I’ve been pretty busy lately and have much to catch up on the blog world. I still need to update my blog with my stuff from Africa, Brazil and my story completed at the Eddie Adams Workshop last month, but this post is devoted to a rather interesting trip I took last week to Qatar in the Middle East.
One of my local clients, a hip hop dance academy was chosen to assemble a team and represent the US at a rather large event in Doha, Qatar. I have been on several trips with various different teams and dancers over the years, but this one was different. Usually the trips are only with a few different dancers and usually the dancers that go are from the pro team. The pro team consists of a group of professional hip-hop dancers and break dancers that range in age from their late teens to their mid-20’s. The group I accompanied to Qatar was mostly younger kids some of whom had never previously been out of the country, so their curiosity hopefully translates in some of the images.
Our whole trip, albeit a week, seemed to last only a few days. The itinerary was mapped out weeks in advance and a lot of time was spent in waiting to rehearse in a hotel ballroom, riding in a bus to and from venues, at the hotel buffet and on 17-hour plane rides. Towards the end of the journey my photo wanderlust took hold and I started to feel like I was being robbed of really experiencing Qatar, however during one of the event’s the Amir (head honcho) of Qatar met us and graciously paid for our entire group to tour the desert. After the crew’s final performance we traveled a ways into the desert to the Saudi/Qatar border and went crazy on the sand dunes. The light was magnificent, the sand, the sky, the warm water of the Persian Sea. It was lovely. I wish I had more time to spend out there, but for the time we were there, it was paradise.
On the tired ride home I asked one of our new Qatari friends when the last time it rained was, he replied with, “It has not rained in seven years.”
Wow! After another 17 hours in the air, I arrived home to a rainy Houston. Go figure.
I was a little skeptical about spending a week in the Middle East with a bunch of kiddies, but I had a great time and it will be something I won’t soon forget. This trip marked my 4th continent visited in as many months…now if only someone would hire me to shoot in Australia or Antarctica!
PS. Everyone in Qatar was amazing and amazingly hospitable. I like to travel rather inconspicuously and alone when I shoot abroad, however it was quite the opposite during this trip. We were in a large group of about 18 or 19, mostly kids and parents and all of them were wearing “TEAM USA” apparel. Not once did I feel awkward or out of place in Qatar. The one exception to this is at the international airport in Doha. We went through several security checkpoints as usual, however there was one right before we boarded the plane. Long story, short, it was a complete disaster that lasted about 25 minutes in total and ended up with all my gear all over the place and all my gaffer’s tape and AA batteries thrown away!