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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Middle East – May 20th, 2013


Ben Alton gave the morning devotional. He talked about righteous desires to overcome difficult challenges and be all we can. 

“Redeemer of Israel” was the opening song.

DIFC – Dubai International Financial Center was originally created to build an international financial center that could have its own laws. We were addressed by Rebecca who reports direct to Jeff Singer. She is super sharp and articulate. She studied finance and law in the UK and married an Emirati, who now has citizenship. One of their big concerns is that Abu Dhabi recently announced they are going to build a financial center. The competition will be a challenge because they don’t see any real ability to differentiate offering or services. They can really only rely on first mover advantage and the Dubai lifestyle, which is more tall-building and leisure activities. The challenge is those can be duplicated. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. 

DP World:

What a beautiful building and great conference room. These guys do it right! They move so many containers and ships around the world; the logistics are incredible. They are going to expand the port to move two times the current capacity in the next 20 years. The size of ships has gone from 5,000 to 40,000 tons in the last 15 years and they expect to get 80,000 in the next couple of years. They provide lunch and it was amazing!!!

Did a bus tour of the ports and ships. Wow, these things are huge!

Burj Al Arab – Jumeirah Group:

Clayton the COO spoke to us about the history of the group. they had us in a really nice room on the top floor with great hors d’oeuvres. 

His best point was that in every culture members must at some point submit to that culture if they are going to be effective in it. We got a tour of some rooms. They are incredibly large and decadent.

Middle East – May 19, 2013

Up  early, breakfast starts at 7 AM, which is also when the bus leaves. Everyone grabs a quick bite, and we’re off to Abu Dhabi.

Rob Nielson gives the thought of the day about virtue and the daily-practice needed for virtue in our life.

Song: Oh How Lovely Was the Morning (Indeed it was)

Tour guide: Everything has been built in the last half century. Driving down Shik Zayed road on our way to the Shik Zayed Mosque. Shik Zayed was the former king of Abu Dhabi.

Dubai is the second largest emirate. Abu Dhabi is the largest.

Driving through the “green belt” we learned the trees by the highway are hand planted and irrigated. The UAE is protecting the highway and adding forest greenery to the landscape by planting so many trees.

A marriage fund exists to help the local men get married as it is an expensive affair. Teh fund is 70,000 dirham and it is only provided for your first family. You also must marry a local girl. You an have up t four families.

We visited the Shik Zayed mosque. It was a massive structure with ornate and finely detailed artwork throughout. It had numerous domes and 96 pillars in the building (Equal to the number of chapters in the Quran, and the number of names for Allah painted on the wall). The mosque faces Mecca.

Drove by Shik Khalif’s “residence” in Bateen. It was a palatial fortress.

Visit to Invest AD, a fund established to diversity revenues from oil into other regional institutions. They are entering frontier markets such as Iraq, Africa, the Middle East, and GCC (Gulf Corp. Council).

Lunch at IKEA

Ferrari World was all business. If your business is riding the fastest roller coaster in the world! After meeting with the marketing team and learning about their brand, daily breaks, even point, and big picture marketing strategies, they decided the best way to know the business was to experience the park.

Middle East – May 17, 2013

Friday: Dubai

8:00 AM

Breakfast at restaurant buffet

8:30 AM

Meet in lobby and over to church. David Nielson gave devotional on bus about creation and gratitude. Everything in Dubai speaks oil money. The wealth of the city is shown in the roads, buildings, and lack of trash! Which is very different from India.

Guide from Sri Lanka showed us the second largest mall in Dubai with a ski slope reaching 8500 meters high. We passed the sail-shaped building. Other prominent sites shown as well.

The British left Dubai in 1971. Over two million people live there, and 82 percent come from other countries. There is no income tax! 100 percent Islam, but they respect other religions as well. Tradition dictates that sons stay at home with one son inheriting the home eventually. The daughters leave to live with their husbands.

30 cm rain a year. Most of their water is recycled from desalination.

The Dubai ward had 30 members attending today . We doubled their attendance. Talks were given on:

*Helping and receiving help from others. By small things the Lord confounds the wise. focus on the simple things. Serving others is one of the ways we can execute “small things.” (101 happy person project)

*Peace in the home. Referenced Conference talk by Elder Scott. Deep inside of us we need a place to recharge and get ready for challenges. Home is the place for this needed refuge. Service in the home brings peace and blesses the ones closest to you.

*How scriptures help families and ourselves teach about covenants, faith, and loving one another.


After having dinner at the Bats’s home, here are our top 10 takeaways about being an ex-pat in Dubai:

#10: If you live in Dubai, make sure you get a south-east Asia housemaid. they will cook amazing food, keep the house tidy, and help take care of the kids. 95 % of residents in Dubai are ex-pats. Thanks Bates family for hosting us for lunch!

#9: Dubai is a melting pot of different cultures. Compensation-wise, it is better to have a company sponsor you vs. trying to find a job. Teachers are in high demand here.  Expose your kids to many cultures.

#8: Your spouse is key for making it a successful experience in an ex-pat position. Make sure they have clear expectations going into a foreign assignment.

#7: No income tax in Dubai. The pay package can be very generous Negotiate well. Car, house, maid, education, vacation can all be included. Infrastructure and standard of living is very high.

#6: Don’t get into debt or let a check bounce or they will throw you in prison. You have few rights in Dubai.

#5: Dubai is an Islam country and there are certain rules you have to follow: no kissing in public, no holding hands in public, shorts longer than the knees.

#4: Dubai has the tallest building in the world. The skyline from the top of the building looks like a Lego set with miniature buildings and streets. Also, the shopping at the Dubai mall is amazing. . . You can buy anything from Red Mango frozen yogurt to camels and Turbans.

#3: School is very expensive. Tuition is $26,000 a year.

#2: There are three classes of people in Dubai:

-The Emerati Untouchables. Dan Bates said that in his time living in Dubai he has only spoken once to a local.

-Middle Class Ex-pats. Wealthy es-pats on assignment.

– Servants of the upper classes. They come from other countries and become wealthy.

#1: Be prepared to sleep in the same hotel bed wih your roommate. The Emerati are not super eager to accommodate any requests for separate beds unless you have Scott Harris’ negotiation skills or Jeremy Redd’s Hilton rewards points.

-Kirsten Mcgreggor

Middle East – May 16th, 2013


The accommodations at the Taj President Hotel in Mumbai have been top notch. A few likely spent the morning in the pool or exercising at the gym. Most of us are able to sleep even until 7:00 am. unfortunately for many in the group the evening brought on some stomach ailments. Nearly half of the group has had trouble of some sort, and a few were up much of the night.

After another top-notch breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and boarded the buses. Our bus tour was of Mumbai (Bombei), and it was very fascinating. The architecture that we saw was breathtaking. Maure Bannion and Rain trees lined the streets and together with palms and other tropical plants made for a beautiful drive. this part of the city was remarkably clean and well kept. Some of the real estate in Mumbai is categorized as teh most expensive in the world. Each square foot of residential space sells for $900-2500! One “home” we passed is said to be the most expensive in the world at $1 billion. It encompasses 27 floors, 400,00 sq. ft., and employs 600 servants!

We also learned that women wear their Sari in specific ways to distinguish where they are from.

The visit to P&G was very interesting. Their efforts to develop specific products for the Indian market have paid off with impressive growth. Their approach to marketing and brand development is really top-notch. The presentations were polished and very applicable.

-Adam Earl

Middle East – May 14th, 2013

Tuesday – Day 5

Forecast: 110 and Sunny

We had a great night’s stay at the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel. Many of the students awoke early for a poolside yoga session. the instructor was very patient with the first-timers and reminded us to “Always smile.”

After another great breakfast we headed off to experience Jaipur city. Jaipur was the first planned city in India, Founded in 1727. The current population is 3.2 million.

We headed on up into the mountains to see the Amber Palace. the palace was quite impressive. High upon the mountain was an immense palace along with a wall that was similar to the Great Wall of China. We were escorted up to the palace atop elephants, symbolic of how the Maharaja would have been carried up. One of the most interesting features was the 400 year old air conditioning.

We rode down the mountain on a tight Jeep ride and then worked on our negotiating skills with the local vendors. More impressive than the vendors were the small boys who performed magic tricks alongside the bus. quite talented at such a young age.

On the way back we stopped for some additional shopping and then back to the hotel for lunch.

We checked out of the palace hotel and headed to the airport for our flight to Mumbai. Many of us are looking forward to spending more than one night in the same hotel, although our accommodations have been exceptional up to this point.

there was quite a contrast when we arrived in Mumbai. Not only was it noticeably cooler by several degrees, but we had transitioned form the older, poorer cities of Delhi and Jaipur to the big city sky-curve of Mumbai.

Once again the motel is great and we are all looking forward to our business visits tomorrow.

Middle East – May 15th, 2013

Wednesday, Mumbai (Bombay)

First Company Visit 

Had a great breakfast in the morning at the hotel. It was nice to suggest some of the indian delicacies to the group to try out. Rob Nielson had a taste of ambipanna and bitter gourd juice (that was really bitter.) Not sure if he liked it.

Everybody was decked up in their professional attire. The bus ride began with a devotional talk about gratitude by Scott Harris. We all then expressed our gratitude at not having to check out of the hotel in 1 day.

The visit was great. It was amazing to hear from the TCS folks about  the strategy and company’s plans for sustained growth and retention. The company has a n amazing 98.6 percent repeat business rate from existing customers. We now have a one hour break before we all gather for our next business visit. 

-Deepak Bharadwaj

Middle East – May 12th, 2013

Sunday (Mother’s Day)

Church – Delhi 2nd branch.

Tour of Delhi

Lunch and Rest

Hotel – Taj Hotel

We had an incredible experience visiting the Delhi 2nd branch. I was exctited to hear Elder Andersen would be visiting Delhi the next week. I was extremely impressed with the members. So strong, and a remarkable spirit. Very strong families, young women and young men in the branch. We had a chance to tour the city of Delhi both old and new areas. It was amazing to see the wires running everywhere, open restrooms, the smells,and it was heartbreaking to see the little babies with their moms begging. 6 hour bus ride to Agra.

-Jeremy Redd