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Published: September 21st 2009
He's letting the air out of the tires.
Well for first Eid, which is the celebration at the end of Ramadan, a few friends and I decided to go to Doha as one of my friends knew people we could stay with. She had befriended a Qatari family years ago and called one of the brothers of the family so we could stay there. On arrival, we were picked up by her friend, Ibrahim, who is...well I'll just say it...CRAZY! He was so jealous that she had called another one of her friends that he threw us out of his car bags and all. Luckily her other friend was not far away and gave us a ride to another friend's house where we stayed for the week...thank you Julie. You are a life saver!
On Sunday, we made reservations to go dune bashing and camping in the desert by the inland sea. We were picked up at 2 p.m. in a truck and drove for half an hour until we arrived at the beginning spot to go dune bashing. They had to take the air out of the tires in order to be able to better maneuver the vehicle. Now let me explain what dune
I know it' s hard to see here but our suv would go up and down these humungous hills.
bashing is...it is like being on a roller coaster only you’re not attached to a track and you are in a car. I was terrified. The driver seemed to delight in frightening the shit out of me. Literally, we would stop on the precipice of a huge sand dune...look over the edge but not be able to see the bottom and then he would descend. I would be thinking the whole time...Oh my god...we are going to roll as we were in a SUV but we never did. Along the way we happened upon some camels alone in the desert. We are not sure if they belonged to anyone as our driver...a man of few words...would not answer any of our questions. We stopped along the coast of the inland sea and they pointed out Saudi Arabia. There is one place I would never step my little toe. Women cannot show any parts there, nor are they allowed to drive.
Once out of the car on pristine sand...I thought to, of course, make a sand angel. What I had not planned on was getting sand absolutely everywhere under my clothes, in my ears, in my socks...the list goes on.
Right before we go dune bashing.
We arrived at Qatar International Adventure's headquarters where there were many tables by the sea. We found a table and immediately I got close to the water. This was my first time in sea water...Yes I know...It is unbelievable! I ventured a little too far and got knocked over by the waves...clothes and all. I figured I would dry quickly enough as it was windy but due to the extreme humidity in the air...I had wet clothes ALL night! I had my first encounter with a sea creature...it was a little jelly fish I narrowly escaped walking into. According to the internet, the inland sea is rich in various sea life but happily, they decided not to bother the easily frightened tourist. We met a group of people, mostly engineers who were working on the new airport. They were from all over, Malaysia, Botswana and Korea. They were really great to talk to and at one point the men got up and went to change...apparently they were allowed to try on some traditional clothes. I would have liked to as well but was not sure how that would fly considering I'm a woman.
It was soon dark and
we were served salads and barbecued chicken, beef and lamb...and oddly enough wieners. As I adore anything barbecued...it was an amazing meal. We sat around talking and listening to the ocean...as well as an odd assortment of music being blasted out of these speakers, for example The beastie boys one minute to George Straits the next. We left at 9 opting not to stay the night. I don't think I could face going to the bathroom one more time...it was pretty gross...but at least it did have western toilets. Unlike a few places we happened upon which had a toilet seat basically on the ground where you are expected to squat over the hole and somehow not pee all over yourself. Haven't attempted it yet...will let you know when I do!
We returned to our borrowed apartment to shower...about a pound of sand was in the bottom of the tub when I was done. We then made our way down to the corniche (every walkway along the water in town in the Middle East is called that) where we hopped onto a large boat giving rides around the Arabian Gulf. I have to say that the city scape is
beautiful. The architecture here is phenomenal! Buildings that twist and are angled in impossible ways are everywhere. It is worth doing an architectural tour if you come here. I tried to take pictures to do it justice but I had no tripod which is essential for night photos.
The next day, we went to the Islamic Art Museum which is an architectural masterpiece in itself. It was completely free to visit. There were items dating back to the 7th century. I took some pictures of the museum but I am certain they do not do it justice.
After several hours, we went to the new souq that was recently built. Let me just say it is beautiful but a tourist trap. Some vendors are trying to sell you "ancient jewellery" but it looks like scratched up plastic "gems". I did buy a ring from a man who polishes stones and puts them into bands. I did not pay much and he looked like he needed the money. A highlight was when we stopped at a carpet souq. My friend Ally knew the owner from when she had previously lived here (she was in the United States Army and
worked at the base here). He served us arabian tea which is really hard to describe but it is absolutely wonderful. Accept it if it is ever served to you. He can give us some good prices for hand woven rugs -silk on silk. They would be thousands of dollars in Canada but here are a fraction of the price and the good thing is...there is no tax.
Make sure you see all my pictures...I think they cover 3 pages at least so always scroll down to the bottom.
P.S. One little funny tid bit...as some of you know...spiders occupy my time somewhat. Last night, I woke up screaming and I could have sworn I saw a large spider. I jumped up yelling spider and my friend Ally, sleeping on the other couch got up to save me. We were both scrambling around in the darkness looking for it. What does it mean when one dreams of spiders? If anyone knows...tell me...as long as it's good news.
Bye for now,
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