Well, I hope Husband is happy! Last weekend, he hinted that some people just have shopping for hobby, and dont enjoy more exciting things in life. Such as this amazing turtle hatching opportunity we get here, in Qatar. Or rather, watching the turtles hatch. Last Friday he tried to get me excited about driving one hour, at night, with a year-old baby to watch the hatching process. Of course I, being a mother, and therefore the one who will undoutedly pay for such extravaganza later, said How wonderful darling, but NO, thank you.
Husband, in his usual style, pretended to understand my reasons but was then sulking all weekend. And husband does not sulk quietly. He makes the guilty party feel awful by explaining in details how wonderful the turtle hatching/watching experience would be for our older daughter, and how it would have enriched her life. How beautiful it would be for her to see.
So, when today a compound friend mentioned that their family was driving to Fuwairit beach to watch the hatching, and offered to take my older child along, I felt bad. Surely, I thought, I myself should enjoy watching the little cutie pies hatch! Beautiful sunset, friends who would not let me get lost or roll the car over in the dunes on the way there...what is actually such a big deal? Yes, I would have to drive there myself, alone with two kids since Husband had an important meeting with the big boss. Of course, it would be a little bit stressful for me, but surely other cool mums would do it. So can I, I thought and told my child I was going to go, too. I was going to be one of those cool mums she would be proud of.
It was not too bad, to be honest. At first, it was pretty good. The journey was not difficult, except for a very steep hill off the road, where I thought the car was, indeed, going to roll over on its' roof, but it managed to stay up, if slightly on one side. I did not get stuck in the sand where my daughter's friend pointed out someone she knew had got stuck one time...The weather suddenly got a lot worse though. In Doha itself, it was a pleasant 40C or thereabouts. A bit hot, I admit, but at least it was dry. Naively, i figured it would be cooler at the sea. It would be breezy.
Instead, it was like sitting in a steam room. Not the sauna, because saunas are dry. But a steam room, because it was that humid. With sweat dripping off the tip of my nose, I quickly changed into my swimming suit, stripped the baby and went into the water- to cool down. Ha! How naive can I be, really? Cool down? it was like walking into a warm bath. Maybe, I thought, when I come out of the water, it would feel better on my skin. Nope. It did not.
The children had a great time. They rejected every piece of food we brought for them, but played in the bath water for a while, until the man of the group commanded it was the time. Hurry, he said, the sun is setting. It reminded me of one of those terrible zombie or vampire movies, where people had to run to safety before the sunset. I glanced down to the horizon where he pointed out the location of the turtle nests was. It looked far. Can you see those people standing at the edge there? he said, but the truth is...I could not see anyone. Having quickly considered dragging the push chair along the sand, I decided against it. Carrying the baby on my hip was not easy. I kept glancing around telling myself to admire the beautiful sunset and the rose-colored sky. It was, indeed, stunning. But the baby was heavy.
Finally, we could see some small square patch surrounded by wire fencing. As my eyes managed to see a bit more of the destination, I voiced my concern. Hmm I said. Should there be someone there, you think?
Oh yes, the man walking next to me nodded enthusiastically. There is a man there, he opens the hatch when it is time.
But there was nobody there. There was no man. And no spectators either.
As we stood around the empty cage, a small buggy appeared, with an Indian man in it, waving to us. Oh, there he is! my friend exclaimed. At a closer look, I realized that the driver was not waving hello but waving us away from the cage.
The man of the group walked over to ask what did that gesture actually mean.
Hi! Are the turtles going to hatch tonight?- he asked, smiling kindly to the buggy man.
No chance, he replied. Those Indian men working n Qatar have very fascinating turns of phrase, as I noticed.
-No chance?, my friend asked again, stunned.
But why, we tried to ask. The man shrugged his shoulders. Next sunday. No chance tonight.
And so we walked back to the car. It was getting dark by then, and everything still looked pretty. But, by then, I started thinking that I just really, really, and i mean terribly really wanted to be back home. On my sofa, with this (is she really this heavy?!) baby tucked in bed, clean, with a full tummy, and not covered in sand from head to toes, exhausted and starving. But I also knew that I had a loooong way to go yet. I had to walk back, I had to pack the picnic crap, I had to hose down the sandy kids, and then I had another hour of driving, hopefully without any accidents, until I could relax safely at home.
And the worst of all was the sand. Oh, the sand got everywhere. In every little crease and hole.
Sweaty and sandy, I finally set off to go home. One more time tipping the car over on one side on the steep bank, some more dark sandy roads and finally, on the main freeway. One more hour, and we were home.
Now, Husband can never again claim I am not adventurous enough. Next time he opens his mouth to tell me that I need to be more enthusiastic about such trips to the beach at night with two small children....well, I might just kill him and feed his body to the effin' turtles. If they ever do hatch.