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JustHere | August 23, 2017

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The Sand Always Wins

The Sand Always Wins

I look forward to rain in Qatar. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you. After all being a meteorologist in Doha can be a bit like being a professor of botany in the Antarctic.

I look forward to rain in Qatar. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you. After all being a meteorologist in Doha can be a bit like being a professor of botany in the Antarctic.

The first few times it rained after the summer I was left feeling cheated and used; a few drops, is that it?! Then on December 16, finally the heavens opened and it rained properly. I was ridiculously happy, and my cats were ridiculously confused. I wish I’d taken a photo of their faces, I never knew cats could raise their eyebrows.

I decided to keep off the roads. It’s never a good idea to drive in the rain in Doha if you can avoid it. People still speed, drive too close and generally try to kill you even when it’s raining too hard for you to make out the car in front. If it’s really bad they may turn on their hazard lights, but never slow down.

There’s also the issue of drains, which we don’t seem to have in Doha. There’s a big sign just off Salwa Road, near the Vegetable Market, which says ‘Department of Drainage’, but even here there’s not a drain to be seen. Without drains, the water has nowhere to go. After spending months being baked hard by the sun, the sand certainly can’t absorb it, so huge puddles form around the city.

If you can’t avoid driving, then make things slightly easier on yourself and don’t use the inside lane of a roundabout. As you probably know, which lane to choose on a roundabout is rather arbitrary in Doha anyway, so unless you have an amphibious car, avoid the inside one. This is the one that’s most likely to flood, and you could find your car floating off in the wrong direction.

Once the rain has cleared, the following day there’s usually a startling difference to Doha. As you man oeuvre around the huge puddles, you find a city that’s far more colorful than usual. Pavements which always looked sand colored, are washed clean, revealing bright reds and yellows. The air is also clearer, and the towers of West Bay sparkle in the sunlight.

A cleansing rain brings out Doha at its best, but not for long! The puddles turn dirtier as they dry up, coating everything in a gloppy sandy mess. Cars, shoes, floors, all turn beige once more, but we shouldn’t be surprised. In a desert, the sand always wins.

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