This past November, You’re the Cure advocate and stroke survivor, Michelle Ballasiotes, had the privilege of attending the Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance Global Forum in Sharjah. UAE. Michelle represented the AHA/ASA and her mom joined her on this experience of a lifetime. Over the next few weeks we will be posting a multi-part series of Michelle’s reflections on the trip. Many thanks to Michelle for writing about her experience and allowing us to share it on the blog! Check back next week to read more about Michelle’s trip!
Wed. Nov. 11th arrival:
The 12.5 hour plane ride to Dubai from DC wasn’t as bad as I expected. The flight was rather empty so my mom and I could spread out and nap a little. I kept anxiously checking the GPS on the seat in front of me to see our path. It felt weird knowing we were flying over countries as far away as Croatia. We got to talking with a nice flight attendant and he brought chocolate truffles to my mom and me during the flight. Before I knew it, we were in Dubai! We were treated like royalty as we stepped off the plane. I spotted the lady with “Ballasiotes” on the sign and she took us directly to where we needed to go. We even had one of those motorized carts waiting for us so we didn’t have to walk. The first thing I noticed was that all signs had Arabic and English on them, so at least we knew where we were going. On our ride to the hotel, I couldn’t tell anyone was inside the cars on the road because the windows were tinted so dark, probably to keep out the heat. Most cars I saw were white and I noticed there were lots of round-a-bouts. After we got to the hotel, we went straight to bed because it was evening there. On our beds were dates wrapped in a fancy box. Apparently dates are a big thing in the Middle East. It surprisingly wasn’t too bad to adjust to the 9 hour time difference.
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