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Jeep, Middle East, Qatar

Exploring Qatar: Purple Island

February 10, 2015

Purple Island Qatar

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I am a big believer of exploring the country, city, state, etc. that you live in. Living in Qatar has been no exception. Last year, I went to visit Purple Island, and it was green and watery unlike most of Qatar. A friend of mine mentioned he had never been outside of Doha since moving here, so decided to take him.  Like last year, we have had a lot of rain this winter, and it was even more beautiful than last year. Purple Island is named because of the purple dye produced from a sea-snail, of which thousands of shells have been found on the island. Purple Island is surrounded by mangroves. This year they were even larger than last year. The water was deeper than last year as well. I didn’t see any crabs like I did last year, but this year we saw cranes and two flamingos! The flamingos were actually flying, which I don’t think I have ever seen them flying. Unfortunately, when they landed they were too far for me to get a good shot with my camera. Purple Island has an interesting landscape, and there is plenty to discover, and I am sure the next time I go it will look just as different.  This time, we also explored around the mangroves as we could see camps on the other side. However, it was pretty muddy, so we didn’t get out of the Jeep.

Purple Island Qatar

To get to Purple Island, you have to head to Al Khor and turn right towards the Al Khor hospital, after the hospital you turn right off at the now built, but not open Al Meera grocery store. There is also a tower if you don’t see the grocery store. You head down this road till you see a sign that says Flower Each Spring Camp, turn off-road here.  On this visit, there were also two Qatari flags marking the entrance. If you don’t have a 4×4, you will be okay if it hasn’t rained recently.  Although you will only be able to drive to the Purple Island entrance and not drive around the mangroves as we did. Make sure your car has good ground clearance. Follow the path made by other cars and you will see other cars at the entrance and a garbage bin.  From here you will have to get out of your car and walk about 1 km down the path to the island. There is lots to see along the way. Look for the yellow flowers along the path. You will also have to wade through water, so make sure you don’t mind getting your shoes wet. When we were there, it was about calf deep on me and it was cold! The water was moving swiftly so be careful.  Many people were bringing their children in as we left, so it can be done with children in tow.

Here are a few more images of Purple Island and the surrounding area. Do you explore your own country? Where do you like to go?

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Jeep, Qatar

Buying a Car in Qatar

May 4, 2014


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I knew right away when I arrived that I would need to buy a car.  This place is more into driving than Texas is.  And the driving is crazy, so I knew I needed a big car and that I would want to go off-roading.  After looking around, I finally decided that I would get a Jeep.  That is when the adventure began! Unlike in the US, where you could walk into a car dealership and walk out later that day with a car, the process here takes time.

First, I went to the Jeep dealership and looked at the Jeep Wrangler. I asked about price, warranty, upgrades, etc.  The first thing that surprised me was they just had one car out of each model they sell.  I never actually saw the car I was buying until I picked it up after it had been paid for!  I left and thought about it and decided I want to go for a test drive.  I called and made an appointment to test drive the car.  Again, you can’t just walk in and test drive a car here.  I didn’t even test drive the model car I was buying!  I test drove the Wrangler Rubicon not the Sport.  After the test drive I told the salesman, I wanted to purchase the car.  He looked on his list to see if they had the color and model I wanted.  I was in luck and they had one left.  I still didn’t leave with a car that day.

He made arrangements with the bank to come to the dealership, so I could apply for the loan.  First, I had to get a letter from my company stating my salary and that I was allowed to buy a car!  This is in part because there is no credit rating system here and because I am here under a sponsorship.  I met the banker at the car dealership.  All I did was fill out an application.  He didn’t bring a computer or anything.  I would have gone straight to the bank if I had known.  The bank approval took two days.  Then I had to go get a check book print.  That was the easiest part though!  They have a ATM like machine that prints the check books.  I took the check to the car dealership and they said they had to wait for the check to clear.  It cleared in one day, but I couldn’t go the next day.  I went the day after and finally picked up the Jeep!  I have named it the Lobster!  The Lobster and I have done several off-roading trips and been to the beach.  Here is a video of one off-roading trip from awhile back. Look for the Lobster.