I’ve only been behind the wheel of our beloved Stella for the past week, and I’d like to take a moment to talk to you about driving in Doha.
Every place I’ve ever lived (except for Nebraska) has claimed to have the worst drivers on the planet. Traffic in Florida is responsible for 29 percent of Dave Barry’s entire career of a writer. The spectacular car chases on the California freeway in every Michael Bay movie are actually mini-documentaries. And the things I’ve seen on the streets of Ecuador still chill me to this day. They’re all amateurs.
Driving in Doha is the only excuse you need to drive like an asshole.
From what I’ve learned during my stay, nothing on the roads is illegal, and that includes vehicular homicide … well, there is one exception: red lights. Nobody runs a red lights in Doha. Nobody. Hell, if you cross an intersection on a yellow light, even the Qatari locals will call you a dick (keep in mind that the locals have been known to ram people from behind for going too slow, and too slow for them is anything less than twenty kilometers above the speed limit).
And yet, there’s something civilized about the it all. See, back home, if someone cuts you off, you unleash a stream of expletives that would make Richard Nixon tell you to take it down a notch, even if there’s kids in the backseat. Here, if someone cuts you off, you say, “Well played!” In the States, letting someone take a turn in front of you is an act of kindness. In Doha, letting someone take a turn in front of you means you lost the battle with honor. I have seen more people use their blinkers here—even when they’re going left from the center lane.
Long story short: the Asphalt Thunderdome of Qatar is oddly relaxing.