- Title: QATAR: Qataris enjoy cultural tradition of desert camping and dining
- Date: 6th April 2009
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOHAMED NUAIMI, YOUNG DESERT CAMPER SAYING: "I like coming out to the desert because I have been coming here with my brothers and father since early childhood. I like it because it is calm and it's better than the city, calmer."
- Embargoed: 21st April 2009 13:00
- Location: Qatar
- Country: Qatar
- Topics: Lifestyle
- Reuters ID: LVACORGAINUEER19TSA15LPUY8BW
- Story Text: Qatari citizens continue to maintain the tradition of desert camping despite the urban and economic boom in the Arabian Peninsula.
Between the months of November and May, camping out under the desert sky is a very popular activity in Qatar. During the summer months, campers prefer to be by the sea-side as temperatures can soar to heights of 50 degrees celsius.
For many, desert camping is not the odd outing but a regular weekly, if not daily, leisure pursuit for both adults and children. Mubarak Al-Nuaimi, a regular camper, said that he usually spends his late afternoons and evenings enjoying the desert atmosphere.
"Every day we leave work at 3pm, so by 4pm maximum we're here, daily, we're here from 4pm to 10pm," he said.
"We prepare dinner here and have tea and coffee the whole time and during the holidays, we're here constantly. Everything is available here for us, thanks to God," he continued.
The pace of modern city life is a speedy one for many, however the tradition of camping in the desert brings relief and calm to those in need of a getaway from the city.
"In the city there is pollution caused by cars, there are factories and other things, so when you come out here, the air is clear.
During the weekend holiday, we come out here on a Thursday and we don't return home till Saturday," said Oaida Nuaimi, another camper.
"Come nightfall, around 11.30pm to midnight, we turn off all the lights around the campsite and you can see the sky, the weather is beautiful and you can see the stars; sometimes there are clouds and rain, in which case, we stay inside the tents. We come every weekend as the atmosphere here is much better than in Doha," he continued.
The most popular of camping locations in Qatar are Shahaniya, Dukhan, Um Salal, Khor al-Adaid and Mazruaa. Such locations are popular with the local population but also with tourists who get the chance to ride camels through the desert, relax in tents and get a taste of Bedouin life.
Tents are set up and campers are provided with tea and coffee on arrival. For dinner, the traditional Gulfi dish called 'Majboos' is served up, freshly cooked on an open fire. After dinner, a night of listening to music and relaxing under the stars, apparent in a clear desert sky, is how the remainder of the evening is spent.
Mohamed Nuaimi has been going on such camping trips with his father and brothers since early childhood and has learned to appreciate the escape from city life to desert calm.
"I like coming out to the desert because I have been coming here with my brothers and father since early childhood. I like it because it is calm and it's better than the city, calmer," said Nuaimi.
Qatar, a gulf peninsula bordering Saudi Arabia, has a population of less than one million and has the world's third largest reserves of natural gas.
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