A cellist revisits a Sean Paul classic in front of a trance-filled crowd. Swarms of drones compose a World Cup in a starless night. Fireworks reflect off icy stained glass windows of skyline, forest of skyscrapers. On Saturday at 7 p.m. from Al-Bidda Park, Doha launched a month of festivities and the city experienced its first real emotions after a placid start. And this peaceful side will not disappear with the arrival of fans from the loudest nations.
After dusk, you have to see the many men undoing their sandals and setting foot in the fresh grass along the cornice, facing the Arabian Gulf, or the mothers who watch over baroque siblings, the youngest with the jersey of the Qatar on the shoulders, the big one with that of Brazil. The souk and the corniche, where visitors converge after a dangerous sunset during the day, tell of a smooth amusement park, full of artificial lights and sounds, guarded by thousands of very kind policemen, except when you have the absurd idea of crossing outside the pedestrian crossings.
“Compared to Dubai, it’s more luxury, more security, less western tourists and crowded streets, says Nabila, a 35-year-old Franco-Moroccan who works in insurance in Paris. They try to create an atmosphere, but we feel that they aren’t too used to sporting events, it’s more like a nice Disneyland. »
“We’re going to have coffee. And after that, I don’t sleep for a month, we’re going to be crazy here”
Souq Waqif is paved with flagstones and good intentions given its insane cleanliness, camels and ponies are in paddocks, Turkish ice cream at twenty Qatari riyals (five euros) is all the rage. Every thirty minutes or so, a joyous troupe of local supporters passes through the streets singing. In their twenties, with slightly wild beards, Bruno, Lucas and Pedro belong to the Argentine community of Copenhagen. In their albiceleste tunic, they discover another world: “People are adorable, they love Messi so much that we are constantly stopped in the street to pose for photos, like famous people! » The friends find “expensive 15 dollar beer (€14.50) »but made up their minds: “This World Cup will be detox! » They will go to the Fanta during their evening concert, that of the Colombian Maluma.
Supporters from all countries mingle in the street. (N. Luttiau/The Team)
Lazrag, he belongs to the Tunisian army, the many expatriates in Doha have seen their ranks swell for a week. “I arrived from Tunis at three o’clock in the morning, said the 27-year-old supporter. It’s afternoon, I wake up again, quiet. We’re going to have coffee. And after, I don’t sleep for a month, we’re going to go crazy here. Qatar is Tunisia, brother! »
A few meters away, workers refresh themselves with plastic jerrycans, others polish a few facades with a trowel. “You see a massive investment to make everything work”, breathes Francisco, a 56-year-old Mexican. Placed like a ghutra, a tricolor of his country serves as a headdress for this executive of a large company, who came from Panama for his ninth World Cup. While he is aiming for twenty matches at the stadium, he cannot believe this “amazing metro, where you can eat on the floor”then asks: “In Russia, from Sochi to Yekaterinburg, you spent your life on airplanes. Here, everything will take place in the same city. I don’t know how they will do when the fans from all over the world are here. Tuesday, there are four matches in the same day! Will infrastructure follow? » His questions are carried away by a warm wind, which carries a jungle version of “Bring the Cup home”.