The trip began on Tuesday Evening at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Throughout the afternoon and early evening the thirty of us began to gather at the Emirates check-in and started to prepare for the long journey that lay ahead. After checking our bags in and clearing security, we headed to gate A-6 where we waited to board our flight. Emirates is considered by many to be one of the greatest airlines in the world, which excited many of us. What made the flight even better was we were going to fly on the Airbus A-380, the largest plane in the sky. With over 500 passengers and two full decks, the 380 is nothing short of a beast. Unfortunately what does go along with 512 passengers on one flight is a very long boarding process. We began the boarding process around 10 PM, however our plane did not push back from the gate until around 11:15. The flight crew did their final safety checks as the plane proceeded out to the runway, and then we heard that infamous quote, “flight attendants prepare for takeoff”. Seconds later, the four powerful engines started to roar and the A380 took off down the runway. Aside from a few large bumps over the Atlantic Ocean, the eleven + hour flight remained peaceful and quiet. At 7:33 PM Wednesday evening, the wheels to our Emirates aircraft touched down at the Dubai International Airport and everyone got very excited. We had arrived in the Middle East and our new journey lay ahead.

Our entire group de-boarded from the plane and we proceeded to the baggage claim area and customs. To my surprise, customs in the UAE is very relaxed. We did not fill out any customs forms or provide any documentation for our trip. The customs official asked for our passports, inquired how long we would be in the UAE, and sent us on our way. We then walked to the baggage caracal where many anxious minutes lay in front of us. Nobody expected to get thirty checked bags from numerous destinations across the United States to JFK and then to Dubai, however we all were proven wrong. Nobody lost their luggage and everyone remained in tired, but good sprits as we left the airport. Thankfully, the airport is only a short ride from downtown Dubai which allowed us to arrive at the hotel quickly. A few people including both of our professors were not going to let jetlag hold them back from exploring the town on our first night. About half the group left the hotel to walk around, eat some delicious food, and explore part of this marvelous city. The other half knew they only wanted to do one thing, go to sleep, and sleep is what they did.

On our first true morning in Dubai we began our day at 7am in the dining hall of  The Golden Sands eating the complementary Continental breakfast but with an Arabian twist with a few dishes that were very uniquely Arabian. At 8am we departed the hotel loaded on the tour bus for InterCoil one of the regions biggest mattress manufacturing companies for our first business visit. On the way we had our fist up close view of the city. We all had our faces pressed to the window staring at the world’s tallest tower the Burj Kalifa, as well as the other completely unique buildings in the heart of downtown. The city seems futuristic, as the oldest buildings are less than 40 years, having been raised from the desert virtually over night. At InterCoil we were greeted by the Managing Director Hassan; Al-Hazeem who walked us through the process and history of his company. While we drooled over the baby blue California Edition Ferrari in the parking lot, we were ushered onto the factory floor for a step-by-step walk though of the manufacturing process. Our next visit was to a company called Hera who manufactured ventilation systems and had survived the building burst of 2008. Their strategy gave us a broad view of the region and the business practices of the Gulf and its close relationship with India. Ajay Bhandoola of HSBC Financial Services gave us even more insight into the business of the region and its close ties and history with India (the Indian Rupee was the currency for many of the Gulf nations at one time). After returning to the Golden Sands we prepared to go out and see the city at night many of us by taking a quick nap… still suffering the effects of the 9 hour time swing. See You all tomorrow,

 

Morgan and Drew

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