When my brother informed me that he will have a weekend visit here in Qatar straight from his training in Dubai, we thought of various itineraries to make his visit memorable. It was a bit tough to make an itinerary considering that the weather during the month of September is still not very favorable for maximizing fun on a very short stay. It could get difficult to stay outdoors during the daytime due to the hot weather.
He asked me during one of our internet chats, “Are you bringing me to the Film City?”. Hahaha… (If you have read one of my most recent posts, you would have probably laughed too while reading my brother’s question.)
Our itineraries for the early mornings and the evenings (times when weather in Qatar is tolerable before and after the winter season) were all set. But what do we do on a Friday when the museum is closed and the malls announce a family day?
One day before my brother arrived, Jason, Phoebe, my husband Bong and I had a last minute decision to arrange a dune bashing adventure (otherwise known as desert safari). We chose the Inland Sea Desert Safari tour by Qatar Ventures (http://www.qatar-ventures.com) over trying out buggy riding at Sealine, Mesaieed as each one of us wanted to give this off-road adventure a try.
Fast forward to 21 September, our driver picked us up at 2:00 PM via a Toyota Land Cruiser. Our driver, who according to Jason is one of the best in Qatar, drove us off to Mesaieed and momentarily stopped the car by the foot of the sand dunes to release some air from the vehicle tires. This is done to increase the size of the vehicle’s footprint, thereby improving the vehicle’s grip on sand during dune bashing.
Then off we went and the next (approximately) 45-minute ride left us breathless and very much awake (we were very tired and sleepy after the previous evening’s nightscape shooting at West Bay followed by an early morning model shoot at the Musichouse). We traversed various kinds of terrains and went up and down the mounds of sands while screaming at the top of our lungs (yes, even the guys became ‘loud-mouthed’ =P). In the middle of the ride, our driver talked to one of us, his eyes and head off the way we were going so I told him nervously jokingly, “Eyes on the road please…”. His response was, “Which road? There is no road.” And off he drove quickly along a slope, with our car perpendicular to the inclination of the sand dune.
It is hard to explain what we saw and felt in words so let me show you some pictures (downloaded from the http://www.qatar-ventures.com website) of how our car probably looked like during the dune bashing.
Our driver gave us a very brief chance to go down the 4×4 car while on top of the sand dune and enjoy the view amidst the scorching heat of the sun.
The driver finished off his dune bashing moves by reverse driving down a steep sand dune. Below is a photo that I have managed to capture as soon as I got confident that we were landing on the flat terrain safe and sound. 🙂
We spent the next few hours exploring the camp, which had a typical Arabian tent, a swimming pool, huts, restrooms, showers, playgrounds, and beach. Here are some of the our combined photos at the camp:
As the sun was starting to set, the caretaker herded the camel near the camp so that anyone who wanted a camel ride could hop in.
We ended the night at the camp with a group shot, a dip in the ‘inviting’ pool (okay, that was only Phoebe, Jen and me with some attempts by Kuya Pangs), a merienda and countless stories at the hut while waiting for our driver, who arrived at around 7:30 in the evening. He lingered a bit to drink his tea so I took the chance to ask him, “Are we going through the same route on the way back to Doha?”. He responded by saying, “No, we’re going through a straight road…”.
On our way back, the Toyota Land Cruiser proved me again why it has always been my dream car since my high school days. We had another dose of desert safari, and this time it was a bit ‘tamer’ off-road ride with the daylight off.
Would I ever try it again? I would. After all, it is one of the craziest, most daring adventures I have embarked on. Go and try it for yourself. 🙂
Photo credits to Jason, Phoebe, Gerald and Bongski
Thank you Jen for screaming with us! 🙂