Friday, 26 November 2010

Camping Qatari style

Jump. ©Sue Pownall
Last Friday, at the end of the Eid break, I joined expats and Qataris on a escape from the city. Through meeting a Qatari guy working at the Magnum photography exhibition, a camping trip in the southern part of the country was organised, by an inland sea, Khor al-Udeid. Unfortunately, for me, due to normal delays/ miscommunication /hanging around we arrived at our camp dune at sunset. I would have preferred to arrive an hour or so earlier, but such is life. A couple decided to jump from our chosen camp spot down the dune, which looked good fun, but I preferred to just take photos sitting part way down.
A busy roadway across the dunes.
Due to it being Eid (like Christmas or Easter) and a Friday (European Sunday), with perfect weather (under 30c) the desert was not the quiet haven that I expected, but a mass of 4x4s and quad bikes dune bashing, as well as lights and noise from numerous camps.
Home from home.
In true Qatari style, we had a generator ugh for lights and a flat screen tv in case of boredom. I must admit it was funny watching others try and play volleyball just out of the glare of the lights, however I don't think any expats took advantage of the tv. Thankfully the generator was turned off around 1am. Ah peace.
Night volleyball.
However, by 5.15 it was light again as dawn broke across the sea. btw the land opposite is Saudi Arabia and we saw border patrols driving up and down their coast most of the night.
Dawn through my tent flaps.
We broke camp fairly early and took a circuitous route back across some huge dunes. Shortly before reaching the paved road we passed a huge herd of camels (is that the collective noun???). This is what the camel drover wears every day, he didn't dress like this for tourists!
Qatari man & his camel. ©Sue Pownall