Shortly before we left for our vacation, Ella’s best friend came back from a trip to Disney World. Needless to say, Ella came home asking when we would be going so she too can meet Mickey Mouse. When we reminded her that we would be going to Qatar, her response was to ask if we would be going to Disney World after Guitar. [Sigh.]
How do we convince Ella that places like Qatar can actually be more fun? We thought we would try flying sideways across a sand dune at 80 km/hr with some totally-inappropriate-for-a-three-year-old hip hop blasting away.
Of course, we did ease into our day. After driving about 45 minutes south of Doha we stopped for a quick visit with some camels while our driver let the tire pressure down in the truck.
Despite some initial reluctance, Ella did warm up to a camel named Enta and hopped on for a short ride with Katy.
With the truck ready and Ella all bounced out, it was time to head into the sand for the real fun.
Technically the three of us had done this once before in Dubai but Ella was still somewhat theoretical at that point. Given that Ella has a history of carsickness this was a bit of a bold move, but I was pretty confident she would like it. As you can kind of tell from the video below, she did. Despite the comment that it was “silly” for the sand to go over the windshield.
While we were off on our own at some points. At other times, groups of trucks came together to form what felt like gangs of big kids playing in the sand.
One of our keys to success with Ella on the trip was that we stopped every 30-45 minutes so she never really had a chance to get sick.
Our first stop in the desert was to check out the view from the top of a dune. It was higher than it looks in these pictures. (The little lines in the water are tire tracks.)
Then we stopped by Khor Al Daid, known locally as the Inland Sea. Apparently it isn’t a sea at all, but a large tidal embayment with a convoluted shoreline. However it is under consideration for designation as a UN World Heritage site. They describe it as an “area [which] presents a remarkable landscape formed by a globally unique combination of geological and geomorphological features”. As an added bonus, we could see Saudi Arabia across the water, that’s it above my head.
Along the way, Ella was busy charming the drivers. It helps that she’s fluent in the universal language of the selfie.
Unfortunately, not everyone was having as good a day as we were. It’s safe to say that the driver in the shot below, who missed his parking stop by about 50 cm and needed to get towed, took a fair amount of teasing from the other drivers.
Our last stop was the camp along the coast for a little fun in the water and some lunch.
You can spend the night at the camp and we had talked about it. I think I can speak for Katy when I say that we were both happy to be heading back to our nice hotel after a busy day.
What’s up for tomorrow? Maybe a boat. Maybe a bus. Maybe both. Come back and see.