Hey I Heard You Were A Wild One?

UAE Desert Safari Imagine 10 million people, 0% unemployment, no crime, no taxes and $100 billion net worth in oil. What would you do with all this money? Would you build an indoor ski resort? fastest Ferrari roller coaster in the world? tennis court on top of a 7 star hotel? or a wave pool? Booking a flight with Etihad or Emirates, the official airlines of the UAE can give you a taste as to what life in Dubai really is all about. Tourists interested in visiting a Middle Eastern sharia based (Islamic law) country will need to do their homework before arriving at customs. Here are some tips so you can guarantee a vacation of a lifetime.

Top 15 Travel Tips:

  • Burj Khalifa Tallest building in the world. 35,000 Emiratis live and work in the 1/2 mile high sky scraper. To give you another perspective the Burj is twice the height of the Empire State Building.
  • Burj Al Arab 7 star hotel: $2,000/ night minimum (VIP’s use helicopter pad)
  • Eat Hammour (Local fish) *Eating in public during the holy month of Ramadan is prohibited from sunrise until sunset and visitors should consume meals in the confines of their hotel or residence. Also it is inappropriate to ask for a take out box- Emiratis believe you should only order what you can eat.
  • Desert Safari (All-inclusive): sand boarding, dune bashing (Remind the driver to deflate the tires and you may want to stay clear of dune bashing if you know you get carsick), camel riding, camel milk, Arabian belly dancing, shisha, traditional food
  • Dubai Mall
  • Madinat Jumeirah (Arabian resort of Dubai)
  • Public display of affection is frowned upon: A simple kiss in a public place could land you a month or more in jail. The UAE might seem to have more relaxed laws than their other Arab counterparts, but the laws are still very different from most Western countries, and their laws are strictly enforced.
  • Palm Jumeirah: 7 million tons of rock and 150 million tons of sand creates space for over 5,000 homes on the luxury man-made island resort- shaped like a giant palm tree. The best lots go for over $50 million dollars and they plan on building more in the future to expand UAE’s shoreline.
  • Dubai Marina (Beach)
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: Women will need to wear an abaya and headscarf once inside the mosque which will be provided for free. Men who wear shorts will be provided with a kandura to wear. You will also need to take your shoes off on entry to the mosque. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai there is a mosque every 100 feet. The number of pillars represents the importance of the mosque. If you plan on sleeping in- the UAE is not for you. *Prayer times- Fajr: 4:55 am, Sunrise: 6:11 am, Asr: 3:41 pm, Maghrib: 6:18 pm, Isha: 7:48 pm
  • Abu Dhabi Corniche: Many Emirati’s commute from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (vice versa) as the commute is only 1 hour and 30 minutes. Speeding on the highway is quite common for the locals and once in a while you might find yourself racing a camel.
  • Quad Bike Safari from Dubai desert into Oman (Don’t forget your passport & Dirhams)
  • World Islands (Archipelago): Half a billion tons of sand sculpted into a map of the globe
  • It is illegal to drink alcohol in public places. Alcohol can be bought only for home consumption at certain outlets in Dubai or at the airport. Supermarkets only stock non-alcoholic beers. Most 3 to 5 star hotels have bars and nightclubs for those interested in the nightlife. World-class DJs frequent Dubai’s nightclubs, and many A-list musical celebrities are adding Dubai to their list of tour dates. Drinking age 21+ *Government departments, multinational companies, and most schools and universities are off on Friday and Saturday (The WEEKEND).

Also make sure to check out the guys who will do anything for a perfect Dubai picture and remember you must have at least 6 months validity on your passport! Happy Traveling :) #SpartansWill

Getting involved with the Pure Michigan campaign as an out-of-state

Guest Blog from Go Takei

Last spring, I had a great internship experience with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in Lansing, MI. The MEDC has two divisions that are the Travel Michigan and the Michigan Film Office. I got to work for both campaigns and assist them in marketing the state of Michigan as a travel and tourism destination.

From my research experience with the Travel Michigan, I learned that there are so many beautiful places in Michigan that are still unknown. People from Michigan tend to go somewhere out of state for vacations, but I have realized that many of them don’t even know those outstandingly beautiful places exist. Not only they tend to go somewhere else for vacations, but also many of them want to move to a different state after college.

As a student from out of state, I am still learning about all aspects of Michigan from its history to its future growth. I was really honored to be able to learn about what “Pure Michigan” really means, what it “should” mean to Michiganders, as well as what Michigan’s future is looking like.

If you would like to learn more about great places to visit in Michigan, please visit the Pure Michigan official website at www.michigan.org.

Spartans Will

Guatemala Volunteer Mission In the summer 2011, I embarked on a volunteer mission trip to Guatemala. I consulted with local communities of Santiago Atitlan, El Sitio, Patzun, and Panabaj to determine St. Rita’s support for sustainable living and improved quality of life. Every year St. Rita’s Parish sends two cargo containers filled with shoes, vitamins, medicine and school supplies to help alleviate poverty in the mountainous region of central Guatemala.

Our trip was recently featured in the Catholic SF, “The men work for $2 a day for the whole family. Some families live on the ground. They might have a couple pieces of sheet metal over them. They cook on the ground. They sleep on the ground. If they want to send a child to school to buy one spiral notebook, it costs them approximately $1.50 – and there goes the $2 wages. The Guatemala volunteer mission started in 2001 and is looking to expand and continue to increase efforts and volunteers. Please let me know if you have any advice on how to raise awareness so we can increase donations! Thanks #SpartansWill #GoGreen