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76). My Friend, Mohammed   Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (July 2008)

In 2008, Otak, my company in Portland, won a large mapping contract in Abu Dhabi, the capital and second largest city of the United Arab Emirates.  I flew to Abu Dhabi and worked there for a week, my first trip to the Middle East.  Before going, I was excited but also a bit apprehensive, since I wasn't sure how I'd be received, being an American.  But everyone I met in Abu Dhabi was incredibly polite and friendly, not just colleagues I worked with but also strangers on the street.  Mohammed is with the government and we worked closely together for several days.  He spoke perfect English, which was good because my Arabic was limited to the few words he taught me.  Mohammed exemplified the kindness and graciousness I experienced during my week in Abu Dhabi.