Open Skies - March 2020

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MARCH APRIL 2020 2019

S H OFUI LRDS TY O RU E SGPOO V N ESG EA N ? In times of crisis, an agency reaches the world’s most vulnerable








































CONTRIBUTORS Finn Dean; Ben East; Sarah Freeman; Sudeshna Ghosh; Dom Joly; Lars Leetaru; Sofia Levin; Ben Mack; Emily Manthei; Allan Richarz; Bettina Ruehl; Diana Spechler; Natasha Tourish; Elizabeth Warkentin; Sean Williams. Front cover: World Food Programme/Diego Fernandez


















Emirates takes care to ensure that all facts published herein are correct. In the event of any inaccuracy please contact the editor. Any opinion expressed is the honest belief of the author based on all available facts. Comments and facts should not be relied upon by the reader in taking commercial, legal, financial or other decisions. Articles are by their nature general and specialist advice should always be consulted before any actions are taken.

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58 DUBAI Every which way





From camels to cranes, the World Food Programme employs unusual methods to deliver food to the world’s most needy 58

Heavy subjects Experience 16 Stay: From a Middle Eastern polo estate to a literary retreat in Miami 18 Dom Joly on the joys of Italian food 24 Another car revolution in Michigan? 26 A local guide to hip Copenhagen 32 How to (politely) travel in Japan 38 Ribs and brisket redefined in Texas 40 Saving the Great Barrier Reef 44 Golfing in Myanmar? Yes, here’s why 52

72 Latest news Inside Emirates 76 Destination: Dhaka, Bangladesh UAE Smart Gate 80 Route maps 82 The fleet 88 Go see this: AlUla, Saudi Arabia


Esi Edugyan discusses making the holocaust and slavery readable 66

Breaking rock 90

Recycled plastic t-shirts and wood packaging: small ways Expo 2020 is making a sustainable difference 68

Your Ultimate Escape Curated to suit your every mood with perfect bliss and luxurious comfort in mind, Heritance Aarah invites you to a tropical seclusion with a gastronomic offering like no other.



FOLLOW US openskiesmag openskiesmag openskiesmag

Etiquette guides are a peculiar phenomenon. Springing up at the turn of the century, advice on how to comport oneself ranged from the sensible to the bizarre. One 1918 manual urged readers to avoid boasting about one’s furniture, long conversations with members of one’s own family in public and even puns (too vulgar, was the conclusion). These guides of convention became bibles for the gentleman or woman – social butter to glide seamlessly through every kind of situation. Though critics argue that any consequent manners are learnt behaviour, rather than truly indicative of goodness of spirit, their popularity has remained. Now, our modern gurus are a little less rigid on manners, but still give prescriptive advice on how to live one’s life that their fans swear by – from Marie Kondo’s joy in folding socks to Joe Rogan’s mushroom coffee (“He understands men in America better than most people do,” gushed one writer for The Atlantic). Even as the world has progressed and our boundaries for the “correct” way to act have arguably expanded, we still retain our experts. How much stock should we put into guidelines for human behaviour? Sometimes, it’s just good sense. On p38, Allan Richarz explains the “wa”, or social harmony, that Japanese society depends on – and how travellers to Japan can adapt. With unspoken rules including not eating while walking and taking litter home with you, following wa seems eminently achievable. At other times, a certain degree of “out with the old” pays dividends. Take Texas, the home of sticky ribs and wings aplenty. “Purists will tell you there are rules: brisket is king, sliced white bread is a given, and good meat shouldn’t need sauce,” writes Sofia Levin. But in Houston, where one quarter of citizens are born abroad, new paradigms have been drawn. On p40, discover the upstarts playing with the classic American cuisine, from Thai peanut butter ribs to smoked brisket pho. It might not be of its roots, but norms are made to be broken – sometimes. Georgina Lavers, Editor


Headline Pastel delitiparadise aut ulparib udis LoremTake ipsum Obit aut vivid aspedhues quasserspel molo dolesequam es eum nonsequamus amenduciati velit autas in Miami’s in a literary South Beach haunt that bucks the city’s steel and glass ipsandel ipsam a deliquatdesign Ehenihillo elfavour ium facepe venihil itatias ant volum ethosilin of a boutique, cosy feel. p.22 velecerovid ullesec p.20



An equestrian festival The Dubai World Cup, partnered by Emirates, is not only the world’s richest thoroughbred horse race, but a truly social occasion. MD of Godolphin stables, Hugh Anderson, explains why this is the biggest event of his year What makes the Dubai World Cup an event worth attending? It’s one of the great events in the international racing calendar, an amazing spectacle set against the magnificent backdrop of Dubai. The facilities for the horses and jockeys are first class and, for the racegoers, I cannot think of another course that delivers so much in terms of hospitality and entertainment.

Obviously Godolphin and the Dubai World Cup are inextricably linked. Is there an added pressure as your “home” race? Absolutely, Dubai World Cup night is a huge occasion for all of us at Godolphin. Of course there is pressure to perform well but we know that the opposition is of the highest quality from around the world so nothing is taken for granted. Godolphin has a fine record on World Cup night over the last 25 years. I have huge admiration for Saeed bin Suroor, in particular, who has won the Dubai World Cup itself nine times with eight different horses – it is the ultimate testament to his skill as a trainer.

Above: Hugh Anderson Right: Christophe Soumillon and Thunder Snow storm to victory in the 2018 Dubai World Cup

What can you tell us about the horses and riders you hope will take Godolphin to glory? As always, it will be a highly competitive night but my picks from Team Godolphin are Cross Counter for the Dubai Gold Cup, trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick – who won the Melbourne Cup in 2018. Appleby and Buick also come together for the Dubai Sheema Classic with Ghaiyyath, who is a Group 1 winning turf specialist. And finally, Benbati – trained by Saeed bin Suroor, is one for the Dubai World Cup itself, a globetrotting six-year-old who has won at the highest level in Europe and Australia.

Thunder Snow won the Dubai World Cup for Godolphin for the past two years, but three years has proved too much. What’s it like having to retire such a racehorse? There is always a tinge of sadness when such a fantastic racehorse like Thunder Snow retires but the overriding feeling is one of gratitude and respect for all he

has done. The stable staff who have ridden him and looked after him for the last four years will miss him of course but he is staying in the team, now as a stallion at Godolphin’s stallion operation, Darley, in Japan. We hope to see his progeny racing in Dubai within a few years!

What’s one of your best memories? Thunder Snow winning last year by the narrowest of margins, backing up on his win in 2018, is the standout moment.

At the start of a new decade, where would you like Godolphin to be at the end of it? We finished the last decade very strongly with 57 Group 1 wins in 2018-19. In Europe we have the highest rated three year old colt, Pinatubo, who is unbeaten in six starts and is aimed at the 2000 Guineas in Newmarket. Equally, our operations in Australia, Japan and the US have been enjoying success at the highest level and are bursting with potential. We’re starting the decade with huge optimism. Dubai, UAE.

MARCH 10-13

MIPIM It’s the world’s leading real estate event, where all major movers and shakers talk new developments, funding and property hotspots. This year’s theme is “The Future is Human”, looking at how cities need to reinvent themselves to meet aspirations for better housing, mobility and inclusivity. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gives the keynote speech, while visionary designer Philippe Starck shares his vision of how hotels can and should operate in the 21st century. Cannes, France.

MARCH 13-22

MARCH 19-22

MARCH 27-28




Once “just” a new music showcase – The White Stripes and Amy Winehouse were both spotted at this sprawling Texan festival – SXSW has now expanded to cover film and comedy, and boasts a thriving conference programme with speakers that include Nine Inch Nails. There’s even a wellness expo – a nice counter to the hubbub of the festival. Austin, US.

As the first-ever professional women’s golf event to take place in Saudi Arabia, this Ladies European Tour (LET) sanctioned event will see a field of 108 LET professionals contest for a US$1 million prize fund. The tournament will be held at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, by the country’s stunning Red Sea coast. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

They call it “Africa’s grandest gathering”, and the line-up this year certainly suggests their claim has some substance. South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim represents his home country from a classical point of view, while the UK’s Ezra Collective and American rapper Earl Sweatshirt bring jazz sounds right up to date. Cape Town, South Africa.



25.2048° N, 55.2708° E


A private getaway with polo at its heart awaits at Dubai’s Meliá Desert Palm

The sport of kings WORDS: GEORGINA LAVERS

THREE THINGS TO TRY A polo lesson Galloping up a field whilst aiming a mallet at a miniscule ball – even if one has been to the polo before, the experience whilst mounted is a whole other story. The sport comes with a dizzying array of terminology – chukkas, divot stomping, stick and ball – all of which can be explained in a private lesson with an Argentinian player, many of whom live on-site over the season. With riding experience required, learn the ins and outs of one of the fastest and most exhilarating games in the world on sensible and responsive ponies. Rare At night, head to South America for an evening at Rare, where the Argentinian chef serves up wagyu steak aged for a month and a half and seared on an oak-wood-fired grill, as well as hot churros for dessert. After dinner, occasionally players will gather at the polo bar for a single malt and chat about the morning’s chukka.

Holistic centres, corporate breaks, meditation retreats… as more travellers clamor for experiences over amenities, properties are increasingly looking at ways to differentiate themselves. Sometimes the transition is seamless, other times somewhat forced – so it’s a coup when a hotel can naturally step into its niche. That’s the enviable position Meliá Desert Palm finds itself in: a serene 160 acre estate dedicated to the sport of kings. Arriving at Desert Palm, which the Spanish chain Meliá Hotels International took over two years ago, is a little like stepping onto a South American ranch. A sweeping, curved drive leads to the main property, home to Desert Palm’s restaurants, bars, pool and hotel rooms. A Jordanian white stone terrace lures guests out to a mammoth polo field (one of four), and private villas flank either side. The property is full of touches that evoke the feeling of grandeur at an old polo estate. Hidden at the furthest end is Rashid Museum,

a cottage adorned with murals and filled to the brim with trophies and Steinbeck prints. On a morning run, one might encounter a pride of peacocks pecking their way through the grounds, or grooms leading strings of ponies that kick up dust in their wake. Back in the rooms, one can book either a hotel room in the main property, with views of the polo field, or one of the villas. Rooms are all spacious, designed in an Arabic contemporary style, with a nod to equestrianism as well as modern features like touch screen lights and Nespresso machines. With high walls, rain showers and their own temperature-controlled pools, the villas are ideal for a small wedding party or couple. For breakfast head to Epicure, by the pool, which serves up Arabic classics like shakshuka or European specialties like eggs florentine. From October to April, one can sit and listen to the click of mallets as players gallop up the long stretch of lawn – not a bad way to spend a morning.

Field dining For a special occasion, a private dinner can be booked right next to the polo field – a three course meal with wine and one’s own waiter costs AED1,500 for two people.


For more great places to stay, check out the Dubai Hotels podcast on ice.

There’s lots of great things to do in the UAE, and one thing you mustn’t miss is a visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi. Our fascinating new exhibition brings you rare artefacts from the legendary age of knights in shining armour. Come and hear about their stories of honour and chivalry from the East and the West.

The Art of Chivalry between East and West 19 February - 30 May 2020 Book your ticket now at

Armour for knight and horse Turkey, 16th – 17th century, Steel, iron, textile Louvre Abu Dhabi © Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi / Photo : Thierry Ollivier

Unforgettable knights



33.8688° S, 151.2093° E


Recently re-opened, the Blue Mountain retreat just a few hours from Sydney offers the perfect escape to the wild


THREE ACTIVITIES TO TRY A horse-trail ride Trained guides take riders of all levels through a valley fringed by escarpments, where you can explore the unique landscape and see the regrowth of indigenous flora and fauna. 1832 Heritage Homestead The original home of the property’s owners, which dates back to 1832, has been restored into a mini museum housing a ‘cabinet of curiosities’. Free to visit for all hotel guests, it offers an interesting insight into 19th century life. Private picnic A gourmet hamper complete with salads, sandwiches, dessert, drinks and picnic blanket is set up by friendly staff at one of the several panoramic viewpoints for the ultimate alfresco experience. Don’t feel like walking back to the villa? Just radio in for a ride.

That elusive feeling, of truly leaving the world behind, finds us as soon as we turn right off the Great Western Highway to ‘go bush’ – Aussie slang for running wild. As the landscape changes, one can feel the trappings of civilisation falling away with each passing kilometre. The wombat lazily crossing the road as we enter the gates, as if on cue, seals the deal. It is a wildness that lingers throughout one’s stay at the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley resort, countered by ultra-luxurious accommodation and a superlative food and drinks offering. Thoughtful touches abound, from bicycles to complimentary sunscreen, and minibar with locally-produced treats. Designed in the Federation Bungalow style, the resort – home to 40 private villas as well as the main homestead – is but a mere speck in the 7,000 acre conservation reserve, recently re-opened in February after the devastating wildfires.

With conservation a key pillar of the property, numerous programmes are in place to support the area’s regeneration after the bushfires – from collecting fallen timber, restablishing natural habitats, and caring for ancient Wollemi pines. Inside, city dwellers will seriously contemplate relocating. Each villa features a separate lounge room with fireplace, roomy outdoor decks and private pools, and luxury ranch-style décor continues into social areas including the lobby lounge, library and bar deck. The warm and friendly service enhances this feeling – not least in The Wolgan Dining Room restaurant, where hyper-local, seasonal produce is used to serve up dishes like duck pastrami with asparagus and garlic chips. A more casual dining experience can be had at Country Kitchen, the deli-style lunch venue and breakfasts can be enjoyed both at the restaurant or in-villa.

Clockwise from left: A private, heated plunge pool; The 40-suite property lies on 7,000 acres of reserve; Book a ride to experience the property on horseback; Rooms come with four poster beds, walk-in wardrobes and fireplaces


The reserve is designed for exploring and several back-to-nature experiences are on offer (some included in the rates, others costing extra). Choices include horse-riding through the reserve, a 4WD wildlife drive followed by sundowners with a view, stargazing, simply going on a hike through the many trails criss-crossing the reserve or getting hands-on with one of their conservation activities led by field guides. Sustainability is baked into the carbon-neutral property’s DNA, with an environment-friendly ethos applied throughout – from waste and energy management to wildlife conservation. Whatever you choose to do, the only way to cap a busy morning is with a relaxing signature massage at the luxurious spa, which uses Australian natural skincare brand Sodashi. And the only way to wind down the day is with a dip in the private pool, viewing the mob of kangaroos and wallabies grazing on a grass patch just outside, against a backdrop of bushland stretching out as far as the eye can see – this is peak Australia.


Emirates continues to champion wildlife conservation by supporting and preserving biodiversity and rebuilding fragile ecosystems through Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in Australia and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.



25.7617° N, 80.1918° W


In a touristy Miami neighbourhood, an independent hotel champions the city’s literary side


IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD Chow down in South Beach Award-winning French chef and restaurateur Laurent Tourondel has two delicious on-site restaurants, LT Steak & Seafood and The Alley, but foodies in search of Latin fare (when in Miami…) should venture off property so as not to miss the innovative gastronomy and culinary theatre at José Andrés’ The Bazaar, or Fuego Y Mar at the brand-new Ritz-Carlton South Beach. Beyond the literary arts The hotel hosts nightly live jazz, as well as frequent chamber music performances, and spotlights local and emerging photographers and other artists. The city of Miami turns into a visual-art haven every December, hosting a number of art fairs, including the famous Art Basel, and The Betsy joins in – utilising its own gallery spaces as well as nearby galleries to exhibit the works of international artists.

Miami was a town arguably not known as an intellectual heavyweight, until Art Basel came in and changed everything. Nearly two decades later and the city is awash with creative endeavours that span free opera, independent bookstores and centres for performing arts. As artists and writers flock to the city, independent boutique hotels are fulfilling their wishes for a more unique stay. A good choice is The Betsy-South Beach, whose independent ownership and private libraries may prove ripe for creative inspiration. Recently doubled in size owing to a 2016 purchase of a neighbouring hotel, the property boasts both courtyard and rooftop pools – the latter strung with lights and accompanied by deck-side views of the city. In addition to a grand library furnished with velvet armchairs and vintage typewriters, each guest room features a private library. The literary leanings extend beyond the aesthetic: a fixture among the city’s independent bookstores and festivals, The Betsy

hosts readings, salons, and writing classes. Rooms provide studied interiors with washedoak furniture, Sferra linens and Malin + Goetz bath products. As well as a skyline penthouse with a wrap-around terrace, another standout suite is a cozy “Writer’s Room”, which has been gifted to hundreds of authors, including US Poet Laureates, for week-long writing retreats. In exchange, the writers give public readings and teach on-site classes for hotel guests and the local community. Elsewhere, more thoughtful touches speak to the hotel’s theme. A simple white metal bridge running along one side of the property is carved with lines of poetry, paying homage to Miami writers such as Harlem Renaissance icon, Langston Hughes. Other on-site literary flourishes include a monthly play-reading club, free and open to the public, and an elevator decorated with book-cover art. Plus, the hotel is dog-friendly – and what’s better than getting lost in a good novel while the dog sleeps at your feet?


Emirates flies to two destinations in Florida nonstop from Dubai – Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.


Right: Gabagool and super-sod: food on The Sopranos epitomised Jersey Italian cuisine

MANGIA! Italians know how to eat and we must follow their lead, says Dom Joly

Emirates serves four destinations in Italy – Rome, Milan, Venice and Bologna.

I’ve been re-watching the greatest TV series of all time (excluding my own Trigger Happy TV, of course): The Sopranos. At first glance this is a show about the Mafia, but actually it’s about the everyday mundanity of life that affects even members of La Cosa Nostra. Oh, and it’s about food. There is always someone eating on screen and it’s impossible not to watch without getting the munchies. Much as I love Lebanese food, Italians probably do boast the greatest cuisine on earth and every episode of the Sopranos finds me looking to book a flight there and eat myself to death. Trigger Happy TV, my own multi-award winning hidden camera series, was essentially conceived and nurtured in an Italian trattoria in Notting Hill Gate in London. The owner whom I knew as “mama”, would feed Sam and I copious bowls of Spaghetti Vongole, Linguine Arrabiata and Scaloppine al Limone as we came up with ideas for the show. We even filmed several scenes from the show in the restaurant. My favourite was one where I was dressed as a mafia don, in a white suit, sitting at a table tucking into a massive bowl of pasta. The door opened and another mafioso, dressed in black, entered and shot me with a pistol. I collapsed into my bowl of pasta and the assassin left while other diners at the restaurant stared on in confusion. The worst thing was that, despite tell-

ing Mama that we needed the pasta cold, she couldn’t bring herself to serve cold food and so my face was pushed into scaldingly hot spaghetti. I knew I had to keep it there until the assassin left and we got the shot… it cost me four days in a burns unit. Now, that is commitment to comedy. Years later, I was in Tuscany on a weekend away with my wife. We were staying at an old monastery that was famous for their food. Rather bafflingly they had recently set up a new venture where people came to meditate and fast for four days. Unfortunately for them, the two eating areas were only divided by a makeshift partition. My wife and I ordered a gigantic Tuscan steak to share; still to this day the best I have ever had. As we tucked into this culinary monster, tantalising aromas drifted over the partition and into the area where those fasting were sadly nursing a glass of hot water with vinegar. It nearly started a riot. I can still hear the groaning and gnashing of teeth. I don’t care how dedicated you are to weight loss or fitness; Italy is not the place to embark on such a thing. It’s a veritable crime against food. Admittedly, the downsides are pretty evident in the Sopranos – in which most of the cast are the size of small houses and can barely waddle from the bathroom to the poker table – but as Tony Soprano might have said (but didn’t): “Nobody dies happy and thin.” Mangia.

Second Citizenship?

Generated funds are utilised for public and private sector projects where a need is identified. Public sector projects identified for financing under the Programme include, but are not limited to; The building of schools Hospital renovations The building of a national sports stadium



Detroit was the birthplace of the automobile – now Southern Michigan is taking its turn at the (self-driving) wheel WORDS: EMILY MANTHEI

Who’s driving Miss Daisy?

A sporty white hybrid rolls to a stop on a busy street in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a shuttle, low to the ground and seats six. New passengers hop in and the shuttle continues across a bridge into the heart of the city, making stops along a regular route that circles the densest blocks of old brick buildings and new condo construction projects. Passengers exit and others come onboard as the mini-bus continues its loop. There’s one unique feature to this vehicle, though: nobody is driving. Grand Rapids is Michigan’s secondlargest city, and like both urban and rural areas of the automobile state, it’s filled with cars. But with the race to develop automated vehicle technology, many of Michigan’s streets are becoming fertile testing ground for the future of mobility.

WASTING NO TIME The six-passenger shuttle in Grand Rapids is one of three test sites for an automated driving platform from the Ann Arbor-based startup May Mobility. The young company, founded in 2017, already operates similar shuttles for company employees traveling from a parking garage to their office buildings in Detroit, and from the train station in Providence, Rhode

A Ford Argo AI test vehicle drives through the downtown area in Detroit, Michigan. Volkswagen and Ford have put US$7 billion into their partnership to capture market share


Island, to the next available bus route. The company’s CCO, Jeremy Mulder, says real-world experience is the best way for the company to “launch and learn.” “That’s been the ethos of the company: What can we do now?” explains Mulder. May Mobility aims to create autonomous solutions that connect people living in urban core areas, where low speeds and fixed routes help build the technology’s intelligence while gaining acceptance from autonomous-tech skeptics. “We’re out here to change hearts and minds by having people experience it. It only takes one ride to have someone’s mindset change. When we have repeat riders, we know we’ve gained their trust.” Since vehicles only travel at 25 miles per hour, riders seem confident to try: so far, the company has given more than 100,000 rides. It also helps to have an on-board “vehicle attendant” to answer rider questions and allay fears in case of any unexpected hiccups in the platform. “As a company, we prioritise safety first, rider experience second, autonomy, third,” he says, adding that the attendant can take over any time a rider’s experience is compromised.

UNDER THE HOOD Despite what the name suggests, autonomous vehicles do not operate independently. The technology inside the vehicle is designed to interact with the road through a sophisticated series of sensors. Those interactions between road sensors and the on-board systems determine consistent elements (cartography, and a fixed route, for example), and then monitor moment-by-moment changes in conditions. Artificial intelligence tools are trained for many of the obstacles and unique scenarios a vehicle may encounter, but through machine learning, they continue to adapt and respond as new decisions present themselves in real time. While some cars on the road already use some of these technology tools, the industry has categorised autonomous driving into five levels: The first level, “driver assistance,” refers to functions many drivers take for granted, like anti-lock brakes and power steering. They require driver engagement, but make driving itself easier.





At the second level, “partial automation,” a vehicle can perform some functions autonomously, like the cruise control function that keeps a car moving at a steady pace without the driver touching the pedal. At this level a driver does not need to be constantly engaged, but must still be alert and ready to take over at any moment. Levels three and four, “conditional automation” and “high automation,” both allow the driver to disengage from all basic driving tasks if the conditions are determined safe and the driver engages the auto-mode. In level three, the automation is only independent at low speeds, up to

35 miles per hour. Level four allows for faster speeds, excluding the most risky situations, like accelerating onto a freeway or navigating a traffic jam. At level five, “complete automation,” the driver remains completely disengaged. In theory, the vehicle would no longer need to contain a steering wheel or brake pedal

FULLY FUELLED COMPETITION At this point, Michigan’s three largest automakers are racing to become the first to offer fifth-level, “complete automation” vehicles to the public, with Ford (in partnership with Pitts-

burgh-based Argo AI) announcing the launch of a commercial driverless taxi service in select cities in 2021. Waymo, a company launched by Google technology and Chrysler, is currently testing a similar level four ride share service with human subjects in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, in preparation to launch a level five vehicle. Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based company owned by General Motors, unveiled the prototype for its own level five self-driving taxi in January of this year. Each company must map entire cities and adapt to specific, distinct challenges in each one before launching the vehicles, creating



1,2,4,6. Human interaction, an open roundabout and a self-driving shuttle at Mcity, a mock city in Ann Arbor Michigan that has been created for the testing of selfdriving vehicles 3. Michigan faces competition as a self-driving hub; in Phoenix, Waymo has built a 68,000-squarefoot depot 5. The home of General Motors, Detroit is traditionally known as the birthplace of the automobile – with one of its neighbouring Michigan cities a potential successor

an exciting innovation challenge while safety remains a top priority. And it’s not just the Big Three who are making fast progress. According to an assessment of strategy and execution in the automated vehicle field by Navigant Research in 2019, other automakers like Volkswagen, Toyota and Daimler-Bosch are not far behind. Meanwhile, technology companies that focus just on autonomation systems, like Aptiv, Navya and Baidu are seen as contenders as well as potential partners for auto companies. May Mobility makes Navigant’s “contender” list, too. Its vehicle-agnostic technology could be adapted to both private



cars and commercial public transportation, which would make the company an agile partner to transport companies. Michigan seems to be the ideal place for many of these matches. “Michigan is ranked number one nationally in concentration of industrial and mechanical engineers, as well as R&D professionals,” according to PlanetM, an initiative from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The network offers grants for startups founded in the state and helps those startups make connections with the 60 auto companies headquartered nearby, and the engineering graduates coming

from universities like Michigan State, Michigan Technological University, Wayne State and others. Besides the talent, Michigan is also home to three closed-course vehicle testing centres. Mcity at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor offers a driving course with various road conditions and is equipped with the sensors and communication tools required for autonomous vehicles’ machine learning to occur. In Flint, Kettering University’s GM Mobility Research Center offers outdoor testing space and indoor research and development facilities for the vehicles themselves. A third closed course in Ypsilanti,





7. May Mobility’s vehicle-agnostic technology could be adapted to both private and public transportation 8. A Cruise car in Hayes Valley, San Francisco 9. The control panel of a Ford Fusion development vehicle is tested at Mcity

the American Center for Mobility, has been used for private and government vehicle testing since the Second World War. Out on the public streets, 500 miles of southeastern Michigan’s highways and surface streets are equipped with “Vehicle to Infrastructure” technology. This allows for extensive opportunities to prove a vehicle’s machine learning at all speeds, for many types of technology, and in all kinds of weather conditions. In fact, Michigan’s snow, sleet, rain and wind allow for more robust testing than the dry, consistent weather conditions in Arizona or California. This crossover between auto companies, test sites and

technology was what gave birth to May Mobility, too. The company’s co-founder and COO, Allison Malek, was a former technology expert at General Motors. “I came to appreciate what it means to bring new technology into a company, and then into the market. And that expertise exists here [in Michigan],” Malek says. Now, May Mobility has its own automotive partner to continue its journey. In June of 2019, Toyota invested a US$50 million round of funding in the company, allowing May Mobility to continue pushing toward the front of the autonomous technology bus. “It feels amazing

to be backed by the largest automaker in the world, and to know that they believe in our vision and mission,” Mulder says. As for what’s next, he’s playing it close to his vest. All he can say is, “We’re rolling into the future at 25 miles per hour.” That’s what it takes to launch and learn.

Emirates serves 12 destinations in the USA nonstop from Dubai, including New York JFK, Newark, Washington DC, Boston, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Together, we go from isolated to celebrated. Any dream can become a reality, with over 560 million Africans covered by a high-speed digital highway. When you can reach out to the most isolated people amongst you, and connect them from village to village, from nation to nation and from there to the world, you go. When you can use technology to teach, where books can’t reach, we all go. When 30 million people who could never bank before, now have a bank in their pocket, they go. Every day, MTN is inspired by the unstoppable spirit of the people we serve. That’s why,

We’re good together.


everywhere you go




55.6761° N, 12.5683° E

This hood-come-good is now getting column inches for all the right reasons

Nørrebro, Copenhagen WORDS & IMAGES: SARAH FREEMAN


Nørrebro has birthed its fair share of entrepreneurial success stories: sneaker brand ARKK started as a humble pop-up three years ago and now has 500 stores, whilst microbrewery Mikkeller & Friends catalysed the city’s craft beer scene

Connected to central Copenhagen via grand Dronning Louises Bro Bridge, this once unremarkable settlement wasn’t granted city status till 1852. In many ways, it still marches to the beat of its own drum. A patchwork of 19th century tenements, Parisian-esque squares and landscaped parks glued together by snaking bike lanes, it’s bordered by Bispebjerg to the north, Østerbro to the east and Frederiksberg to the west. The title of Europe’s busiest cycling street belongs to Nørrebro’s main artery: Nørrebrogad, where it’s bikes rather than cars you need eyes in the back of your head for. Crane your neck at its neoclassical and functionalist facades until you reach the neighbourhood’s mile-long, café-lined lakefront, where blanketed locals cultivate their own brand of hygge. Nørrebro has come a long way since the mid-eighties, when its streets were known more for their riots than ritzy design digs. If ever there was a poster child for the neighbourhood’s radical transformation, it’s pastel-pretty Jægersborggade. Contemporary ceramics, homegrown fashion labels and vermouth bars in this former no-go squatter zone’s have cemented Nørrebro’s cool, creative cachet. Its most famous foodie address is number 41, where Noma alum Christian Puglisi opened Michelin-starred Relæ a decade ago. But it’s not all high-end dining haunts. Shawarma bars, Turkish grocery stores, Egyptian street food and old-school Italian trattorias reflect the area’s diverse immigrant population, whilst a raft of hip roastery coffee shops give Melbourne’s a run for their money. Many of the neighbourhood’s streets have become destinations in their own

right. A beacon for all things eco – you can find sustainable threads, organic beer and even a “green” hairdresser on Guldbergsgade. And less than a kilometre away, red-bricked Ravnsborggade is the place to rummage for antique curios and retro treasures. Soak up its New York West Village vibes, sniff out a Nordic brew and get honing that hygge.



ASSISTENS CEMETERY You can find pram pushers, loved-up couples, commuting cyclists and dog walkers weaving between the topiary and gothic gravestones of this not-sosombre cemetery, where life is celebrated as much as death. It’s most famous for being the resting place of two great Danes: existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and beloved fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen. Bring a book, enjoy the birdsong and take refuge from the city’s biting gusts in its historic chapel-turned-cultural centre. Kapelvej 4, 2200 København N, +45 35 37 19 17,




WILGART Measure up for a Peaky Blinder-style Harris Tweed flat cap, Italian leather baseball cap or on-trend red woollen sailor cap, all made by hand by owner Silas Skram, who has become an unofficial custodian of the age-old craft. Jægersborggade 10, kld. Th, 2200 København, +45 28 14 89 29,



SUPERKILEN Nowhere encapsulates the diversity of Nørrebro better than this 30,000-sqm park, which is as playful as it is practical, linking surburbia with downtown via a tri-cycle path. It may have the hallmarks of native starchitect Bjarke Ingels, but its wildly eclectic 100 objets trouvés – from Baghdadi swing benches to Russian neon signs – were nominated by Nørrebro’s multicultural residents. Office workers lunch at its Armenian picnic benches, toddlers slide down the giant tentacles of a Japanese-made octopus slide, and locals buff up in a Thai boxing ring to Jamaican beats. Come for the mini World Expo experience; stay for the people watching. Nørrebrogade 210, 2200 København




CLAYDIES A portmanteau of clay and ladies, these two internationally exhibited Danish artists create unique stoneware vases, crockery and even ceramic haute couture from their cooperative workshop (email ahead to visit). Birkedommervej 29, 2400 København NV, +45 26 16 52 02,




RES-RES Shop sustainably for clean cosmetics, fair trade rubber sneakers, Danish-made seaweed shirts and eco-leather laptop sleeves at this Scandi-cool store, which offers a free in-store repair service for most of its apparel. Guldbergsgade 29C, 2200 København, +45 61 43 53 42,


Architecture buffs and bookworms should check out Rentemestervej street’s Biblioteket – part library and part social initiative, where baby yoga, concerts and artwork by graffiti artist HuskMitNavn’ converge



GADEGALLERI NORDVEST Inspired by Miami’s Wynwood Walls, the paint is still drying on this five-year community project in Nørrebro’s northwestern fringes, where Denmark’s very own Banksy has penned his signature larger-than-life bubble cartoons. With 16 colourful murals plastered onto the gable ends of a very beige social housing estate, it’s being dubbed Northern Europe’s biggest open-air art gallery (yet to be discovered by the masses). A/B Mønten, Rentemestervej, 2400 København




KIIN KIIN Forget starched table linen and buttoned-up service, this feted eatery (and only Thai restaurant outside of Thailand with a Michelin star) is all about rediscovering the wonder of food. Expect edible bags, flambé desserts that almost singe the ceiling, and syringes of soy noodles that diners squirt into tom yum broth. Theatrics aside, the food is sublime and worth every krone. An evening here begins in the lounge with Thai street kitchen-inspired snacks like a frothy lobster bisque cocktail and green curried cornetto, finished tableside by head-chef Dak Laddaporn herself. The main act unfolds one floor up between gilded Buddha statues with a stellar six-course line-up of modern twists on classics, like crispy veal Pad Thai and liquid nitrogen-chilled scallops. Eat and eat – that’s Kiin Kiin’s moniker after all, saving room for its Russian roulette-style petit fours… Guldbergsgade 21, 2200 København N, +45 35 35 75 55,



POMPETTE A Nørrebro newcomer, this distressed-walled bottle-shop-slash-winebar is where locals in the know go for a glass of vino that doesn’t cost the earth. With no bamboozling list to pore over, you pay 50 kroner (US$7) for a glass of white, red or orange wine – a one-time oddity glugged by Georgians 6,000 years ago, and now the tipple of choice for Copenhageners à la mode. Harvested from white grapes vinified like red wines (with their skins left on), these pesticide and sulphite-free natural vintages are also food wines par excellence.


Sink into a cosy nook and tuck into cold cuts of wild boar, creamy burrata and artisanal breads (baked next door), until you feel suitably ‘pompette’. Møllegade 3, 2200 København,

Emirates operates a daily A380 service to Copenhagen.


A FEW ETIQUETTE TIPS FOR GETTING AROUND JAPAN Japanese society, known for its polite orderliness, is heavily dependent on unspoken understandings and behaviour aimed at maintaining the “wa” – the idea of social harmony. With Tokyo bracing for an influx of tourists for the 2020 Summer Olympics, here are some lesser-known tips for first-timers on avoiding faux pas and other cultural missteps




5. Talking on trains, especially a crowded one, is generally frowned upon. For

1. No tipping required. Attending the Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be an expensive undertaking for visitors, so it should be some relief to know that tipping is not customary in Japan’s service industry. While not necessarily seen as rude – there is some argument that tipping is a slight against the proprietor – tipping is not standard practice in the country, given that worker salaries come entirely from wages and the value placed on consistent, excellent customer service.

2. Paying with cash? Use the small tray at the register, rather than handing money to the cashier. A common sight in Japanese stores is a small plastic tray next to the cash register. If paying with cash, the common courtesy is to place one’s money in the tray, rather than hand it to the cashier directly, with any change to be returned to the customer in the same manner. For shops without a tray, it is acceptable to hand your cash directly to the cashier.

3. Avoid eating or drinking while walking. In fast-paced Tokyo, one might expect eating-and-walking to be a common occurrence. In reality, however, it is something of a faux pas thanks to the concept of “Ikkai ichi dousa,” or doing one thing at a time. 4. Do not open that taxi door. While it is recommended to make use of Tokyo’s extensive public transit network during the Olympics, at times it might be necessary to take a cab. But be aware if you do hail a taxi: The doors are operated by the driver and open automatically for passengers. It is seen a bit gauche to open the door yourself. Upon arriving at your destination and paying the fare, the driver will again activate the doors for passengers to exit.

trains that frequently run at as much as 200 per cent capacity during peak operating times, commuting can nonetheless be an unsettlingly quiet experience. While texting or gaming is permitted, talking on one’s cellphone is a strict no-no, and even conversation among passengers is discouraged. It is also worth noting that, while taking photos through the window is acceptable, it is inadvisable to take photographs of busy train car interiors, especially during times when children or students are present.

6. No eating on trains, unless it is a bullet. Part of what keeps even the most heavily-trafficked rail cars in immaculate condition is the general aversion to eating while on trains. While drinking is generally acceptable, even on relatively empty cars it is considered poor form to eat aboard trains and snacking is best confined to station platforms. The exception to this rule is the high-speed bullet trains. Indeed, it is a common sight to see passengers tucking in to a gorgeous ekiben (train bento) box on longer haul trips.

7. Taking an escalator in Tokyo? Queue on the left-hand side, and walk on the right. To help ensure a smooth flow of foot traffic, especially in busy train stations, the practice when riding an escalator in Tokyo is to stand on the left, and walk on the right. Note, however, that in proudly contrarian Osaka, this practice is reversed.

8. Take your trash home, if no garbage cans are available. After a long absence, trash and recycle bins have made a slow return to Japan’s train stations, parks and other public spaces in recent years. During high-profile events, however, it is common to see those bins locked shut as a security precaution. Should one find themselves in an area without waste receptacles, the long-standing practice in the country is to simply take one’s trash home or to the hotel for proper sorting and disposal.

Emirates serves three destinations in Japan with nonstop daily flights to Tokyo Haneda, Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai.





From top: BBQ varies from state to state, connected only by the rudimentary fact that it is “large pieces of meat cooked slowly with wood”; Brisket fried rice from Blood Bros. BBQ incorporates Asian and Texan elements

When outsiders think of Texas, we think of cowboys and ranches, maybe South by Southwest, and most certainly American barbecue. The cuisine has migrated as far as Sweden and Australia, with traditional replicas spotlighting the holy “Texas Trinity” of beef brisket, pork ribs and sausage. Visit the Lone Star State and purists will tell you there are rules: brisket is king, sliced white bread is a given, good meat is sold by the pound and shouldn’t need sauce, et cetera. In reality, Texas barbecue is in the midst of a seismic shift with the next generation of pit masters and professionals innovating in what’s become a saturated market. In Houston, culture is a catalyst for new flavours. To understand these changes, you must first understand BBQ. Who better to give an explanation than Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor of Texas Monthly for the last seven years. “American barbecue is different in every state. You have Texas barbecue, then North and South Carolina, which is different to what you’d find in Kansas City or Memphis. In California there’s Santa Maria-style barbecue. The one thing that connects them all is generally large pieces of meat cooked slowly with wood,” he says. Vaughn agrees that the States’ most famous culinary export is Texas barbecue, and because beef reigns supreme in Texas, that means smoked brisket is on every menu claiming to serve American barbecue the world over. The quality of barbecue has risen and its dishes, though still true to their roots, are becoming more modern. “The biggest change comes down to an incredible focus on quality,” says Vaughn. “Any joint that opens know they have to be working at a certain level just to compete, and because of that, new barbecue joints opening up in what is already a flooded market have realised they have to do something different to really make themselves stand out.” These words ring true for Quy Hoang, Houston’s first Vietnamese American pit master. Along with Robin and Terry Wong, Hoang opened Blood Bros. BBQ at the end of 2018. “We have a lot of chef friends who were just like, ‘Y’all should stick with Asian-style barbecue’, but we really wanted to show people we could cook the traditional stuff – we didn’t just want to be a novelty,” explains Hoang. Once the lines snaking out of their Bel-



43 laire shop proved that the barbecue aficionados were on board, Hoang started experimenting with the flavours they grew up with. Now their best-selling side is brisket fried rice, pork belly burnt ends are seasoned with lemongrass and garlic, Thai peanut butter ribs and green curry boudin are a Friday special, and Hawaiian smoked loco moco (white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and gravy) is a popular order. “People are getting more creative to set themselves apart. You can go anywhere and get brisket, ribs and sausage, so we figured let’s do some other stuff so that if someone decides, ‘hey, I want this dish,’ only Blood Bros. has it,” says Hoang. “Now we see a lot of the regulars experimenting more, branching out and trying the specialty dishes.” Vaughn says that the move away from tradition has been recent, gaining traction in the last four years. “And in about the last two years is when you stopped seeing people really complain about it,” he adds. “But there are still people who are uncomfortable with the new horizons for Texas barbecue.” Whether steadfast loyalty to tradition or some form of culinary xenophobia, Texas barbecue purists must remember that much of the cuisine was born from external cultural influences. That smoky Texas pork sausage is a hangover from 19th century Czech and German immigrant butchers. Freed African-American slaves moved west after the Civil War and brought cooking methods involving sauces and vinegar with them. Barbacoa – beef head traditionally slow-cooked in a pit – was pinched from Mexico and is often a special on Texas barbecue menus, especially those with a Tex-Mex slant. Introducing Asian spices is hardly far-fetched. “You can go into Blood Bros. and happily order a sausage and ribs and brisket plate if you want, or you can branch out a little bit. It’s not something to be threatened by, it’s just something to enjoy,” says Vaughn. But how much change can tradition endure before it becomes something else? Is a restaurant that incorporates smoked brisket into pho and onto pizza still a barbecue restaurant? No, according to Vaughn. But if the foundation of a restaurant is its own smoked meats, yes. “Look at a pop-ups like Khói Barbecue in Houston: they are smoking their own meats and using them in Vi-


Khói Barbecue’s founders, Don and Theodore Nguyen

Unsurprisingly, Khói translates to “smoke” in Vietnamese. Don and Theo Nguyen take Central Texas barbecue and merge it with their mother’s recipes, serving dishes like Thai red curry made with smoked beef short rib at monthly pop-up locations.


etnamese dishes, recipes that they’ve borrowed from their mother... I think of them as a barbecue place,” says Vaughn. “It’s barbecue first because they’ve taken the time to understand and learn the craft and the foundation of their menu is those smoked meats.” Both Vaughn and Hoang agree that the next big thing is Tex-Mex barbecue and Carolina-style whole hog barbecue – the latter perhaps even more of a stretch to incorporate than Mexican influence. “Feges was probably the first to do the whole hog and now others are starting,” says Hoang. “For Texans, [Carolina] is like going further away than Mexico to find a barbecue tradition,” adds Vaughn. “Tex-Mex barbecue has certainly gotten much more popular too, and not just putting smoked meat in a tortilla, but really trying to bring those two cultures together.” He cites the smoked ribs at Candente made with Tex-Mex spices that are served with tortillas, cilantro and cotija cheese, and the tortillas at The Pit Room, which are made with smoked brisket fat. “So often people who look at Texas barbecue from the outside just want another story about a classic place doing brisket, ribs and sausage,” says Vaughn. “But what defines Texas barbecue is expanding. If what we’ve seen over the last two years is any indication, I think we are only going to see more experimentation.”

Unassumingly located in Greenway Plaza’s food court, Feges places as much emphasis on its sides as the mains. There are more vegetable side options to choose from than there are meats, whether Moroccan-glazed carrots or sweet and spicy brussels sprouts.

3 – ROEGELS BARBECUE CO. In the barbecue business for two decades, Russell Roegels has more recently been leading the charge in Carolina-style whole hog barbecue, which he cooks each month in a custom pit.

4 – JQ’S TEX MEX BBQ JQ’s is famed for its tacos de birria – birria (a spicy Mexican stew) is made with smoked brisket, the rendered fat used to “wash” tortillas, which are then seared on a flat grill. Top with meat from the stew, cheese and garnishes and you’ve got one fine taco.

5 – HARLEM ROAD TEXAS BBQ Trained in Switzerland, chef Ara Malekian worked with Wolfgang Puck before eventually falling in love with Texas BBQ. Harlem Road has become known for its non-traditional smoked protein specials like duck, lamb chops and even octopus.

Emirates serves two destinations in Texas with nonstop daily flights to Dallas and Houston.







From left: A flight is the only way to access the 110-acre island; Solar panels at the eco resort, which plans to be completely reliant on solar power by the end of the year

In a previous life Lady Elliot Island served, rather unglamorously, as a guano mining site – a place where seabird and bat manure was harvested and used as fuel. As such, the island was all but denuded due to human interference. The trees, grasses and plants had all been uprooted. The soil was left devoid of nutrients. The birds, fish, manta rays, turtles and dolphins departed. The humans, for their part, decamped – abandoning the coral cay to its fate for close to a century. On a visit last spring, a very different tableau emerged. Instead of devastation, there were impossibly turquoise waters, verdant indigenous vegetation, and blindingly white beaches

composed entirely of crushed coral bleached in the sun. Around the island, there were hundreds of birds, including buff banded rails, boobies, and nesting black noddies. Where once it had been desolate, the cay is now a sanctuary to numerous species of birds. In this age of flight shaming, it slightly smacks of contradiction to say that a flight and a visit to an island in Australia’s dying Great Barrier Reef can help save the coral reef. But a trip to Lady Elliot Island might do just that. Technically a coral cay situated at the southernmost tip of the reef, the Lilliputian island is a miracle of regeneration – as well as a model for how to do nature travel right.

A glass-bottomed boat tour provides glimpses of reef sharks, clown fish, and manta rays. “The reef is vibrant and healthy,” a guide replies when a tourist asks why the colours weren’t brighter. The hues may not have been Instagram-vivid, but according to the guide, the corals that surround Lady Elliot Island are predominately ‘hard’, and therefore not pigmented with fluorescent proteins. Still, it becomes abundantly clear that the reef is in fine health when snorkelling next to turtles, fluorescent moon wrasse, and exquisitely-hued turquoise, indigo blue, and canary yellow Emperor angel fish. It’s a marine Garden of Eden, but there is just one small drawback: as


the most remote of all the Great Barrier Reef islands, the only way to access the cay is by air. Visitors fly in from Brisbane, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, and the Gold Coast all within one hour flying time on 10 or 12-seater planes. The good news is that guests can help offset their carbon emissions by paying $AU2 per person to a major carbon offsetting company, ultimately helping contribute about $AU5,000 each month. The fee is voluntary, but the island’s eco resort matches guest donations. The entirety of funds raised go directly to Greenfleet to plant trees (11,500 to date) at the Barolin Nature Reserve in Bundaberg, Queensland, which in turn, helps to protect the lo-

cal sea turtle population. There is no getting around the need to fly, but Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is a miracle of regeneration and an example to other tourist islands in the Great Barrier Reef in a plethora of ways. One of these has been the massive revegetation project. As a result of the guano mining operations, Lady Elliot Island’s topsoil and vegetation had been ruined, leaving only bare rock. Today, thanks to the efforts of past and present custodians of the island, around two-thirds of its surface is blanketed in trees. Jim Buck, a former engineer and now nursery and revegetation manager for the island, has been part of a team

working on replanting native species such as pisonias, argusias, pandanas and casuarinas. “Moving into the future, we’ll see fewer exotics and more of the native vegetation that should be here,” he says. In the lush pisonia forest, hundreds of noddy birds happily nest, unperturbed by the presence of humans in their personal space. “The way we set up the ecosystems here,” says Buck, “is that the different species we have actually build into providing a better environment for the birds. Where we’ve got things like crested turns, for example, we’re growing more grasses in those areas because they like open grassland.” In order to cut down on


A tree full of white capped noddy nests, whose moniker is due to their mating ritual of repetitive head nodding


water for the younger plantings and the plants in the nursery, they use an automated drip irrigation system. As Buck says, this saves them a lot of money and “the plants grow much quicker, whilst also using far less water.” Other eco initiatives on the island include the use of renewable energy, water conservation, fresh water production, waste management and initatives such as environmentally friendly jet-powered onboard motors on the glass-bottomed boats, to avoid propellers so deadly to marine life. Commendably, Lady Elliot is almost 100 per cent sustainable and solar powered, with plans to be fully sustainable and solar powered by the end of 2020. At the moment, the resort boasts over 800 solar panels with a capacity to run for two weeks on solar energy in good weather conditions. This year they’ll be adding additional battery storage, allowing them to run the entire resort on solar power even during unfavourable conditions. “Our solar energy programme has directly taken action against climate change with more than 550 litres of diesel fuel saved each day, which equals 538 tonnes of carbon emissions saved per year,” says Amy Gash, daughter of and executive assistant to Peter Gash, the island’s current leaseholder and steward. As an educational facility and model for smart eco travel, Lady Elliot gives guests the chance to feel useful while on holiday. Visitors can take part in citizen science projects, as well as learn


Kayakers explore the cay. A ban on fishing has attracted diverse marine life, from manta rays to speckled carpetshark and loggerhead turtles

Emirates serves five destinations in Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.


about ecology, with the resort also hosting an on-site conservation and research station for experts. One option is to assist with manta ray research and monitoring. The cay is a big draw for the so-called “devil rays” (which are, in fact, harmless) – especially in winter. All that’s needed is an underwater camera to take photos of their underbelly, which have unique markings. Visitors to the resort can also snorkel, reef walk and scuba dive as part of the Reef Check programme, which monitors coral health: guests can take a REEFSearch underwater slate and record the type and size of marine life they see. Afterwards, survey findings and photos are uploaded into the REEFSearch Hub in the island’s Education Centre, which then forms part of the international Reef Check marine monitoring database. For plant lovers, a ‘volunteer hub’ is underway so that volunteers will have a place to stay on the island when they come to help with revegetation. Across the programmes is a sense of cyclicality, of goodness begetting goodness. As island custodian Peter Gash says, “the more we focus on Lady Elliot, the more she gives back.”






AS YANGON PLANTS ITSELF ON THE TOURIST M A P, I T S F A V O U R I T E S P O R T I S G E T T I N G A 2 1 S T CENTURY MAKEOVER Kyi Hla Han was just a few years old when his diplomatic family packed their bags and left his native Yangon for the UN in New York. It was the early Sixties, and Myanmar – then called Burma –had been independent from Britain for under two decades. The country was largely closed to the world, and its military leaders lived distant lives, sequestered away from their citizens. Golf was one of few exceptions. A hangover from British rule, the sport was loved by Burma’s apparatchiks, many of whom built golf courses in towns and cities they ran like atavistic fiefdoms. Young people who took a shine to the game were encouraged. When Kyi Hla returned in the mid-1970s, having spent time in Kuala Lumpur and Manila after

the US, he was an accomplished golfer. Aged 16, Burma’s selectors gave him a spot on the national team. He never looked back. Kyi Hla won his first PGA event in Malaysia in 1983, before starring on the Asian Tour for over a decade. In 2006 the “Burmese Bandit” became chairman of the Asian Tour. Many credit him with its surge in popularity. At the same time, Myanmar was opening up. A new constitution in 2008 lifted state monopolies on information, and welcomed foreigners. Suddenly people were coming to Yangon. Kyi Hla, and his brother Chan, also a golf teaching pro, switched their attention to the domestic golf scene. “Even now, if you ask people what the main sports are, they’d say football

and golf,” Kyi Hla tells me. And he’s right. It may sound surprising, but golf courses litter Myanmar, a sprawling nation of 53 million people wedged between South and Southeast Asia on the Bay of Bengal. Golf fashion is a popular look on the streets of Yangon, its biggest city – and other major hubs like Mandalay and Taunggyi. It’s little surprise given how tightly the sport is woven into the country’s modern history. In 1852, after the Second Anglo-Burmese War, British troops captured the Burmese kingdom as far north as the town of Thayet. Its golf course was conceived as a leisure spot for colonising soldiers, alongside hockey fields and a polo ground. Thayet still exists, albeit browbeaten, as Myanmar’s oldest golf


course. Its most storied, however, is Yangon Golf Club, built in the nation’s only metropolis in 1893. Back then Yangon, then named Rangoon, was a vital sea trading post between the Indian subcontinent and Asia, and its downtown boomed with grandiose, multi-storey merchant halls and homes redolent of the British Raj. Yangon Golf Club’s nine-hole course would eventually be torn down and incorporated into the sprawling People’s Park, just north of the city centre. Its second, however – an 18-hole venue erected in 1909 – remains. Its clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1943, as Japanese bombs rained down on Yangon in the Pacific theatre of World War II. But today it’s a quaint and enjoyable place to play golf, in the heart of the city. That is the selling point for Chan Han, who is trying to stimulate golf tourism across his home country. “Our courses are lay-of-the-land, natural,” he says. “You’re going to play in a very laidback environment, on a course carved out of the land a hundred years ago.” That history is everywhere in Burmese golf, from courses that wind around ancient temples in Bagan, to challenging spots in the highlands of Shan State, where lakes, monasteries and vineyards rub shoulders. Since the nation opened up, some facilities have upped their level to that of Southeast Asia’s premier golfing venues. Among them, Pun Hlaing Golf Resort – which sits on a languid spit of land just minutes from the city centre – is possibly the best. Its 18-hole, Gary Player-designed course opened in 2000, when its main clientele were Myanmar’s politburo. Now it welcomes around 4,500 golfers a month to parkland tees that snake around a collection of high-end hotel rooms that exemplify Yangon’s shift to a bona fide tourist destination. Only half of the club’s visitors are Burmese. “You know what you’re getting in Thailand,” says Stephen Chick, the course’s director. “Myanmar is definitely a little unknown. But with that comes huge potential.” Pun Hlaing is known as the “Pride of Myanmar,” and was recently voted the country’s best golf resort. Since arriv-

ing in Yangon just over three years ago, Chick has renovated the club’s hotel, practice facilities and residential properties. As Myanmar’s only British PGA pro, he says, “it’s a bit of a personal mission for me to be the guy to really put golf on the map in Myanmar.” When he first arrived in the city, having spent years in Thailand’s tourist capital of Phuket, Chick thought Yangon was “a bit raw.” But, he adds, “once I opened my eyes a little bit and took the canvas off, I was like, “Wow, actually. Look how much potential there is here... there’s such an entrepreneurial feel as an expat living in Myanmar, because you’re constantly achieving things – and you feel there’s so much more to achieve.” The same can be said for Yangon itself – especially its clamouring downtown – where new shops, bars and cafes are opening at a frantic pace to cater for a growing middle class and tourists. Its colonial architectural masterpieces are a reason to visit the city alone. Some, like the Strand and Rosewood hotels, have been given 21st century facelifts. Both five-star stays now sit proudly at the city’s southernmost point, staring out at the Yangon River – and a brighter future. Whether that brings more golfers, or whether golfers bring more tourists, Chan and Kyi Hla Han don’t know. What they, and Stephen Chick, do understand, is that if more courses are built, more golfers will arrive with a hunger to experience something different and off the beaten path. “You get a course like Pun Hlaing, which is the kind of course you see in other countries in the region,” says Chan. “The time has gone when you come to the country and you see it in the olden days.” Kyi Hla now spends his time working to build new courses across Myanmar. He doesn’t doubt that people will come to play in his country. “It’s positive,” he says. “The land’s really good.” He spends his time between Myanmar and Singapore. Chan lives in Yangon, and runs Myanmar’s largest golf store. Being in the city, at such a pivotal moment – for golf and so much more – thrills him. “I don’t want to miss this,” he says. “The development of the country is so fast... Myanmar is the last frontier.”


Yangon is home to several of Myanmar’s premier golfing venues. But the country has a few more venues outside the city – and they’re as unique and steeped in history as any in the region

1 – SHWE MANN TAUNG GOLF RESORT, MANDALAY Mandalay was the last royal capital of Burma before the British annexed it in 1885. And while the centre of Myanmar’s second-largest city is an inglorious tangle of commercial and administrative buildings, its monasteries and palace are more than worth a visit. Located on its edge of Mandalay’s central square, the Shwe Mann Taung Golf Resort is a tight-woven, 18-hole course that wends around the foot of wat-studded Mandalay Hill.

2 – BAGAN NYAUNG OO GOLF CLUB, BAGAN Bagan sits atop most travellers’ lists of places to visit in Myanmar, and for good reason: the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s collection of 9th to 13th century temples, pagodas and monasteries were once the seat of an empire, and remain stunning to see from the earth or the air in an iconic hot-air balloon. Yet weaving around the temples is something about which fewer people know: the Bagan Nyaung Oo Gold Club, a simply-designed course, with little to challenge talented players except, perhaps, swooning at the surroundings too hard.

3 – AYETHARYAR GOLF RESORT, TAUNGGYI Nestled in the hills beside the pretty, temperate city of Taunggyi, the Ayetharyar Golf Resort is a gorgeous, 18-hole course that sweeps around hills in a climate so comfortable it has become Myanmar’s premier winemaking hub. There are plenty of Buddhist religious sites in the city itself, while the resort boast 74 teak-built rooms, villas and suites to cater for upmarket travellers.

Fly to Yangon and over 250 destinations worldwide with the Emirates-flydubai codeshare partnership that offers greater global connectivity through more destination choices, one integrated loyalty programme, and the convenience of travelling on a single ticket with seamless point-to-point baggage handling.


Hit like a girl A visit to the Box Girls in Nairobi explores how martial arts can help people to overcome trauma WORDS: BETTINA RUEHL



Sarah Achieng dances about on the concrete surface, dodging punches and launching her own attacks as she deftly hops back and forth. The gymnasium in which she teaches girls to box is small, with a corrugated iron roof and plaster crumbling from its walls. But to the children here, this building in the middle of the Kariobangi slum is a refuge nonetheless. The gym is run by Box Girls Kenya, Sarah Achieng’s employer for the past five years. Supported by Laureus Sport for Good, the organisation has around 2,000 beneficiaries in and around Nairobi.

“Boxing has made me more self-confident”

Sarah, you and your girls seem very serene after the boxing session ... Yes, but there are a lot of problems. The girls come from extremely poor

backgrounds; most of them have grown up without parents. Many of them fall into prostitution. We see a lot of teenage pregnancies.

It’s unusual for girls to box. What inspired the foundation to start the initiative? Ten years ago, the Kenyan general election was followed by considerable violent unrest. During this time, many women from these poorer regions were subjected to rape and sexual abuse. The founders of the initiative wanted to create a space in which topics such as sexuality and gender-specific violence could be tackled, and in which the girls would feel safe and at home. Today the project is a safe space, where the girls can raise any issue, learn at their own pace and learn with peers.

It’s mainly teenagers who take the boxing courses at Asulma Center Primary School in the Kariobangi slum. Those who participated in previous semesters, such as Damaris Irungu, 22, (top left) learn how to teach boxing. Bottom left: Sarah Achieng, 31, lives in Nairobi with her daughter and husband

So it’s not just about self-defence? Not exclusively, no. It teaches them self-confidence and discipline. It also enables them to change patriarchal systems that are related to leadership. Box Girls have become the leaders or champions in their own lives in the first place. They pass on what they have learned in their homes, schools and their communities – which means that they become leaders in their communities, too.

What do you see in the girls when they box? The combat situation helps them to open up. They learn to get in touch with themselves, to perceive their own bodies more clearly. Often, you can only really have conversations with the girls once they are better connected with themselves and have overcome some of their fears.

How does Laureus Sport for Good help this project? It has helped us to expand the programme. We now offer advocacy training, for instance. Here we teach the girls to tackle challenges effectively by tasking them with things like improving hygiene in the toilets or setting up school libraries. We also train them to become boxing teachers themselves. Without Laureus, we wouldn’t be able to pay our trainers decent salaries.

You yourself learned to box here; today you train the girls. What impact has this had on you? Boxing has made me more self-confident and allowed me to compete professionally, even at an international level. Today, I just want to give something back.

Mercedes-Benz is a founding partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The foundation was started in 2000 and is today the Mercedes-Benz brand’s most important social responsibility initiative. Its sports projects seek to champion socially disadvantaged children and young people all over the world. Box Girls Kenya was set up to help girls from Nairobi’s poorest districts.






Mules, trucks, even elephants: The World Food Programme uses everything in its power to deliver supplies to the most needy

There is a popular riddle that involves a farmer trying to cross a river in a small boat. He can only take one item at a time, and seemingly every permutation has a negative outcome. If he leaves his chicken and fox on the riverbank, the fox will eat the chicken. If he takes the fox, the chicken will eat the grain. Who can he take? How can he ensure safe passage for all? It may be a child’s puzzle, but it bore similarities to a situation that affected very real communities in Syria in 2016. At a time when ISIS controlled most of northern and eastern Syria, large numbers of displaced people were trying to seek refuge in Jordan through its north-eastern border with Syria. But due to the infiltration of ISIS fighters into the population, they were refused passage. Eventually, some 85,000 people – including many women, children and elderly – found themselves living in a barren desert where scorpions and snakes were the only sign of life. “In cooperation with the Jordanian authorities, Syrian displaced people were allowed to cross the border to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance and return to their make-shift settlements. However, when ISIS elements embedded among the displaced population carried out a terrorist attack on an army outpost

killing nine soldiers, the area was declared a military zone to which all civilians were denied access,” recalls World Food Programme’s (WFP) UAE Director and GCC Representative, Mageed Yahia. “So, we had to find alternative solutions.” WFP found itself between a rock and a hard place. It could not provide people with food in Jordan because the population could no longer cross the border; and at the same time all roads from Syria were cut off. The solution? A crane placed right on the Jordanian side of the border delivering life-saving assistance into what was effectively a no-man’s land. This was the first time WFP deployed cranes to deliver assistance, and media outlets promptly seized upon the story. This is just one example of an innovative solution being used by WFP to provide vital food assistance to populations affected by war or natural disasters. Since it was set up in 1961, initially as a three-year experimental programme headquartered in Rome, WFP has frequently had to engage in lateral thinking to get around logistical and other challenges. The agency’s inception coincided with a deadly earthquake in Iran which caused major devastation and loss of life. It was this crisis which pointed to the global need for an agency that could provide emergency food aid to people in need, often in remote corners of the world. Since then, WFP has extended its mission from one of Saving Lives to one that includes Changing Lives, helping vulnerable communities recover and thrive after they have suffered a setback. The World Food Programme uses everything – from airplanes to mules, trucks to donkeys, road to river and sea to air – to come to the rescue of those in need. One of its increasingly important strategic hubs for the deployment of life-saving supplies is Dubai.


DID YOU KNOW? In 2019, the United Arab Emirates ranked 6th among WFP’s top donors globally

A forty-minute drive from Dubai’s city centre leads out into the desert – passing yards replete with gleaming white trucks and vast stretches of warehouses that have, over the last seven years, dispatched around 29,000 metric tons of goods to 72 countries around the world. “WFP’s mission to save lives and change lives

wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our donors and partners,” says Yahia. “Our GCC partners, including the United Arab Emirates, are among the biggest contributors for WFP’s humanitarian emergencies. Since our establishment in Dubai in 2001, our partnership with the UAE government has not ceased to evolve in many ways. The UAE is now one of our top 10 donors globally. From our office in Dubai’s International Humanitarian City (IHC), we are able to offer a much-needed range of humanitarian and development services to various operation around the world”. “We’ve five hubs around the world, located in Panama, Accra, Brindisi, Subang and Dubai which has quickly become the largest of them all,” Yahia adds. Positioned at global cross-roads, the hub in Dubai has proven to be a strategic location for the deployment of life-saving supplies.


24.5 mil

hectares of land rehabilitated or forested since 2014 to develop livelihood and offset effects of climate change

people receiving cash assistance in 2018, with 26 per cent as electronic vouchers

1 in 9

countries supported by WFP in using mobile technology for food security assessment survey

People go to bed on an empty stomach each night


organisations benefiting from training on use of drones in humanitarian settings in the past year


1,000-plus NGOs partnering with WFP to support more than 80 million people in 80 countries



63 Clockwise from far left: Loading food supplies from the Dubai warehouse to an emergency; Supplies are delivered by donkey in Ethiopia; Dubai has been a crucial part of WFP operations, its planes dispatching food, medicine and other vital supplies; High energy biscuits are a vital staple in times of crisis – portable, calorie-rich and easy to distribute




From top: An iris scanner at Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp; A crane delivers food across the Syrian border – a world first for aid distribution

Inside its warehouses are teams working tirelessly to ready the next batch of items for deployment. Leading logistics support for the humanitarian community, WFP manages emergency stocks of both food and non-food items for UN agencies, governments and non-governmental organisations which are stored in its warehouses and dispatched by WFP teams when the need arises. There are tents large enough to house entire families, and prefabricated units that can be erected into offices in a matter of hours. There are water sanitation systems that can filter water, making it safe for consumption. There is also have a system that is able to convert urine into drinking water. There are also high-energy biscuits – which are easily transported and distributed as soon as a crisis strikes, and vaccines which are carefully stored in chillers at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and shipped in boxes with ice packs and a temperature-monitoring device. Reducing the turnaround time is vital in times of crisis; each package has an identification number and is ready for dispatch in just two hours. Vehicles are essential to WFP’s field operations, which is why the organisation established its global fleet centre in Dubai in 2008. The centre supplies road transport to all WFP operations around

DID YOU KNOW? WFP introduced blockchain in Jordan’s Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps – allowing 106,000 Syrian refugees to purchase food from camp supermarkets with just a scan of their eyes

the world, which lease vehicles on a fouryear basis and then return them to Dubai, where they are auctioned off. Since 2008, around 4,000 vehicles have been bought, leased, deployed and auctioned from Dubai – with armored cars being lent out to locations including Yemen and Libya. Armoring a basic vehicle used to cost US$200,000 when done abroad. Procuring the same services in UAE helped cut this cost in half, freeing up much-needed funds for the provision of food assistance. Also vital to frontline humanitarian response are strong telecommunications. To ensure uninterrupted connectivity at all times, WFP Dubai hosts the Fast IT and Telecom Emergency Team (FITTEST) which, in times of crisis, re-establishes critical IT and telecom services. From Dubai, FITTEST teams can deploy worldwide within 48 hours, establishing and maintaining communications infrastructure and services for emergency response teams. As a frontline humanitarian agency, WFP often operates in conflict areas, war zones and harsh environments, where security concerns challenge the safe delivery of assistance to those in need. WFP uses all possible means to ensure food is delivered and lives are saved. This includes delivery using elephants, mules, trucks and ships. When land or sea access becomes impossible, the organisation takes to the skies to deliver food from great heights. “Airdrops are the last resort for us in delivering food in an emergency due to their high cost,” says Yahia. One of the most taxing operations he participated in was the airdrop operation in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, where more than 100,000 civilians were besieged by ISIS. “Normally we drop food from an altitude of 5,000 feet, but this time we had to drop from 16,000 feet for fear of missile attacks. We parachuted GPS-guided food palettes from that height for over two years until the siege was lifted.” From rapidly organising life-saving supplies to using diplomacy in tense negotiations, WFP’s skillset needs to be far-reaching and varied. “Seeing the impact of our work on the ground in saving lives and changing lives is indescribable”, says Yahia.


World Food Programme’s must-haves for food security

1 – PUT THE FURTHEST BEHIND FIRST Investing in inclusive development is not just the right thing to do; it makes good business sense. Providing opportunities for equitable economic growth will raise the purchasing power of the poorest 2 billion people, which in turn will create incremental demand, generating new jobs and jump-starting local economies.

2 – MAKE NUTRITION A PRIORITY Nothing is more crucial to the development of a child than good health and nutrition, particularly in the first 1000 days of life. To promote healthy development, we must ensure that children and nursing mothers have access to nutritious food.

3 – STOP WASTE About one third of the food we produce each year is lost or wasted, costing the global economy nearly US$1 trillion every year. In developed countries food is often wasted on the plate, while in developing countries it is mostly lost during production.

4 – DIVERSITY IN FARMING Just four staples (rice, wheat, corn and soy) represent 60 per cent of all calories consumed around the world; addressing the challenges of climate change, and food availability and food access will require helping farmers explore and identify a more diverse range of crops.

5 – MARKETS AND RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE Developing sustainable durable markets will make supply chains more efficient and make access to affordable, nutritious food much easier. To support these markets we must also improve rural infrastructure, particularly roads, storage and electrification.

Listen to the Emirates World podcast on ice to discover more about how the World Food Programme responds to emergencies, with an interview with UAE Director, Mageed Yahia.


Massive subjects like the holocaust and slavery can be tackled through individual experience, says Canadian writer Esi Edugyan WORDS: BEN EAST In Esi Edugyan’s 2011 novel Half Blood Blues, black jazz musician Hieronymous Falk is arrested and incarcerated in a German concentration camp. The follow-up, Washington Black, features the titular character trying to escape a slave plantation in Barbados. Weighty, tough subjects to take on, then – and even now, Edugyan still seems to take a deep breath when talking about them. “It was daunting,” she says. “Though I don’t think I could have written either novel if I’d begun with the notion that I was writing a deeper exploration of these subjects. I always begin with character, with the desire to explore historical figures or groups whose marginalisation hasn’t been fully expressed, and I go from there. It’s the circumstances

of their lives that lead me to write about these larger historical atrocities. “But mostly… I want readers to enjoy my books too!” Which is the conundrum Edugyan grapples with – incredibly successfully – in her Booker-shortlisted fiction. Once Washington Black leaves the plantation, the book turns into a mythic adventure story, with hot-air balloon journeys to the Arctic, North Africa and Europe. The novel had its initial roots in a series of bizarre, byzantine criminal trials that took place in England from the 1860s to the 1890s, which gave Edugyan the confidence that she could exaggerate that tone in a slavery story. “The Tichborne Claimant affair [which was made into a film in 1998] had

For more about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, listen to the podcast on today’s flight. Pick up the ice magazine in your seat pocket for full channel listings of the entertainment on board.


How does a novelist take on devastating events in readable fiction?

its own fantastical quality, and perhaps it was that stretching of the bounds of realism that allowed me to push even further to my own place of strangeness,” she agrees. “I didn’t set out to write an epic story with shifting settings and characters – the material just forced its way there. I guess I’d like people to feel they’ve accompanied these people on their journeys, but they are deliberately journeys that no doubt look very little like their own daily lives.” Edugyan, who grew up in a Ghanaian family in Calgary, Canada, shows a deep understanding of people in desperately inhuman circumstances somehow managing to maintain their humanity. Washington Black is a brilliant artist who won’t ever have the chance to be fully acknowledged for his gifts, due to the era in which he lives. He has to experience great savagery, which Edugyan is unapologetic in depicting. “It can be a tricky thing, to write violence in a way that feels warranted and not excessive,” she admits. “Especially when most of that violence occurs right at the beginning of the narrative. How do you not send the reader fleeing?” Edugyan processed that question by being true to the historical record and faithfully depicting the brutality of slavery in as unadorned a way as possible. That way, she felt, she could honour those lost lives. “Both books are about people struggling to retain not only their self worth within societies that seek to strip them of any sense of belonging, but also about trying to hang on to goodness,” she adds. “The characters are in the end able to do this – albeit with varying degrees of success. Washington Black might end up being free, but that comes with an attached guilt, rage and grief. So it was his journey towards psychological freedom which interested me – whether he fully achieves that by the end I don’t know. But he’s on the way there.”

68 / EXPO 2020

A drop-by-drop approach to a sustainable future The global environmental crisis needs us all to come together. Expo 2020 Dubai aims to tangibly demonstrate how we can change our daily habits to live more sustainably and collaborate to make a difference

Talking the talk is all well and good when it comes to such a globally vital topic as sustainability, but at Expo 2020 Dubai, that talk will be backed by a plethora of measures to help show that creating a greener planet is achievable via the power of collaboration. Imagine the impact if we can encourage and empower millions of visitors to Expo 2020 to make even a small change to their lifestyle that positively impacts the planet. With 25 million visits expected, the result could be significant. To

put it another way, a single drop of water hitting a rock will have little impact; thousands upon thousands of drops can eventually break through that rock. Even before doors open on 20 October, Expo 2020’s day-to-day operations combine numerous future-facing initiatives that are tailor-made to make this one of the most sustainable World Expos of all-time. One of the most pressing issues is how to drastically reduce the use of harmful single-use plastics. Expo 2020

is working hard to cut its use, and has banned single-use plastic bags and consumables from all its retail and food outlets during event-time. It is also working closely with participant countries and partners to expand this approach. At the same time, Expo 2020’s US$100 million innovation and partnership programme Expo Live and its Global Best Practice Programme are supporting various projects that reduce plastic usage. Examples include The Plastic Bank, which converts plastic

EXPO 2020 / 69

waste into currency in Haiti; Paptic, which creates wood-based alternatives to plastic packaging; and Cleapl, which is developing more environmentally friendly versions of disposable single-use items such as straws, cups, films and bags, including items that are biodegradable, non-toxic and edible. Expo 2020 also aims to drive the circular economy – which promotes a reuse-repurpose-recycle process to reduce waste. During the six-month event, food waste from millions of visitors will be collected and processed by state-of-theart composters that can produce nutrient-rich compost in three to four hours. Feeling fashionable, but want to dramatically reduce your wardrobe’s damaging impact on the environment? Eco-clothing company DGrade, which recently launched its first collection of official Expo 2020 apparel made from recycled plastic bottles, is showing the way – and a proportion of the source materials is provided by Dulsco, Expo 2020’s Official Waste Management Partner. No matter how much work is done to encourage us all to live more sustainably, unless it is presented in a way that grabs attention and guides us on how we can each make a difference, these efforts could be largely in vain. Recognising this, Expo 2020 has drawn on the expertise of Professor Michael Depledge, Chief Scientific Advisor of the UK’s pioneering Eden Project. An internationally respected environmental and human health researcher, he specialises in the science of how to successfully get these messages across, and has been integral to the development of the Sustainability Pavilion’s visitor experience at Expo 2020.

Clockwise from left: Expo 2020 worked with an environmental and human health researcher to develop the Sustainability Pavilion’s visitor experience; Expo Live grantee Paptic creates wood-based alternatives to plastic packaging; Eco-clothing company DGrade recently launched its first collection of official Expo 2020 apparel made from recycled plastic bottles

A key goal of the pavilion is to dismantle pessimism by showing how we can live in harmony with the climate and our biodiverse ecosystems – reminding us all how our environment affects our own health and wellbeing, and how making small changes can catalyse huge positive knock-on effects globally. Right now, pushing along that process is more important than at any other point in human history. Between us, we can all be the drops that come together to break through and make a meaningful, long-lasting impact.

To learn more, watch Expo 2020 Dubai in Emirates & Dubai TV on ice.

Enjoy responsibly - www.moĂŤ

Emirates NEWS










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Emirates to launch services to Penang via Singapore Penang will become Emirates’ second destination in Malaysia

Travellers in the northern region of Malaysia will have direct access to Emirates’ global network via Dubai, as Penang is set to become Emirates’ second destination in Malaysia. From 9 April 2020, a new daily service will fly from Dubai (DXB) to Penang International Airport (PEN) via Singapore (SIN). Penang will become Emirates’ second destination in Malaysia after its capital, Kuala Lumpur, which the airline currently serves with three flights a day and is a route that has been operating since 1996. The flight will be operated by an Emirates Boeing

777-300ER aircraft in a three-class configuration, offering eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie flat seats in Business Class and 304 spacious seats in Economy Class. The new route enables travellers to enjoy convenient onward connections from Dubai to destinations in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Located on the North-western coast of Malaysia, Penang comprises a mainland portion as well as an island, connected by Malaysia’s two longest roadbridges. It is the country’s second largest populated city and is known for its rich heritage and architecture,

vibrant multicultural society, modern entertainment and retail options, cuisine as well as the natural beauty of its beaches and hills. The city is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a variety of tourist attractions. Besides its appeal to tourists, Penang is also considered to be an economic powerhouse in Malaysia, being an important trade and industrial city and attracting business travellers from around the globe. The new service will also enable Emirates SkyCargo, the cargo division of Emirates, to offer up to 15 tonnes of cargo capacity on the flight, giving Malaysian businesses the opportunity to increase their exports of electronic products such as laptops, as well as spare parts for other industries including aviation, oil and gas, and renewable energy. Frequently imported commodities to Malaysia include pharmaceuticals, fashion goods, perishable goods including food items and fresh flowers. The route will also support import and export opportunities for Singapore, connecting the world through Dubai and between Singapore and Penang.

FEMALE FILM DIRECTORS FEATURED FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, Emirates’ award-winning ice inflight entertainment is featuring over 120 female-directed films. Movies include Hollywood blockbusters such as Charlie’s Angels (Elizabeth Banks) and Mamma Mia! (Phyllida Lloyd); Oscar winners such as The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow) and Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola); and foreign language films including Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink (Hindi), and Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda (Arabic). For full details refer to the ice guide in your seat pocket.

Haifaa Al-Mansour’s award-winning Wadjda will be available to view on ice



Travellers salute Emirates with two awards at the 2019 ULTRAS Emirates has picked up awards for the ‘Best Airline in the World’ and ‘Best First Class’ at the 2019 ULTRAs. Voted for by readers of The Telegraph’s luxury travel magazines Ultratravel UK and Ultratravel Middle East, the awards are the industry hallmark of the world’s best luxury travel experiences.

In 2019, Emirates continued to place customers at the heart of its business and intensified its investments in products and services, reinforcing its quality proposition. In April 2019, Emirates completed its US$150 million refurbishment of 10 Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, offering a two-class cabin with wider Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 format and a fully refreshed Economy Class cabin in new colourscapes and enhanced designs.

Emirates’ latest First Class, introduced in its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in 2017, continued to inspire travellers with its sleek, modern interiors and futuristic technologies. Featuring six fully enclosed First Class Private Suites, the cabin is inspired by the design and signature details of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration, each suite provides 40 square feet of personal space, cutting-edge climate control and lighting technologies, a NASA inspired ‘zero-gravity’ seating position, industry-first ‘virtual windows’ for middle aisle suites, and a personal video-call service for ultimate privacy. The newest Boeing 777-300ER ‘game-changer’ aircraft currently flies to nine global cities. On the ground, Emirates launched its first remote check-in terminal outside of Dubai International airport last year, enabling an efficient checkin process for cruise passengers and easy stopover visits to its home city. The airline also launched biometric boarding and facial recognition technology trials at its departure gates for customers flying from Dubai to any of its 12 destinations in the US, reducing the time taken for identity checks. More biometric technology is being rolled out for a better end-to-end experience in 2020.

Emirates and Olympique Lyonnais (OL), one of France’s top football clubs, have entered into a five-year sponsorship deal. Under the agreement, Emirates will become the club’s Official Main Sponsor from the start of the 2020-2021 season. The iconic Emirates “Fly Better” logo will appear on the front of the OL team’s training kits and playing jerseys for all the club’s matches, including the French Championship and European Cup until June 2025. In addition to being shirt sponsors, the agreement will provide Emirates with highly visible branding across Groupama Stadium, as well as hospitality, ticketing and other marketing rights. OL has one of the best football records amongst French clubs and has taken part in the European Cup for 23 consecutive years. The team’s consistency, sportsmanship, and loyal fan following were instrumental in Emirates’ decision to join forces with the team. In addition to the team’s global appeal, Lyon as a destination was also a major factor in the partnership. Regularly ranked among the top European cities, Lyon is flourishing as a destination, from both an economic and tourism standpoint. Emirates was the first airline to connect Lyon to the United Arab Emirates, and more broadly to the Middle East, Eastern Africa and the South Asian subcontinent via Dubai when it launched direct flights to the city in 2012.


‘Come fly with me’ programme held for UAE students Close to 250 students from eight schools may be one step closer to answering the question on everyone’s mind – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Emirates welcomed students to its headquarters for an immersive session as part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s Education Programme, which reached more than 30,000 students last year. The session explored the diversity of roles within the organisation, helping to cultivate their passion for aviation. Students between the ages of 14 to 18 were treated to a memorable session on what it takes to work for the world’s largest international airline. Employees from different departments across Emirates engaged with students to inspire their interest in the aviation industry.

Shajee Rafi, Manager Business Improvement, offered a sneak peek into the inner workings of Emirates Engineering, and the cutting-edge technologies that will drive tomorrow’s aviation industry and Valerie Tan, VP in the Corporate Communications Marketing & Brand (CCMB) department, revealed what to expect from a marketing profession in the aviation industry. Emirates’ Captain Shehab Hamza and Cabin Crew Supervisor Jade Cobbs joined the panel discussion to answer queries on the challenges of

their roles, their favourite destinations, and how they have grown in their roles at the airline. Ravi Nage, Regional Catering Manager, explained the process of creating seasonal and regionally inspired meals to cater to the airline’s diverse mix of customers across all flights. Nick Moore, SVP Passenger Services & Hub Operations at Emirates Airport Services, discussed the leadership skills required to oversee passenger services and hub operations at the busiest international airport in the world – Dubai.

Making progress in women’s health

The Emirates Airline Foundation sponsored travel for eight medical volunteers travelling from Los Angeles to Entebbe for a two-week surgical programme that conducted 48 fistula and pelvic floor surgeries in Mbarara, Uganda. The volunteers are part of Medicine for Humanity, a medical care and teaching organisation with the mission statement: “Healing Women. Training Doctors”.

Working primarily in Uganda, Medicine for Humanity provides women in need with the opportunity to be healed from the devastating effects of childbirth injuries through surgical cures. They are also training a new generation of Ugandan doctors and nurses in these life-saving techniques. During this mission, six Ugandan resident physicians received hands-on surgical training, and dozens of medical students experienced lectures, and had the opportunity to observe surgical procedures. Recently, Medicine for Humanity started a Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship which provides a full year of specialised training to a Ugandan physician in the field of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. You can learn more about Medicine for Humanity at Learn more about the foundation in the newsletter in your seat pocket. You can donate in any currency using the envelope in the newsletter, or with credit or debit card – just ask your cabin crew. Visit us online at


First in class

This is why Emirates cabin crew are the best in the world Our crew

22,000 Emirates cabin crew

135 Representing nationalities

60 languages spoken

Named World’s Leading Cabin Crew 2019 at the World Travel Awards

Our facility Emirates Aviation College – Cabin Crew Training offers the highest standards of safety and service delivery in this state-of-the-art facility • The biggest single base training facility for cabin crew in the world • US$70 million investment • State-of-the-art emergency evacuation simulators

Training journey • Ab initios (new joiners) spend 8 weeks at Emirates Aviation College – Cabin Crew Training • After 12-18 months crew can advance on to Business Class • After another 12 months, they can train as First Class crew

What’s covered in 8 weeks of training? • Safety & Emergency Procedures • Group Medical Training • Security Training • Image and Uniform • Cabin Service Training


DID YOU KNOW? In 2019, Emirates Aviation College – Cabin Crew Training had: • 176,476 training days • 40,492 attendees • 2,563 new recruits • 3,705 courses delivered

Cabin service Using specially-constructed 1:1 replicas of Emirates’ aircraft interiors, cabin crew are comprehensively taught to provide the very best inflight service, from full silver service fine dining to mixing the perfect cocktail.

Flight kitchens The College has introduced new flight kitchens into the building design, replicating hospitality and catering environments and giving cabin crew the opportunity to gain expertise in plating meals. The kitchens also help crew to acquire the exceptional culinary and food presentation skills required to help deliver Emirates’ specialised ‘Dine on Demand’ services, truly implementing the concept of ‘fine dining’ at 40,000 feet.

WANT TO APPLY? We’re looking for women and men who are open-minded, friendly and service-oriented, and can deliver Emirates’ award-winning experience. You need to be 21 years old at the time of joining, have an arm reach of 212cm when standing on tiptoes, and should be able to adapt to new places and situations. For more information go to


Our simulators Our similators recreate a huge variety of scenarios to make training as realistic as possible, leading to our objective of achieving competent and confident cabin crew as they leave training. Situations crew might find themselves in during a simulation include: • Emergency decompression • Evacuation on water • Fire on board


Dhaka, Bangladesh


An energetic city with a touch of sophistication Cities with more than 20 million people tend to evoke images of urban sprawl and never ending construction, but Dhaka, with its meandering rivers and water ways, is a cultural and historic gem. Having been inhabited for millennia, it’s known as the Venice of the East. Dhaka began to grow rapidly during the days of the Mughal Empire, and has barely broken pace since. Today, getting lost in the colourful crowds is as much a fact of life as a great pleasure – one made all the more enjoyable underneath towering, leafy trees, ancient stone palaces and forts such as the famed Lalbagh Fort, and the modern glass and steel skyscrapers that dominate tech and finance-focused Gulshan neighbourhood. Some of the most inspiring streets to wander down are those that follow the rivers, or along the Hatirjheel lakefront in the centre of the city. Trendy cafés serving some of the sweetest tea and coffee you’ll ever taste can be found aplenty, as well as restaurants specialising in Bangladeshi and international cuisines (especially other South Asian countries, such as Pakistan and India), and plenty of shops and stalls brimming with colourful clothing. Dhaka is warm year-round and typically very wet from May to October, during the monsoon season. A silver lining to the weather is the fresh air that arrives just after a downpour – which clears the skies over the city’s lush parks and winding rivers.

Emirates will launch its fourth daily service to Dhaka from 29 March, boosting Emirates’ weekly services to Dhaka from 21 to 28, and will connect customers seamlessly across the airline’s global route network spanning six continents.





On a rooftop terrace not far from the airport, waterfront views are only part of the allure at this river-front restaurant. The menu features steaks, seafood, pastas and, interestingly enough, many Malaysian dishes. Prices are quite reasonable, especially on its weekly BBQ nights. laketerrace

With a beautiful terrace in the hip neighbourhood of Gulshan, this is an ideal place to sip coffee, tea, or a freshly-squeezed juice made from local fruit – from jackfruit to guava or lychee. The menu also features a selection of sandwiches and desserts, and sometimes you can catch a live performance, too.

Dating to 1939, this is one of Dhaka’s most famous restaurants, and as the name suggests specialises in biryani, using local flavours such as goat, buffalo cheese and peanuts. There are several locations, but stop by the original, located in the Nazira Bazaar in historic Old Dhaka. Expect strictly halal food.




A favourite haunt of visiting diplomats and dignitaries, The Westin oozes the elegance you’d expect of a fivestar hotel consistently rated one of the city’s best. The towering building in Dhaka’s business district has a myriad of funky restaurants, and gorgeous views. Dhaka

You’ll see a lot of wedding receptions here, the lush greenery and mammoth ballroom proving an allure for many couples. A hanging, heated, infinity salt water lap swimming pool is a particular highlight of the property – with a partial glass floor that allows a view of the street below.

Feeling more like an all-inclusive resort than a hotel – with several pools and restaurants – there’s no shortage of things to do at this five-star property. Check out the Jharna Grill for fusion Bangladeshi fare, and for the best views, check into the penthouse Bengali Suite.




Perhaps the most famous building in Dhaka and Bangladesh, this complex dates back to the 17th century, and includes a three-domed mosque, grand halls, tombs, museums, gardens, and Mughal miniatures. Many hours can easily be spent here marvelling at it all. Be aware it usually closes at 5pm, and is not open on Sundays.

Skip the fast fashion on offer at Banga Bazaar and make your way to Jatra, a multi-storey building that holds artisanal Bangladeshi creations. Browse embroidered clothing from Aranya, a sustainable brand that employs local women or jewellery made by a Chittagong hill tribe, and finish with a local tea in a café on the top floor.

Crowded, often chaotic trains are the primary way most locals travel long distances. For a tourist, taking a local line through Old Dhaka or the Maitree Express – a ten-hour journey that connects Dhaka with Kolkata – is a feast for the senses. To travel in comfort, make sure to book a first class ticket several days in advance.


Be smart!

Use UAE Smart Gates at Dubai International airport Citizens of the countries listed on the right and UAE residents can speed through Dubai International by using UAE Smart Gates. If you hold a machinereadable passport, an E-Gate card or Emirates ID card you

can check in and out of the airport within seconds. Just look out for signs that will direct you to the many UAE Smart Gates found on either side of the Immigration Hall at Dubai International Airport.


*All customers should be registered to use the UAE Smart Gates













Czech Republic







Hong Kong SAR














New Zealand






San Marino





South Korea




United Kingdom


Vatican City



Have your machine-readable passport, E-Gate card or Emirates ID card ready to be scanned.


Go through the open gate and place your passport photo page on the scanner. If you are a UAE resident, place your E-Gate card or Emirates ID card into the card slot.


Stand on the blue footprint guide on the floor, face the camera straight-on and stand still for your iris scan. When finished, the next set of gates opens.


To register for Smart Gate access, just spend a few moments having your details validated by an immigration officer and that’s it. Every time you fly to Dubai in future, you will be out of the airport and on your way just minutes after you have landed.


Remember to bring your Emirates ID card next time you’re travelling through DXB – you’ll be able to speed through passport control in a matter of seconds, without paying and without registering. Valid at all Smart Gates, located in Arrivals and Departures, across all three terminals at DXB. We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible; however, for the definitive list, please contact Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs

*UK citizens only (UK overseas citizens still require a visa)

UAE SMART GATES CAN BE USED BY: • Machine-readable passports from the above countries • E-Gate cards • Emirates ID cards


Emirates Penang via Singapore: Daily service starts April 9



Routes shown are as of time of going to press


**Seasonal service


Emirates Amsterdam / Auckland / Bangkok / Barcelona / Beijing / Birmingham / Brisbane / Cairo / Casablanca / Christchurch / Copenhagen / Dusseldorf / Frankfurt / Glasgow / Guangzhou / Hamburg / Hong Kong / Houston / Jeddah / Johannesburg / Kuala Lumpur / Kuwait / London / Los Angeles / Madrid / Manchester / Mauritius / Melbourne / Milan / Moscow / Mumbai / Munich / Muscat / New York / Nice / Osaka / Paris / Perth / Prague / Riyadh / Rome / San Francisco / São Paulo / Seoul / Shanghai / Singapore / Sydney / Taipei / Tokyo / Toronto / Vienna / Washington, DC / Zurich

Emirates route

flydubai route


With 24 codeshare partners around the world (22 airlines and an air/rail codeshare arrangement with France’s SNCF/TGV Air and Italy’s Trenitalia), Emirates has even more flight options, effectively expanding its network by over 300 destinations.

Visit for full details on our travel partners


Routes shown are as of time of going to press


**Seasonal service



Emirates route

AFRICA flydubai route




**Seasonal service



Routes shown are as of time of going to press


Freighter destinations


Emirates Fleet Our fleet of 271 aircraft includes 260 passenger aircraft and 11 freighters Visual of A380 Orange livery

AIRBUS A380-800 115 IN FLEET All aircraft 30+ aircraft

up to 4,500+


Up to 489-615 passengers. Range: 15,000km. Visual for Boeing 777 Green livery L 72.7m x W 79.8m x H 24.1 m

BOEING 777-300ER 134 IN FLEET All aircraft 100+ aircraft up to 4,500+

A380-800 2008

Up to 354-428 passengers. Range: 14,594km. L 73.9m x W 64.8m x H 18.5 m A 6- EXX

Live TV, news & sport


Mobile phone

Data roaming

Number of channels

First Class Shower Spa

*Onboard lounge

**In-seat power

USB port

In-seat telephone

BOEING 777-200LR 10 IN FLEET All aircraft

B777-200LR 2007

Up to 302 passengers. Range: 17,446km. L 63.7m x W 64.8m x H 18.6 m

AIRBUS A319 B777-300ER 2005



Up to 19 passengers. Range: 7,000km. L 33.84m x W 34.1m x H 12m

Fly up to 19 guests in utmost comfort in our customised Emirates Executive Private Jet.



* First Class and Business Class; **Available in all rows in Economy Class, and in all seats in First Class and Business Class



The Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre installs a number of eyecatching decals on Emirates’ aircraft. Here are just a few to look out for.



Range: 9,260km. L 63.7m x W 64.8m x H 18.6m


The most environmentally friendly freighter operated today, with the lowest fuel burn of any comparably sized cargo aircraft.


Aircraft numbers accurate at the time of going to press. For more information:



GO SEE THIS A neon pyramid in a Saudi Arabian oasis created from plastic pallets speaks to both the area’s ancient roots, as well as its contemporary reawakening. The piece – titled A Concise Passage and created by Saudi artist Rashed Al Shashai – is just one of many created for Desert X AlUla, the first exhibition of its kind in the country. An exploration of desert culture, the festival involved artists both from and outside of the region.


26.37° N, 37.55° E

Emirates offers 83 weekly nonstop flights from Dubai to four destinations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Medina Al Munawarah.





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