Tag Archives: dunes

Dune Bashing

I’ve been in Doha, Qatar since the start of the new year running a conference for work.  As part of an effort to let attendees relax and get to know the country better, our partners organized a caravan of off-road vehicles to take us romping around the desert near the Saudi border.  The ride was actually quite gentle compared to my past experience, but it was still thrilling to cruise along the very edge of a dune, and bounce around the desert for a while.

Arab men smoking and drinking tea in a tent in Doha, Qatar the Middle East
Drinking tea at the letting-tire-out-of-the-tires place.

 

Cars in dunes in the desert in Qatar in the Middle East
The angle was actually even crazier because I was also in a car at an angle, and didn’t have the good sense to use my new camera’s internal level to straighten out the horizon (which also had its own slopes.)
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A US dollar on the mirror and oil rigs in the background.
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Eventually we got out, and it was only a matter of time before the participants started going down the dunes.
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Jumping clear off the dune!
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Me and Maja, one of the fellows, rocking our work sweatshirts. I think this is one of only two pictures of me in Qatar.
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Holding hands seemed to be a popular method, but it led to a lot of people face-planting.  After falling, the girl on the left sand-angeled her way to the bottom.  The bottom is actually part of an inland sea, which fills when the tide comes in.
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After a week of sunshine and 70s, it was windy and chilly in the desert.
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It’s hard to get a sense of scale and distance, but check out how George, the man in the middle, is the size of the guy on the left’s foot.
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We stopped on the way back to have some tea and dip our feet in the Gulf.
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Qatar tends to be ironically slow on the uptake when it comes to facilitating spending, and recently these places to fill your tires back up with air have sprung up.
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Camel crossing? I only saw two camels in Qatar, and they were being rented for laughably short rides a the tent at the edge of the desert.

This experience of course reminded me of our full-day swimming, romping and dune-boarding adventure in Egypt.  While this trip was shorter due to time constraints, it was great to see some more of Qatar.  I think everyone who came was happy to get out of the city (I am a city girl but I need frequent doses of nature), and more importantly, to get away from the conference center and have a few laughs without spending half their rent on a glass of wine.