Vroom! Vroom! Ramadan afternoons Qatar-style
It’s Ramadan, and a couple of hours to go before futoor. So what do you do when everything is closed, and you are short of entertainment? Conduct a car parade, of course.
By Shari Birch
So when shops are closed and the roads are empty, residents (mainly nationals) with smart cars find their source of entertainment on the corniche of Qatar. The buzz of Range Rovers and Rolls Royce and aspiring photographers led us to the streets of Doha, where we had to find out what was going on! This wasn’t an easy task for a female, as during Ramadan men are encouraged not to interact with women who are not family.
We were quickly made aware of how seriously this was taken when the police stopped us on the road while interviewing some of the drivers, offended by our non-traditional outfits and the fact that we were interacting with the men during fasting hours. However, this did not stop us from finding out what exactly was happening.
With the help of Sultan Al Hamadi, JustHere was able to find that the reason for this high-class entertainment was a photography competition held weekly on the corniche. Located on the small road opposite the Sheraton Hotel, Doha drivers drove on the right side of the road at a glacier pace hoping to be snapped by one of the photographers on the side. Ahmed Khalid Bin Ajri from Bahrain says he found it useful as a way to pass the fasting hours until 6:30pm when they were able to go home and break fast with their families. He also enjoyed meeting people with similar cars to take group photos.
Ali Al Meel says he didn’t care if people took photos of him or his Jaguar, as a car-lover he was there to check out the modifications of the other cars on the road and meet up with his friends a few hours before Iftar. Even though he wasn’t interested in photographs being taken of him, Ali says he did find pictures of his cars on Instagram and Facebook and even tagged via BlackBerry links. When asked if any girls frequented the streets with cars of their own, Ali laughs and adds that they weren’t there for girls as it had become a “boy’s hobby”.
The drivers were there to have their photographs taken, and to compare their cars with other drivers on the road, but we had to find out what motivated the photographers!
The photography competition is social-media based. The winner announced on July 2 goes by the Instagram handle Bo_Al3es_1, has nearly 10,000 followers on Instagram, many of them recently added when he put up his pictures from the corniche. He won QR1000 but insisted that he wasn’t there for the money but instead for the attention his pages got. We also spoke to Yassine Hussein who was more interested in taking photos than being in them; he said it was his first time being on the corniche and he came to see what was happening after hearing about it from a friend. Though he wasn’t part of the competition, Yassine says his goal was to put these pictures on his social media platforms in order to inform more friends who are unaware about the activities taking place.
If you are a car fanatic, it might be well-worth your time to go to Corniche for a pre-futoor stroll. A convoy of C63 Mercedes were spotted on July 1, which made for a great picture; and coming up, a group of sports cars will be seen during the hours of 4-5:30 from July 6. We also found out that to end the spectacular show, the drivers race each other home, eager to sit down with their families to a lavish Iftar dinner (though we are not sure how safe that is!). So if you’re looking to kill time between work and breaking fast, this is the place to be!