It must be my kids’ favorite activity in Doha: puddle splashing.
Since this is Doha in the desert state of Qatar we’re talking about and not your daily stroll through a forest back home in rainy Europe, “puddle splashing” doesn’t involve rubber boots and mud. (More’s the pity.) It calls for a SUV and a mom with nerves of steel. ;-)
This is the sight that makes my kids shriek with glee when we drive through the compound gates on our morning school run. The puddles are much deeper than they look. Even with an SUV, you get the feeling you’re more swimming than driving. The limousine drivers take long detours or are a hazard for other traffic because they drive around puddles — regardless if they head into oncoming traffic or over a sidewalk. Doha, eh?
This is a typical street of Doha after one night of a little rain.
Seriously gentle rain.
My youngest couldn’t sleep last night, so I took him outside to “feel the rain”. We stretched out our hands and you could feel the waterdrops touching your skin but they were so light, even after five minutes your hand wouldn’t even get wet.
My son was mesmerized nonetheless: “Rain, mom! Look!” He ran inside, yelling for his dad to “come outside and look! It’s raining!!”
It feels really weird to me that rain is something this special to him. He is 3,5 years old, has lived in Qatar for almost a year now. He doesn’t remember a time when he had thick, pelting rains all through spring, fall and winter, sometimes even all through summer. He doesn’t remember going crazy with his older brother in huge puddles, mud and water splashing up high …
Puddle splashing means: driving through the puddles at high speed (at least high in my kids’ perception ;-). The goal is to make the water fountain up to the roof. We had sooo much fun last spring, when for the first time it had rained for 2 days straight. Some roads had totally disappeared under water. The trek to school was an adventure for my kids.
They always roll their eyes when SUVs much bigger than ours and better equipped evade the puddles, driving like some stoned granny at 5 km/hour in weaving curves so their car doesn’t get muddy … Usually, the driver doesn’t look like s/he’s from a country with much rain. (To phrase it very politically correct, I hope.)
Yes, there could be rocks hidden in the water or deep ruts. Doha’s roads are in notorious bad shape. But what’s a little risk to your car if you can make your kids squeal with delight? ;-)
Here’s a short film from last December. The puddles weren’t deep yet, it had just started to rain.
The road I drive past before the movie ends is completely flooded as soon as it rains for more than 1 day. Now imagine Doha last spring, when it rained for 3 days …
Brida Anderson writes Urban Fantasy and Steampunk. Hedge Games released in December 2013. You can find her at www.brida-anderson.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a fae-cat called Robin.