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Pilot dallies in Dubai

Jamaican-born pilot Barrington Irving got a taste of home in the deserts of Dubai last week during a visit with compatriots living there.
Irving dined on jerk chicken, fried dumplings, escovitch (cooked, pickled fish) and other island specialties during a brunch held on Wednesday, April 25 with a number of Dubai-based Jamaican pilots who fly for local airlines there and their families.
“I had the opportunity to spend time with passionate Jamaicans who encouraged me to continue pursuing my dreams and encouraging students,” Irving wrote on his blog.
The meal came early during the Middle East portion of Irving’s historic circumnavigation of the globe where routine maintenance of his single-engine piston aircraft grounded the 23-year-old Miami-based pilot for longer than originally anticipated.
Although he expected to spend three days in the former Arabian Peninsula Sheikdom, Irving had spent nine days there - so far.
During that time luxury hotels, shopping malls, the gold market, beaches and even the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, Ski Dubai, made an impression on Irving.
“Dubai is a great example of what having great vision can provide to a city’s residents and economy,” he wrote.
During the visit Irving met with 45 employees of Chevron, the global energy company that is providing fuel for the trip.
Elite Jets, a private charter flight company Irving also met with there, surprised him with a desert adventure.
“This wasn’t just any ordinary adventure, but an opportunity to drive in 4×4 trucks up and down the sand dunes. Imagine skiing on sand in a 4×4 - it was a thrilling experience,” he wrote on his blog.
Due to adverse weather conditions including thunderstorms, snowstorms and sandstorms, Irving is now about three weeks behind schedule in his bid to become the youngest person and first African-American to fly solo around the world.
Irving planned to take off for Mumbai, India on Wednesday, May 2. At over 1,300 nautical miles, the trip should take about eight hours and will put him at the longitudinal halfway mark of his trip. Weather permitting, he should complete his trip and return to Miami toward the end May.

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