It is strange to think that our trip has already come and is about to end. I despise endings like this, though most of our group is ready to go home and see families or other familiar things again (including myself). Today started with a class debrief where we shared what we learned with the group. The details were very MBA-ish and likely to do nothing for others except put them to sleep, so I’ll skip them (e-mail me if you’d like the notes as an alternative to a sleep aid).
At the end of our meeting, our professors gave us some very useful information that they had compiled through the course of the trip, and they follow:
Seven wonders of the trip:
- Number of world records set in Dubai (somebody mentioned there was a world record for the number of world records set there).
- 0-249 km/h in 4.9 seconds (Ferrari World roller coaster) is pretty awesome.
- It is a wonder how many times can you eat lamb in two weeks without becoming vegetarian.
- Grace’s birthday count in 2 weeks.
- How many ways to eat/drink chocolate; how many magnum bars consumed w/out becoming diabetic.
- ‘Tis amazing how far can flamenco dancer sweat can fly.
- You can you take a Turkish bath without talking to your bishop (we think).
Highlights / Lessons Learned:
Bargain too hard and get thrown out of the shop.
Try to get to Dubai before it is 40 C.
Football fans are crazy/loud/passionate, and so are demonstrators.
Necessity is the mother of all invention: with a long ride on bus without bathroom, one must be creative.
Can be with a tour guide for seven hours and never yawn.
Everybody should have a TV that drops out of the ceiling and a bed that revolves.
Turkey: 80m people and four missionaries.
Charades and bullfrog game with captain and crew.
20 questions: Rachel wins first Magnum Bar.
How can we suffer through a flight home on a plane that’s 3/4 full?
Lightning quick internet in Turkey (no seriously…. 2+ MB (that’s
bytes) per second upload consistently).
Running through Atlanta/London airports.
Be careful in Turkish bathroom; you never know who may be there (like, women) with you.
For a guide in Dubai you surely want Shirley.
Best Ambassador: Tyson
Uploads of stuff: Aaron B (for uploading photos)
Olympian: Rachel (placed in top three in all of our competitions)
Wedding singer: Josh
Most likely to be an expat: Aaron J.
If some of those seem even slightly comical or tongue-in-cheek then, well, that’s truly a surprise to all of us. After our debrief we set out for our trip to the Real Madrid stadium, and a very long walk.
This probably went longer and farther than most would have liked, especially those who opted to hike several kilometers back from the stadium to the hotel by foot, but the stadium is pretty awesome. 84k screaming fans of the local or visiting teams can take their lives into their hands… er, support their preferred groups thanks to this single stadium, and unless you’ve been to a real football (soccer, forAmericans) game this is not something you’ll likely ever experience, even at a BYU/UofU game. As our tour guide showed us around there were rooms titled ‘vomitorio’ and I can only guess at its purpose.
That kind of biological reaction may not be directly caused by game excitement, but who knows. I’ll try to get to a game here sometime and report back. In the meantime, the Real Salt Lake (RSL) games are pretty exciting so go to those in the meantime. A common question in the USA is why ‘Real’ is part of the name of things like RSL. Pronounced ray-ALL this means ‘royal’ in Spanish, so there you go.There is some interesting history behind that name for the club in Spain if you are interested in looking it up.
After we made our way back to the hotel, we again scattered to the four winds to find deals for family and friends. Some of the finds were pretty impressive. I’m going to call out one gift in particular that was really neat, even though I haven’t asked to share this. Aaron J. apparently likes his wife and so he bought a poster that showed a couple of flamenco dancers, a man and a woman, as they danced together. The poster is made to look like it is announcing a famous pair of dancers to perform for an audience, and the little stand from which it was procured offered customization, so Aaron had his name along with his wife’s name added to it. The way the lettering was done made it look original and showed a romantic side I didn’t know he had. Anyway, good job Aaron J.
Did you know Madrid has a temple, and a Missionary Training Center (MTC), and things like that? I did not, but luck being a lady allowed six of us go to the temple for a few hours which was wonderful. A short walk, couple metro rides, and another block of walking and we made it there and back again very easily from our hotel. The building was beautiful, as usual, and it was a unique experience to be with others from school for a session, optionally in another language.
After our earlier class debrief, this end to the day was perfect to help us remember the eternal parts of what we do in our lives. I seem to recall BYU signs which read, ‘Come to learn, go forth to serve.’ or something similar, and this was how I felt as we returned to the hotel. Please forgive me for monopolizing this portion of the post with something that pertained to a small subset of the group, but my guess is that most of us in the whole group, members of the Church or not, feel similarly with regard to what we do in life with others we already know, or those we meet, and how we can bless their lives through our actions.
Tomorrow we will get up early and depart from the hotel around 07:30 Madrid time to head home. See you all in about thirty-six hours.