After some weeks of silence I felt the need to pick up the blog again. I had some great weeks with the team of Global EVRT. Ap part of the event team I helped organize the first ever Emirates Electric Vehicle Road Trip which was a big success. The event took place at the end of January and worked for another week when it was finished. I will publish an article about this adventure later, now I will continue with my experiences in and around Dubai.
Day 339 | Friday February 17
A few weeks ago I had the honor to meet Abdul Aziz al Nuani, aka The Green Sheikh. He is a member of the Ajman royal family and has made many efforts on the environment in the UAE and beyond. I interviewed him about his vision on sustainability and after that he asked me to come back today. He was hosting 22 students from the United States and also asked some of his friends to give a presentation on sustainability or other forms of energy.
The Green Sheikh lives in Ajman which is one of the 7 emirates and about a 50 minute drive from my home. When I arrived at his residence his friends were already there and I was welcomed in a big room with many artifacts he gathered over the years. Including huge animal teeth and the neck of a giraffe.
Later all the students joined us, they were from various places in the US and had different backgrounds. We started with laughing sessions, which was seriously funny, of course, and awkward. Later I had the opportunity to share my story.
After the presentations we went with volunteering with the whole group, the sheikh promotes volunteering very actively. With the group we handed out food bags to homeless people.
Day 340 | Saturday February 18
Together with Abdul Aziz, 3 US students and Colleen (who works for the Green Sheikh) we went for breakfast in a traditional Emirati restaurant. Great food they serve here! It’s kind of a mix with a lot of meat, veggies and some spicy food. After ‘dessert’ they brought us some traditional kind of perfume. 4 different bottles were served on a plate heated by charcoal.
After breakfast we visited the Ajman museum where was shown how the family of Abdul Aziz lived here years ago and it tells the story of the emirate.
The plan for today was actually to go to the desert to clean-up waste but yesterday it started raining. Yes rain in the UAE, it’s something very unique and I had the honor to be part of it. So instead of doing the clean up we went to the dessert in Ras Al Khaimah for a jungle safari!
Man I love desserts, there is something special about this eternal area of nothing but sand and some lost trees. I was driving with Katie, one of the students and we were not sure about where to go as the navigation didn’t really work in this area and we lost the car we were following. After about a 30-minute drive with nothing than sand besides us a runner passed the car. We stopped and asked him if we were on the right way, “yes you are” he answered in Dutch and told me he recognized me. Apparently this Dutch guy had seen me on social media and now even in the middle of the desert I get recognized, amazing.
We arrived at this cute village in the middle of the village. It felt a bit like these dreamy idyllic oasis’ you see in movies. A few tipi’s were people were smoking shisha while camels passed by, great sight. So than we went for the jungle safari, with a 4×4 cruising through the dessert, dune bashing as they call it. Pretty amazing experience, it’s like your floating over the dunes.
After a crazy hour of hitting the sandwaves we relaxed at the desert village, rode camels and headed back home.
Day 341 | Sunday February 19
Last Sunday I was contacted by Michelin Middle East. They heard through a contact at Renault whom I met during the EVRT that I was in the need for new tyres. In Turkey I switched the front tyres but I found out that those were in not so good condition and with the though countries coming up I thought it would be safe to switch to new ones. The people at Michelin were really good in helping me out, on Wednesday I could come by at TyrePlus and replaced my old tyres with brand new ones. Great service and a very nice gesture too!
Today the Michelin team invited me at their office. Because sustainable mobility is important for them they were very keen to hear more about my experiences. For the whole team I explained how I came up with the idea, what I have been doing in the past months and my experiences with the electric car. When I tell my story everyone is always very excited which makes it a lot of fun to give these presentations.
Note: I won’t post a daily blog yet. At the moment I am still working from ‘home’, at my temporary appartement in the Sustainable City. I am doing a lot of work: preparations for the next stages and catching up with work I should have done in the past months. So not every day is full of excitement. My visa runs out the 12th of March so than I really need to leave the country. It’s still not sure how I will leave the country but I hope to have a solution this week. Keep an eye on this space. When I will reach India I will start with making daily videos and found a way to make them way more exciting!