Sunday, January 24, 2021

Desert Adventures - Marmi Festival and ATVs

Aside from our Inland Sea Camping, we headed down to Sealine area a few more times this month for different activities - Marmi Festival and riding ATVs. 

Marmi Festival 

The Marmi Festival is a saluki and falcon competition held yearly. We weren't quite sure what to expect or what would be happening (as is normal for a lot of events in Qatar 😆), but we headed down with friends and gave it a go. 

We sat on the majilis seating and enjoyed complimentary arabic coffee and karaoke while we chatted and waited for things to start. A couple hours later they started the Youth competitions, but unfortunately had them setup in a different areas closed to spectators. We were able to catch some of the action on big screens near our seating area. 

As we started to pack up and leave I asked the girls to stand near a falcon that we'd seen near the booths when we entered the festival. After I took their picture a Qatari man approached me and said "Come". Even though I hadn't done anything wrong my heart jumped a beat anyways! Then I realized he was holding the glove you wear when holding the falcons. He took each of the girls and let them hold the falcon!! 😱 It was so cool! 

Eve especially loved holding the falcon!

After everyone got a chance to hold one of the birds the man said "Now I will show you how I teach them to hunt." He showed us how they call the bird and then let people from our group assist. Jason had the harder job of swinging the rope and having the hunting bird fly at him while I got the chance to just hold the falcon during take off. It truly was an amazing experience and we are so thankful for the opportunity!

ATVs / Quads

We had friends tell us about the kids riding ATVs / Quads down at Sealine. We had  seen the rental areas on our way out camping, but hadn't ever visited because we weren't sure if there were age limits, etc. They gave us all the info we needed and so one weekend we headed down to check it out for ourselves. 

The kids had such a blast!! Olivia was a bit apprehensive at first so I rode with her in the beginning. She quickly became comfortable riding and took off with the others. It's also really affordable - 50 qar (around $14) for 60 min of riding. They go to an enclosed dirt track behind the rental shop and take off doing laps. 

The guys watched for awhile and then headed off to get rentals for themselves (theirs were not really affordable 😆) and took their 4-seater quads over to the big sand dunes.When the kids finished they picked us up to go back over to the large dunes. I got a chance to drive a little as well and Jason had a blast. The girls weren't big fans because of the size of the seats, but they were glad they tried it!

It was definitely an amazing activity and I foresee our family visiting again soon (as the girls asked to go back about 173 times on the car ride home 😆)!

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