The last "cooler" spring days are already gone here in Qatar and we are reaching temperatures in the 100s already. Luckily, we spent the last few Saturdays at the beach, and now I realize that those beach visits are over for the season. The beach in the Doha summer is just miserable. I guess there are people who get up before dawn and get down there before the sun rays melt the sand into lava, but even then, stepping into the Gulf is dunking your body into a salty sauna with the added bonus of seaweed.
Al Wakra Beach is known as the dog beach here in Qatar. I guess all those people who do not like dogs invading their sandy picnics know that Al Wakra is not the place for them. As a result, the beach is filled with dog lovers. Our little Dixie gets lots of attention wherever she goes and especially at the beach. People watch her swim and are in disbelief that she is brave enough to jump in and follow us out to a sand bar. Her long white hair looks like angel wings as she paddles through the water and she is so proud of herself when she gets to dry land again.
The attention Dixie gets is sometimes unnerving. I have had Qatari men drive their SUVs filled with children (sometimes hanging on the outside too) over to my chair just to look at our little white fluff ball. It only gets uncomfortable when I try to say hello and they just stare at us like zoo visitors. It is also uncomfortable when the children get out and I take the dog over to them. They run away screaming. For some reason, Arabic children seem fascinated, and at the same time, terrified of dogs. I offer to help them pet Dixie or let her lick their little hands, but all they do is smile and then run away screaming. Sometimes they will try and poke a stick at her or they get a few yards away and bark at her. They are scared but also thrilled to be so close to a dog - A DOG! I have heard that dogs are unclean in the eyes of some Muslims and they won't touch canines, so maybe that is the reason for the scared apprehension, but this is just so strange.
A few weeks ago we saw yet another car get stuck in the sandy water as the tide came in. Well, in this case, the man driving the little truck had just loaded up his children (yes, they were some of the screaming ones I described above) and he drove through the water to wash off his tires, or something dumb like that. Well of course he got stuck. We watched him struggle for awhile, but then Brett walked over to offer moral support. Because of his neck and back problems, Brett couldn't offer any physical help, so he decided to do the next best thing and go get the help that was needed. He recruited two different sets of men. Some Pakistani gentlemen were just driving by when all this was happening, so they got out to assist. It looked pretty comical to see these men, in their traditional "pajamas", at the bumper of this truck pushing with all their might. Then Brett went over to a group of some very jovial men from Sri Lanka and asked for their help.
The result was impressive! They all picked up the back of the truck and lifted it out of the wet sand like it was a row boat. The car owner quickly drove out of his predicament while all the men were giving high fives to Brett. Now that is something I won't forget. Even better was when the men from Sri Lanka were walking back to their spot on the beach, they walked right in front of me and Abbey. Their wide smiles showed off how proud they were to have helped an Arabic man get out of a tight spot. I couldn't understand their words, but their joy was obvious, especially when one of the shirtless men did a series of cartwheels for us and jumped up with a gymnast-like finish. Our applause is exactly what they were craving and cheered for each other when we gave it.
Whenever the summer demon heat returns to Doha I ask myself why we didn't spend more time at the beach in the winter and spring. We just can't get enough of the cool breezes and the salty air and remember one of the great things about living here.