After a 14 hour flight with minimal sleep, plenty of strange theories and incredible Etihad cabin crew, the team arrived in Abu Dhabi at 0455 local time. The flight brought a little surprise, as the Leading Steward, who had discovered our involvement in F1, provided us with Business Class meals, as a celebratory token from Etihad.
On the flight with us were the other Australian teams coming to the competition (Southern Cross Racing from Barker, and Gamma Rayzing from Magdalene Catholic High School) who, over their time competing in the F1 in Schools against Newington, have become both our greatest rivals and greatest friends. It’s been great to see that some of the competitive edge and hostility that has been in recent communications with these teams has been dropped now that we are here competing together as Australia.
In an effort to reset our body clocks to the new time zone, we spent the day out and about rather than resting. We spent several hours checking out the main local malls. Perhaps the biggest culture shock was not the traditional Middle Eastern aspect of the country, but that the country is so incredibly Western influenced. The brands, stores, malls and architecture are all so reminiscent of Western design. To put it simply, it feels a lot like America with Arabic written all over it. After some light shopping and gathering some basic resources, we returned to the hotel and checked into our rooms. Mr. Pyne took it upon himself to demonstrate his incredible abdomen to those down near the pool, whilst Mr. Honeywill kept the Sydney support crew up to date. The team set about final preparations of the booth after meeting up with Anton, who had flown in a day earlier with his family. Ashan and Felix set ourselves to editing the media and preparing this post. Tomorrow, our Scottish counterparts (Amie, Louise, Mel and Kiera) will arrive, and we shall continue with more involved and collaborative preparations, like the verbal presentation. Impact is scheduled to register at 12:30pm tomorrow, so all our cars and portfolios must be perfectly completed by then.
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Stay tuned, and we will update you tomorrow on our progress!
-Felix Shannon and Ashan Karunagaran