Alongside Abu Dhabi’s Corniche

By: Nikita Jeswani, Smith School MBA Candidate
January 8, 2018

After checking out of the hotel, we headed from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Our first stop of the day was Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, where UMD alumni, Dr. Kenneth Volk (Class of 1990), gave us a tour of Masdar City and described some of the exciting innovations happening in advanced energy and sustainable technologies. OMBA student James Popowytsch particularly enjoyed our quick jaunt in Masdar City’s driverless car system: “I’m quite amazed at the level of technology they’ve invested in the area including the PRT [personal rapid transit] we are riding in.”

Following lunch at the Marina Mall, we visited the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, which aims to attract culturally sensitive visitors and increased investment. Omar Al Busaidy, an incredibly engaging speaker, facilitated an interactive discussion that touched on a number of interesting topics, ranging from the top tourist activities in Abu Dhabi, the federal budget of the UAE and collaboration/competition between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the role that media portrayals of the Middle East has on culture and tourism. Smith students appreciated Al Busaidy’s willingness to tackle the tough questions for us!

Finally, we settled in for the evening at the beautiful, five-star hotel, Le Royal Meridien, with a stunning view of the Corniche, french for beachfront.

Cultural Insight

On the highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, we passed a stretch of green fences, which we learned were previously used to keep wandering camels safe and off the road. Camel racing is one of the UAE’s biggest sport, in which racers drive alongside camels, controlling the whip via a robot situated on the camel’s back and communicating with the camel via loudspeaker.

The camel farms that used to be along the highway have now been pushed further out into the desert. Years before the bridge to Abu Dhabi City was built, Emiratis (and Bedouins before them) would wait for low-tide around the island and wade through the water on the back of a camel.

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