Epic Road Trip to Zikreet Film City: A Fun (Mis)adventure

Our night out with friends on 16 August 2012 was a prelude to my 5-day long vacation: 2 days off from work + 3 days holiday for the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr here in Qatar.  It was during the night out when the idea of going to the Film City in Zikreet (leaving Doha at 4:30 in the morning) crossed our minds; however, I thought that we were not very ready for the trip.  Setting aside our unpreparedness, we still thought of going.  Thus, our quest for the ‘perfect’ vehicle went on the following day.  

We had a choice between bringing two two-wheel drive cars and renting a four-wheel drive vehicle, which will accommodate the six of us.  As renting the four-wheel drive vehicle was a bit expensive and leaves us with no ‘buddy car’, we opted to choose bringing two two-wheel drive cars.    We’ve came to this decision at 10:30 in the evening – that’s about six hours before our scheduled departure time from Doha!  Talking about being ‘just on time’.   (Glyph, this proves that being ‘just on time’ is really your expertise! =P)

Around 4:30 in the morning of 18 August, we left Doha for Film City, with high hopes of having a good adventure, memorable experiences and bringing home photographs of the Film City.  Film City, by the way, is a replica of an Arabian village.  They say that it was built to serve as a set for shooting the Transformers movie.  

We took the Zikreet exit and passed by several rock formations (that looked like several plateaus to me) with the sunrise and the foggy sky as a backdrop.  The scene was picturesque that I (secretly) wanted to ask the driver to pause for a while but we went on because we wanted to arrive in our destination early.  We also passed by a farm of camels and a flock of black sheep.  I (again secretly) wanted to ask the driver to stop but I did not.  

The road was very rough and long.  My phone’s GPS did not seem to show any structures along the way.  Could it be that we were on the wrong route?  One of our friends (in the other car) had a handheld GPS so we were not very worried.  In fact, we were still giggling and enjoying the road trip albeit our lack of sleep.  The only person inside our car who was too worried about the bumpy road was our driver, who drove very slowly while asking too many questions from time to time (haha! =P).  

At long last, we stopped in the middle of a desert to gather our thoughts.  The guys surveyed the area and it turned out, based on their survey and the data on the handheld GPS, that we were just two kilometers away from the Film City.  Yey!  

As the guys were figuring out how to reach the Film City, Phoebe and I started to take some photographs.  Here are some random photographs that I took during the “stopover”.

While taking the photographs, I have noticed that there were some areas characterized by very loose sands (as evident in my photograph below) so I planned on telling them that we had to be very careful during driving from then on or else we’d have problems.  

However, just before I was even able to inform them, I saw that the car was stuck – twice!  Uh-oh…

Amidst the misadventure, everyone was still high-spirited, chuckling and taking everything as a joke.  Even the once very worried (and serious!) driver was grinning when I took the photo below while they were pushing the car… Haha!

The 2WD cars – after the ‘retrieval’ operations =P

Because of the misadventure, we’ve decided to retreat and search for an alternate route.  We tried two more different routes, but both seemed to be 2WD-unfriendly.  We’ve decided to just come back and conquer Film City some other time – maybe during the winter season.  

We had little sleep, tired and were very hungry but the day could not just end like that.  As it was still Ramadan (it was the last day before the Eid ul-Fitr), there was not much to do.  There were no open restaurants as eating/drinking publicly was not allowed.  Thus, we just opted to buy cooked food at a supermarket.  We capped off the day by gorging on food.

We ended up as very hungry ‘zombies’ after the misadventure..hehe
(Jason, I grabbed the photo from your wall.  Thanks.)

I have some random thoughts on this epic road trip:

  1. There will always be times when things won’t go our way and it’s up to ourselves whether to react positively or negatively. 
  2. Misadventures can be really fun when shared with friends.  We had a lot of unforgettable moments during the road trip.  We’ve learned new words and gained knowledge about the ‘history’ of Amsterdam (thanks to Jeysen =P).  It was such an epic road trip.
  3. Sometimes, a seemingly smooth road is not really smooth.  Once you find out that the seemingly smooth road is not really smooth, you’ll get by with a little help from your friends (sounds like Beatles).
  4. When you want something, speak and go for it.  I wanted to take photos of the picturesque sceneries twice and a group jump shot once but ended up not speaking up.  Now I really regret not taking all those photographs.
  5. And last but not the least, always use a 4WD automobile when traversing through a desert! =P

“Life is a journey, not a destination…” 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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