Expo 2020 Site Visit

When Dubai announced they would be conducting free tours for residents to visit the Expo 2020 site which is rapidly taking shape, I wasn’t about to pass up such an incredible opportunity. With pick up points across Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, and tours scheduled three times a week from July 20 to the end of August, it was no wonder that tickets were booked in a mere three hours.

Taking the bus from Mall of the Emirates we found ourselves driving up to the Visitor’s Centre in little under an hour for a quick overview of what to expect from this mega event which will span 6 months starting 10th October 2020.

At the Visitor’s Centre expect the traditional UAE hospitality in the form of cold drinks and dates and snacks before you head straight in. The guided tour began with a look at the remarkable development of the UAE from its humble beginnings grounded in pearl diving to the nation it is today living and breathing the words of Sheikh Mohammed:

They say the sky is the limit for ambition, but we say the sky is only the beginning.

Entering the Visitor Centre

From understanding how the Ghaf tree provides the inspiration behind the different thematic districts that make up the Expo 2020 to understanding more about the scope of the Expo beyond the pavilions, the Visitor’s Centre was a great place to have those burning questions answered, in particular- what happens when it’s all over.

Spanning roughly 1000 acres, the size of 613 football pitches, the Expo will be home to three thematic districts – Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity. The site will also have different country specific pavilions where countries will have the opportunity to showcase their technology and their culture. You can expect to see anything and everything from 3D printing to K-Pop and Monet to commercialized space travel. With 192 countries set to participate it will truly be a reflection of the diversity that already exists in the UAE. All three thematic pavilions will be connected by Al Wasl Plaza, a stunning dome shaped structure inspired by the Expo 2020 logo. In addition, there will be an exhibition centre, two parks, a rotating observation tower around 16 storeys high, 200 food and beverage outlets from fast food to Michelin star fine dining and over 60 events a day for 6 months.

Terra

We soon left the Visitor Centre behind with its virtual reality tours to see the site firsthand. Our first stop was the Sustainability District with the stunning Sustainability Pavilion, also known as Terra, expected to achieve LEED Platinum rating, covered with an array of solar panels, surrounded by solar trees and slated to have net zero energy and water consumption. The Sustainability Pavilion, we learnt, will be transformed into a Science museum at the end of the Expo.

The wings of the UAE pavilion inspired by the falcon taking shape

From there we passed the UAE pavilion, the site where the remarkable achievements of this young nation will be showcased, and saw the domed trellis of Al Wasl Plaza taking shape.

Al Wasl Plaza- the connecting point between all thematic districts

We then moved on to the Mobility Pavilion which is interestingly enough designed in the shape of a fidget spinner (yes you read that correctly!) and which will be home to a high speed track and the world’s largest elevator capable of transporting 250 people at a time.

Mobility Pavilion taking shape

We then passed the sites for the two parks (wadi inspired Jubilee Park and Al Forsan Park), the onsite nursery which will supply the thousands of native trees and shrubs used around the site and in the parks, and the site of the Dubai Exhibition Centre where the glass facade was in progress before making our way to the Opportunity Pavilion. Now this Pavilion is being constructed using organic recyclable materials only – from stone to reclaimed timber and coiled rope long enough to stretch from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

Expo 2020 Village and Route 2020 Metro Station in the distance

In addition the Expo 2020 site is connected to the largest metro station in the UAE – Route 2020 which will go on and connect to the Sheikh Makhtoum Airport thereby ensuring easy access to the site via public transportation – something that will be critical considering the expected volume of visitors is 25 million over a span of 6 months. The Expo Village a massive apartment complex rated LEED Gold and connected to the new Dubai South Mall will be used to house the staff of all the people participating in the Expo. The great news is the apartments will then be available to the public for rent once the Expo is over as part of the District 2020 Masterplan.

As we got back from the tour, we were all struck by the scale of the event, something that needs to be seen to be believed and also left impressed by the immense amount of thought and planning that has gone into ensuring District 2020 will be left a fully functioning and vibrant community once the Expo is over. As the tour ended, we passed the Volunteer’s House – HQ to over 30000 volunteers of all ages and all nationalities who are committed to making this Expo an experience of a lifetime.

The undisturbed Ghaf tree- inspiration of the Expo, around which construction is taking place

If you haven’t gotten a chance to take the tour, all is not lost. Despite all the tickets being booked, the Expo 2020 team has announced that they will be opening up more slots soon. All you have to do is sign up and they’ll let you know as soon as bookings are open again.

Giving Back – Ramadan 2019

City Centre malls across the UAE are accepting donations of clothes, books and toys!

This Ramadan give back to the community by helping stock up community fridges around Dubai. Fridge locations have already been updated on their handy map! Check out Ramadan Sharing Fridges on Facebook for details

Dubai Cares has launched some great initiatives this Ramadan.

Volunteer with Takatof as part of their Takatof Ramadan Project and help furnish and renovate Social and Community Clubs of various nationalities around the UAE

Thumbay Hospitals in Dubai , Ajman and Fujairah have launched their “Donate and Save Lives” campaign which is calling for donations of toys and books across the month of Ramadan.

McDonald’s has partnered with Emirates Red Crescent this Ramadan and will be selling Ramadan Books for AED 5 each at their stores. All proceeds will go to charity!

Open Arms UAE is collecting donations to provide Iftar for blue collar workers.

This Ramadan, Make My Meal is hoping to serve a million meals and will be donating AED 1 per meal to Emirates Red Crescent. You can choose to buy the meals online, have them delivered on your behalf, choose to deliver them personally or even volunteer with the team.

A number of organizations have partnered with Al Jalila Foundation and will be donating a portion of their proceeds to children with debilitating or life threatening illnesses as part of the Basma Initiative.

IBS Episode 9

Episode 9 (since we’ve started documenting)… 2 days before the close of 2018. Was watching a nice movie with mum when the tummy decided to make its presence known- and no I did not eat anything naughty. I thought it would be just another low in a never-ending cycle of highs and lows but it turned out to be quite a nasty episode… the good news was mum was around and my tablets were handy and it passed quickly. The bad news is that the numbness and tingling in my arms and legs, especially around the joints, hasn’t fully disappeared, even two days on.

I have to say though 1 whole year with only 1 major episode has pretty much been a miracle. Sure, there have been plenty of lows, quite a few of emergency phone calls, a whole lot of sick leaves and depleted annual leaves used up for recovering at home, but I have to say… I don’t think I’ve had a better year since the IBS started over more than 15 years ago… I actually managed to try so many new places, so many different dishes that I would never have dreamed of going near without the pill and out of the comfort of my own home. Not to mention all the road trips and long drives… things that I dreaded and actually got to do without incident in 2018… Grateful? You can’t imagine how much…

Gratitude Diary Day 335 to 365/ 365

taking new initiatives

holidays with the family

kitty sitting Aegi & TC

discovering home

breaking down and standing back up

understanding myself

conversations

family

good memories

❤ a relatively tummy trouble free 2018 ❤