My stay was short in Doha, the capital of Qatar. I was there two days. I decided to take advantage of the time I did have and booked a desert safari excursion one of the days. It was interesting, most men here of Arab nationality wear a thobe, which is a long white dress and a ghutrah, which is a traditional Arab head scarf either in white or a red checker patterned one. Our driver showed up at the hotel in a long white thobe with a red baseball cap on, instead of a ghutrah! Two friendly guys from the Netherlands, who were also staying at our hotel, joined us for the excursion. We hopped into the SUV and headed for the desert. Arab music was playing in the background, which I thought was fitting for the occasion and culture here.
As soon as we could see mounds of brown sand, he stopped the SUV and started to deplete the air out of the tires for us to go on our joy ride on the sand dunes. He changed the music from Arabic to American pop and turned up the volume. The sounds of 50 Cent, Rihanna and Mariah Carey became the new soundtrack for the adventure. He drove very fast up and down the hills. Sand was flying everywhere. Luckily our windows were closed. At times, sand covered the whole car and we could not see out the windows. He used his windshield wipers to remove the sand for clear sight and kept driving at the same speed. I was holding the handle for dear life above me not to bang my head on the window! It was exhilarating and fun in an adrenaline pumping kind of way, minus me thinking a couple of times that the car would tip over! Wide eyes opened and smiling, we all just looked at each other, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. We were in his mercy and this was how he liked to roll!
When we saw the sight of water, he stopped the car. He explained to us we were at the Persian Gulf and were looking at Saudi Arabia in front of us.
There were two para gliders above us. We all got out and roamed around feeling the soft warm sand between our toes. Two camels were in sight strapped with bright yellow muzzles and covered with wool blankets. They didn’t look happy to be there. We went for a ride on the camels along the water. It was a bit depressing being on these them since they looked so miserable to be there beyond their will. Fortunately for them, the ride was short. When my camel went down so I could get off, he went down abruptly on his front two legs first. I almost fell flipped over his head! Didn’t realize getting off a camel can be quite tricky!
It was cool and different getting to see and experience the desert where all you can see is miles upon miles of sand. I am glad I squeezed it into the brief time I had here. I am thankful for this business and what it constantly reminds me; Carpe Diem, seize the day. Over the years, I’ve learned to adopt this policy, not only while I am on the road, but more in my home life as I never know what trip is going to pop up and sweep me away. Because of it, I live a more enriched life. We never know how much time we have. In life there are no guarantees but the present. What is one thing you want to do that you may have been holding off to do for whatever reason?