T H E B U S I N E S S O F FA S H I O N MAY 2019
Dubai’s sartorial players: From bespoke tailoring to haute couture
WHAT IS THE NEW SILK ROAD, EXACTLY? WILL SMITH’S GUIDE TO JORDAN
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CONTRIBUTORS Iain Akerman; Christopher Beanland; Emma Coiler; Ben East; Sarah Freeman; Alice Holtham; Dom Joly; Christabel Lobo; Joe Mortimer; Adrian Mourby; Christina Ng; Conor Purcell. Front cover: Trunk Archive
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CONTENTS MAY 2019
58 DUBAI Master cutters The tailors, ateliers and upstarts of Dubai’s fashion scene 58
Expo 2020 Experience 18 Stay: London to Ho Chi Minh City Dom Joly’s guide to fines 26 Dispatch: Düsseldorf’s artistic bent Neighbourhood: SE Washington, DC Fear and building in the Far East Build-a-country: micronations rule A South African literary road trip
20 28 34 40 48 52
Latest news 74 Inside Emirates 76 Destination: Phnom Penh 78 UAE Smart Gate 80 Route maps 82 The fleet 88 Celebrity directions: Will Smith’s guide to Jordan 90
Feeding a mega-event 66
LitFest Futurist Gerd Leonhard on man vs tech 68
A Year of Tolerance 70
©Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi / Photo by Hufton+Crow. Architect: Jean Nouvel.
DESTINATION: LOUVRE ABU DHABI LONG GAZES WELCOME From the first look, you’ll realise Louvre Abu Dhabi isn’t like any other museum. A micro-city on the sea, it links the past to the future, and gathers the world under a canopy of light. Encounter art here, and come face to face with all that it means to be human. Come with questions. Leave with more.
BOOK A DAY AWAY
EDITOR’S NOTE LOOK AHEAD TO THE PAST
To move forward, one must look back. Such is China’s way of thinking, anyway. When President Xi Jinping decided to introduce what may be the biggest infrastructural programme in history, he looked to a 2,000-year-old network of trade routes for inspiration – the Silk Road. Unsurprisingly, the new version is less romantic. Instead of camels, there are upgraded railways; instead of carpet and amber tradesmen, construction workers toil on ports and pipelines. The project’s glamour lies not in the visuals but its potential in the transformation of both China, and 157 other nations that have signed on. A passenger train to Antwerp from Shanghai via Moscow and Ulaanbaatar is the most exciting possibility for travellers – if you’re a fan of the Glacier Express, stay tuned for this. In the press, it has been difficult to get beyond the mammoth numbers being bandied around. Xi has said China’s outward direct investment surpasses US$60 billion, and Morgan Stanley estimates spending will total $1.3 trillion by 2027. We talk to academics and researchers in a considered exploration of what the Belt and Road will do for the world – and the unique national desire that drives it (p40). Accompanying the essay is Zhang Kechun’s wistful photo series – pulling apart grand rhetoric in just a few frames.
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Georgina Lavers, Editor
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ZWILLING and many more
Global EXPERIENCE ° STAY ° DISPATCH ° NEIGHBOURHOOD ° SILK ROAD ° MICRONATIONS ° SOUTH AFRICA
Opposites attract Vietnam is a place for the avid bicyclist, the intrepid traveller, the backpacker. But for unapologetic “molti Italian swag”, head to the Reverie Saigon, in Ho Chi Minh City. p.22
18 / GLOBAL / EXPERIENCE
VENICE, MAY 8 - NOV 24
The Emirati artist at the Venice Biennale Poet and filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem explains how her site-specific video installation for the Venice Bienniale will tell the story of the UAE through culture You must be hugely excited to be representing the UAE in its National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. What can we expect to see? Passage is a two-channel video installation, which expands on my experimentation with contemporary Arabic poetry through the language of film. Poetry plays a central role in this immersive, site-specific installation. Through Passage, I attempt to meditate on themes of estrangement and isolation, to capture the universal dimensions of the human condition.
You often explore contemporary Arabic poetry through film – and you’ve also published a number of collections. How do the two mediums, written and visual, intersect and interact for you? I think filmmaking cannot be separated from making art or writing poetry.
Making films to me is just like writing poetry, creating a sculpture, or painting. Creating something gives one a feeling of purpose, and I know for sure that art to me is a form of therapy. It is an act of creating something beautiful and a way of expressing my own view of the universe, and an attempt at making sense of our existence. To achieve this I feel the need to explore diverse forms of artistic expression all at once.
Your work was previously at the Pavilion in 2017 as part of a group show. Why is Venice important for art – and what function can a pavilion have for a nation both in terms of how it thinks about itself and how it is seen by others? La Biennale di Venezia is one of the most prestigious events in the international cultural landscape and it’s vital to leverage this platform to connect with artists
and visitors from different cultures, and to tell the stories of the UAE through culture. We want to highlight distinct narratives that are both universal and specific to the region.
One of those key narratives in your body of work has been womanhood. Does it feel to you that you’ve seen changes over your career in the way that women – and Emirati women specifically – are represented? Can film effect that change? I never thought I would be making so many films about women, but I encountered many extraordinary and powerful characters in our society that happened to be women. Through highlighting stories of women, misconceptions about them can be corrected. Film is a powerful tool that not only documents reality but can also change it. nationalpavilionuae.org Alghanem is representing the UAE at the 58th Venice Biennale
MAY 23 - JUNE 3
CITES COP18 Losing species jeopardises “societal functions, economics and the well-being of the planet,” says CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero, making this one of the most crucial conferences of the year. The 18th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – the biggest ever – is hugely important to life on earth. Welcoming 182 participating countries, the regulation of international trade in wild animals and plants will be discussed by delegates. Colombo, Sri Lanka. citescop18.gov.lk
MAY 22 - JULY 21
MAY 30 - JULY 14
STARS OF THE WHITE NIGHTS
ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
Named after the few weeks of the St Petersburg summer where the sun never truly sets, this series of unmissable daily ballet, opera and orchestral performances at the Mariinsky Theatre has only been an annual fixture since 1993. It kicks off this month with Verdi operas Attila and Macbeth, followed by Tchaikovsky and Petipa’s legendary ballet Swan Lake. St Petersburg, Russia. mariinsky.ru
The Cup begins in England and Wales this month with a mouthwatering tie between host nation and South Africa. England are the pre-tournament favourites, but given Australia have won four out of the last five World Cups and India are always a strong side, the winner of the final in July is hardly a foregone conclusion. Venues across England and Wales. cricketworldcup.com
Beginning this month, the most important date in the Muslim calendar is also a great time to experience Arabian culture in cities such as Dubai. Once the sun sets, the fast is broken with an Iftar, often in Ramadan tents full of food and entertainment. For the early morning feast (suhoor) try The Majlis at Dubai World Trade Centre. Dubai, UAE. visitdubai.com
20 / GLOBAL / WHERE TO STAY
51.5074° N, 0.1278° W
PRICE: FROM US$615 PER NIGHT
Belmond’s first UK hotel is a homely hideaway with literary – and scandalous – overtones
Cadogan’s secrets WORDS: JOE MORTIMER
FROM THE CONCIERGE: Secret garden Borrow a key to Cadogan Place Gardens, the exclusive, residents-only square directly opposite the hotel. On the banks of the Thames nearby is Chelsea Physic Garden, founded in 1673 and the oldest botanical garden in London. Swinging 60s The Victoria & Albert Museum is running a Mary Quant exhibition until February 2020, celebrating the life and work of the designer who started a fashion revolution in the 1960s. To the bookstore Visit John Sandoe Books on Blackwell Terrace, just off Kings Road, to pick up some reading material. It is one of the best independently-run bookshops in London.
Plenty of hotels purport to create a sense of place, but few do so as successfully as this stylish bolthole in the British capital. Following a five-year refurbishment, the stylish Chelsea address incorporating the original 1887 Cadogan Hotel, plus three Queen Anne Revival-style townhouses and a former bank, is very much made in Britain. Oscar Wilde’s former apartment has been reimagined as the Royal Suite, a plush, grownup space that feels like a well-appointed Chelsea flat. The writer’s influence extends to the bar through splashes of tweed and velvet upholstery, seen alongside family photos from the album of Scottish chef Adam Handling. The latter’s successful zero-waste Frog restaurants in Covent Garden and Shoreditch earned him an invitation to take charge of Cadogan’s culinary creations: modern British cuisine peppered with fanciful touches like Earl Grey and cucumber ice cream. Literary overtones continue throughout: 600 books moulded in brass adorn the
lift lobby, and a library including works by local writers such as Agatha Christie and Bram Stoker was curated in partnership with nearby John Sandoe Books. Actress Lillie Langtry’s former home is now the hotel’s dining room, embellished with details that reveal secrets of the socialite’s private life: note the feathered Prince of Wales crest on the cornice, alluding to a royal indiscretion. Cadogan’s 430-piece art collection is dominated by contemporary British talent, including many works commissioned specifically for the hotel. Five female artists took inspiration from the charming Cadogan Gardens to create signature paintings for the 54 rooms and suites. Botanically minded guests can request a key to the private gardens from the concierge. The latter, incidentally, sports a fetching smoking jacket in the evening as a further nod to Wilde, while the doormen flaunt bright red MaryQuant era chequered overcoats, in tribute to the neighbourhood’s 1960s fashion revival.
Starting 1st July Emirates will launch a second daily flight from Dubai to London Stansted. The additional flight means that Emirates customers will now have 11 daily flight options to and from three London airports.
22 / GLOBAL / WHERE TO STAY
HO CHI MINH CITY
10.8231° N, 106.6297° E
PRICE: FROM US$275 PER NIGHT
Haute European design meets Dubai levels of bling at The Reverie Saigon, where luxury has no bounds
The Italian job WORDS: SARAH FREEMAN
IMAGES: MATTHEW SHAW
FROM THE CONCIERGE Curtain call If artisanship makes you go weak at the knees, check into the Provasi Suite (one of four designer suites), featuring drapery by Rubelli, the fifth-generation Venetian company behind Bolshoi Theatre’s historic final curtain.
Occupying the top 12 floors of Sông Sài Gòn this five-star stalwart occupies one of the most coveted addresses in Ho Chi Minh City. Opulent and unapologetically flamboyant, the hotel’s no-expense-spared design comes to the fore in its seventh floor lobby, clad in the finest Italian and Bolivian marble. Crystal egg chandeliers, a solid silver front desk and a 1,000 kilo Baldi clock, valued at a cool half a million dollars, all vie for attention. But the real conversation starter is the bespoke five-metre-long sofa by Colombostile, of Burj Al Arab fame. The luxe furniture brand, along with preeminent design houses like Roberta Giorgetti and Alfredo Colombo, have injected the 286-room property with molti Italian swag.
With 12 room categories, even its standard accommodation pulls out all the stops – boasting walk-in closets, complimentary mini bars and jazzed-up Japanese smart toilets. Its upper-floor corner rooms rival the Bitexco Financial Tower’s helipad bar for sweeping city vistas, thanks to wraparound windows. At the touch of a button, your television stylishly sinks into a console for an uninterrupted panorama, whilst textured wallpapers, velvet upholstered headboards and 400-thread-count linens feel as decadent as they look. Come nightfall, a sweet spot to soak up that skyline is the bathroom’s sunken tub, lathering up with the holy trinity of toiletries: Chopard, Hermès and Aqua di Parma.
Shop up an Italian storm The first three floors of Times Square Tower are dedicated to select furniture showrooms like Salda, Venini and Villari, enabling guests to literally take a piece of The Reverie Saigon home with them. Shop for those 400-thread-count Frette sheets, Poltrona Frau’s trunklike saddle leather minibar, or the Presidential Suite’s iconic Chesterfield sofas.
IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD Colonial heritage The Reverie’s District 1 location puts you in spitting distance of landmark sites like Reunification Palace, the city’s neo-classical Central Post Office and French Colonial Opera House. The hotel also straddles fashionable Dong Khoi Street, home to contemporary restaurant Vietnam House.
From L-R: Views of the Sông Sài Gòn river; 3,000 tonnes of marble were used throughout the hotel
On peeling oneself off the leather chaise lounge, synchronise your laps to the outdoor pool’s underwater sound system. Or, robe up and reboot at the 1,200-squaremetre, two-level spa; decked in white marble, rose carpeting and hand-laid golden mosaic tiles. Its Himalayan salt-charged steam room and fusion massages are a soothing tonic to Ho Chi Minh City’s deliciously chaotic street life. The hotel even has a solution to the city’s throbbing traffic – a fleet of Mercedes-Benz S-Class (customised in ‘Reverie blue’), Bentley, and Rolls-Royce Phantom Dragons, ensuring la dolce vita is savoured right up to the airport terminal.
HO CHI MINH
Emirates operates services to Ho Chi Minh City with the Boeing 777-300ER.
24 / GLOBAL / WHERE TO STAY
24.8204° N, 56.1354° E
PRICE: FROM US$287 PER NIGHT
Cosmopolitan blends seamlessly with traditional at this city-cum-beach retreat
Best of both worlds WORDS: ALICE HOLTHAM
Typically when choosing a hotel in Dubai, guests can opt for either pristine sea views or impressive city vistas. But the enviable location of the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira means guests can enjoy the benefits of both. Positioned on the Jumeirah beachfront, the hotel is flanked on one side by the Arabian Gulf, the other a striking skyline of Downtown Dubai. Designer Jeffrey Wilkes has successfully blended cosmopolitan charm with traditional Middle Eastern touches. A desert colour palate melds with Far-Eastern paintings and objets d’art, all of which add to the overall ‘Silk Road’ theme of the interiors. Four neat pools are symmetrically positioned within perfectly manicured gardens that lead out onto the beach. Head for the 14-km running track separating the beach from the resort, for a chance to explore one of Dubai’s oldest beachfront neighbourhoods on foot. Rooms are spacious and feature modern guest-centric technology, designed with both
business and leisure travellers in mind. Floor to ceiling windows gaze out onto generously -sized balconies that are welcome additions for both the city and beach views. A rooftop pool reserved for hotel guests is a less obvious perk. Lined by a handful of day beds, it’s accessible through sixth-floor restaurant Tasca – which serves casual-cool Portuguese cuisine by chef Jose Avillez. Aside from Tasca, Netsu – a sophisticated Japanese steakhouse – is a stand-out dining choice. Nobu-trained chef Ross Shonhan helms the kitchen, dividing his menu between inventive Japanese dishes and premium cuts of meat, seared over a traditional straw fire grill. As well as an upscale offering for an evening meal, the upstairs lounge bar is a sultry spot for an aperitivo, or post dinner drink to finish an evening in style. Luxury, tradition and style are synonymous with the Mandarin Oriental brand, and their latest Dubai opening ticks all the boxes with ease.
IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD For those looking for an alternative shopping experience to Dubai’s lavish malls, a five-minute drive will take you to La Mer. The beachfront destination is home to an array of independent and chain restaurants, shops and cafes, as well as a water park and boutique cinema.
Planning a visit to Dubai and the UAE? Watch Emirates & Dubai TV on today’s flight to see fun things to do including Tourist Attractions, Dining, Activities, Entertainment and Golfing on ice channels 6116-6119. (Ch 1395-1399 on some aircraft)
26 / GLOBAL / COLUMN
ESSAOUIRA 31.5085° N, 9.7595° W
Running the gauntlet No ticket, no problem: Dom Joly on British parking bureaucracy, plus the Moroccan road trip that put his speed fineswerving to the ultimate test
Despite my reputation as an anarchic comedy prankster, I am actually quite a law-abiding fellow. There is one exception. This is in the traffic-based arena where most laws seem to be entirely about removing money from a driver’s wallet. To me, the sign of a happy country is somewhere you can park wherever you like. This probably stems from growing up in Beirut where, as far as I can remember, there were zero traffic regulations. I was recently back in Lebanon and spotted the first speed camera in the country. It had been placed at the bottom of the new Beirut-Metn highway, but to my delight, the Lebanese drivers appeared to totally ignore the thing. Then, in England, I encountered the institutional parking bureaucracy whereby most local councils make a large part of their revenue by ticketing and clamping the poor motorist. This led to one of my favourite comedy characters, the sadistic traffic warden who would wander around London clamping ambulances and buses, hailing taxis before slapping a ticket on them and fining motorbikes at traffic lights. In any other country this would seem extreme and absurd. In the UK, it bordered on a documentary and struck a chord with the usually compliant UK public. The very worst I ever experienced, however, was on the road between the evocative seaside town of Essaouira and Marrakesh in Morocco. I’ve done this drive many times but on this particular occasion I was with my wife and her 90-year-old Canadian
mother, one of the most law-abiding people you could hope to meet. Someone somewhere had obviously realised that – with a lot of tourists driving along this stretch of road and out of their comfort zone – there were some easy pickings. In the two-hour drive we were stopped by no fewer than nine sets of traffic police who claimed that we had been speeding and that we needed to pay an on-the-spot fine. Clearly, they had been making a fortune off foreign motorists, but they hadn’t banked on coming across me, battle-hardened from the mean streets of Beirut and London. The first roadblock tried to fine us, but I refused unless they showed me proof of my speed. They eventually released us for easier pickings. The second roadblock had a speed camera, but it was pointing in the other direction and I pointed this out to the officer. In the back, my mother-in-law, who had never seen anybody ever argue with the police was almost catatonic. But on we drove, like some exciting video game in which I repulsed the advances of more and more traffic officers advancing on our car with their white gloves outstretched. By the end I was not even bothering to stop, and I didn’t pay a single dirham to these uniformed highwaymen. Sadly, I fear that my mother-in-law is now convinced that her daughter has married some sort of road gangster. The joy of her being Canadian, though, is that she is way too polite to even bring the subject up.
GLOBAL / DISPATCH / 29
Injected with new blood, Düsseldorf has looked beyond its revered Kunstakademie to encompass new possibilities WORDS: CHRISTINA NG
In Germany, a quickened creative pulse
The K20 building, which comprises one half of the Kunstsammlung NordrheinWestfalen Museum
Artists have always loved Düsseldorf. Their romance has its roots in the fertile soil of the prestigious Kunstakademie, an art academy housed in a Neo-Renaissance building that attracted artists from all over the world to seek excellence at its halls. Today the school has its own gallery, Akademie Galerie – Die Neue Sammlung – which archives the art of its esteemed alumni, including Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys, and still produces worldclass artists year after year. “In Düsseldorf, you have people who were taught at the art school and later became teachers there – this went on for years and built up a long tradition of art,” says Andreas Schmitten, a Düsseldorf-based artist who studied under German artist Georg Herold at the school, graduating in 2012. This tradition has been kept burning brightly throughout the centuries. In the 1830s and 1840s Düsseldorf School – a group of painters who taught or studied at the Academy – broke new ground,
30 / GLOBAL / DISPATCH
1. The exterior of K21. In May, Ai Weiwei’s largest exhibition in Europe to date will be shown in K21 and K20 simultaneously 2. The Malerschule Düsseldorf collection at Kunstpalast – a school known for fanciful, allegorical landscapes
producing landscape paintings that gained a worldwide reputation. In the 1970s and 1980s, German luminaries of contemporary art like Andreas Gursky and Katharina Fritsch became the new generation of artist-professors, with expertise in forms ranging from sculpture to photography passed down like a blazing Olympic torch. Now, the Düsseldorf scene is global. “There are a lot of international teachers at the Kunstakademie now,” adds Schmitten. “Düsseldorf is changing, and I think that’s a good thing.” At Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen – a museum which comprises of
K20 Grabbeplatz , K21 Ständehaus and F3 Schmela Haus – a brand-new exhibition platform was introduced in February this year for Kunstakademie’s fresh graduates to showcase their work, giving visitors insight to the most current artistic developments in Düsseldorf. “The Düsseldorf art scene is very varied and international,” says Linda Walther, one of the two curators of the recent Planet 58 exhibition at K21 – the first edition of an annual exhibition series. The works of 60 graduates, who studied with well-known international artists like Rita McBride and Christopher Williams at Kunstakademie were
presented at the exhibition, and “showed a whole range of artistic production,” says Walther. There are about a hundred galleries in Düsseldorf now, she says – many of which focus on young artists, who are also finding support from companies and private sponsors offering grants, awards and studio spaces. “There are a lot of art collectors in Düsseldorf and in the whole Rhineland. The interest in contemporary art, particularly, is very common”, adds Agnieszka Skolimonwska, the other curator of Planet 58. Founded in 1961, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen is itself a
3. Installations at Philara by Anna K.E.; the artist lives and works between New York and Düsseldorf
collector of impressive 20th-century art. K21 – a former parliamentary building in the Historicist style – became part of Kunstsammlung since 2002, renovated by the Munich architecture office Kiessler+Partner into a majestic structure crowned by a striking glass cupola. It picks up where K20 – an ‘80s building that resembles an undulating granite wave – leaves off. Offering a comprehensive assemblage of contemporary art from the 1980s to today, it stands in contrast to K20’s focus on modern European and North American art. As well as the Kunstsammlung, the Kunstpalast – located within the Expressionist Ehrenhof building complex that dates back to the 1920s – also has strong ties to the Kunstakademie.
Since 1932, the Academy’s collection of prints and drawings has been housed at the Ehrenhof, together with a fragment of Elector Palatine Jan Wellem’s vast treasure trove of paintings from the 18th Century. Reopened in 2001 after extensive reconstruction work, Kunstpalast now prides itself on a diverse collection that includes nearly all artistic genres from a variety of eras – taking visitors on a journey through time and space, traversing across old and new landscapes of art. It is a testament to just how far Düsseldorf has come. After devastating destruction inflicted by the Second World War, the city by the Rhine was reconstructed at breakneck speed and transformed into
a metropolis of trade, administration and service industries. New buildings sprung up everywhere, and international companies flock to the city’s shores to set up their businesses. Most recently, postmodern architectural imprints were left at its bright and shiny MedienHafen. A harbour once filled with crumbling warehouses is now home to an assortment of eye-catching architectural ingenuity, the most prominent being the Neuer Zollhof completed in 1998 – a trio of buildings designed by American architect Frank Gehry that symbolises the city’s rebirth. Filled with fancy restaurants and avant-garde office buildings, the transformed space also hosts Kai 10, a non-profit institution showcasing thematic group shows of largely young artists. Wealth that poured into the city also gave birth to a respectable number of private art collectors. German heiress Julia Stoschek collects time-based art exhibited in a former industrial building. In an erstwhile glass factory in Flingern, Gil Bronner founded Sammlung Philara – a private collection of contemporary art – continuing an ever-evolving love story with Düsseldorf’s art scene. “ I honestly believe that as far as museums go, the area as a whole can hold its own, to any in the world,” says Bronner. “And Philara fills a kind of gap, as there are few museums with works of younger artists on permanent display.” Schmitten, for instance, is one artist who will have a solo show that lasts till mid-June at Philara, showing some large scale drawings based on his earlier Chimera Electrified series and new sculptures. The artist – who lives in nearby Neuss but works out of his Düsseldorf studio – is still captivated by how dense the city is in terms of art – with 26 museums and over 100 galleries for a population of just over 600,000 people. “I love that Düsseldorf is more like a village,” says Schmitten. “For an artist, I think it’s important to be in or near a city where people know art, and talk about art. You don’t feel so isolated.”
Emirates operates flights to Düsseldorf with the Airbus A380.
PHOTOS: KUNSTSAMMLUNG NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN / KATJA ILLNER; STEFAN ARENDT; PAUL SCHÖPFER
32 / GLOBAL / DISPATCH
34 / GLOBAL / EXPLORATION
38.9072° N, 77.0369° W
Discover this political pocket quickly finding its groove
Southeast Washington, DC WORDS: CHRISTABEL LOBO
Home to the nation’s capital, Washington DC is known for its monuments, worldclass museums, and of course politics. As a result, it often gets overlooked as a destination worth exploring. The city’s #DCisOpen campaign – in response to the recent government shutdown – showcases that there are plenty of hidden treasures and quaint neighbourhoods waiting to be explored, if you choose to venture away from the National Mall. Washington is divided into four distinct quadrants: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest, all of which offer their own distinct vibe. Starting south of the US Capitol building, Southeast DC is made up of a diverse community of neighbourhoods that stretch all the way west, across the Anacostia River. Today, it’s one of the city’s fastest-growing areas in terms of development and gentrification. You can find everything from 200-year old houses in the historic Capitol Hill neighbour-
hood to lively baseball games at Nationals Park in the Navy Yard, as well as Michelin-starred restaurants, artisanal coffee shops and desserts. The neighbourhoods of Southeast DC are best explored on foot; so put on your comfiest pair of shoes and head out.
AN 11-MINUTE WALK PAST NATIONALS STADIUM
ANACOSTIA RIVERWALK TRAIL
SLIPSTREAM DC Given the work ethic of DC locals, it’s no surprise that the district has its fair share of artisanal roasters and specialty coffee shops. But Slipstream, founded by husband-and-wife duo Miranda Mirabella and Ryan Fleming, does things a little differently. By day, the cafe serves pour over coffees and breakfast – if you’re visiting on a weekend, brunch is not to be missed, neither should their artisanal toasts – before it makes the switch into a relaxed bar with a well-crafted cocktail menu, plus a selection of wines and local draft beers. 82 I Street SE, Washington, DC, +1-202-560-5095. slipstreamdc.com
Walking south from Nationals Stadium leads you to the end of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, a 28-mile recreational area along both sides of the Anacostia River. The Riverwalk Trail provides both locals and tourists a new way to experience the city with bike paths, picnic areas, a skateboard park, and much cleaner water views. The Anacostia, once considered to be one of the most polluted rivers in the US, has seen a change in recent years due to a decade of consistent cleanup and most recently, a US$2.6 billion sewer upgrade responsible for diverting household waste headed to the river. The Ballpark Boathouse, which opens in the spring, rents kayaks and canoes, offering a chance to explore DC by water. 100 Potomac Avenue, SE Washington DC, capitolriverfront.org/ go/anacostia-riverwalk-trail
36 / GLOBAL / EXPLORATION
A ONE-MINUTE WALK
A SEVEN-MINUTE WALK
STEADFAST SUPPLY What started as a pop-up by founder and designer Virginia Arrisueño now has a brick-and-mortar store at the Yards Park to call home. This 3,000- square-foot space features carefully curated items from 100 independent brands from all over the country, with an emphasis on local, DC-based artisans. They offer something for everyone – perfect for unique souvenirs – home goods, jewellery, clothing, and more, including Arrisueño’s own line, DeNada, of handmade Peruvian alpaca knits. The store also hosts a variety of events from wellness classes to paint n’ sip nights. 301 Tingey Street SE, #120 (Entrance on Water Street), +1-202–308–4441. steadfastsupplydc.com
DID YOU KNOW?
The entire Navy Yard complex was burned down during the War of 1812, not by the British, but by the Americans themselves to stop the enemy from gaining access to any US ships or intel.
Inside DC’s first urban winery, you’ll find California native and lead winemaker Conor McCormack either overseeing the winemaking process or giving tour groups a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making wines in the city. Instead of growing their own grapes, the winery sources them mainly from the West Coast before the regular wine-making process of destemming, fermentation, and aging can begin. Their first wine, a dry rosé, is a nod to the district’s long-held love of this pink drink (with a consumption exceeding that of every other state). Tours of the vast space – which also has a tasting room, event space, and restaurant overlooking the Anacostia – run at 6pm every Monday to Friday, and at 1pm on weekends. 385 Water Street, +1-202-484-9210.
A FOUR-MINUTE WALK FOLLOWED BY A FOUR-MINUTE BUS (FOUR STOPS)
EASTERN MARKET Set in the historic Capitol Hill neighbourhood, this landmark building has served as a public market since its completion in 1873. On weekends, there is an outdoor flea and farmer’s market with vendors selling everything from fresh produce and locally-made foods to one-of-a-kind art and vintage clothing. Grab a bite to eat at Market Lunch, a popular food stall that’s been serving breakfast and lunch inside Eastern Market since 1978. 225 7th St, +1-202-698-5253. easternmarket-dc.org
CROSSROADS Maldives, Where Cultures Meet…
Opening June 2019 The first and largest integrated tourist destination in the Maldives, featuring:
with an extensive array of leisure attractions, retail outlets and dining offerings: Café del Mar Beach Club ∙ CROSSROADS Event Hall ∙ Hard Rock Cafe Junior Beach Club and Camp ∙ Maldives Discovery Centre ∙ Marine Discovery Centre Watersports and Dive Centre ∙ 30-berth Yacht Marina Find out more on : www.crossroadsmaldives.com | www.SAiiLagoonMaldives.com | www.hardrockhotelmaldives.com
38 / GLOBAL / EXPLORATION
A ONE-MINUTE WALK
A SEVEN-MINUTE WALK
CAPITOL HILL BOOKS
Across the street from Eastern Market, in a narrow, quintessential Capitol Hill rowhouse, is a treasure trove for booklovers. Beloved by locals, Capitol Hill Books offers three chaotic and mildly claustrophobic levels of used and rare books for sale; no space is book-free, including the bathroom, which houses the foreign language section. Last year, it was sold by owner Jim Toole to a group of patrons and former employees in order to preserve its 28-year old legacy as an independent bookstore. 657 C Street, +1-202-544-1621. capitolhillbooks-dc.com
Satisfy your post-dinner sweet tooth with a serving or two of gelato from Pitango Gelato, a local, family-owned chain. Using fruits from local orchards, organic milk and free-range eggs from its own dairy farm in Pennsylvania, every flavor of gelato and sorbet is churned in-store to ensure freshness. In the mood for gelato? Try the chocolate hazelnut gianduja and nocciola. For sorbets, the bosc pear and mojito come highly recommended. 660 Pennsylvania Avenue, +1-202-7016222. pitangogelato.com
PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; STEADFAST SUPPLY/EMMA MCALARY
A NINE-MINUTE WALK
ROSEâ€™S LUXURY Located among the slew of dining options along Barracks Row, this oneMichelin-starred restaurant by chef Aaron Silverman has taken the DC dining scene by storm since its opening in 2014. Considered to be one of the districtâ€™s best and most creative restaurants, their ever-changing seasonal menu features small plates, fresh pastas, and family-style meat dishes. Their new same-day online reservation system means that diners no longer need to spend an hour or more waiting in its notorious lines. 717 8th St, +1-202-580-8889. rosesluxury.com
Emirates operates a daily A380 service to Washington DC.
CHINAâ€™S ONE BELT ONE ROAD INITIATIVE IS THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT IN HISTORY.
SO WHAT’S DRIVING CHINA’S EXPANSION AND WHAT WILL THE CONSEQUENCES BE FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD?
T H EY ’ V E T H E
CONOR PURCELL INVESTIGATES.
G O T
W H O LE
W I D E I N
WO R L D T H E I R
H A N D S
PHOTOS: ZHANG KECHUN
Astana, September 2013. China’s Premier Xi Jinping chooses the Kazakhstan capital to make an announcement that largely goes unnoticed in the Western media. He lays out a vision for a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project that will span countries throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. A month later, in Indonesia, he makes another announcement: a maritime route that will open China up to even more markets. The project – the biggest infrastructure plan ever undertaken – is the One Belt One Road initiative. Its goal is as ambitious as its size: to make China the world’s biggest superpower within the next thirty years. The sheer scale of the project is eyewatering, with an estimated trillion dollars of investment and construction in 152 countries worldwide. From railways in Kenya and Sudanese nuclear power stations to Pakistani highways and hydroelectric dams in Argentina, this is truly a global endeavour – and one that will most likely change geopolitics for the next half century, at least. “China sees itself as the pre-eminent civilisation in the region,” says Brian
Leavy, an Emeritus Professor in Strategy at Dublin City University. “And it was the pre-eminent power for centuries, aside from 1850 to 1950 which is known in China as the ‘century of humiliation.’ So Xi’s big dream is Chinese rejuvenation, which is something that has happened in stages,” he adds. “The first phase was taking control of its national territory, which happened during Mao’s era. The second phase was the ‘opening out’ in the 1970s, and now this. It’s the centenary of the Chinese revolution in 2049 – so that’s when China wants to be recognised as a ‘fully developed nation’.” Critics claim the project is simply a way for China to shore up foreign resources by bribing poorer countries:
We’ll build and run that port you so desperately need, but in return we want access to your natural resources. China of course disputes this, claiming it’s simply “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future.” The country’s desire to be front and centre of an interconnected world is nothing new – the more you look at China’s past, the more you see parallels with the present. During the Han Dynasty (206BC to AD220), China expanded its borders, pushing as far west as Kashgar, which lies at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. China’s expansion, as Peter Frankopan explains in his book The New Silk Roads, linked Asia together. And this expan-
sion was driven by a need for resources – in those days, horses. “[China’s demand] for horses was all but insatiable, fuelled by the need to keep an effective military force on standby to maintain internal order within China, and to be able to respond to attacks by other tribes,” Frankopan writes. China’s modern needs are remarkably similar. “The project is about a number of things, but mainly it’s about resources,” says Paulo Duarte, a researcher at Instituto do Oriente, Lisbon, and an expert on China’s One Belt One Road project. “China was a big exporter of oil until 1993, but then its middle class grew to a point where it’s bigger than the entire population of the United States, so now China needs to import resources such as oil, in order to keep that growth going,” he says. Another reason? China’s construction industry has slowed down – witness the countless ‘ghost cities’ that dot the country as a testament to what happens when the drive to keep workers working trumps all else. “China’s construction industry has always been the lever of the economy,” Duarte says. “It makes no sense to keep building in China, so this expansion is a way of keeping Chinese workers working all over the world building roads, railways and ports.” Trade, then, and the ease of getting goods and resources in and out of China is one of the main drivers of this entire project. Again, this is not a new concept. The Silk Road was first named during the Han era, when the fabric was both a luxury commodity and a currency used to pay troops. It is arguable that the route and the trade it allowed – both economic and cultural – played a large role in the development of societies everywhere from Korea to Persia. Another reason – and one that the Han Dynasty did not face – is something that will become increasingly important in the coming decades: food security. “More than 28,000 rivers have disappeared in China due to over consumption and the disregard for the environment,” says Duarte. “Seven out of the ten most polluted cities in the world are in China. It needs more land outside its borders to grow food and to increase its food security.”
Not everyone is happy with China’s plans. Chief among those is India, a country that has much to lose from the New Silk Road. It’s neighbour, Pakistan (a country it’s technically still at war with) is set to benefit from US$46 billion in new roads, bridges, wind farms and other infrastructure projects, with the China-Pakistan ‘economic corridor’ to run from Kashgar in China’s far west to Karachi on Pakistan’s coast. That the corridor runs through a part of Kashmir claimed by India is not lost on New Delhi. Prime Minister Modi called the route a “colonial enterprise” that threatens to leave “debt and broken communities in its wake.” Indeed, the imbalance of power between China and the countries it’s striking deals with is undeniable. “China will say these deals are a win-win for both parties, but it could be a win with a capital ‘W’ for China and a very small ‘w’ for the other country,” Leavy says. Modi boycotted the recent One Belt One Road summit in Beijing. He wasn’t the only one. Nobody from Japan or South Korea made an appearance, nor did – aside from Italy – anyone from the G7 group of nations. “There’s nothing they can do to stop this,” Duarte says. “It’s normal that they are against it, but you can see how big this has become. China is even in Antarctica, drilling for oil.” China has made no secret of why it’s there. The Polar Research Institute of China estimates there are more than 500 billion tonnes of oil and close to the same amount of natural gas under the ice. “When all the world’s resources have been depleted, Antarctica will be a global treasure house of resources,” it said. “China is now in every corner of the world,” Duarte adds. “Other countries can choose to join them or not, but they can’t stop them. Institutions such as the World Bank no longer reflect the reality of a BRICs world. China will dominate, and this is a very long-term project, something maybe only my grandchildren will see.” Stumbling blocks, if they do appear, may well be domestic. “The power of Communist Party support is reliant on the material wellbeing of the public,” says Leavy. “We may see more Chinese wanting more control over the big decisions that affect their lives, although that might not be a Western-style democracy. Key for
the Chinese leadership is that ordinary people feel they are better off under the Communists than under any other form of government,” he adds. And that comes down to economic growth. “The Communist Party lost a lot of support after Tiananmen Square, and one of the ways in which they tried to regain support was to drive economic development even faster,” he says. And in order for the growth to be sustained at the pace it has been, China needs to look overseas. The scope of China’s ambition is indeed breathtaking. “China is considering building high speed rail lines that would connect Beijing and London in 48 hours, as well as high speed rail lines linking the country with North America
to via the Bering Strait,” Duarte says. It would effectively put China at the centre of the world. Even in Europe, more and more countries are buying into China’s vision, with Italy recently signing up to 29 separate agreements that covered everything from satellites to banking and natural gas. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the deals were worth €2.5 billion, but could end up being worth more than €20 billion.
The terminology of the ‘Silk Road’ originates from the Han Dynasty, when fabric was used as currency
The plan is estimated to be the largest infrastructural investment in living memory
Critics have pointed to pollution and food security as national issues that have forced China to look outward for resources
China has already purchased a 35-year lease on the Greek port of Piraeus (Europe’s eighth biggest). Much of the rest of the EU is wary about Chinese encroachment, reflected in a statement by the EU Budget Commissioner Gunther Oettinger last year: “In Italy and other European countries, infrastructure of strategic importance such as power networks, rapid rail lines and harbours are no longer in European, but in Chinese hands.” The US is clearly not happy either, but with Trump’s increasingly isolationist foreign policy, China’s cheque
book and talk of global connectivity can be very seductive. The Chinese state-run media agency, Xinhua, couldn’t help but point out the stark difference between Xi’s project and his American counterpart’s lack of interest in globalism. “As some Western countries move backwards by erecting ‘walls’, China is contriving to build bridges, both literal and metaphorical.” “China has been very clever and it has got more sophisticated in how it projects power,” says Duarte. “It created its own institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. There’s lot of European countries saying ‘yes’ to China and ‘no’ to the US. Trump has definitely helped China because Europe can no longer rely on the US as before and they can’t serve two masters,” Duarte adds. While the US would often attach conditions to the aid it gave, whether
that be democratic or economic reform, China – at least so far – hasn’t interfered. “China’s main intentions are in its core interests in the immediate area. There is no great ideological mission to convert the world to communism,” Leavy says. “China’s primary focus is raising living standards in its own country and helping the provinces that lag behind in development. So, for example, connecting Western China to the Indian ocean might help inward investment, and it’s things like that which are driving this project, not anything ideological.” While Trump’s promise to make America great again may have turned sour, few now would dismiss entirely Xi Jinping’s goal of completing the One Belt One Road project and restoring China to what it sees as its rightful place in the world. Make China great again? You wouldn’t bet against it.
KING OF YOUR CASTLE
Bored with your country’s politics – why not make your own? This is the truly eccentric world of micronations
WORDS: CHRISTOPHER BEANLAND ILLUSTRATIONS: FINN DEAN
he world we live in is a fascinating and eccentric place, but one of the oddities that we seemingly accept without question is the idea of countries and nationhood. Yet it was only in 1648 when the Treaty of Westphalia came into effect that borders were formally delineated and nations ossified. For every huge country like Russia or Canada, there are countless tiny countries that have the same voting rights at the United Nations and the same organs of state – just in miniature. A visit to a small nation such as Andorra or Bahrain is always high up on any travel bucket list, especially for travellers, looking to tick off the world’s 195 official countries. For some regions, even a degree of self-determination isn’t enough. Transnistria in Moldova, Abkhazia in Georgia, Somaliland in East Africa and Western Sahara in West Africa all view themselves as breakaway territories, albeit receiving limited international recognition. There are even smaller breakaway countries– they number about a dozen worldwide, are created by one person or a handful of residents, and often have a territory that encompasses no more than one house and a garden. Their name? Micronations. Whether politically potent or just tongue-in-cheek, you’ve probably never heard of Amethonia, Briarcliff, Redonda, Sandus or Obsidia, and you wouldn’t be alone. Micronations are the smallest of the small – and you won’t find them on any map. What’s the point of this weird undertaking? “Micronations are attractive to those seeking an alternative to the
socio-political status quo for various reasons,” says Georgius II, Imperator et Primus Inter Pares of The Empire of Atlantium (known to his friends as George Cruickshank). “Some are purely fictional personal entertainments; some are crackpot libertarian attempts at founding actual new sovereign states that always – without exception – fail; some are art projects that interrogate the nature of citizenship and statehood; and some are undoubtedly the products of megalomania and mental instability.” The best, he says, are “essentially coherent, internally-consistent, multi-pronged performance art projects of many years duration that possess both single-mindedness of vision and professionalism in execution.” Cruickshank is the man behind The Empire of Atlantium. This “country” is 300km southwest of Sydney, comprising some farmland and a house. Since it began in the 1980s in Sydney’s suburbs, it has created its own flag, issued its own stamps, and also collectied 3000 citizens who have signed up from all around the globe. “Atlantium was founded in 1981 amidst the tail end of the Cold War as an exemplar of how a future globalist, secular, progressive world polity could feasibly function – and, more importantly, what it should represent. At its most fundamental that is to enable every human being (and potentially every self-aware natural living entity) the means to achieving their personal potential within a broadly equitable society,” explains Cruikshank. “Thirty-seven years later, Atlantium is perhaps a more pertinent and acute voice for reason and for the advancement
of civilisation and the rule of ethical law than at any time in its history – the literal embodiment of our motto E tenebris lux – ‘a light in the darkness’.” Sealand was a sea fort built in the 1940s to protect Britain from German naval attack during the Second World War. Sitting a few miles off the beaches of Essex, the highly strategic spot underwent somewhat of a makeover in the sixties, setting the standard for a new wave of micronations. “I believe the word ‘micronation’ was first penned to describe Sealand,” says Prince Michael of Sealand (known to his friends as Michael Bates). “Since the Principality’s conception in 1967 literally hundreds of others have climbed on the bandwagon in their own little way. None of them have the unique legal situation and status that Sealand has, but we respect their enthusiasm.” “Many of the 1970s communes that appeared went on the same principles [as Sealand],” says Prince Michael, who has a book on his own micronation – Holding the Fort. It may be too on-the-nose to accuse these leaders of egotism – and however accurate, it is a description that most understandably reject. “The biggest misunderstanding is that self-declared head of states are out for self-glorification,” says Niels Vermeersch of the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis. Based in Belgium, Versmeerch oversees a virtual micronation that has staked a claim on several islands off the coast of Antarctica. Starting as a temporary hobby, ten years later it has almost 500 citizens from 54 countries. “When people have an ideal they can create a non-profit, a company or a political party,” he says. “But micronationalists are the creative ones; they bring their message in the concept of a country. Flandrensis is an ecological micronation and our mission is to raise awareness of climate change. We are the
only country in the world that doesn’t want our land inhabited by people; our message is more important than our self-declared sovereignty.” Since 2015, many of these individual leaders have chosen to congregate at MicroCon – micronations’ answer to Davos, perhaps. “Molossia is also an expression of sovereignty, creativity and imagination, with a little political satire added in,” explains His Excellency, President of the Republic of Molossia (Kevin Baugh). “I think that micronations are popular because they can be an expression of personal sovereignty, creativity and imagination.” Molossia was founded in 1977, inspired by satirical comedy The Mouse That Roared. “I was inspired, along with my best friend James, to start a country after watching it – it was essentially an extension of the idea of declaring one’s bedroom a sovereign nation, something many kids do,” says Baugh. Whilst his friend moved on to other pursuits, Baugh doggedly pursued the idea, obtaining land in Northern Nevada in 1988. These micronations are obviously extended ego trips – but then, isn’t any country? Nations are an undeniable part of our world, taking on significance despite being nebulous, sometimes arbitrary constructs. If countries like Belgium can be created – a country made of two nations, speaking two languages – then why can’t eccentrics create their own backyard micronations that try to solve problems, despite the unusual optics? If we have to be in thrall to nations – shouldn’t we have some fun with it? Which is why you should not discount North Dumpling Island, Saugeais, Liberland or Seborga. Or better still, just start your own country and see how it goes. If you like to be the king of a castle, then ruling your own embryonic country could work perfectly.
DRIVING THE BELOVED COUNTRY
From left: Zulu warriors circa 1900; A campsite at sunset in Drakensberg, a Unesco World Heritage Site; Winston Churchill reported on the Boer War for the Morning Post; Hikers ascend Sentinel Peak
A literary pilgrimage inspired by Alan Paton WORDS: ADRIAN MOURBY
The Beloved Country is big. Wooded hills soar up to 1,400 metres and valleys, cut by the Umzimkulu, Mkomazi and Mgeni rivers, plunge down broad and green. “Lovely beyond singing” is how Alan Paton described Kwazulu Natal where his novel Cry, the Beloved Country is set. To follow in the footsteps of the Rev Stephen Kumalo, the hero of Paton’s great South African novel, start your journey in Ixopo. This town, with its circular encampments of Zulu villages, lies 150km from Durban. It’s a morning’s drive from the humid coast, first south down the R102 and then inland on the R612. When Alan Paton described Stephen Kumalo’s journey in 1948 he talked of “a lovely road that runs from Ixopo to the hills” and that is still the route to follow to Johannesburg today, driving up high into the mist. Nowadays Ixopo is a small, prosperous settlement with one wide, clean street containing a bank, a supermarket and a hotel called Off Saddle. The British laid out the settlement in 1878 and named Stuartstown after the local magis-
trate. He was killed three years later at the Battle of Ingogo between the Boer settlers and the British army and eventually his town reverted to its local Zulu name. Back in 1948 notices of death and execution were posted on Dead Men’s Tree in Ixopo. The tree is still there outside the Post Office but it no longer serves the grim purpose witnessed by Stephen Kumalo. From Ixopo Alan Paton’s sad hero travels north to PMB (Pietermaritzburg). To get there, Rev Kumalo takes a small train out of the Umzimkulu valley. He is travelling in search of his missing son. Today no trains run across this baking hot landscape but driving the quiet road to PMB you may pass the occasional lone Zulu youth carrying an assegai spear. It’s an 85km drive to Pietermaritzburg that sits, surprisingly delicately, in the broad Msunduzi valley. In 1893, a young Indian lawyer was thrown off a train there for refusing to leave the first-class compartment. His name? Mohandas Gandhi. A plaque now marks the spot where the future Mahatma’s journey came to
grief and he decided to fight for second-class citizens the world over. A second, more recent plaque from 1997 commemorates the occasion when Gandhi’s grandson, at that time the Indian High Commissioner in South Africa, received the posthumous Freedom of Pietermaritzburg on behalf of his grandfather. With its large brick-built City Hall and Stock Exchange, its stone memorials, civic art gallery and rectangular grid of buildings, PMB looks not unlike the English city of Manchester. There is a good old-style hotel with balconies here called The Imperial that makes an ideal point to break this journey. It was built early in the 20th Century and has a touch of the Wild West – or is it the British Raj? – about its wide verandas. The following day it’s worth diverting 10km off this route to the University of Natal, where the Alan Paton Centre is housed in a charming old red-tiled campus bungalow. Here visitors can browse a re-creation of Paton’s study and learn
about the process of reconciliation in the new South Africa. Some of the documents now on display were hidden for 28 years during the worst years of apartheid. Cry, the Beloved Country tells the story of a journey of discovery that ends in Johannesburg. On his way north, Stephen Kumalo heads through what Paton called “the battlefields of long ago”. In the 19th Century, the British, Boers and Zulus fought again and again over this land. Today, the N3 – a road that connects Johannesburg and Durban – passes through the battlefields via the modern Midmar Dam and picturesque Howick Falls, a spectacular drop where Zulu men and women are often to be found selling woodcarvings or dollies made out of grass, wire and beads. Further north still lies Tsiamelo, where a marble plaque marks the place in 1964 where a disguised renegade – one Nelson Mandela – was captured and sent to trial. By a remarkable coincidence, only a few kilometres away at Frere, another plaque marks the place
54 where Winston Churchill, a war reporter at the time, was captured in 1899 during his country’s fight with the Boer settlers. Churchill was imprisoned for two months but escaped by train in 1900. He was fortunate. Nelson Mandela by contrast spent the next 26 years in prison. It’s a remarkable coincidence that two men, captured so close together, both went on to lead their countries in old age. East of these memorials lies Fugitive’s Drift Lodge, an unusual visitor centre-cum-B&B that was run by the historian David Rattray until his death in 2007. Rattray spent many years researching the 1879 imperial battlefields of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. Both of these clashes between the British and the Zulus took place close to Fugitive’s Drift. Later they were turned into the successful films Zulu (1964) and Zulu Dawn (1979) respectively. Rattray interviewed descendants of the Zulus warriors who destroyed an entire British army at Isandlwana but fought themselves to a standstill against just 150 British soldiers at Rorke’s Drift the next day. The Zulu forces eventually withdrew to the disbelief of the defenders who were subsequently awarded 11 Victoria Crosses. After a night at Fugitive’s Drift, drive on to Isandlwana where a great rock rises out of the grassland like the head of a sphinx. Scattered below are hundreds of white stones marking where 1300 of the defeated 1700 British troops were killed. You can climb the rock to get a panoramic view of this most beautiful, if frequently fought-over landscape. From Isandlwana it is a two-and-a-half hour (150km) drive to Spion Kop, another important historic site. Stop off en route at Ladysmith for lunch. This small town is famed these days for the Ladysmith Black Mambazo a cappella singing group. The township itself was established in 1847 by the Boers as the Republic of Klip River but when the British seized it in 1850 they first named it “Windsor” and then “Ladysmith” after Juana Maria de los Dolores de Leon, the Spanish wife of the Cape Colony governor Sir Harry Smith. In front of Ladysmith’s very English-looking town hall you can still see Castor and Pollux, howitzer canons used by the British during the famous siege of Ladysmith (1899-1900) when the Boers almost forced the British to surrender. Spion Kop itself lies 35km west of Ladysmith. Here in January 1900 a dra-
Clockwise from top left: War memorials in Thukela honour fallen British and Zulu soldiers; An old belltower at Isandlwana; Midmar Dam is now a popular yachting spot; Nelson Mandela campaigns in Durban
matic battle took place on this hilltop as the British army tried – and failed – to relieve the people of Ladysmith. The battlefield of Spion Kop itself doesn’t have the dramatic features or haunting resonances of Isandlwana. But it is remarkable for the presence of three men who would go on to be world leaders: Louis Botha, commanding the Boer forces, would become the first Prime Minister of South Africa; Winston Churchill – who would also go on to be a prime minister – was here, post captivity, as a young war reporter; and Mohandas Gandhi was running a voluntary Indian ambulance corps for the British. Had one shell gone astray during that battle, the 20th Century might have turned out very differently. But it is too easy to get waylaid by history and Johannesburg still lies 340km north along the N3. On the way this route will pass through the Drakensberg Mountains, the tallest mountain range in southern Africa. Their name derives from the Afrikaans word for Dragon mountains. See them
glowing dramatically at sunrise or sunset and you will understand why they were named after fire-breathing creatures. Cry, The Beloved Country ends sadly. On the evening before his son’s execution for murder, Rev Kumalo goes into the mountains to await the moment when Absolom will die. On the way, he encounters the father of Arthur Jarvis, and the two men speak of their lost sons, and the plight of their beloved country. Recreating Stephen Kumalo’s journey from Durban to Johannesburg is to engage with some very dramatic moments in South Africa’s history but it is also a route of great beauty. Lovely beyond singing, as Alan Paton put it.
From 14 June to 4 August, Emirates will increase its existing daily service to Durban, with four additional flights a week. The airline will also be introducing its award-winning First Class experience on the additional flights.
call for an even
Introducing the all-new InAbuDhabi.com
FINDER’S REWARD Three words are all you need to discover hidden locations around the world in the new GLE WORDS: INA BRZOSKA
IMAGES: UWE DÜTTMANN
A morning breeze blows through the reeds, gently dispersing mist to reveal Dragon Wall – a dramatic cliff face rising up from the edge of Lake Mondsee. Two herons swoop down suddenly, ploughing through the lake’s mirrored surface. “This place is simply incredible” says Sophie McArthur. It is exactly what an Australian imagines an Alpine panorama to look like. Orignally from Melbourne, Sophie moved to London just two years ago, joining navigational disruptor what3words. It is on their behalf that she is currently exploring Salzburg, and it’s in places like this that the idea behind the young company’s product becomes apparent. Often, the most remote and beautiful places don’t have addresses.
Sophie reaches for her smartphone and takes a photo with the what3words photo app. “It’s very easy to use,” she explains. You just need to download the app, called ‘3WordPhoto’. The programme then pinpoints the location. Sophie checks the screen to see whether the place scanned is exactly right. Once the app has tagged the photo with the three words, Sophie shares it with her colleagues, still out looking for the location. Within minutes, the rest of the team arrives at the spot. what3words is an address system able to locate any spot in the world, by dividing the world into 57 trillion squares, and assigning a unique threeword address to each. Essentially a new form of geocoding, the system is already
considered revolutionary. Among the companies to use it is Mercedes-Benz, which incorporates the navigation into the multimedia system MBUX in almost all its new vehicles to provide drivers with a faster, more reliable means of searching for and arriving at their destination. Daimler saw the potential of what3words and how it could help improve customer experience and continue their commitment to innovation. In addition to the partnership, Daimler also invested in the company. During her trip through the mountains, Sophie explains how the system would be of everyday use here. She points to the travelling merchants and the food trucks selling grilled fish, apple juice and wine. “You can find them much more quickly and easily with our system,” she says. A function that will clearly benefit travellers, too. Visitors to the Salzburg region keen to experience the area’s most captivating sights will tend to ask locals for tips and advice. The best spots are often well off the beaten track, after all, and hard for travel guides to list. Which is why Lonely Planet has begun to roll out what3word addresses in their books.
THE ADVANTAGES OVER GPS By the end of her trip through the beautiful mountains around Salzburg, Sophie has saved eight of her favourite places as photos with three-word addresses. That way, she’ll be able to travel the route again with friends or her husband. The question of what makes what3words better than GPS coordinates is one Sophie hears regularly. To her mind, the advantages are clear. “Three words are much easier to remember and communicate compared to a long list of latitude and longitude co-ordinates,” she says. This advantage becomes especially apparent in emergency situations, for instance, when the three-word address system was used by NGOs to locate and help flood victims. Even the United Nations has now integrated the app into its disaster relief procedures. In Sophie’s case, today, it serves to keep a record of the charming wood cabin she stumbled upon on her way back down the mountain. Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to invest in the new address system created by what3words. The service now is a feature in its new vehicle models. Mercedes-Benz drivers can have their cars navigate them to any
From left: Made it! But the address of this charming cabin remains a secret; the Blonde Hütte restaurant serves delicious shredded pancakes; Sophie McArthur tests the MBUX in the new GLE
place in the world via voice control or by entering the three-word address on the car’s screen, or they can convey the information to their friends. The system’s algorithm keeps similar word combinations geographically far apart from each other to prevent any confusion. And the system itself is so intuitive that users tend to grasp it in no time.
For more information, visit: mbmag.me/what3words
Simple. Intelligent. And made for you. Mercedes me keeps you in the know with regard to your Mercedes-Benz car and everything related to it. That includes fuel prices at nearby stations and vacant parking spaces in the vicinity. With Mercedes me, you can access your Mercedes-Benz, the corresponding services, and much more besides using your smartphone, computer or MBUX. Buyers of new Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with MBUX (the new intuitive, adaptive, voice-activated multimedia operating system) will receive 12 months of free access to the portal. And customers in the EU can additionally enjoy the audio quality offered by music streaming service Tidal.
MERCEDES GLE Invariably calm and poised, no matter the conditions, the new interconnected, intelligent GLE is your ideal companion for all types of endeavour, whether on or off the road. It boasts an active chassis with individually adjustable spring and damping forces on each wheel, and a curve-tilting function and camera-based road-scanning feature for added comfort and safety. Its interior is more spacious than that of its predecessor and features innovative touchscreen-based infotainment, as well as cutting-edge driving assistance systems. And, of course, it comes with integrated what3words navigation, which can be activated by voice or by touch. On request, the GLE can be fitted with a third row of seats: perfect for excursions with friends.
To find out more, visit mercedes.me and mercedes-benz.com/gle
WORDS: IAIN AKERMAN
DUBAI HAS A TRADITION IN TAILORING THAT SPANS DECADES. NOW, THE CITY IS BRANCHING OUT TO EMBRACE EVERY KIND OF FASHION
A model in Rami Al Ali at Paris Fashion Week: the couturier is based in Dubai; Lama Jouni moved her business to the emirate in 2016
shok Sawlani is wearing a light grey Prince of Wales suit. “I’m a traditionalist,” he says with a smile. “I’m not young enough to wear vibrant colours and fancy things anymore.” Sawlani is sitting comfortably in the Souk Madinat Jumeirah branch of Royal Fashion, the bespoke tailoring business he first established with his family in 1992. With him are a master cutter who has been working for the company for 27 years and a salesman who has been there for 16. All of them know the business inside out. “The importance of a good suit is in the way it makes you feel,” says Sawlani, who appreciates both quality and punctuality. “A well-fitted suit gives you confidence and can give you that extra edge to go out and conquer the day. While I wouldn’t want to judge a book by its cover, a good suit definitely speaks to the
personality of a man. Right from the fit to the choice of fabric, whether bold or subtle and classic.” Royal Fashion, which has six branches across Dubai, can craft and deliver a tailor-made suit within 48 hours. The jackets can be lined or unlined, with the former either a floating canvas (the lining is hand-stitched to the main fabric of the jacket) or fused (the lining is glued to the main fabric). The floating canvas is the most prized and, when combined with the highest quality fabrics, is also the most expensive. “Workmanship is common, whether you buy a suit worth 3,000 dirhams or 75,000 dirhams,” says Sawlani. “The workmanship is almost the same. It’s only the fabric that is rare. It comes from certain regions of the world – South America, Scotland, Australia. These are the countries that produce the best fab-
rics and it is the qualities of the fabric that make it very expensive.” Fabrics are everything to Sawlani. He discusses them with passion, rolling off names such as Dormeuil, Holland & Sherry and Ermenegildo Zegna as if they’re members of his own family. There’s Charles Clayton, too, and Joseph H Clissold and John Foster, all of which hail from Yorkshire in England and manufacture some of the world’s finest fabrics. While Sawlani represents the more traditional side of fashion, he is also a board member of Dubai Design & Fashion Council, which not only champions the emirate’s creative industries but actively supports Dubai’s fashion entrepreneurs. As such, he is part of the drive to make Dubai a regional, if not global, fashion hub, with an increasing number of independent labels, grass-root brands and designers helping to put the city on the glob-
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Everywhere you look are signs of acal fashion map. There’s Amato Couture, inspired by so many different things betivity. In March, Christian Dior brought Arwa Al Banawi, Bouguessa, Ezra Coucause it brings in so many different culits circus-themed spring haute couture ture and Michael Cinco, not to mention tures,” says Trad, who creates innovative runway show to Dubai and the city also the Syrian designer Rami Al Ali, who’s a and sculptural clutch bags. “Dubai gave hosted the second edition of Dubai regular at Paris Couture Week and has his me a platform to allow me to be creative Modest Fashion Week. In April, Arab atelier in Jumeirah. There’s also Reema and to allow me to do what I wanted to do. Fashion Week took centre stage, while Al Banna, the woman behind ready-toI mean, it’s pretty incredible that we have in October Dubai Fashion Forward is wear contemporary label Reemami, and a place that we can call home and a place set to return to d3. All of which is comKhalid Basaeed, the founder of Feathers, that we can set up our businesses, and plemented by the likes of Dubai Design an Emirati luxury goods brand focussed they make it quite easy for you to do that.” Week and the College of Fashion and on accessories. The latter already has six What Dubai offers is a collaborative Design, which opened its doors in 2017. stores across the UAE and is planning to and supportive environment, says the “Being a relatively young and very enter both the Saudi and Kuwaiti markets. contemporary Lebanese designer Lama diverse country has always been the “The city is already highly regarded as Jouni, who is currently working on exUAE’s edge, and that’s always commanda retail capital, with our abundant malls panding her production facility due to ed an international audience,” says the and the influx of international brands to high demand and will be releasing her Emirati luxury ready-tothe region who want to wear designer Madiyah capture the high spendAl Sharqi, whose latest ing power of residents spring/summer collecand visitors,” says Bong tion was inspired by Guerrero, the chief execuJackie Kennedy’s visit to tive of Dubai Fashion ForIndia in 1962. “I think it’s ward, a fashion platform so vital that we continue for Dubai and the wider harnessing that strength Middle East. “What is to nurture our talented new and developing is the local designers in order desire for Dubai to be takto cement its position as en seriously as a fashion a fashion hub with the hub in its own right, prosame calibre as other moting local design talent fashion capitals in the and channeling this high world.” The daughter of spending power into supthe Ruler of Fujairah, Al porting our own designSharqi recently wrapped ers and in turn boosting up a month-long pop-up the economy.” boutique in d3. Housing A newish heart of Madiyah Al Sharqi’s SS19 collection. Dubai’s retail sector generated exclusive limited edition this hub can be found in an estimated AED142bn in sales in 2018, with rapid e-commerce growth designs of the SS19 colDubai Design District, or lection, it was the first d3. Ever since it launched time she had showcased the collection in in 2015 it has become an offbeat nexus first resort collection in June. She is also a unique physical retail space. of the city’s fashion industry, housing based in d3. “Moving to Dubai from Paris “My collections have always been everything from boutiques and fashhelped a lot in growing my brand,” says grounded on decadent, luxurious fabrics ion ateliers to the Middle East edition of Jouni. “The fashion community here is in subtle colour palettes created to make Vogue. It’s where brands such as Chanel so diverse and inspirational, and so far playful silhouettes and statement looks and Burberry have established their reeveryone I have worked with has been that can work from day to night,” says Al gional headquarters, and from where very supportive of my brand and ideas. I Sharqi, whose brand has introduced a local entrepreneurs operate their increaswas able to collaborate with internationsignificant amount of contemporary dayingly international businesses. al brand names such as Puma and that is wear and stepped away from the eveningAmongst them is Nathalie Trad, all because of the platforms I have been wear it was previously known for. “There the Lebanese accessories designer who a part of. “The idea of the brand is to is a strong focus on contemporary, elevatmoved to d3 when it first opened. Born fill a gap in the market internationally,” ed daywear within our collections that in Beirut, raised in Dubai, and formerly she adds. “What I’m trying to offer my include more tailored separates, but still a resident of both Paris and New York, clients is great quality at a reasonable with a hefty dose of sophistication and she launched her eponymous brand in price. Having worked for luxury brands luxury craftsmanship.” 2013 and has won praise from the likes of in the past I learned that cut, fabrics and Despite all that’s happening in Dubai Olivia Palermo and British actress Claire good service is the key to loyal clientele and the wider UAE, however, if the fashFoy. “The beauty of Dubai is that you’re and that’s what I offer my clients.”
Designs from Lama Jouni; A bag from Nathalie Trad, known for creating sculptural, decorative pieces in materials including mother-of-pearl
ion industry is to mature then certain elements need to be added or built upon. In particular, that means more production facilities. “There’s always room to improve and there’s always room to grow,” says Trad, whose accessories are primarily produced in the Philippines. “You need to be able to source fabrics here, you need to be able to manufacture a certain amount here, and that infrastructure isn’t quite in place yet. “On a personal level, my aim is to try and go back to the reason why I launched this business in the first place. I wanted to create special pieces that were handcrafted, with an intelligent approach to craftsmanship. I do not want to be part of a fashion industry that is just fast producing, and I do not want to create another piece that will just end up in a pile somewhere in the back of someone’s closet in a month or two. I want to cre-
ate something meaningful and I want to create pieces that people can really hold on to and thoughtfully purchase.” Jouni, meanwhile, is looking to expand her online store and reach a wider international audience. “Starting a business is always hard, and growing a brand definitely was a challenge,” she says. “The key is to always be consistent and face each challenge with an open mind. Growing the brand internationally and having the trust of retailers was the biggest challenge I faced so far, but believing in your product and vision will definitely pay off. “The fashion industry in Dubai is developing, however, we need more production facilities, more trade shows happening to cater to the needs of designers that are trying to grow their brands. I think we also we need to see more support from local retailers for upand-coming brands.”
Yet, as Guerrero says, all the ingredients for success are already in place: the global interest, the regional fashion consciousness, and most importantly the talent. They just need to be nourished and cultivated that little bit more. “We might not have the long-standing history of the big four fashion capitals, but what we do have is a unique community of incredibly talented people who are cosmopolitan, and ambitious,” says Guerrero. “Bringing all of them together in one city is what smakes us appealing to the global industry and – most importantly for our designers – the global consumer.”
Planning a visit to Dubai and the UAE? Press the “i” button on your screen to discover lots of information about shopping, sightseeing, dining and more.
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66 / EXPO 2020
A world of gastronomic experiences at Expo 2020 Technology, sustainability and inclusivity are key ingredients in Expo 2020 Dubai’s flavourful F&B offering Fifty million meals. Enough to feed every person in Spain. That is the enormity of the food and beverage offering at Expo 2020 Dubai. But more than numbers, Expo 2020 promises to be an unmissable F&B destination for every taste. Whether you seek novel gastronomic adventures, want to feed a whole family on a budget or you’re curious how technology will revolutionise the dining experience, Expo 2020 will have something tasty for every demographic through its more than 200 outlets featuring more than 50 cuisines. So what’s on the platter? Much like the Expo itself, visitors will be taken on a culinary journey around the world, from the dining classics of the Old World to New World foods from Latin America and Asia, as well as local innovations and culinary trends. A key focus will be on the merging of flavours to showcase the UAE’s multi-cultural society. Arabic tacos or Australasian fusion, anyone? If you’re in the mood for a fine dining experience inspired by a top chef, a taste of local Emirati flavour, or just feel like a grab-and-go sandwich, it will all be there – including plenty of quality options for those with special dietary requirements. Like the rest of Expo 2020, technology is an integral part of the F&B experience, including augmented reality, virtual reality and robotics. Guided culinary tours will also offer a deep dive into the exciting array of options, whether you want to sample a variety of culinary delights or dial into a favourite cuisine. The food offering will also be sustainable, in line with one of Expo 2020’s subthemes. Every F&B outlet has signed up to the ‘Food Ethos’, a set of values designed to push forward sustainability and wellness across the industry. These values include environmentally-conscious and organic F&B, the use of ethically and locally-sourced products, as well as actions designed to minimise food and packaging waste and energy use.
F&B space makes up more than 50,000 sq m (equivalent to seven football pitches) of the total 4.38 sq km Expo 2020 site. Expo’s commitment to foster small and medium enterprises will see local entrepreneurs and talented up-and-comers showcase their brands, while ‘local gems’ – F&B brands loved by local residents – will be introduced to a global audience. With so many flavours and experiences to savour, visitors will be tempted to eat their way around Expo 2020 – and return for the food as much as the events, innovation and culture.
Explore the world with food at Expo 2020 Dubai
For more, check out the Expo 2020 podcast on channel 1801 on ice.
68 / LITFEST / THE BIG QUESTION
Powerful tech disruptors must be governed, argues Leonhard
Should we regulate tech giants? Futurist Gerd Leonhard on the ever-morepressing issue of Technology Versus Humanity WORDS: BEN EAST In a world dominated by the digital, obsessed by social media and seduced by AI, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the future. How can the essence of our humanity prevail in the face of technological change that is not just exponential but all-encompassing? After all, this will be the year that mobile phone use passes the five billion mark, a device that futurist Gerd Leonhard says
has not only become our second brain – but sometimes our first. Leonhard understands that anxiety. “The one question I get asked is what is going to happen to people when the entire world is technology,” he smiles. “When robots take our work and then kill us.” But he doesn’t see the juxtaposition of technology and humanity as a definite battle of opposite poles. Rather,
it’s how companies, brands – even nations – use technology properly that will define our world. “I call it digital ethics,” he says. “It’s about keeping things human, building trust and relationships. If you squash everything with automation and algorithms, I believe that in the end people will see though that.” Leonhard has literally written the book on this issue: Technology vs Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man And Machine was published in 2016 and immediately became a bestseller. Now available in 11 languages, it’s a manifesto for what he calls “the most important conversation humanity might ever have”. So three years on, are we past the point of no return? “Well, I don’t predict the future, I observe it happening right now. So the things I was talking about in 2016 are maybe just a bit more ‘normal’; the paperless office, language translation, voice control, genetic engineering, cloud computing… the future is no longer about tomorrow but about today and what challenges we need to consider. “So, for example, the most powerful people in the world today are not the banks, the military, the oil companies. They’re the data guys, the social media guys, the AI guys. Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and so on. These are the driving forces of society and I am optimistic that we can regulate them, make them more responsible. We have to govern the game changers.” What makes Leonhard such a fascinating figure is that he’s no tech-denier – this is a man who has a podcast, a social media audience of over 2.5 million, who happily subscribes to Spotify and watches Netflix. For him the key tenet is that
LITFEST / THE BIG QUESTION / 69
we “embrace technology but not become technology” – harness it to solve humanity’s problems, rather than give ourselves over to the persuasive allure of life lived via our smartphones. In the book, he calls such digital obesity a global pandemic of unprecedented proportions. “We have so much digital information via social media, movies, music that we over consume, which can have a really negative effect on health, well-being and general happiness,” he cautions. “So just like food, people should think about how much and when they are consuming data, and of course, the quality of the data. It’s about not constantly stuffing yourself with poor information. I’ve become very strict on what I consume; if you’re binging on unchallenging television shows all the time, for example, it will have an effect on your mindset.”
Leonhard famously published an open letter in Wired, calling on tech leaders at IBM, Google et al to embrace digital ethics
The solution, Leonhard thinks, isn’t just self-imposed tech diets but a greater commitment to values and ethics from tech companies who have brands to maintain. Microsoft has, as he points out, asked to be regulated. In the end, says Leonhard, “societies are driven by technology, but defined by humanity,” the biggest danger being that technology begins to take away our ability to think and feel. That’s just a possibility – for now. “The future is better than we think,” he says. “We have to be cautious, a little bit fearful maybe, and ask questions – but be open to what is possible, too.”
For more, visit the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature podcast on channel 1805 on ice.
70 / THE YEAR OF TOLERANCE
The Armenian Church in Abu Dhabi, ordained in 2014
newcomers, most of them young and some of them educated, arrived with a strong instinct to preserve their identity, bringing with them traditions of an organised and collective life, and the sense of pan-Armenian unity and the struggle for the Armenian cause.
The Armenians and the Coptics Over this year, Open Skies discovers the different religions co-existing in the UAE. This issue: the Armenians and the Coptics Orthodox Church ADAPTED FROM ‘CELEBRATING TOLERANCE: RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES’/BOOKSARABIA.COM THE ARMENIANS Since the 16th Century, Armenian tradesmen were the main organisers of trade between the East and West. According to history, Armenian tradesmen from that period, also intermittently visited the Arabian Gulf countries, stationing themselves in Ras Al Khaimah as a first stop in the East. The formation of Armenian communities in the Gulf countries started in the second half of the 20th Century. The first Armenians to settle in the UAE were engineers and craftsmen, including ironsmiths, carpenters, car technicians, car painters
and others. Their numbers were small, barely reaching twenty to thirty people in the early years. Then, with the beginning of oil production in the 1950s, a small number of Armenians started working in oil companies operating in the Arabian Gulf. In the 1960s, young Armenians from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq moved to the UAE and settled in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi for better work opportunities. During the 1960s, hard work and enterprising initiative enabled Armenians to settle and plant roots and flourish in this new environment. The
THE EGYPTIAN COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH Today, the Coptic Orthodox Church has the largest Christian presence in the Middle East, with approximately 10 to 15 million members in Egypt, representing about 15 per cent of the population. Monasticism began in the Coptic Orthodox Church towards the end of the third century, and flourished in the fourth. There were hundreds of monasteries and thousands of caves in the mountains of Egypt. St John Cassian said that a traveller, from Alexandria in the north to Luxor in the south, would have in his ears, along the whole journey, the sounds of prayers and hymns of the monks scattered in the desert in the monasteries and in the caves. The history of the Copts in the UAE dates back to the early 1970s, when many engineers, doctors and teachers travelled from Egypt to the UAE to contribute to the building of the nation. This movement was supported by the Egyptian government and welcomed by the UAE Federation. Today, there are churches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. In 2007, the late Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of St Mark, visited Abu Dhabi to inaugurate the new premises of St Anthony’s Coptic Orthodox Church, where he lauded the country’s encouragement of interfaith dialogue.
UAE SMART GATE
Grand designs In the lead-up to Expo 2020 Dubai, Emirates is spreading awareness of the mega-event by displaying distinctive decals across 40 of its aircraft. p.74
74 / EMIRATES / NEWS
Emirates completes bespoke liveries for Expo 2020 Dubai
Emirates has completed the installation of bespoke Expo 2020 Dubai liveries on 40 aircraft, with its final A380 aircraft emblazoned in the distinctive orange ‘opportunity’ decal rolling out of the Emirates Engineering hangar. The first decal was unveiled in 2017 on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft decorated in the blue ‘mobility’ decal. Since then, Emirates’ mini-fleet of Expo 2020 Dubai aircraft have collectively flown to 134 destinations across the airline’s global network, travelling 66 million kilometres on over 15,000 flights, amplifying the message of Expo across borders. The source of inspiration for the Expo 2020 Dubai decals was the event’s logo, based on a 4,000-year-old ring excavated at an archaeological site in Dubai. The aircraft decals are comprised of circles and hoops encircling a ring, in three distinct colours reflecting the sub-themes of Expo 2020 Dubai – sunset orange for ‘opportunity’, emerald green for ‘sustainability’ and cerulean blue for ‘mobility’. The Expo 2020 Dubai decals will remain on the 40 aircraft until April 2021. One of the largest decal projects ever undertaken at the Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre, it took 15,000 hours spanning over 14 months to apply the Expo 2020 decals on 20 Boeing 777 aircraft and 20 Airbus A380 aircraft. The Expo 2020 Dubai decals are also among the largest to be applied on the Emirates Boeing 777
and Airbus A380 fuselages, in addition to covering each aircraft type’s engine cowls. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, said: “As we begin to gear up for Expo 2020 Dubai, we are proactively tapping into the power of Emirates’ network to spread awareness and capture the world’s attention around the themes of this global event with our mobility, opportunity and sustainability liveries. Emirates will play a key role in opening up opportunities for visitors to experience this truly global event, as it offers non-stop flights to Dubai from many of the Expo participating countries, and 70 per cent of the 25 million people targeted to visit Expo 2020 are expected to utilise air transport.”
Three different decal designs reflect the themes of Expo 2020 Dubai
EMIRATES / NEWS / 75
EMIRATES INCREASES FREQUENCIES IN LONDON, CAIRO AND DURBAN
Emirates wins TripAdvisor award for First Class Emirates has been awarded Best First Class in the world at the 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for Airlines. The airline also clinched several other awards including Best Regional Business Class Middle East, Best First Class Middle East and the overall Travelers’ Choice Major Airline honour for the Middle East. TripAdvisor awarded the world’s top carriers based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for airlines by TripAdvisor flyers, gathered over a 12-month period. Emirates’ First Class experience has defined premium travel introducing product innovations like private suites, the in-flight Shower Spa, the Onboard Lounge and many other industry firsts. The airline’s latest First Class
cabin features the game-changing, fully enclosed private suites inspired by Mercedes-Benz that have floor to ceiling sliding doors, sleek design features, soft leather seating, hightech control panels and mood lighting. Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline said: “Emirates’ First Class product is an end-to-end experience. It begins before the flight takes off – from the chauffeur drive airport transfer to exclusive check-in counters, use of our dedicated Emirates Lounges, and all the onboard comforts and services. We set the bar a long time ago defining what First Class travel should look like and we continuously invest in product and innovation so we are very pleased that our customers have recognised our unparalleled First Class experience.”
EMIRATES RESUMES ITS OPERATIONS TO ZAGREB FOR SUMMER Emirates has resumed its operations to Zagreb for summer, serving the route until 26 October 2019. Its partner airline, flydubai, will then begin to operate during the winter season. The strategic partnership between both airlines ensures capacity is deployed to best serve customer demand. Located in the northwest of Croatia, visitors can discover the upper and lower town areas that hold some of the world’s most iconic cathedrals and museums – including the Zagreb Cathedral and 13th Century St. Mark’s Church.
Emirates has increased the frequencies of three of its routes from Dubai to meet steady demand from leisure and business travellers. The airline will now operate 11 daily flights to three points in London, with the launch of a second daily flight from Dubai to London Stansted starting 1 July 2019. Travelling to Dubai for a weekend getaway or short work trip will be more convenient with a morning or evening arrival option in Dubai. All Emirates First Class and Business Class customers travelling to and from Stansted will also enjoy complimentary chauffeur drive service within a 50-mile radius. In Cairo, Emirates will add four additional flights a week to its existing thrice-daily service, starting 28 October 2019. The four new flights operating on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday will take the total number of weekly Emirates flights serving Cairo to 25. “We’ve seen a consistent demand for the Emirates experience, with passenger occupancy on the route averaging 90 per cent,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Africa. In response to growing demand over the summer period, Emirates is to introduce a seasonal increase to its existing daily service to Durban, with four additional flights a week effective from 14 June to 4 August 2019. The additional flights, on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
76 / INSIDE EMIRATES
Precious cargo Items of extraordinary value are carried by Emirates every day. Not only are they of great monetary value – these items are creating vital cultural connections across the world
2,500 tonnes Valuable cargo moved in 2018
Cargo can range from: • Gold bullion • Currency notes • Jewellery and diamonds • Watches • Artwork • Historical artefacts
Security • Emirates SkyCargo has a special product called Emirates VAL to securely transport these high-end goods • To prevent tampering, cargo is mostly moved in secure metal
door containers that have a tamper-proof seal • Our Cargo Operations Control Centre is manned 24/7, 365 days a year, and oversees all global movements
INSIDE EMIRATES / 77
Two case studies in moving valuable cargo What was it?
What was it?
A prized collection of historical pianos 2,000 year-old statue of Buddha
3x pieces produced in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Excavated in 1909
Where did it go? • From Peshawar Museum to Zurich’s Museum Rietberg • It was the first time the statue travelled outside of Pakistan in over 100 years Any special measures? • Special screening procedures were needed because of the size of the statue and the packing crate • Quick Ramp Transfer
• Arriving flight from Zurich and departing flight to Peshawar were parked in proximity at Dubai International Airport to shorten transit • Emirates Group Security met the unit on its arrival in Peshawar and facilitated an immediate handover to Peshawar museum, concluding a successful shipment.
DID YOU KNOW? The carrier recently moved a handcrafted digital church organ from the UK to the UAE for the mass celebrated during Pope Francis’ visit to the country
Including the ‘First Fleet Piano’, first transported to Australia in 1788 Where did it go? • From Perth to London, for a bespoke salon performance at Australia House
Any special measures? • The instruments were packed in insulated flight cases, with sensors to track temperature and movement
“With the transport of these historic pianos from Edith Cowan University’s collection of rare musical instruments, we have also played a role in a cultural project that connects two nations through music and heritage” Ravishankar Mirle, Emirates Vice President, Cargo Commercial, Far East & Australasia
78 / EMIRATES / DESTINATION
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
WORDS: CAROLINE HOWLEY
Dive into the ever-changing, multifaceted ‘Pearl of Asia’ One of Asia’s most haphazard big cities, Phnom Penh looks like it was pieced together by a giant toddler in a whimsical mood. The buildings jump from shack to high-rise and back again at a dizzying pace, thick tangles of black wires tracing the erratic skyline. Every so often the streets open up to reveal a grand boulevard, or a surviving Art Deco villa, while a smattering of ultra-modern skyscrapers jut from the cityscape. Originally founded as a riverside village in the 14th Century, Phnom Penh has lived many lives. In the 1920s it was the ‘Pearl of Asia’: a booming Art Deco tourist hotspot under French rule. But by the late 1970s, with Cambodia gripped by the Khmer Rouge’s brutal communist regime, the capital’s population had plummeted. As the city’s population boomed in the post-genocide years, developers scrambled for land and much of its traditional Khmer architecture was torn down, giving the capital its present eclectic aesthetic. Visit Phnom Penh now and you’ll discover a thronging, multifaceted city that is – once again – in the midst of a huge transformation. Tourists, expats, and Cambodia’s growing middle class flock to the upscale coffee houses and eateries around Norodom Boulevard; French-inspired Topaz Restaurant is a particular favourite. Five-star accommodation ranges from elegant colonial villas to plush skyscraping hotels. The gilded Royal Palace gleams from its position near the waterfront, and in the evenings, tourists on Mekong cruises dine under the fiery red sunset.
Emirates has been serving Cambodia with its flights to Phnom Penh since July 2017, carrying over 100,000 passengers on the route to date. On June 1, Emirates will link Phnom Penh and Bangkok with its new daily service. The service from Dubai to Phnom Penh, via Bangkok, will provide passengers travelling between the capital cities of Cambodia and Thailand with more flight options.
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PALACE GATE HOTEL & RESORT
RAFFLES HOTEL LE ROYAL
ROSEWOOD PHNOM PENH
Unapologetic ﬁve-star luxury is the order of the day in this enchanting villa, once home to the French colonial government. Lavish rooms that include a royal penthouse suite incorporate Angkorian motifs, and with the gleaming Royal Palace on its doorstep, the king is a high-proﬁle neighbour. palacegatepp.com
An Art Deco masterpiece, with nods to Khmer and French colonial style, the ﬁve-star Hotel Le Royal dates back to 1929. Within its walls you’ll discover the elegant Elephant Bar – a Phnom Penh institution that transports guests back to a glitzier time. raﬄes.com/phnompenh
The Rosewood Phnom Penh sits 188 metres above the city, taking up the top 14 ﬂoors of the Vattanac Capital Tower skyscraper. Contemporary decor and reﬁned rooms incorporate intuitive tech. Ascend to the roof for a drink at the dynamic Sora Sky Bar. rosewoodhotels.com/ en/phnom-penh
Born out of a desire to rediscover recipes lost during the Khmer Rouge, Malis plates up creative, authentic dishes with a story. Relax in the restaurant’s chic interior or among the ﬂowering frangipanis of its tropical garden as you sample colourful seafood soups or meat and bamboo dishes. malis-restaurant.com/ phnompenh
This French ﬁne dining restaurant has been a cornerstone of Phnom Penh’s haute cuisine scene for over two decades. Ingredients are sourced from the Marché Rungis in Paris, and the team is often joined by Michelin-starred chefs, who combine time-honoured traditions with cutting-edge techniques. topaz-restaurant.com
Among the last remaining authentic Chinese houses in Phnom Penh, visit this decadent PanAsian Paciﬁc restaurant for an unforgettably hip evening. Chefs source Eastern ingredients and use Western techniques to create contemporary dishes. Arrive early to start the night in the ostentatious cocktail lounge. chinesehouse.asia
TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM
ROYAL PALACE AND SILVER PAGODA
The effects of the Khmer Rouge’s savage regime, which saw a quarter of the country’s population brutally murdered, are painfully ubiquitous in Cambodia. Housed in a former Khmer Rouge prison, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum puts the focus on the victims’ heartbreaking stories. tuolsleng.gov.kh
The oﬃcial residence of King Sihamoni, the gleaming Royal Palace complex – established in 1866 – is topped with distinctive Khmer roofs. Visitors can access the glittering throne room and the extraordinary Silver Pagoda, home to the striking Emerald Buddha, where the ﬂoor is blanketed with ﬁve tons of silver.
CENTRAL MARKET Phnom Penh’s Central Market is housed in an imposing Art Deco structure, centred around an eye-catching yellow dome. Head inside to ﬁnd jewellery and gold ornaments, or meander around the open-air stalls for ﬂowers, street food and souvenirs – stopping to chat with the animated stall holders.
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Go through the open gate, 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 will open and you can continue to baggage claim.
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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.
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GUIDE TO JORDAN Never has a Disney remake generated quite so much buzz – and Aladdin’s ‘Genie’ is here to break down his favourite spots in Jordan INTERVIEW: EMMA COILER
I took the crew to go and see Petra – and just wow. I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot and see so many incredible things in the world – but Petra has been on my bucket list for literally 20 years. I can safely say it didn’t disappoint, it has to be seen to be believed. It was an amazing day and I would love to return one day. Before I went I really didn’t know much about Aqaba – but it’s an absolutely beautiful city. It’s the only coastal city in Jordan but it really is stunning. The beaches are stunning – we didn’t really have time to enjoy them but got to have a dinner there looking out to views of the Red Sea. It was pretty special. We were filming Aladdin in Wadi Rum and it’s up there with one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been let alone filmed in. You have to visit if you are in Jordan and most importantly, get a guide who can do the area the
justice it deserves. They even have camps there you can stay in overnight, which I imagine is incredibly cool. Aladdin wasn’t actually my first trip to Jordan – I went back in 2015, for a wedding. It was at the Four Seasons in Amman, which was a great hotel in one special city. As far as local dishes go, I hear their traditional dish of mansaf is pretty good. I didn’t actually get a chance to try it but a few of the locals mentioned it to us as something we need to try. I am sure I will get a chance though – as I will be back again. We really could not have been more welcomed. From their Royal Family to the local guides, everybody was so good to us. When you are there try and immerse yourself with the locals as much as possible: ask their opinions, use locals as your guides – because they’re so friendly and so full of knowledge.
30.5852° N, 36.2384° E
Emirates operates daily flights to Amman with the Boeing 777-300ER.
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