Friday 21 March 2014

Last night, I had asked Nada if she would be willing to take us to the beach early this morning and she said yes! So today I was up at 7 to eat a quick breakfast and then headed off to the beach with Nada and Emilia.

Unfortunately the beach was pretty underwhelming at this early hour. First of all, there wasn’t that much sunshine because the sun was hidden behind the ginormous beachfront buildings. In addition, there were a lot of dead (and live) jellyfish in and around the water and the waves were tiny/nonexistent.

Nonetheless, it was really nice being by the water, even if I was only in it for about 20 minutes. (Oddly enough, the jellyfish seemed to go away and the waves appeared to get bigger as time went on). We then came back to the hotel (and of course I had a second breakfast!) We met the other Harvard students and then were off to AUD to learn Arabic.

Arabic is a beautiful language (both when spoken and written) but it is incredibly difficult to learn! We ended up just writing our names and leaning some basic greetings. However, our teacher (another AUD student) was able to write our names beautifully in Arabic calligraphy, as well.

After that lesson, we headed to The Change Initiative. This is one of the coolest stores I have ever been to. First of all, it is literally one of the most energy efficient building in the world (a fact that the CEO just casually mentioned when he spoke to all of us!) Which brings me to my second point – the CEO is a boss. Seriously, though, from growing up in a slum in India to graduating from multiple Ivy League schools to failing (and then really, really succeeding!) at starting companies, he has done a lot in his life.

The Change Initiative is his favorite project and (tying in perfectly with our conference’s theme) is all about sustainability. All the products that they sell are recycled and they have a café where they serve homemade food. On top of that, they also offer sustainability consulting to other companies to help them save money and the environment!

We then headed back to AUD for an Iranian chicken and rice lunch, which was good but huge! After, we piled into the bus and headed to Global Village.

Global Village is essentially Disney’s Epcott on steroids. Everything in Dubai is larger than life, and Global Village is no exception! Part of it is an amusement park, and the other part is divided into different pavilions for different countries. Each country/pavilion has many shops inside, selling things from spices to clothing to specialty trinkets. It was quite an overwhelming experience, but it was fascinating to see local crafts from all around the world without having to go too far!

After global village, we headed back home and then Brenna, Wael, Marina, Chaza, Sara, Chiragh and I headed to one of the local beaches to hang out. It was so nice just chilling on the beach, reminiscing about the Harvard and Dubai conference (since this was our last full night in Dubai!)

Sara then drove me back to the hotel, and I was able to start packing and get some work done.

TGT: 1) Early morning beach excursion 2) Hanging out at the beach at night 3) seeing and learning about the Change Initiative

Until next time,

~JK 

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