Two Weeks Abroad: Day Four – Dubai

I’ve only flown on one Emirates flight, but I’m certain that the airline is one of the best. Between the flight attendants’ cute yet professional uniforms and the amazing customer service, there isn’t too much to complain about. So you can imagine just how excited I was when we got to tour the Emirates Training Centre.

As our bus rumbled up to the training centre, we caught a glimpse of a building designed to look an airplane. Eagerly, we leaned out the windows holding up our phones so that we could snap a picture. When we got off the bus, I felt disappointed that the building we were going into wasn’t the same building as the airplane shaped one. However, the disappointment quickly dissipated once we entered the training centre. If you looked up sleek and elegant designs online, I would not be surprised if the Emirates Training Centre was one of the top results. My jaw was hanging on the floor as we walked through the lobby. The floors were so shiny I could’ve eaten off of them.

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A couple of security guards gave us security badges than ushered us upstairs where we listened to a presentation about the background of Emirates. We learned that Emirates had made profits every year of operation, except the second. We also learned that when Emirates was founded, it was in a competitive market. The airline company had to differentiate themselves quickly to gain and maintain their success. They were the first airline to offer back-seat entertainment systems, and first class/business class showers on flights.

When the presentation was over, we got a quick tour of the facilities so that we could learn exactly what it takes to be an Emirates flight attendant. Initially, I thought that being a flight attendant was not complicated; it was essentially a waitress that worked on an airplane instead of a restaurant. How hard could it possibly be? Apparently, it’s really hard. Emirates only accepts applicants above the age of 21 who have a history of working as a flight attendant. Their hiring process is extremely selective: only about 5% of applicants get accepted to work for Emirates. Once flight attendants are hired, they’re immediately entered in crisis management training. They’re put into a large room with simulation planes that mimic the feeling of turbulence, high-jackings, crashes, fires, and other scenarios. If flight attendants cannot pass this part of the test, then they’re sent home. The flight attendants that do make it through training begin their hospitality training. They learn how to wait on passengers on the plane, and how to handle uncomfortable situations. Then they’re taught how to present themselves. They learn how to apply their makeup, how to maintain clear skin, how to maintain neat nail beds, how to wear their uniform, and how to wear their hair. Honestly, I don’t think I’d last two seconds as a flight attendant.

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Following our Emirates visit, we rode the bus to the Nakheel office. Nakheel is a real estate developer that’s government owned in Dubai. They’ve been placed in charge of many iconic projects such as the Palm Jumierah, The World, and many others. Nakheel was hired because Dubai wanted to add waterfront properties, but lacked the proper amount of coastline to do it. They decided to create man made islands that would increase the Dubai coastline to 800 kilometers. The Palm Jumierah and the World are man made islands meant to help increase the flow of tourism to Dubai. The Palm Jumierah has 4,000 residential units, all of which sold out during the first 72 hours that they went on sale. They also have a subsea tunnel that leads from the palms to the hotels that are on the outer rim. Expedia named the Palm Jumierah as a “must see destination”. The World is three hundred islands that are arranged in the shape of the world. Nakheel sold a large percentage of the islands to private investors who will use the islands to create private houses and other properties. Nakheel plans on using the following islands as hubs to lead to the other islands. After learning about the islands, we got to go on a boat and ride out to the islands to see them in person.

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That night, we went out to eat at the Dubai Mall. The place was so big that most of our group got lost on the way. Usually, malls are usually in my comfort zone, but at the Dubai Mall, I felt way out of my element. Everywhere we went was crowded, and each hallway looked exactly like the last. Then when we finally got to the restaurant, the waiters began loading our tables with heaps and heaps of shrimp. While my friends were all stuffing their mouths with food, I had to awkwardly sit there and nibble on bread because of my shellfish allergy.

Luckily, things started to look up once we left the Dubai Mall. We went to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We got to up to the observation deck to take photos and just enjoy the view of Dubai. Usually, I’m terrified of heights, but seeing Dubai laid out beneath me had a calming affect. The twinkling lights looked absolutely beautiful.

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Following our Burj Kahlifa visit, we headed down to the pier where we got aboard a cruise ship that we rented out. The ship looked so beautiful. It was covered in twinkling red, blue, yellow, and green lights. The dim lighting and music in the background made the atmosphere made everything feel intimate. Eventually, someone put on dancing music and everyone crowded the back of the ship to dance. The energy was so high and upbeat that I felt sad when we had to leave the boat, but I knew that the upbeat energy would return the next day during New Years Eve.

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