For scores of foreign football fans, the road to the World Cup in Doha starts every morning at a campsite in the middle of the desert.
Visitors who found hotels in central Doha booked up or far beyond their budget have settled for the faraway, tent village in Al Khor, where there are no locks on tents or alcohol for purchase. Others simply wanted an adventure.
On Wednesday, a DJ blasted electronic dance music as a smattering of fans lounged on beanbags, sipped sodas and gazed up at screens, around an hour from Doha.
Some said they enjoyed the setting, but lamented the transportation arrangements.
“If you go into transportation they provide, it’s like a mess, because you have to take one bus, then another bus, then get to the Lusail train station,” said Paola Bernal from Mexico.
Meanwhile at the Free Zone Fan Village, in the desert south of Doha, fans were lugging suitcases across large swaths of artificial turf under the glare of stadium lights.
The manufactured cabins are some of the cheapest available accommodation, starting at roughly $200 a night.
“Hospitality is very poor. Very poor. We came here in the morning, but we stood on a queue for a very long time just to get our rooms. And when we got our rooms, it was all messy,” said Aman Mohammed from India.
Every few minutes, planes fly over the village to the old airport, which has been reopened to handle daily shuttle flights to the tournament.