Monday, January 10, 2011

Doha: City of Traffic

Can Qatar host a successful World Cup in 2022? That's probably a moot question in terms of the Asian Cup, since so much of the country resembles an open construction site.

Eleven years is a long time between tournaments, and no doubt the army of construction workers who clog the footpaths and carparks of this tiny desert nation will work overtime to transform Qatar from its present dusty state into a shining beacon of the Gulf.

For now, though, Asian Cup fans are left to struggle with a more pressing logistical problem - the traffic.

Doha: City of Traffic
The US government once suggested driving in Doha is akin to risking life and limb, which is why it makes more sense to employ the services of one of the city's daring band of taxi drivers.

He'll almost always hail from India - or Nepal, or Sri Lanka or a similar neighbouring state - and most crucially, he'll treat other road users and pedestrians with the contempt they deserve when time is of the essence.

And time is always of the essence in Doha - in peak hour, at any rate - when you're stranded on Al Waab Street behind miles of stationary traffic. Fortunately the problem is solved by simply driving along the dusty shoulder, as pedestrians scurry and law-abiding citizens curse the temerity of your admittedly deranged cabbie.

So, can Qatar successfully host the World Cup? We'll see. But they'll need to build some more roads first. And they'll need to increase their insurance premiums.

Oh, and one more thing. They'll need import some more cabbies; ones with bravado and courage and a complete lack of respect for the road rules.

Terrified Australian tourists need not apply.

Copyright © Mike Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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