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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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Middle East, Qatar, Travel

Do you like it there/here?

February 4, 2015

Watermarked-2711I get this question a lot, amongst others. It is either from someone back home or from other expats. I almost want to laugh when I get asked it. Not because it’s not a legitimate question, but because knowing me if I didn’t like it here, I would have been gone long ago!

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Why do I like here? That is harder to answer. There are also days where I wonder why I live here, but I have felt that way about many places I have lived.

I like living here because every day I interact with people from all over the world. A few weekends ago I had breakfast with friends from four different countries! (New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland and the Philippines) By the end of breakfast we were talking about the kinds of roadkill we have in our home countries!!

Travel! Seems cliché, but it’s true. It is one of the main reasons for me to move abroad. I can travel easier from here than if I was living in the U.S.  Rome is a four-hour flight away. London is about six. India is three hours. I could go on. Plus, I can afford it now. I was lucky if I got to leave the state of Texas before I came here.

Qatar is growing every day and I am getting to see it all. Not all of it is fun, but still I can say I came to Qatar before the World Cup did. I was also lucky enough to see some of the famous roundabout monuments before they tore them down. Qatar has changed so much since I arrived. Even when I came back from Christmas, there were changes. (I was only gone 12 days!)

I actually like the weather the here. Not that it is much different from Texas in the summer. However, I specifically left New York City for this reason. I enjoy snow about every 5 years now, not every month in every year in winter. Right now the temperature is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and in the low 60s to upper 50s during the day. It is lovely. Of course, I am now a wimp when it comes to cold and need a jacket if it dips below 70!

The things to do here. Yes, there are things to do here. Unlike when I lived on the small island of Grand Turk, which is 7 miles long and about 1 mile wide.  My favorite thing is to go to Souq Waqif at night and people watch. So many cultures meet there. I am sure we are all watching each other. The Souq is the traditional market in a middle eastern country. You can buy just about anything there including a falcon. My other favorite thing to do here is to go to the water be it the beach or the mangroves. In fact, I am heading to the mangroves this weekend!

Why do you like about where you live?



Baby Hawksbill Sea Turtles in Qatar

July 12, 2014

I thought I had done most everything in Qatar there was to do, but I was wrong.  A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted pictures on Facebook of baby sea turtles making their way into the ocean right here in Qatar. I had no idea that they laid eggs here.  So another friend of mine and I decided this was something we had to do.  We went up on a Saturday, as this is the less crowded day at Fuwairit Beach.  We figured someone would see them hatching and scream or something and we would all run over to watch.  We didn’t see a thing.  Leaving disappointed, my friend checked his Facebook  and discovered we had been in the wrong spot!  Apparently, this is a conservation effort and the eggs are moved to protected fenced in area once they are laid.  Every night biologist come a check the nests. We decided it was worth going out the next night to try again.  We were not disappointed.  The turtles had hatched.  These are hawksbill sea turtles, which are endangered.  They are prized for their shells which people have used to make tortoise-shell accessories.  The pictures aren’t great because it was dark and you aren’t allowed to use flash because it confuses the turtles.  The man standing in the water during the video is holding up the light so the turtles will think it is the moon and go to ocean.  It was an amazing experience to watch 79 baby hawksbill sea turtles make their way into the world.

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