Adventures in Arabia

Adventures in Arabia

On the way back from Guam I stopped through Dubai, UAE to meet up with some old friends at the international events company I worked for doing hospitality for the Beijing Torch Relay and Olympic Games in 2008.

2008 torch relay and olympic games hospitality team in Beijing

A few friends from the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay and Olympic Games hospitality team in Beijing with the torch

This October our team facilitated activities and hospitality for Dubai’s bid for world Expo2020.  The city (and our team) must’ve done a good job- in the second round of voting Dubai beat out the other cities to host the Expo by a landslide.  Maybe our team will be back there in a few more years helping out some more.  The job and city were both fast-paced and rooted in luxury, a stark but somewhat refreshing contrast to the slow pace of the cruising months.  Slightly different attire too.   Swimsuits and board shorts to suits and heels.
I was so busy at work, usually with a few tasks simultaneously,  I don't even remember someone taking this picture ...with my camera.

I was so busy at work, usually with a few tasks simultaneously, I don’t even remember someone taking this picture …with my camera.

In event planning you work with such short spurts of time, in which you create a maximized and memorable and genuine experience for others.  So your experience of it, people’s reactions to what you have built for them, and the camaraderie you build as a team are also so concentrated.  I can totally understand why so many of my event management friends are addicted to this high.  The whole week was exhausting and, at times, chaotic but absolutely a blast.
The Burj Al Arab lit for the Expo bid

The Burj Al Arab lit for the Expo bid

After the event I explored more of Dubai and travelled to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain with friends I had met during the event.  Big thanks to Didier for the company and a ride to Abu Dhabi and to Sandy for unimaginable hospitality and a place to stay in Dubai.  Some pictures from my five days of solo exploration.
The beauty of the desert was by far favorite part of the entire trip.  And although it might be considered the ‘opposite’ of the ocean, I think it’s the familiar similarities that I found so captivating and comforting.
I very much enjoyed this quote which I stumbled upon in Al Ain as part of an exhibit of stunning photographs taken by traveler, Mr. Wilfred Thesiger, who joined bedouins and crossed the Empty Quarter in the 1940’s.  I imagine it might fit the desert sandy or the desert blue (the ocean).