Day 288 | Tuesday December 27

Adnane and his father in law took me to a traditional market. On these markets you can buy anything: fruits, toys, vegetables but they can here to buy dates. Dates are a speciality from this region and the quality is high. From here they export them to anywhere around the world but the preserve them they cover it with a layer of glucose if I remember correctly which lowers the taste. It’s interesting to visit a market like this as it’s a big contrast with the huge malls.

In the afternoon I said goodbye to this nice family who took care of me really well and left to a new place: the sustainable city. The sustainable city is an area in Dubai which just have been finished and aims to be an international model for sustainable living. In the coming days I will find out how they do that.

The organizers of the Global EVRT are based in the Sustainable City and one they had a room left were I can stay for a while. For me it’s great to have a place for my own. I love to be around people but the only thing I miss this journey is a bit if privacy. Besides that I don’t need to be social at the time and have some space to relax, perfect!

Day 289 | Wednesday December 28

Last week I was contacted by Sofitel Dubai Downtown, they heard I was here and invited me for christmas brunch and a swim in their pool. That they I couldn’t make it but luckily I could come by today. The hotel is based in downtown which is the business district and area were all the huge skyscrapers are, including Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

After I left the car the charge in their garage I was led to their swimming pool on the 5th floor. Probably one of the most beautifulest I have been. When hanging over the edge of the pool you could see all of the downtown. Friendly waiters served me spring rolls to start, a burger as main course and a strawberry creme brulee as dessert, all my batteries had been recharged.

In the afternoon I met Laure and Carole from the Sofitel. They told me about the Planet 21 program of the AccorHotels. AccorHotels has thousands of hotels all over the world with millions of visitors. They find it important to reduce the carbon footprint and also teach their guests about sustainable aspects in an interesting way. For example guest could choose to not wash their linnen and instead plant a tree. Because with not washing linnen money will be saved which could be used for this cause. The social aspect of sustainability is also part of the program. In the Sofitel they asked children from the local Dubai center for Special needs what their dreams are. These wishes are written on cards which can be seen on the christmas tree in the lobby. Visitors can help with fulfilling these wishes.

Time for a little road trip to Abu Dhabi. Last week at the Dutchies meeting I met Lainish who is organizer of the Dutch in Abu Dhabi Club, he invited me to come to the ‘Oliebollen Party.’ An oliebol is a Dutch delicatesse. It’s basically fried dough with a lot of sugar. We only eat this at new years eve as it’s to fat to eat daily but it’s really good. I met some other Dutch people there, with some of them I was already in touch and most of them already heard about my story.

In Abu Dhabi I was in contact with Berend who has some sustainable projects in the city. He was not at the party but offered me a place to stay at his catamaran. The boat was located in the marina and it was a 30 minute drove from the Westin hotel were the party was. It got very foggy and I could only see 10 meters in front of me. I arrived there after midnight and Victor, a very friendly guy was waiting for me. It was a challenge to connect the car as the car was parked about 30 meters from the boat but we managed to do so.

My bed for tonight was the shippers cabin. This trip I slept in beds, tents, in the the car, on the floor and in a tent but a boat was the first time. I love sleeping in boats as I fall a sleep very quickly when the boat moves with the waves, so I did now.