Iâ€™m back home again after a week of travel to the far off land of Dubai in the United Arab Emiratesâ€”yes, in the Middle East. And what a trip it was. Even the thirty hours in travel mode at both ends of the trip were an adventure, beings that I made the seventeen-hour flight each way in Business Class. What a treat! I didnâ€™t even suffer a minute of jetlag and Iâ€™m sure that it was because I was able to get plenty of sleep in a plush seat that tipped back flat into a bed. What luxury. I donâ€™t know what the difference is between First and Business Class. I canâ€™t imagine First Class being any finer. You have all of the privacy you want in the First and Business Class sections on British Airways 747 planes. From my seat, I could not see the face of a single passenger. I had my own individual TV set with a nice selection of movies and programs. And I had more legroom than I needed.
I received a toiletries kit upon boarding that included slipper socks and a sleeping mask. Hot, moist clothes were distributed periodically for freshening up. Drinks and food were served FREE nonstop on the plane and in the First Class airport lounges. The food was served in courses on real dishes and we were given real silverware and cloth napkins. I particularly enjoyed the cream puff and shortbread cookie we got with our coffee just before landing for a stopover in London.
I had a four-day stay in a 5-star hotel in Dubai. Why was I there? I was invited to give the keynote address at a Toastmasters Conference for District 79. This included about 800 Toastmasters from the UAE as well as Kuwait, Behrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Qatar. And I was invited because of my writing. The Toastmasters there had become accustomed to seeing my articles published in The Toastmaster Magazine. Freelance writers and authors, do not underestimate the power and the scope of your writing.
What an experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the people. They are warm and gracious. They treated me like a celebrity. I went there expecting to speak in front of strangers. By the time I spokeâ€”on my third day thereâ€”I felt as though I was speaking to friends. My topic, How to Present a More Creative Speech.
This was my first trip to the Middle East. The most exotic place Iâ€™d ever been before this was the Caribbean. What struck me most about the people is the diversity and the acceptance. I saw people of all cultures interacting most warmly with one another. One of the most surprising things I witnessed was a young woman in a burqa (covered in black from head to toe with just her eyes visible between a full head covering and a heavy veil) participating in a humorous speech contest. Her subject was, Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus.
I had time for a little touring and I saw the famous 7-star hotel, the Burj al Arab. I saw the outline of the manmade Palm Island in progress and photographed the twenty-four 5-star hotels that are under construction there. I saw the site of the tallest hotel in the world and I shopped in the largest shopping mall in the world. I saw the outside and the inside of the amazing indoor ski slope. Much of the city is currently under construction on land and at sea. Yes, they have an underwater hotel in the works. I understand that one-third of the worldâ€™s cranes are in Dubai because they currently have the largest area of construction anywhere in the world. They are also building the worldâ€™s largest manmade harbor.
They certainly do things up bigger and better in Dubai. They even have what I would consider the largest creek in the world. They call it a creek, but it is so wide that they have a fleet of boats to get people from one side to the other. And crime is practically non-existent there, according to anyone you talk to. The people there donâ€™t even know what graffiti is, for example.
What an experience! I got a henna tattooâ€”the women there like to elaborately decorate their hands and sometimes their feet with henna. The design lasts for about two weeks. I went on a desert safari. And I even danced a little with the people of the Middle East.
I met several authors in Dubai. I took copies of my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book and sold out within minutes of putting them on display. I gave away about 150 brochures. And I had the most interesting conversation with a librarian who approached me to say she was glad to finally meet me. She said that she has been checking my books into the local library for years. What? My books are in a library in a foreign country? Who knew? I can tell you that I will be reaching out to the foreign market from now on, especially to those areas that are predominantly English-speaking.
Well, Iâ€™m back home in California pursuing my life with fond memories of a travel adventure like no other. For more about my journey, read the June edition of SPAWNews at www.spawn.org. The June issue will be posted June 1.
In the meantime, if you are an author or you are thinking about writing a book, donâ€™t forget to order your copy of The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. This book is for you no matter what stage of authorship you are currently in. It is for you whether you hope to land a traditional royalty publisher, are contemplating going with a fee-based publishing service or you want to self-publish (establish your own publishing company). http://www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html
And donâ€™t forget to sign up for my Focus on the Masters Workshop in Ventura, CA. This is a series of 3 workshops on June 3, 10 and 17. http://www.focusonthemasters.com