Monday, November 25, 2013
A Trip to the Inland Sea
This weekend a Qatari friend invited me out to the Inland Sea for the day so I met him, his brother and a friend, on Friday morning at Sealine where he picked me up in his SUV and we all went into the desert.
As it was Friday morning once we got down to the Inland Sea it was getting close to time for the noon prayer. Since Muslims should try to be in a mosque for the Friday prayer I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a mosque all the way down here.
Looks like men from the camps all over the desert drove in. I think there were at least 80 vehicles.
While everyone went in to pray I went to the shore to take pictures. The dune sloped all the way down to the Inland Sea (that’s Saudi Arabia on the other side of the water). It was a really windy that day so a lot of sand was blowing off the dune.
After the prayer we went to a camp, then after chatting with some people went off to my friend’s camp.
In both camps the main tent was huge, around 12x7 meters. It of course had all the amenities, such as air conditioning, television, and even internet. The main tent serves as a majlis, there were other tents and trailers that served as bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom/shower etc.
I joked that camping in Canada is a just a wee bit more rough than this. One of the Qataris explained that they have these camps for around 5-6 months (typically November to March or April) so they tend to be designed for long-term stays. Many Qataris enjoy getting away from the city and staying in their camp as it is much quieter and more relaxing.
We then left the camp to check out a large dune where people in SUVs meet and go sliding across the dune. Check out how many people were there!
Almost everyone was there to watch the dune-bashing, not drive on it. The dune is large and quite steep so the people doing the sliding were driving souped-up vehicles with more powerful engines. A regular SUV doesn't have the power to go across the entire dune (I know because I saw a few try and they couldn’t make it across a third of it)
Standing on top of the dune was cool to get a view but was not without its hazards, especially if one of the sliders went higher up than expected.
Afterwards we went back to the camp where my friend cooked up a fantastic chicken biriyani, served Arab-style in a large platter that we sat around (on the floor) and ate using our right hands.
Thus ended my day at the Inland Sea. It was really cool of my friend to invite me along to his camp so I could experience a Qatari camp firsthand.