First, we are both jet lagged and still recovering. It is a super long trip. We started the trip by taking a train in to New York City. We visited several fun places like Macy’s and Rockefeller Center. Then we caught a cab to the airport for our almost midnight flight.
Upon arriving at the airport, we discovered that the flight was oversold. Luckily, some other passengers gave up their seats for us to make our trip. The flight over lasted 12 hours. When we landed, it was 8:30pm in Dubai. We made it through customs and retrieved our baggage quite uneventfully. Our hotel van driver greeted us and transported us to our hotel.
All the speakers stayed together in the Flora Creek Hotel Apartments. We had a bedroom, two bathrooms, a living area, dining area, and a kitchen. Later, we would learn that the kitchen would never be used because we ate every meal with the group. Our room included a breakfast buffet every morning.
After a night of sleep, we arose to a beautiful Dubai skyline. Our apartment overlooked the Dubai Creek with views of the city. Wow. We were off and running. We enjoyed our breakfast but we also had to meet the other speakers promptly at 7:30am for the shuttle ride. This is when we learned the meaning of promptly in Dubai. Often, people will say ” Insh’allah” or God Willing. Nothing starts on time.
We repeated this pattern of sleeping, waking, eating breakfast, and busing over to the hotel for 3 days. During the course of the conference we met many wonderful people. Individuals in other cities and countries are doing their best to combat autism. We enjoyed seeing such a unified approach.
In the evenings, we participated in events for speakers. The first night we had a Speaker’s Dinner at The Address Hotel. The second night we took a dinner cruise down the Dubai Creek. The third night we went on a desert safari dinner.
Most of the speakers returned home or rested after the conference. Not us. We toured the Child Early Intervention Medical Center, all 3 locations. We observed two behavioral feeding intervention sessions, and we met many children and staff. If you live in Dubai and are interested in working in autism, you should definitely check out the center. If you live elsewhere and have always wanted to live and work in Dubai, the CEIMC may be an option.
Whew, we are tired just remembering our trip. Of course, we haven’t even touched on the conference content. We will do that another day.
We would like to thank the Conference planners for including us in this event and for planning an amazing trip for the speakers.