Friday, August 16, 2013

Where Cranes Fly (So Much Construction!)

Cranes Fly Over Doha

All of Doha is under construction.
 
Roads queue through colorful barrier tunnels.  Highway lanes end without warning.  Streets run out and walls rise up.  Drivers marooned by dead end highways cruise through empty lots and back up over curbs.
 
colorful construction barrier
 
The always busy Corniche is a one-lane forever blocked thoroughfare - on both sides of the street.  Roundabouts are mountains of gravel, dug out to make way for 21st century stop lights.  A literal maze of fences circles Zig-Zag Tower, the Pearl and Lagoona Mall under signs announcing Doha's (one day soon-ish) first railway system.
 
Trucks rumble back to back, bumper to bumper, dwarfing the constant stream of vans, buses, sedans and road-clogging rainbow of SUVs.
 
Scaffolding marches across the horizon.  Stairs rise to nowhere.  A shortcut is never shorter than sticking with the snarl of traffic because everywhere everywhere
 
everywhere
 
there is construction.
 
roadwork
 
Rumbling, rattling, clanking, clattering, rasping, beeping, whining, grating, grinding.
 
Above, below, beneath, beside…mounds of rock, cranes, backhoes, dump trucks, men in boots, masks, helmets, khaki pants and safety vests wave flags, wield rope, shovels, hosing, drills.  Yellow sparkles dance from open walled high rises as laborers weld pipe, mold steel, place metal.  Street workers sweep dust off new grass, fill buckets, scrape rock into high sandy piles and rain water over everything.
 
watch out for truck coming up very soon...
 
A noisome bouquet of engine fumes, exhaust and bitter gasoline fills my nose, coats my tongue, stings my eyes, makes me sneeze.
 
Heat shimmers over mounds of brick, dry dirt, hot asphalt and moist, newly poured, green-making earth.  Hot air has a smell:  it's sweat, smoke, burning rubber, an over cooked old food lunch.
 
I wash my face and the towel stains brown.  A scabby heat and dirt fueled rash stings the back of my neck.  My bare feet leave charcoal prints in the shower.
 
A construction wall surrounds massive, busy, populated Education City.  Now just two narrow, single-lane entrances are open to students, faculty, staff, employees and guests to Georgetown University, Weil Cornell Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Qatar Foundation and many other offices. The first hour and a half on a new project is spent discussing how to access facilities when a coworker is stranded…because interim transit system buses don't - ever - arrive.
 
construction
 
Life (work, school, getting-from-here-to-there and other forms of necessary busy-ness) in speeding-to-modern Doha is, ironically, slow-going.  But not as slow as it will be very, very soon…when the summer/Ramadan exodus of locals and expats return from…otherfound places where people walk on sidewalks, traffic moves steadily along the highway and buses appear as scheduled.  Where crickets chirp in the quiet evenings, trees whisper under the silent moon, lovers walk hand in hand -
 
And cranes are birds.
 
early construction moon rise over Beverly Hills subdivision
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