March 2011 Rambles

 

QNHG – Rambles & Field Trips -- March Schedule 2011
A message from the Rambles & Field Coordinator:
 
In like a lion, out like a lamb – that’s what they say about March weather back home, but we’re going to pull a bit of a reversal on that concept to finish off our more sedate than rambunctious tripping season. As you can see, there are three rambles lined up for March. By mid-April, as those of you who have been here a little while know, it will be getting a bit too hot to venture out even in the late morning sun, so that will signal the end of our weekend tramping. Although I have some trip ideas for how to finish off our rambling season, your suggestions are always welcome.
 
For two years now I have been the Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator and, although it has been a lot of fun, it is time for me to move on to my next phase in outdoor adventuring. April will be the last month of trips that I organize, so it will be time for all of you with great ideas for new trips to step forward to pick up this baton and keep the fun rolling.
 
I would like to thank you all for the pleasure of your company, your smiles and your contributions to our fun, safety and learning. Keep up the exploring, and I hope to see you wandering about!
 
All the best, Exciting, Safe and Fun Travels,
John Tribuna, QNHG Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator


 
March 2011 Overview (details on Mar 18 and 26 to follow shortly):
 
Saturday, March 5th: Zubara City Archeological Site Ramble
 
Friday, March 18th: Mesaieed Marsh Ramble
 
Saturday, March 26th: Abrouq Peninsula, Revisited (Cancelled due to sandstorm conditions)
 



  

Saturday, March 5th: Zubara City Archeological Site Ramble

 

Description:
We will be revisiting the Zubara City dig again and be among the first to learn about the discoveries the international team is making this season.  Working with the Zubara team last year, we came up with a list of eleven guidelines for people visiting an archeological site:

 

Eleven things archeologists have taught me about "Archeological Site Etiquette"

1. Get permission before you enter an archeological site.
 
2. If you think you may be on a site, leave everything as you found it; don't take or move anything, even if it looks like trash.
 
3. Pay attention to any spoken instructions or posted signs that announce restrictions or safety concerns. Follow their directions exactly. Ask if you are not sure what they mean. Especially, never eat food or smoke when walking around a site, even if not told. The residue from these activities may interfere with radiocarbon dating or other chemical analysis processes.
 
4. Remember - you are on a construction site, so be careful! Don't stand near the edge of any holes, lean on or climb over any walls, etc. - they may collapse! Leave labels, pins or strings alone and where you find them; someone has spent a great deal of time setting up such things!
 
5. Children need to be monitored at all times; an archeological site is not a playground!
 
6. Drive around suspected sites; keep to well-worn tracks or paths and park far enough away to keep the site safe.
 
7. Walk around areas that appear to be under investigation, especially if the surface looks swept, cleaned or 'smooth'.
 
8. If possible, wear flat soled shoes when walking over a suspected site so you don't break anything.
 
9. Ask questions of the people supervising the excavation of a site; if they can, they'd love to answer your questions. Ask them to explain what they have found and why they think it is, or may be, important. (Note: They aren't looking for buried treasure or dinosaur bones!)
 
10. It's courteous to ask permission before filming or recording anything at a site.
 
11. Dogs (when allowed) need to be under control on a leash - and keep them away from any bones!
 
 
 
 
More importantly, however, is the list of fifteen things that TV & the Movies have taught us about scientists who dig in the dirt:
The Fifteen things TV and Movies have taught me about the "Science of Archeology":

 

1. Archeologists are all independently wealthy and stunningly good fighters.
 
2. All archeologists could be fashion models.
 
3. Archeologists can go where ever, whenever they like, without having to worry about visas, security clearances, etc. and are always met at their destination by a British gent with a posh accent and a silly hat who has no common sense.
 
4. Like witches and superheroes, archeologists always have an animal familiar or a sidekick.
 
5. "X" doesn't always mark the spot where something important is buried - but most of the time it does.
 
6. Gold, silver, jewels and otherwise 'pretty' artifacts are always the most important; everything else can be destroyed or tossed away.
 
7. Finding, excavating and recording an archeological site is easy and only takes a few minutes.
 
8. Sites of historical importance are always large, protected by ingenious booby traps and secretly guarded by small, violent people who kill anyone they don't like.
 
9. Ancient people were really stupid and only created amazing structures because they were taught how to do so by aliens from outer space.
 
10. Only people of European descent can become archeologists; everyone else just digs holes.
 
11. If it doesn't have a pyramid, it's just not that important.
 
12. The goal of archeology is to, at all costs, grab stuff before the bad people who speak English with funny accents can.
 
13. The most dangerous things that an archeologist has to deal with, besides bad people, are the curses, ghosts and gods that are found hanging around at any given site.
 
14. Every important site is somehow connected through spies to someone's plans for world domination.
 
15. Again like superheroes, archeologists have commitment issues and multiple personality disorders.
 
There will be prizes for the first people who can recite each of these lists when we meet at Zubara Fort the morning of our visit to the site.
 
 
What to bring:
         As per usual, bring sun lotion, a hat, and water - lots of water - along with plenty of food. There is an open area outside the ancient outer walls of the city where we will probably park and stop for lunch, but we'll need to make our own shade/rain protection against the potential sun, wind or otherwise shelter from passing shower!
         Just a reminder - We will be in primitive conditions, so bring along any toiletries you may need. The facilities at your home will be the last ones we see before heading north.
 
 
Other preparations/concerns:
   As per normal, make sure your car is in good working order and fully fueled the night before we meet at our rendezvous.
   A SPECIAL NOTE TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN:  Do not expect that your children will be allowed in vehicles without the required safety seating. It is a car owner’s prerogative as to who rides in their car, and the conditions under which this occurs. If you want to guarantee a seat for your child, you must bring your own vehicle.        
 
Restrictions:
 
Dogs are not allowed on this trip, as their droppings may interfere with chemical dating processes.
Remember - something that looks unimportant/innocuous and perhaps like trash to you should not be touched at an archeological site. Leave it as is, as and where it was found.
If you have children with you, be especially careful to watch out for their curious hands!
Ask the archeologists about anything of interest you see during our tour.
 
 
Date:       Saturday, March 5th
Rendezvous location: Fort Zubara/Zubara Police Station
Meet:            9:30 AM
Depart:        10:00 AM
Return:        Between 1:00 or 2:00 PM after lunch.
 
Directions: UPDATED
  1. From Landmark Mall, drive 55 kms north on the Al Shamal Highway - BE CAREFUL OF CONSTRUCTION!
  2. The turn off/overpass to Zubara is at about the 56 km mark, but the exit for it is poorly marked as "DOHA" in the middle of a construction site at the above mentioned 55 km point. Take that right side exit, going straight under the overpass/bridge, and take the right IMMEDIATELY after the bridge - the turn is marked with many signs, one of them being 'Zubara'.
  3. Follow the ramp around, up to the right and over the bridge. You are now heading approximately west. At the far end of the bridge is a temporary Roundabout - be aware of the 'stop' signs. Go straight through this Roundabout and follow that road until you get to Fort Zubara on the right. Pull into the parking lot in front of the fort & we'll meet there.
  4. From Landmark Mall to Fort Zubara, the entire trip should be about an hour. Please plan accordingly.
    Price per Adult: Free
    Price per Child (under 12 years-old): Free
    Organizer:
    John Tribuna, QNHG Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator – send texts to 6605.6762. No calls during business hours or after 9:00 PM.

     

     

    Friday, March 18th: Mesaieed Marshes Ramble

     

    Description:

    Join us as we go on a romp through this green spot on the eastern coast, 12 kilometers south of Al Wakrah. There is an archeological site in the area that we can point out, but our main focus will be on wading up a creek and among mangrove thickets that harbor plenty of fish and crustaceans. Many different local and migratory birds stop by this area, making it a bird lover’s delight; with any luck we may see flamingos, kestrels, ospreys, herons, storks, cormorants, hoopoes, or even an ibis or spoonbill, among others. We will finish up at a lovely beach for lunch, so be ready to enjoy the weather before the temperatures start to soar!

     

    What to Bring:

    As per normal, bring a hat, sunscreen, beach foot-ware and clothing, along with plenty of food and water. Bring also binoculars and bird books, along with any other books you might think are helpful for identifying the local flora and fauna. A large dose of commons sense will always comes in handy, as well as a trash bag to pick up any stray junk we might find along the way!

     

    Other Preparations/Concerns:

    Be prepared to step in muck and wade through waist deep waters.

     

    Restrictions:

    A four-wheel drive vehicle is optimal, but not required. Make sure, however, that your car has good clearance, is in good running order and is fully gassed up before we rendezvous.

     

    Rendezvous & Times: Saleen Petrol Station

           Meet:    8:00 AM

           Depart:  8:30 AM

          Return:  Between 1:00 or 2:00 PM after lunch.

     

    Directions:

    From Doha go south past the airport on the main road to Al Wakrah. From  Al Wakrah, travel towards Mesaieed. The Saleen Petrol Station is on the right side of the road, 8 kilometers south of the last Roundabout.

     

    Price per Adult: Free

    Price per Child (under 12 years-old): Free

    Organizer:John Tribuna, QNHG Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator – send texts to 6605.6762. No calls during business hours or after 9:00 PM.

     

    Saturday, March 26th Ramble: The Abrouq Peninsula

     

    Description:

           If you’re tired of the crowded, man-made landscapes of Doha & vicinity, then get ready to head off into the isolated and convoluted landscape of the Abrouq peninsula. With its mesas and abrupt natural features, eroded by the wind and sands over the millennia, this is a wonderful place to go for a casual afternoon of rambling.

             We will begin looking for flamingos, although if we’re lucky we may also see some gazelles. The ostriches appear to have been moved to a different area, but we may still find their old nests or the odd abandoned egg. There are also desert fox, as well as dhub (spiny-tailed agama lizards), and snakes, so be quiet and cautious and who knows what else we may see!

             We will look for fossils on the eroded slopes of the shallow valleys as well as stop by the old TV/Movie set for a visit. Lunch we will probably do in a unique part of the set, where we can seek shade and a break from the wind among some unique structures.

            

    What to bring:

             Bring a pair of binoculars, as we might not be able to get very close to any wild desert creatures that we may run across. As per usual, bring sun lotion, a hat, and water - lots of water - along with plenty of food. When we stop for lunch, we'll probably need to make our own shade, so take an umbrella or tarp along, too.

    We will be in primitive conditions, so bring along any toiletries you may need. The facilities at your home will be the last ones we see before entering the desert. The facilities at Umm Al Afai Petrol Station were not the most modern or pristine.

    Any books on the flora, fauna or geology of this part of the world will come in handy, as well.

     
    Other Preparations/Concerns:

    We will be heading out into an area of mostly hard, rocky desert for this trip, so make sure your 4-wheel drive vehicle is in good running condition, that is, double-check equipment, top off the gas/petrol tank, and generally get ready to go at least the night before departure. We have a long trip ahead of us, so we won’t have time for casual stops along the way.

           A SPECIAL NOTE TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN:Do not expect that your children will be allowed in vehicles without the required safety seating. It is a car owner’s prerogative as to who rides in their car, and the conditions under which this occurs. If you want to guarantee a seat for your child, you must bring your own vehicle.  

    Restrictions:      

    No pets. One of our main goals is to see wildlife, so please keep that in mind when packing and preparing for this trip.

    You must have a 4-wheel drive vehicle for this trip. No sedans or saloons allowed.

     

    Rendezvous & Times: Umm Al Afai Petrol Station, Dukhan Highway

    Meet:         8:00 AM

    Depart:       8:30 AM

    Return:       2:00 PM, Approximately

     

    Directions:

    We will travel west from the Umm Al Afai Petrol Station along the (Garafat Al Rayyan &) Duhkan Highway for almost exactly 51 kilometers, exiting the highway and turning north at the Zekreet Interchange. 1.2 kilometers north of the interchange roundabout, we will regroup on the right side of the road by the beat-up sign announcing  the “Brouq Nature Reserve”. From there we will head up towards the village of Zekreet, bypassing it on the east side, and head on up into the peninsula.

     

    Price per Adult: Free

    Price per Child (under 12 years-old): Free

    Organizer:John Tribuna, QNHG Rambles & Field Trips Coordinator – send texts to 6605.6762. No calls during business hours or after 9:00 PM.