Qatar the Remix

Yeah, that’s the picture of the toilets in our bathroom.  So we can go at the same time like true team mates!

Arriving in Qatar at night is like entering a parallel universe.  Did the plane fly in a big circle and drop us off right back in America? There are buildings, trees, and highways all lit by american-looking street lights, but something is just a little bit off about everything.  The darkness hides the differences and the jet lag makes your mind cloudy.  When your eyes come into focus, you finally see and register the scribbly writing, the guy in the dress, or the phone next to the toilet.  If american culture is one ending to one of those movies whose plot diverges after the main character makes a seeminly unimportant decision, changing the future forever, Qatar made me feel I was stepping into ending #2. What is that movie called? The Butterfly Effect?

It’s also a big deja vu experience for me.  A lot has been similar to last year.  We’re staying in the same hotel, the Ritz, we took the same sketchy vans from the airport to the hotel (the bearded men wordlessly grabbing our bikes and luggage from us as we stepped out the airport doors, hoisting it onto the back of a flat bed truck, and lashing it down with rope).  I hope our luggage follows us to the hotel.  Heaven know what I’d do if my suitcase got lost.  Somehow it makes it, and we end up in the dining room munching on delicious snacks only a few hours after we land.  We hadn’t seen the sun for 12 hours, and it would be another nine or ten before we did – weird.

Today we did a two-hour ride to spin out the legs.  Mine felt good, that is, until Jackson decided (without telling us) to start driving faster and faster until he drove us off his wheel (we were motorpacing).  For lunch we went to the buffet in a big ballroom with all the other teams.  Each team has their own assigned table.  We’ve got the perfect team table.  It’s at the edge of the ballroom which means that you can observe everyone else instead of feeling like you’re the ones being observed.  Some of the fat euro directors stuffing their faces with pasta even though they’re going to be sitting in the caravan all day tomorrow.  I recognize some girls from last year, but there are new faces too.  Most teams are laughing and chatting.  It’s a laid-back atmosphere tonight.
Here is the map of the first stage tomorrow.  Wind will be strong, so we expect it to split up.  I’ll be done before most of your wake up in the morning!

Posted on January 31, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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