One of the many challenges of attending conferences is that one usually has to spend around 12 hours a day deep underground in cavernous halls, or in dim windowless rooms watching images and words on large screens! Not only is one left bereft of natural light, but air conditioning is no replacement for the oxygen of fresh air! So after the main activities of ITU’s Telecom World were over today, I took myself back to Doha’s Souq Waqif just to immerse myself in the smells of spices, shisha and the wonderfully rich oud perfumes, to glimpse the rich colours of the textiles and jewels, to hear the laughter of small children and the squaks of parrots, and just to walk among ‘real’ people far from the robots and aggressive capitalism of many in the ICT and telecommunications sector who were expounding the virtues of the latest technologies at the conference! Although this souq is a relative modern re-interpretation of the souq that used to be here, it continues in that rich tradition of sounds, smells, tastes and textures that have always dominated markets in the region. I hope that the pictures below capture something of the reality of this world beyond the virtual!