FC Dallas left for their ground-breaking preseason trip to United Arab Emirates from DFW Airport on Thursday morning. Over the next two weeks, FCD will train twice daily and play at least two games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Here at FCDallas.com, we'll be bringing you updates from the team as we prepare for March 8! Here's the first installment written by FC Dallas Director of Public Relations Leigh Anne Gullett:
After a slightly bumpy 14.5 hour flight to Dubai, we deplaned and headed for customs with in-flight movie reviews dominating conversation. Entering UAE was fairly easy with no paperwork to fill out and no questions asked, just a facial recognition scan before getting our passports stamped.
From there, we headed to the marina in Dubai to stretch our legs and grab lunch before continuing on to Abu Dhabi where we checked in to our hotel and headed straight to the training field for a quick regen session.
Pretty much everybody crashed shortly after dinner with a 7 a.m. breakfast and two training sessions scheduled for the following day.
There is a public call to prayer several times each day and the first one is around 5 a.m. It’s a little startling the first time you hear it, but after that the sound is almost musical and blends into the city’s regular sounds. At 5 a.m. it was a better wake-up call than any alarm clock or hotel phone.
While the hotel has free wireless internet in the lobby and wired internet in the rooms, there is no wireless internet in the rooms. We brought several routers with us to put our own wireless network in the rooms, but we’ve met with a few technical difficulties and the wireless is still spotty. The internet availability has turned the lobby into the hot spot during any free time. While everyone uses the time to catch up with loved ones and friends back home, there has also been a lot of time devoted to Quiz Up challenges amongst some of the group. Oddly, on three separate occasions Clueless has been the movie playing on the lobby TV (currently it’s London Olympics – power lifting).
In deference to the team’s nutrition needs, meals have been fairly similar to our usual fare with a few notable exceptions. At breakfast there is something called beef bacon since pork is not consumed in this country and the tater tots were actually something more like fried mashed potatoes (like something you might find at the State Fair and pretty tasty). Also, every meal includes hummus with pita bread. They play music for us in the cafeteria at every meal, but we quickly figured out it is the same playlist on repeat and it’s pretty entertaining… generic “American” music that’s not quite current. We’ve been jamming to some Usher, Nelly and Sheryl Crow during meal times.
There is a nice fitness center and Olympic-size swimming pool across the parking lot from the hotel, however on Fridays and Saturdays it is only open to women.
Our first night here I thought my shower had no hot water because the hot-cold settings are opposite of home and there were no markings to show which way to turn the handle. I overcompensated when I finally figured it out and the temperature went from ice bath to second degree burns. And one final interesting note we'll leave you with, we’ve all seen a bidet before, but the toilets here have an actual hose installed next to them…
Editor's Note: FCD has two-a-days planned for Sunday and Monday with their first game tenatively scheduled for Tuesday against their host club, Al Jazira Club