Day 275 | First day in Dubai

Day 275 | Wednesday December 14

The first real day in Dubai. We had to sort out some practical stuff like getting a SIM card, a pass for the tollways and other small issues.

When we got to the car in the morning (which was parked in the apartment’s garage) we found out someone had pulled the plug. Jan Willem talked to the security and they told it was not allowed as the electricity is shared here. We had to drive to another place to talk about it from where we were sent to another place. We would do that later. The car was fully charged tough so no problems for today.

At the Marina Mall Jan Willem sponsored me with a SIM card so now I can be always online and make phone calls etc in the UAE. Because that’s what you can do with a SIM card. Be sure to follow me on Instagram because I’m posting a lot of photos and videos during the whole day and everyday at Insta Moments.

Introduction to Dubai
JW wanted to give me a ‘proper’ introduction to the city so we had lunch at the Dubai Marina. The Marina is a district in one of the centers of Dubai. Like almost every district in Dubai this area is completely man-made. They had to dig out the canals and harbor and it’s the biggest watersport and living project in the world. 

We had lunch at Pier 7 with a beautiful look-out over the Marina. For me it’s a culture shock. The past 5 weeks I was eating traditional lunches on the floor of clay-made houses in rural areas of Iran and now I am in the middle of this luxury life. Greg, a friend and business partner of JW joined us and we had some interesting talks about the city.

Global EVRT
In the afternoon I had a meeting with the guys from Global EVRT (Electric Vehicle Road Trip). They heard about my project and invited me to join the EVRT which takes place from the 29th of January till the 1st of February. It’s a road trip through all the 7 emirates with only fully electric cars. During the 3 days many events and congresses are organized to promote sustainable mobility. Today we met each other to introduce ourselves and talk about our projects. The guys are all very passionate about electric cars and it’s potential. We have a lot of matching goals so it is very interesting for me to join this tour.

Stunning views at the Marina
After the meeting I headed back to Pier 7 were the guys were still eating and enjoying themselves. Later we moved to a bar on the roof of the building. While I already had a nice view on the 4th floor it got even more stunning here. It’s unbelievable how big and fancy everything is here. Around midnight we called it a night.

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Day 274 | Entering the Emirates

Day 274 | Tuesday December 13

After a few weeks of silence on this blog I am back. Due to some restrictions in Iran I was not allowed to publish articles about my adventures in this country. I can say that I had the time of my life here. Iran’s nature is beautiful, there were many things to do but what made it really special was the people I’ve met here. Everywhere I came I was welcomed with open arms, people are very hospitable and kind and it was a very unique and unforgettable experience to be here.

On Monday evening I got on a ferry from Bandar Abbas, a city on the Persian Gulf. At 9 in the morning the ship arrived at Port Khalid in Sharjah, 50km from Dubai. I could almost not hold my eyes open as I didn’t close them much last night. Even tough I had 3 chairs for myself which I fully used, these Iranians like to snore a lot which kept me awake.

It was not until 11 that we were allowed to disembark. First the woman were ‘released’, than the containers and eventually the man. A weird process. With a bus we were taken the the passport control, for Dutch citizens they offer a free visa on arrival which is valid for 90 days. They seem to be nice for Europeans, all the Iranians needed to get their eyes checked, we didn’t need to do that. Probably they know about the good quality of carrots in Europe.

Custom-checks
After the passport-check a long and unclear process followed. First we needed to wait for the shipper. I am talking about ‘we’ as I met some other Europeans who were traveling by car as well. A German couple with a huge truck, an Austrian couple with a van and a French couple. I needed to pay the shipper 410 dirham, which is around 100 euro. Luckily I have some money now and could use the ATM again. Than there was a long process of document-checks, stamp here, stamp there, signature at another office and back again. I don’t know how many kilometers I walked today but I burned a lot of calories.

It was not until 4pm that I finally got to see the car. I worried a lot about her condition. The car already shipped separately from me and left already on Sunday. The car is very low and I already saw that the ramp to and off the ferry was very steep and the car could not have made this. The batteries are underneath the car and if these hit an object it can get seriously damaged. From the outside she looked great and on the display I couldn’t find any abnormalities about the inside so she seemed to have survived without a scratch. When I received the keys to the car I still couldn’t leave the port. The car needed to go through an X-Ray scanner. Just like when you break you leg but a few sizes bigger. After this I got another stamp and could pick up my exit-pass. When I left the gate it was 5pm. Just when I passed the gate I realized I had left luggage in the office of the shipper. I was not allowed back into the harbor with the car so I needed to walk 2km, walk back with the luggage, pass the custom-checks again and now I could really leave, another hour had passed. This day I lost about 800 dirham, which is around 200 euro. A big loss.

Entering Dubai
So I started driving towards Dubai. When I left 274 days ago I had no idea where this journey would bring me so that I arrived now in the Emirates is really something special. The highway to the center of the city was exactly what I expected: huge skyscrapers on both sides, posh cars passing me and flashy LED lights everywhere.

My host for today and the coming days in Jan Willem, a Dutchie. I got in touch with him through a friend from Haarlem who works as cabin crew for Emirates here and is flying at the moment. My host lives at the famous Palm Island, you know the island in the shape of a palmtree. For me this was always something unreachable as it’s bloody expensive and far away. Very special that I’m spending a few days here.

My new host
Around 7 I rang Jan Willem’s doorbell. He is a friendly guy and works for a Dutch investment company. He has a housemate, Andrew, a 54 year old. The apartments here are luxurious, seriously luxurious. Each building has a supermarket, gym, beach, spa, some stores and a restaurant. In this restaurant we had a great dinner and a cold beer. That last one especially made me happy since I didn’t had that for many weeks.

Here in The Emirates are no filters on social media and the internet connection is very fast here. From now one you will see daily updates on this website and my socials like you were used too.

Dream come true! I arrived in Dubai this morning and tonight I'm sleeping at the world famous palm island! I'm staying…

Posted by Plug Me In on Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2016

The plan for Dubai
About the coming period. I need to find a way to ship the car to India which is very expensive and I don’t have the money for that at the moment. In the coming days I have some meetings with companies and I’m hoping they are interested in sponsoring this. If not I would need to start a crowdfunding campaign or find a job to earn the money. Also I had a request to join an event about electric cars which takes place at the end of January, I havent decided yet if I will join but it seems very interesting.
In eater way I am going to be in Dubai for a few weeks as there is also a lot going on sustainability wise. This part didn’t really work out in the past few countries so I will pay some more attention to that.

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