of The Pearl, where land may have always been, is Lagoona Mall. The food drivers have gathered on the plaza. The last minutes of South Korea against Ghana are running. South Korea constricts the Africans. The food drivers grumble about the referee. Ten minutes of stoppage time. Somehow Otto Addo's team saved the 3:2 to the finish. Everyone dances, cheers and laughs. "Ghana," echoes across the plaza. Everyone runs. Someone ordered food.

The Pearl tour is over. The desire for reality is great. The rest of Doha now feels like a perfect world. Who knows, maybe at this very moment a group of tourists will climb onto the vehicle of terror and pedal the converted beer bike to the site of the dead, Lusail Stadium not far away. One of the World Cup arenas where hundreds, if not thousands, of workers died building it.