Saturday, 22 November 2008

Dubai - another country to explore!

I joined a UK Trade and Investment mission from the Northwest to Dubai for almost a week.
The idea was to meet with people who may be interested in what I have to offer. Clive Gott came with me and our aim was to present our talks as individuals and as a partnership. In past years Clive has worked in Dubai and had loved it.
We joined a lovely group of business people and UKTI staff and from the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

Other colleagues from the Professional Speakers Association had also told us that it was 'the' place to speak, so we arrived full of enthusiasm.

Unfortunately it did not prove as successful as we had anticipated. I found it to be a concrete jungle! I did not like the traffic jams; going from air-con to air-con environment and everything was so expensive! The meetings I had expected did not happen and I felt that postnatal illness and mental health is not as recognised as in the UK and to make a huge difference in Dubai I would have to spend a great deal of time, PR and marketing to make it successful. For the time being it is not likely to be be high on my list but if I do go back to Australia next autumn then I may try again in Dubai enroute.

I did love having a dhow ride in the creek and watching the sunset reflected in a bank building. I loved the atmosphere of the gold souk (market) and the tiny streets of original Dubai. I was fascinated by all the many, many nationalities out there. A desert safari trip was fun!

On the final evening I was lucky to be one of the 10 mission delegates to be invited onboard the QE2 which had arrived the previous evening. It is now to be striped and turned into a hotel. We were guests at a 'Britain in the Region' event for champagne and canapes. Lord Digby Jones gave a short presentation and I introduced myself to him! I also chatted to the medical officer of the QE2; two lovely young sailors from HMS Lancaster - one lived in Thornton Cleveleys where I spent my childhood! I spoke to the consulate general of Casablanca - who has a home in Chester, a few miles away from me. Finally I had a brief chat with Omar, who is based at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi - he told me that he had several contacts for my speaking .... so I may just go back!

Thanks to all who made the trip possible, especially Sandra Thornber from UKTI.

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