OK, bear with me. I am picky about language. I dance with joy to see that the Qatar press no longer uses “flay” on a daily basis; it is a strong word, a word that literally means ‘to skin’, and it was often used when one team triumphed over another, like Arsenal Flays Manchester, or some such, even if the victory was just points.
“No! No!” I would shake my head in horror, “please stop! Use some restraint! Choose the right word!”
But when it comes to rain, the press vocabulary seems stunted, and once again, predictably, we were treated to a ‘lashing’.
Think about it. It’s a strong word. What does lashing rain look like?
A lashing rain is blowing in bursts, coming at you sometimes at almost a 90° angle, an umbrella is useless. A lashing rain can hurt your face, it hits so hard, a lashing rain is heavily wind blown. A lashing rain has FORCE behind it.
What we had in Doha was a steady, drenching rain. At no time did it exceed an angle of maybe 15%; almost 100% of the time the rain came steadily down. Maybe it streamed. Maybe it soaked. Maybe it even flooded. But lashing? No. No. It was never lashing. There was no great wind behind it, no great force. It gently, steadily dripped. It accumulated. It never never lashed.
One year, for my birthday, we were having dinner at Le Mer, at the Ritz Carleton, when all of a sudden, the best fireworks display I have ever seen took place on the Corniche. Qatar spares no expense when it comes to fireworks, and this upcoming display sounds like it is not to be missed.
I am such a kid when it comes to fireworks. We’ll buy some felafel sandwiches and head for a good viewing spot, us and thousands like us, on Friday night. See you there.
From today’s Gulf Times
Fireworks: a fitting finale to festivities
By Sarmad Qazi
The Corniche will be turned into a grand open theatre with spectators looking heavenwards as spectacular fireworks, a fitting finale to Qatar’s National Day celebrations, will take on a journey through the desert for about 17 minutes.
“This is arguably one of the best fireworks site in the world. From the Museum (of Islamic Arts) to Sheraton, you’ve got a naturally-arched theatre to show a story to crowds of thousands,” said a spokesman for Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, the company behind the grand finale that caps festivities across the country.
Speaking to Gulf Times from the base camp in the Palm Tree Island, Andrew Howard said the “extremely choreographed” show would begin with scenes of desert, gradually transforming the sky over the Corniche into a colourful canvas, and ending with maroon and white, the Qatari national colours.
“The pyrotechnics will go off from over 18 different points across the bay. People will be able to see the show from all directions,” Howard said aboard a motorboat as his crew started taking out the pontoons to the sea.
According to him, there will be shooting stars, where as they are called in the industry “UFOs”, spin, cascade down, and then shoot back up again, giant pearls; this is where the sky turns silver, and rainbow colours that trail each other from one end of the Corniche to another.
“The whole show will perfectly synchronise with a specially-produced music soundtrack for the National Day,” Howard said.
The Australian company also conducted fireworks for last year’s National Day show as well as the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in November. According to Howard, Friday’s show will be “by far the biggest in Qatar.”
Since the beginning of December, a crew of 24 has been fixing mortar tubes, handling thousands of shells, and sorting out other logistics at the firing site at Palm Island.
The mortar tube is where the firework shells are loaded inside a cylinder with a black powder lifting charge at the base; the largest shells are the size of a basketball while the smallest ones are about a tennis ball. Inside the shells are various pyrotechnic compositions to produce different colours.
“The shells came from Australia, China and Spain. A good 20% of the budget goes towards marine resources,” he said.