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NICOLE KINNEY

Goodbye Dubai

By Dubai

Let’s catch-up on our study abroad journey through Dubai.  I was looking forward to our visit with the Department of Tourism and Marketing.  I did find the discussion there very interesting. We learned that it has not all been smooth sailing in the rapid development in Dubai, how they plan to catch-up infrastructure, and plan for the continued re-branding and new market expansion.  These are things that I will take to heart and incorporate into my own career strategy when dealing with difficult times. We also had the chance to visit with the digital media team.

DTCM

Finally I made it to Expo 2020, the visit I was most looking forward to.  I learned great information and would still like to visit again during the Expo.  A visit in 2018 would probably have provided more concrete programming ideas that could relate back to my profession in event management.  Expo 2020 is still so far in the future they are still working on building, utilities, and legacy planning for after the Expo.

We visited Ski Dubai I found the staffing to fall short here compared to all the other customer service experiences provided throughout Dubai.  I conquered the cold and participated in all the snow park events.  I did make a snowball, but it was nothing to the snowball I took to the face from a little boy in line.

Ski

Two new activities to report since the last time were the visit to L’altelier des Chefs of Dubai and the Desert Safari and Dinner Show.  The dinner was quite interesting and gave me a chance to utilize the proper cooking techniques I learned during my FIU cooking class.  The chef was also different then most of the other interactions in that he was looking forward to leaving Dubai and return to Istanbul.

Cooking

The finale event to our trip was a Desert Safari and Dinner Show.  While I loved the dune driving, the trip was extremely rough for my motion sickness.  We had the chance to watch the sunset over the dunes and even with all of us there it was still such an isolated area and you could imagine no one had ever been there before.

Desert Sunset

After sunset we had a short drive to the base camp.  I really wanted to try the dune surfing, but I was not feeling up to it by the time the driving was done.  Even though there was no show since it was a holiday, much fun was had by all.  We enjoyed camel riding, hookahs, henna tattooing, and star gazing.  I also was delighted by the fact that base camp had been invaded by a litter of gray tabby kittens.

So this concludes our adventures in Dubai.  Hopefully the friends we made are not fleeting and we keep in touch.  While Dubai was grand, I think its character can be repeated by all of us if we strive to please in our hospitality careers and remember that their theme of “nothing is impossible.”

P.S.  While I have never needed it in the past, there will definitely be prescription Dramamine for all future flights.  Apologies if you got stuck next to me while we experienced turbulence into or out of Atlanta.

 

Here in Dubai…

By Dubai

The class has made it to Dubai.  Hooray!  If I ever visit again, I want a luxury flying experience.  The day spent on travel to arrive here for me was not fabulous.  On the first leg, I got ill and the second flight I was situated in between a teenager who thought my seat was his arm and leg room and a family with three children under the age of five.

The hotel so far has been excellent.  There are some curious differences, but that is what makes this type of travel fun, and all the staff have been super helpful.

In my first entry I mentioned that I was looking forward to our visit to the Bastakiya area and I just wanted to recap that my favorite part of that visit was the bamboo home in the yard of the Dubai Museum.  Our guide, Mozhgan, explained how they would wet down the fabric vents in the towers to help cool down the home. I was disappointed in the souk shopping. I thought it would be more local goods and I found the vendors were really aggressive with trying to sell their products.  All of this increases my knowledge-base in regards to the local culture.  The souks I now view as only a tourist area that locals don’t patronize.

Historic HomeFabric Vents

 

The next educational experience that I am looking forward to is the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing presentation. How did Dubai,in the last forty years, go from a little known desert community to a metropolis of luxury and one of the top five world travel destinations.  As an example of what I hope to find out:  Was it only the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision that lead the UAE to become a tourist mega attraction?  Did they always dream of the massive number of visitors and plan their infrastructure from the beginning to support it?   Why do they feel they are so successful in drawing the tourist dollars to Dubai?  Is it only because the government was able to leverage their oil profits into funding of such necessary projects such as reclaiming land to build such projects as the Palm Island.  How does the DTCM expect to hold the market and increase share now that they are so saturated?

I would love to be able to take a small part of their ideas and be able to incorporate them into helping expand our market attraction at work.  While I am in a position of event management, I still need to be able to connect to my customer base and provide them an experience to remember — and here in Dubai, they are not only succeeding in this but exceeding.

Later that same day we went to ski!  I am way too uncoordinated to actually ski, but the class will have a chance to visit the Ski Dubai indoor slope and snow park at the Mall of the Emirates.  It is unfathomably that I have never seen snow.  I guess since I am a Florida baby, I find it a little intimidating.  While I primarily serve a Caribbean market, you can never tell where life will take you.  So maybe this introduction will serve to inspire me to try another cold, wet…no I mean wonderful white Christmas vacation.  I am sure it will be a time to remember.  The penguin encounter or snowball making is about my skill level and speed. (Not Buddy the Elf speed though.)

Elf

Come back to find out if I fell flat trying this new experience.  I will follow up on how my experiences were met, surpassed or fell short for the Expo 2020, DTCM, and Ski Dubai discussed in the previous blogs.  I will also discuss two new experiences L’altelier des Chefs of Dubai and the Desert Safari and Dinner Show.

Prepping for Dubai

By Dubai

I am so excited, it is almost time to go.  I have been setting small things aside to pack for awhile, but now both suitcases are out and I have paid for the final portion of the class, which makes it all the more real.  I am not thrilled about being on airplanes and in airports for a day to get there, but here is hoping everything runs smoothly.  I have been downloading apps (See Momo WorldTime App pictured below.) and testing my tech prior to our flight.  I can’t find part of my travel adapter/ converter so I guess I will be running an errand to buying another one AGAIN.

Time Zone App Yuck, look at that time difference.

The educational visit that I am so anticipating is the Expo 2020 Dubai. I am studying event management at FIU so this is the insider’s tour for the ultimate in event planning.  I hope to gain some excellent insights in how they are staging this event that I will be able to re-purpose in my current job of Event and Exhibit Coordinator of the South Cluster for Broward County Libraries.   I know that is a super long title, but it came with the position.

World Expos are not only a one time event, but similar to hosting the Olympics they help transform neighbors for the future use of the locals.  The 2020 Expo will begin Dubai’s Golden Jubilee celebration.  The theme is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”  New plan, I need to visit Dubai again between October 2020 and April 2021 to see how the Expo turns out — who is up for a reunion trip?

2-Dubai-Expo_Birds-Eye-Evening---Credit-HOK Aerial Night View of Expo 2020

A very tourist activity that I am looking forward to is visiting the historic area of Dubai Al Bastakiya.  When I visit a new country I always liked to start with viewing their past because I feel like it gives you a greater connection to their culture,  so I am thrilled that this is how we begin.  This area dates back to 1890 and, while it is maintained by the government now, it was almost lost in the 1980’s.  At that time half of the district was demolished in order to build government offices.  The remaining area was also scheduled to be demolished at the end of the decade, but according to Wikipedia was saved by the activities of British architect Rayner Otter and Prince Charles. Pictured below are the wind towers that were how homes were air conditioned in the past and a greater number of towers were a sign of prosperity.  Located in the area nearby is the creek and our abra ferries to the souks. Shopping!

Bastakiya in Old Dubai Wind Towers in Al Bastakiya

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