That dormitory for fans, a hive of caravans in nowhere, is offered by the official accommodation agency of the World Cup for those fans who cannot afford a hotel
There is a moment when one does not know which is worse. If the sand, which sticks into the pupils when the wind attacks with force, or the heat, which makes any incursion on foot unbearable. What difference does it make? Only when you get away from the futuristic ceramic stadiums and luxurious metro stations do you begin to understand what is happening behind those fences that protect the papier-mache spectacle of the World Cup in Qatar.
Maryam Y afsoon they are walking into nothing. Maryam wipes the dirt from her face, and Afsoon looks desperately to the horizon, in case of civilization. They walk aimlessly in a country where no one walks anywhere. Both are British, from London, and thought it might be a good idea to listen to the accommodation recommendations made by the organization (Qatar World Cup’s Official Accommodation Agency). The photographs on the website were as striking as they were attractive.
Behind both of them, a sign typical of an abandoned amusement park: The Caravan City. Welcome. Someone was kind enough to paint on the ceiling that welcomes some caravans with bright colors. Yellow, red, blue… And also some trees. Good green. The reality, however, is much more arid. And sordid. There are caravans, of course. All white. There are hundreds of them, lined up in rows and arranged in blocks. It is impossible to guess any border. A hive made of sheet metal and wheels. The esplanade, nailed between highways and protected by gates covered with plastic against onlookers, seems to have no end. There is no trace of trees. Just stones and dirt.
The floor is terrible. They haven’t even paved the roads, sighs Maryam. We have paid 2,000 British pounds for ten days here (about 2,300 euros, 230 euros per night). We expected something else when we saw the offer on the internet, assumes Afsoon.
It is the organization of the World Cup in Qatar itself that is offering this type of villa for fans in Doha and its surroundings. There are some more expensive ones, where fans sleep in containers, like the so-called Fan Village Cabins Free Zone. At least, there they have put some green carpets that offer a more careful appearance to the place and a few scattered fitness equipment. Not what happens in the Caravan City, 10 kilometers east of the Corniche, epicenter of life cool qatar
It is true that the caravan, at least, is spacious. We have two single beds. A bathroom with shower. A fairly large plasma television and air conditioning, enumerates Afsoon, who tries to see something good in his situation. But there isn’t a fridge, Maryam replies, coming back to reality and looking for a way to get away from there again. Does she know if there is a shopping center at that address? I want to eat something.
His caravan is type B. The type X, with a lounge and sofas around a small table, has a price per night of 934 euros. It is mandatory to reserve a minimum of two.
Among the amenities that the organization advertises for those who venture into the city of caravans is Wi-Fi (on demand). Cleaning every two days. Air conditioning for each room. Without any shadow, the opposite would invite a descent into hell. An entertainment area, of which the two thirty-something Londoners have no record -if there is only earth and stones here-. The promise that you can walk to the Al Messila metro (as long as you are prepared to walk more than half an hour on the shoulder of a six-lane highway). And 24 hour security. That is not missing.
Three agents look at the journalist with great suspicion and one of them chooses to get up from his plastic chair. Where is he going? Journalists cannot be here nor can they visit the place, warns one of them, alerted by the presence of the person writing here. It is not difficult to guess where journalists are not welcome.
Some of the caravans sell food. Another has a sign nailed to the ceiling. It promises to be a spa and beauty salon. From the outside it looks like just another barracks.
In the next field, a group of Indian workers play croquet in front of a dilapidated bus. We like football, but our sport is this. If we are happy here? A few s. The rest, you see, we hide it very well.
Maryam and Afsoon resume their journey. They don’t look back.