early this morning i rented a car and drove to Zubarah on the northwest coast of Qatar. i was hoping to see not just the ancient fort but the ruins of the town, but the gate to the town was closed despite it saying it is open 9-5 daily. one of the people at the fort said it was closed, so i gave up and continued on my way after having my fill of the fort.
sidebar: getting Qatar around by car
in the past few years it seems they have upgraded the highway so there are no more roundabouts or intersections, but actual interchanges. the GPS that came with my rental car was several years old and often got confused, and even google maps was incorrect at some places, but as it turns out the highway signs are actually quite good and well, there’s really not much out there so you’re bound to run into your destination somehow. just be aware that gas stations are few and far between, so make sure you’ve filled up beforehand. distances are not that long between civilization (couple dozen miles) but if you don’t have a GPS that can tell you the closest gas station (not in all settlements) you may be driving in circles looking for one. on the bright side, gas is 1 rial per liter, or $1 per gallon(!!!). also, watch out for speed bumps. they are common in rural areas and small towns where they sneak up on you. and they’re BIG. go slowly over them; you have been warned.