So the office held its annual function today at Sealine Resort in the south of the country. I had not been to Sealine in years but it is a nice place to spend the day. It's a popular place - on the weekends you have to pay around $40 just to get in, and its proximity to the sand dunes also means it is the centerpoint for the thousands of people who flock down to the desert every weekend. Sealine has a long beach, a big grassy area to relax on, a couple of different pools, plenty of loungers, jet ski rentals, and even camel rides. It even serves alcohol so it has something for everyone.
People in the office were initially worried that it would be too cold. Winter has lasted a lot longer than usual and while the daytime highs have been in the low 20s a chilly wind had been blowing from the north so it would not have been that pleasant to sit on a beach. Thankfully on Thursday the temperature shot up a good 7-8° and now the highs are in the low 30s. Winter is officially over!
Yes, in Qatar the end of winter is that sudden. One day the cold wind stops blowing from the north and voila, no more winter. By next week I'll probably be putting the air conditioner on in my apartment.
Anyway, it took me about an hour to get down there from Doha and already most of the parking was taken. Spent the day lounging around on the beach or by the pool and having a buffet lunch provided by the office. For once I also think I managed to have a beach day and not get sunburned anywhere (usually I miss a spot somewhere with the sunscreen).
By the end of the afternoon my friend Ali took a few of us out for a drive amongst the dunes. We did some dune bashing and also watched some guys on quad bikes and buggies climb really steep dunes.
On our way back we spotted a family in a Land Cruiser stuck in some soft sand. (Protip -- do not drive amongst the sand dunes unless you know what you're doing. You can't just hop into a 4x4 and figure that's all it takes, you need a certain amount of knowledge and skill to drive on sand.)
We stopped to help them get their vehicle moving again. Ali noticed that the tires were inflated all wrong and that it was unlikely that the owner knew how to drive in the desert. Ali got the tires to the right pressure and we pushed the vehicle out of the sand.
We wandered around for a while more and then I got dropped off back at Sealine to pick up my car. Just then I received a text from my friend Mohammed inviting me to snooker with some of his friends back in Doha. I headed over to the pool hall where I bowled a couple of games and watched some of the guys playing snooker (having now played a couple of games of 10-pin bowling, and having played some 5-pin bowling a couple of weeks ago back in Canada, I find 10-pin bowling to be easier than 5-pin)
Time for bed. Tomorrow's another busy day.