Sometimes I forget that Doha is in a desert. I walk from air-conditioned class to air-conditioned lunch to air-conditioned apartment and unless I glance up at the dust-enhanced, violently pink sunsets, I may forget I am only a few hundred miles from the Empty Quarter.
On those days, the desert stays in my consciousness through astroturf. Education City has a mix of natural grass (the drought-resistant crab-grass-looking variety) and high-end astroturf. Unless I am paying careful attention, I usually cannot consciously tell when I am talking on real or fake grass. Unlike with real grass, when the warm Doha winds bring small particles of dust to Education City, they sit on top of astroturf and accumulate in its folds, forming little sand dunes and hillocks among the decorative stones. I see this, and remember I am in a desert. And I am glad.
“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith