Saturday, February 07, 2004

3 Days of Refuge in Qatar, Encountering Qatari Culture and Hitching a Ride to Doha

7 February, 2004 1215 Doha, Qatar

I’m laying in bed waiting for Nixon to finish taking a shower so we can go try to get a ride into Doha. Yesterday was an amazing day to say the least. Nixon and I walked around camp, I bought some pants, and we waited about an hour outside of the building where all Americans have to sign out before going off the camp. That is the only way downtown. Nixon and I asked a few people if they were going downtown, and they all said no. Finally, one guy said, “If you wait about 45 minutes, I’ll take you. We’ve got to go to a goodbye party at the golf club though. Is that OK?” Nixon and I looked at each other and said that would be just fine.
We came back 45 minutes later, signed out, and were soon flying across the desert at 140-160 km/h (around 100 mph) in a jet black Chevy SUV. The captain’s name was Chris, and Chris was driving like a madman around roundabouts. I was a little concerned about his driving.
As we started to get into Doha, it was clear this was completely unlike Iraq. All the streets and houses were extremely clean and neat, all the cars on the road were no older than 2000 model, stores, malls, American fast food chains. It was all there – and in even better shape than in the U.S.! There was landscaping, trees, bushes, grass. It was beautiful.
Our first stop was CPT Chris’s house. It was all paid for by the U.S. government. It was inside a gated community with guards. We pulled up to his house and went inside.


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