Daily Archives: 29/12/2014

Kind People

One of the interesting things about travelling and living in a variety of countries is interacting with people, be it as a long term friendship or as a quick brief encounter.

One of the things that has really caught my attention here is how strangers can be extremely kind. Kind for no reason and not wanting anything in return. I have three examples from recent weeks which have highlighted this. I must say I have not experienced this in any other country…..so far.

1) Bike Shop – I bought my fat bike from a local bike shop. After a few weeks of heavy use it needed the gears adjusting plus the front breaks were sticking. After around 45 minutes working on the bike, it was ready to go, when I asked how much, I was told not to worry about it. I returned a few days later with a puncture, once again, this was done free of charge and no matter how much I argued for them to charge me something, they wouldn’t accept a penny!

2) Children’s Play Area – We took Katja to the mall to buy her a couple of things for our flight to Australia, as we had some credit left on the card for the kid’s amusement park we took Kati in and let her have a play on a few things. As we were leaving she spotted one of the machines that you put credit on and it has an arm that you have to try and fish a toy from it, no idea what they are called but they are actually quite addictive! Anyway, Kati wanted a toy from it but after several attempts it was clear I was getting nowhere quickly. Out of the corner of my eye and to my left, I could see a lady (in full Qatari dress) using a similar machine next to me (this one had small footballs). This lady was obviously luckier than me or was better skilled at it. She managed to get a ball in a couple of attempts. She then called Kati over and very kindly gave her the ball!

3) The zip! – For her birthday, Kati was given an Elmo bag which she absolutelyElmo adores. She was very upset and sad when the zip on it broke. We took it to a shop in the mall and asked if they changed zips. The lady looked at it, called her colleague and told us to come a bit later as they weren’t sure of they could do anything. We came back about an hour later and he presto, the bag had a nice new zip. When I asked how much, they wouldn’t accept any money for the repair, they just smiled and said that’s OK sir, hope your little girl is happy!

Ever since arriving in Qatar we have encountered numerous acts of incredible kindness (some from strangers who we have never seen again, others from people who we are proud to call our new friends!

As my final entry for 2014, I shall leave you with this final thought:

“We should give as we would receive: cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.”

—Seneca

 

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Singing Sand Dunes

During these holidays we seem to have done more than any other holidays and had a load of fun. Camping, days out and a trip to the Singing Sand Dunes, next part of the fun is Kati and I traveling to Australia, leaving tomorrow night.

As one of Qatar’s must visit sites, the Singing Sand dunes are located approximately 45 minutes from Doha, by the time you fight your way through traffic it’s more like one hour! To make it more fun, we traveled in a convoy of 9 vehicles, not sure how, but we all got there pretty much at the same time! earlier in the day, I went with someone to collect wood from the same site where we had collected wood from before. On these outings, a camp fire is a must!

I must admit I was a bit skeptical that we were leaving at 15:00 hrs as it is very rare that   you actually leave on time, plus fighting your way out of D town would make it a very late arrival. I was proven very wrong by those organising it who had been there before. That was the perfect time to leave as by the time we arrived, it had cooled down enough to climb the dunes, have a camp fire, have food and then head home. Timings were perfect!

We arrived to be greeted by a chain of enormous dunes and because it was a weekday, only one other small party of people in the distance, apart from that, we had the place to ourselves! Kids (and adults) had plenty of fun climbing to the top. I had been out on my bike earlier on and done 30 km which all of a sudden felt like an unwise thing to do before attempting to climb this monster! As we made our way to the top (which is a darn side steeper than it looks on the photos) you could hear the sand move and make a peculiar humming noise (hence singing sand), the more you made the sand slide, the louder the hum.

Made it to the Top! SSD

We made it to the top, this was the perfect opportunity for a family pic! The views from the top are simply breath-taking, especially when you can sit and watch the sun go down. As you can imagine, you can see as far as your eyesight permits you, it’s a mixture of undulating dunes in one direction and simply baron countryside in the other!

Dining al Fresco!

As the sun gave way to a beautiful half moon, we all settled to chat by a camp fire. We gave all the kids a luminous band which meant that we could see them in the darkness and relax a little. Rather than a BBQ, someone had collected a wide selection of yummy food including Shawarma,  Hummus and lots of other gorgeous middle eastern food! Once all goods were consumed, out came the marshmallows and the hot chocolate! Once all goodies had been consumed and the wood ran out, we all started clearing up and packing up.

One thing I would like to say (not my words) please, please, please, whenever you visit and enjoy any outdoor areas, be it in Qatar or Timbuktu, make sure you take nothing more than memories and only leave footsteps. TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME!

Singing Sand Dunes!