Qatar 2022: World Cup fans acclimatise to desert accommodation — in tents and portacabins


Doha Qatar
CNN

As fans flock to Qatar, they are understandably in holiday mode as they await the prospect of a World Cup in the desert.

But where, geographically, on a peninsula smaller than Connecticut and the host of the smallest World Cup in history, where better to live?

Qatar is set to welcome an estimated 1.5 million fans during the month-long tournament, which begins on November 20, and competition for seats is expected to intensify.

Jimmy and Kennis Leung were among the first fans to arrive at the Fan Village Cabins Free Zone, one of the largest sites available to supporters, which can be accessed on Thursday.

“They built this in the desert,” Jimmy said as he scanned the area of ​​his lodge, which he admired.

“Staying in a hotel or AirBnB in Doha is very expensive, so this is a great option.”

The Free Zone fan village is about 20 minutes by metro from downtown Doha, but right now it’s like stepping into a dystopian world.

There are precious few other places around the village – one or two buildings and a main road – so the staff quickly directs us to the reception, which is a 10-minute walk across the vast car park.

Stretching into the distance are endless lines of portacabins, arranged in different colors and arranged alphabetically, forming huge gazebos with hundreds of tables and chairs.

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basketball courts; Outdoor gymnasiums and large television screens are dotted around the complex where fans can relax.

When CNN visited on Friday, only a few fans were in the crowd, but many more were expected throughout the race.

Living in a container desert ... World Cup style.

Navigation also proved a bit of a problem – Leungs admits he got lost in the endless makeshift roads connecting the village. However, There are electric scooters to get around and the staff will even drive you to your door in a golf buggy.
The Leungs work in the media and their favorite team, the Netherlands. He traveled from Hong Kong to watch Qatar 2022.

“It’s very quiet at this point, but there are food options and the rooms are nice but a little small,” adds Kennis.

As fans of the likes of Leung struggled to find their feet in Qatar on Friday, they welcomed news that soccer’s world governing body FIFA had made a U-turn and banned the sale of alcohol in the eight stadiums that will host the 64 tournament. Coincidences.

For those on a budget who can’t afford what hotels offer; Eight Fan villages offer “casual camping and cabin style” options.

But some World Cup visitors were less than impressed with what was on offer.

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“There are many rooms and containers; We can watch the games together, but the seating is big… what can I say,” Fei Peng from China, who is here to watch more than 30 World Cup matches, told CNN Sport.

“This is the best option we can afford. It’s very expensive in Doha, so I don’t expect more.”

According to the official accommodation agency of the Qatar World Cup, a room in the Free Zone fan village starts at $207 per night; But cheaper options can be found at Caravan City, starting at $114 per night.

If camping under the stars is your heart, a tent in Al Khor Village is available for $423 per night.

If you don’t have a budget, A self-described “eco” tent is a more luxurious option for $1,023 per night., It will set you back at least $179 while staying on a cruise ship.

The cabin has beds and air conditioning.

Many fans are in neighboring Qatar, flying in and out of the Gulf state for matches.

Qatar Airways to Dubai; Jeddah Kuwait It announced in May that it had partnered with regional airlines to open an additional 160 daily return flights at competitive fares that would transport fans from Muscat and Riyadh.

There will be no baggage check-in facilities to speed up the transfer and separate transport services will be provided to transport fans from the airport to the stadiums.

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Riyadh It’s less than seven hours’ drive from major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
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Those who come to Doha will face the heat.

The tournament was moved to winter due to hot summer temperatures: the average high temperature in Doha in the second half of November is around 28 °C (82 °F), much better than the July in which the World Cup would normally be held. Conclude when the average temperature is about 42 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit).

Even in winter, coming from colder climates, heat consumes energy. too far After a quick walk, you’ll soon find yourself drenched in sweat and in need of hydration.

Shade is king and the race staff dotted around Doha are very quick to advise you to stay out of direct sunlight.

It’s wet and sticky at night, but the heat dissipates a little in the evening.

Fortunately, Doha has fully air-conditioned stadiums, and the white-walled architecture helps ward off some of the heat’s intensity.

With just two days to go until the first match, the country is gearing up for a World Cup unlike any other, with final preparations underway.

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