17-21 July – MALTA
As mentioned in my editorial, I am happy to say that I did manage to do a bit of traveling during the several weeks off for summer break in PCW. First of all, I visited the island of Malta for 4 days and then spent 9 days in Dubai. Malta is a nice island, located centrally in the Mediterranean. Besides meeting with some personal friends from the time when I lived there (2003-2006), I also met with the www.clcprojects.com network member, Carmelo Caruana and the CMA CGM local General Manager.
Naturally, much of the talk was focused on the current COVID-19 situation—which in Malta is no different. It is difficult to do any planning. The infection rate goes up/down, and generally speaking, you need to check almost on a weekly—if not daily—basis about the situation. Business, however, according to both Carmelo Caruana and the CMA CGM hasn’t suffered too much, and as we all know in the case of the shipowners, side things have NEVER been better. Certainly anyone should soon be able to pay off any debts left over from the pre-pandemic times.
After an enjoyable time in Malta, I flew Emirates for the first time in 18 months down to Dubai with a short stopover in Larnaca, Cyprus—although you do remain onboard if you are a transit passenger. Face masks, of course, must be worn onboard, but somehow face masks or not, Emirates do manage to provide the superb service for which they are known—even in Economy class. This is no mean feat and something that many airlines find impossible to do.
21-30 July – DUBAI
Arrived 0120am into Dubai and was rather quickly through the arrival formalities. After a quick corona test before exiting and passport control, I was through. Amazingly, it only took 45 minutes. I had previously downloaded the DXB app, and there I received the result of the COVID-19 test the next day in the hotel. Thus, I was free to roam around. The heat was stifling though at 43-46 degrees during the day and 37-39 during the evening. As usual, I stayed at the Radisson Blu Deira Creek which, although being low-rise and old style, is a cozy hotel just by the Deira Creek. I managed to take a walk on occasion either very early morning or late evening.
I felt kind of elated during the trip because after Malta, it was kind of the first time that I really had had a chance to meet contacts face to face again. Just when corona started, say early March 2020, was exactly my last overseas flight BACK from Dubai to Stockholm, so it was a kind of “virgin” arrival, so to speak. I managed to have about 12-14 meetings during my stay there. I also managed to become a landlord, i.e., buying a small condo for renting out. So, yes, overall it was a very efficient trip with enjoyable food. Yet, above all, the meeting with contacts, network members, shipowners and friends was really the gold, and it reminded me again about the fact that Teams/Zoom cannot, will not, be able to replace the real thing!
Here are some pictures from the meetings that I had during my days in Dubai.
I left out the names and logos of those I met since the main reason for sharing these pictures overall is to show you that the real deal of meeting people to people is—at least for me—what makes me tick and makes me happy doing the business.
I returned back safe and sound to Stockholm and had a good 14 days trip. I also managed to make the wife happy by buying the cosmetics that she said could only be found at the Dubai Airport—that alone is reason enough for traveling again soon!
Bo H. Drewsen
Editor in Chief