Travel, lifestyle, family.

8 interesting things I discovered while driving a land cruiser in Qatar.

07 October, 2020
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I haven’t posted anything for a long while… This had a lot to do with my situation at work and all the unnecessary stress it has been causing me. Every afternoon after coming back home I would feel completely drained and the only thing I wanted to do was to lie on the sofa and watch silly things on TV. Last week, however, I finally put my foot down and… *enter drumroll* I quit!

There’s a long and serious post coming about fighting for your rights in the workplace in Qatar, which I think many of you will find useful, but today, for a change, something much less serious and practical… πŸ™‚

As a busy mom of two, I can’t imagine my life without a car.

I hate depending on others to drop me off and pick me up, and taking a taxi is too damn expensive and not a great option during a pandemic anyway. This had caused me a bit of anxiety when I returned to Doha – last year I sold my beloved red Mazda and there was no way in hell I could afford buying a decent ride on the spot. Enter: hubby’s generous business partner who suggested I borrow one of his cars. I was so grateful I didn’t even ask what kind of ride am I getting.

Turns out I was to become one of the proud users of a white Toyota Land Cruiser, possibly the most popular vehicle in the whole Middle East πŸ˜€ There are A LOT of stereotypes regarding land cruisers, and people who drive them. I was always game to making fun of them before, until I actually became one πŸ˜‰ I have discovered a lot of interesting things, and can confirm that whatever you might hear is most probably true, at least to some extent… πŸ™‚

1. People assume you’re someone else.

Let me explain – if you ask anyone living in Doha about who is supposed to be behind the wheel of a land cruiser, I can assure you that nobody would say β€œa fair-skinned expat female in her 30s” πŸ˜€ According to common knowledge, I should be either a middle-aged family driver with a thick mustache, or a local gentleman in a spotlessly white thobe and fancy leather slippers. You can imagine the surprised stares I’m getting daily!

2. Your car’s trunk becomes a mobile storage solution for literally anything!

I can tell you, a land cruiser’s trunk is more capacious than an average-sized closet. I drive around with all our beach equipment, Danny’s stroller, and some random junk that I’m not bothered to unload, and I could still go to Ikea and bring home 10 pieces of disassembled furniture πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately, things tend to get lost in there pretty much all the time (kind of like in an average lady’s handbag ;)).

3. The left lane on any highway becomes your second home.

Yesss! One of the most wonderful feelings, once I started to get used to driving a land cruiser, was being able to overtake other cars on a highway without being bullied by impatient dudes who perceive speed limits the same way that they probably perceive abstract art: without much understanding. You start to feel respected by other road users. Or feared. Feels good either way! πŸ˜€

4. You make the mistake of trying to get into someone else’s car at least once a month.

Oh the joys of driving the most popular vehicle model in the country! Bonus points if it’s white πŸ˜€ If you don’t memorize the exact spot where you left it, you have a big chance of trying to break into a random stranger’s vehicle, completely convinced that it is, in fact, yours. Sometimes you will reach a point of getting all worked up because the car remote suddenly β€œstopped working”, and β€œyour” car won’t open! πŸ˜€ Or get totally confused by a complete stranger sitting in a driver’s seat!

5. Parking becomes a nightmare…  Until it doesn’t!

Suddenly, all parking spots seem too narrow/short/tiny in general, and even if you fit in, you’re not able to open the door properly and end up squeezing yourself out of your car in a very undignified way, sometimes getting stuck in the process. Plus, the nasty towing hook at the back of the car seems to always magically hit every wall/pole/fence that happens to be behind you when you attempt reverse parking… On the other hand – that amazing feeling when you manage to parallel park this big-ass vehicle for the very first time, without a need to correct it! You feel like such an achiever πŸ˜€

6. You kind of feel obliged to bully people on the road πŸ˜€

Like, seriously, this is what most land cruiser drivers do and once you drive one, you subconsciously adopt the mentality of this mean, self-entitled and inconsiderate person! I try to be nice and all, but damn it’s hard! I have to stop myself every day from tailgating others only because they are 5km/h below the speed limit, on the fast lane. On a positive note, most left-lane turtles bugger off when they see me approaching long before I even think about flashing those headlights πŸ˜‰

7. Driving any other car feels extremely weird!

Suddenly, they all seem so tiny in comparison! Recently, I drove hubby’s car and felt super uncomfortable. It’s an SUV, but I felt like I could hardly fit inside! With the older kid in tow, tones of grocery, all my spare shoes and jackets, etc. Also, my immunity to being bullied was suddenly gone and I had to put up with other entitled land cruiser owners trying to push me off the road πŸ˜‰

8. You get so used to it, that you decide to buy the damn thing! πŸ˜€

This was inevitable. After years of stating that “I will never drive THAT THING”, I became surprisingly attached to it! I guess it’s about the car’s versatility (hello, offroad adventures!) and the feeling of safety I get while driving it. Whatever it might be, I’m not ready to part with my white beast anytime soon! πŸ™‚

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You might also like…

Beaches in Qatar, PART 1. Organizing family beach trips with small kids.

Beaches in Qatar, PART 2. Three great beaches you’ve probably never heard of. And one to avoid!

14 Signs You’ve Been Spoiled by Life in Qatar.

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