When the people at Qatar Airways first told me that they would be taking us on a desert safari, I pictured hay-ride-style slow-moving trucks that would drive leisurely into the desert for photo opportunities. “That sounds nice,” I thought. Then I promptly dismissed it from my thoughts. I had more exciting things on my mind.
Then the warnings began.
“Just a caution, to everyone,” Rebecca Jelfo, our main QA contact, said. “You probably don’t want to eat anything before this thing. And if you’re scared of heights or have back problems, you may not want to do this either. In fact, I recommend that you don’t.”
I began to get concerned.
I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into, and for a brief moment I even considered pulling out. I mean, I grew up on roller coasters and loved thrills, but I’m kind of a risk-adverse person when it comes to rolling vehicles and the very real chance of death. But then I steeled myself and realized I would regret it for the rest of my days if I passed this up.
So now that my brush with death is complete, allow me to put in perspective what exactly a “desert safari” means in Qatar:
Qatari men, dressed in traditional dishdasha, drive air-conditioned, luxury four-wheel drive vehicles at 100KPH along the very edge of shifting sand ridges that plunge thousands of feet down, then slide their vehicles down the hill sideways only to race straight back up the hill, barely missing each other.
Like I was warned, this is not for the faint of heart. But it certainly was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. There are few words to describe it further, so I’ll just allow my photographs to do the talking.
We Blog The World featured writer, Bob Knorpp, is traveling in Doha, Qatar on behalf of the site this week. These are his dispatches from the tour and dining event sponsored by Qatar Airways.