So much for keeping a blog while in Dubai right? I’ve been back in the states (California) for several days now and I am still jet lagged a bit! My goal was to update this blog as the days went on, but we were just too busy to really keep up with it. So here I am… writing a recap instead of a progress post.
Day 0: Travel / First Night
Emirates Airlines! Hooray! What a nice flight. While I have flown business class before, nothing would prepare me for such a nice entertainment system that they had available on this flight. There were tons of movies, shows, podcasts, etc. On the flight there I was able to watch American Ultra, Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part II, and The Big Short. Caught up on my movies for the year…
On the plane we had the ability to see what it looked like outside. They had three camera’s on the A380 that showed the back tail (pictured), below, and the front of the plane.
After we landed, we were directed to a bus that would take us to our hotel for the next week. This will be known as Drone bus. Apparently I am focused on taking the picture…
Drone Hotel! What happens when you have a bus full of people all checking into the same hotel? You run into a traffic jam… Hurry up and wait! (this is a theme you will notice).
This is the first hotel that we had. Sadly you will notice there is only one bed… we complained and were given another room. Still the hotel was nice and nearly brand new… but still had a few things it needed to work out. We were on the 21st floor, and at one point I pressed 21 and it took me to the 20th floor. I went all the way to the room and noticed it was the wrong floor. So I went back got into the same elevator pressed 21 again and it basically sat there for 30 seconds then opened the door again (same floor). I ended up taking the stairs..
Day 1: Qualifying Round 1
World Drone Prix shuttled everyone to the venue, it was not too far from the hotel but further than you would want to walk… but because of the way the city is designed it still took about 15 minutes driving to get there. Once there we all queued up in line and received our team number. This number determined what “group” we were in and what time we would race.
Our team got there “on-time” which meant we were one of the last groups. There were four groups, and each group consisted of 20 teams. We were team 52… group 3. Group 4 only had about 5-6 teams I think. We were scheduled to race at 2:00Pm, we didn’t actually race until 10:00pm or so. So we spent the day pretty much waiting around.
While waiting around I spotted this cool little thing. Sorry for the bad quality but basically it’s a Jetski powering a “hoverboard”. The person was ok at it, but clearly was pretty new. He could get up and basically hover around but couldn’t do anything more than that. I’m sure it’s pretty difficult.
Eventually we made it into the qualification tent. While the main race was outdoors, you had to qualify indoors. The first day was all about the fastest lap. The faster you did, the higher you ranked. The second day was fastest five laps, no drone recovery allowed. The number on the left was a count down from 5 minutes as you had five minutes to set your fastest lap. The green number was the current lap, and the yellow number was the fastest lap. I heard the fastest lap was 17 seconds but I only saw a 19 second lap. The average seemed to be around 25 seconds.
Following our qualifying, we went down town for a bite to eat. Went to some Mexican style food place. It was ok, and this is when it hit us… even if cocktails are listed on the menu, they may not have alcohol. From what I understand you can only drink in hotels, and locals are not allowed to drink. True or not I don’t know, but I can confirm all the places we went to eat only hotels served alcohol.
Day 2: Qualifying Round 2
Day 2 started with us renting a car and checking out the worlds largest mall… Mall of the Emirates! This mall was massive. There were four floors, and full of stores. On the bottom floor there is what we referred to as “Walmart”, but I guess it was called CarreFour or something. Was able to buy the essentials that we forgot at home… for much cheaper too!
Inside the mall everything was in excess. Life size elephant? Sure why not? Indoor snow skiing? Why not!
Following the mall we went to what was known as “Area 51.” Basically the desert. There were some building in the distance so a few people were on the road from time to time. We parked and flew / tuned for all of about 20-30 minutes before we had to be back at the track for our group to be called. Our group was supposed to be called at 5:00PM, but it was closer to 8PM that our group was actually called.
When groups were called they were pulled in this little gated area. They would allow us to power up, check to make sure everything was working… much needed! Following this they would line us up and bring us into the building in the order of our team number.
Following our race we went to a bar in the DoubleTree. It was the closest bar that we knew of at the time… it was a grungy style bar, that had free video games to play (old school) in the front room. Prices were average (for around the SF Bay Area)… nothing special, but was nice to finally get a drink!