Qatar - Stuck in the Desert

My trip to Qatar in 2015 is memorable for two reasons.  It was my first of many trips with the Peruvian TV show "Peruanos en el Mundo."  It was also memorable for getting stuck in the desert thinking I was somewhere I didn't want to be.

Christian Giovannini is a pilot for Qatar Airlines.  He is based in Doha and likes fast planes and fast cars.   And he loves adventure.   I immediately liked Christian when we first met.   And I was thrilled when he invited us to take a trip in his four wheel drive SUV out into the desert.   When we headed out, I didn't know we were in for, what CNN calls "one of the most extreme adventures involving sand on the planet."

But it soon became apparent we were in for an adventure.  As we made our way into the desert, Christian veered off the dirt road and up the side of a giant sand dune.   We were soon "four-wheeling" our way all over the desert.   And then we got stuck. 

Steve Hunsicker and Christian Giovannini in the desert outside Doha, Qatar

The sand was too soft and we were at the top of a big sand dune.  The car wouldn't move, its tires spinning, taking us nowhere. We were getting out of his stuck SUV when my phone beeped. I was surprised to have cell service seemingly in the middle of nowhere.   I was even more surprised when I looked down at the text I had just received. It said:

 "Free Msg!  Welcome to Saudi Arabia"

Yikes!   Saudi Arabia is not where I wanted to be.   In fact, it is more like a place I want to avoid.   I asked Christian and he assured me we were still in Qatar.   He pointed at some land across a small bay and said "That is Saudi Arabia, this is Qatar."  

Relived, we then had to figure out how to get the car unstuck.  (See the stuck car at 22:30 in the video linked below.) My friend Roberto Pazos and I pushed while Christian drove.   The car finally came out of the sand and slid down to the bottom of the sand dune.  

The entire adventure was a LOT of fun.  I had been four-wheeling before, but nothing like this.  It was thrilling to ride over giant sand dunes with no roads and no one else in sight.   We stayed out in the desert until almost dark before heading back to the bright lights of Doha.  


Our adventure into the desert with Christian begins at 21:10 in the episode of Peruanos en el Mundo linked below.  

Dates of Travel

  • July, 2015
  • June, 2022

Places Visited

  • Doha





This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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