on the road again: Riyadh to Doha

This week, we took a short road trip from Riyadh to Doha, which is the capital city of Qatar. Doha may not be as ‘famous’ as Dubai among the cities of the Gulf region, but it is notable for being the broadcast home of Al Jazeera and if you watch BBC, you might have seen the Doha Debates. Qatar will also host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The drive to Doha took us on highways across the Saudi desert straight east/southeast towards the Qatari border.

The drive was smooth, with little traffic and wide open landscapes all around us:

Near Hofuf, a city about mid-way through the journey, we saw these interesting rock formations rising out of the desert. They beckon us for another visit to Hofuf, which is famous for its “Ali Baba Caves” and rock formations.

Road trips in Saudi are pretty much the same as everywhere else. You spend your time enjoying the scenery, making sure you have enough gas to get you to your next destination, and ensuring that you heed the warnings of highway signs. Whereas in North America, you might come across signs like this, warning of slippery road conditions …

… or crossing deer or moose …

… here are some examples of road signs we saw here, warning of drifting sand …

… and camels …

(Most of the time, there are safety fences along the side of the highway preventing camels from crossing the road, but there was one stretch of road where we saw a camel coming dangerously close to the side of the road – more nerve-wracking than anything, especially in my line of work where I come across articles like this).

I always get a kick out of the gas stations, which are usually like small plazas manned by guys in jumpsuits (no one pumps their own gas here) …

… and include a mosque …

… and a shop that sells anything one might need for a family excursion to the desert (from BBQ equipment to camel-hair lined robes for the chilly desert night, to toys to keep the kids amused):

By the way, gas is currently selling at the equivalent of ~$0.15/liter here – less than $10 to fill up our tank. No doubt about it: gas is cheaper than water out here in the Desert Kingdom!

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2 responses to “on the road again: Riyadh to Doha

  1. Thanks for your great post! I found it on a Google image search after making the same trip in reverse. I’ve just moved to Riyadh, and arrived by way of Doha. Some of the signs went by too fast for me to catch a picture, and I wanted to include them on my own blog (foreign-girl.blogspot.com). I credited you and linked to yours, and look forward to spending more time here as I settle in and learn my own way around the country and the customs. It looks as if you’ve traveled the road I’m starting on in more ways than one! Thanks again.

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