Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The hightlights of my MEA Sharm El Cheikh trip #MEA_digital_event

I am trying to think what the highlights of the four day trip to Sharm El Cheikh with Middle East Airlines was. Some 120 people got invited to Egypt between April 28 and May 1st for the launch of the MEA app (available on both Apple Store and Google Play) and - erm - it was indeed a relaxing time.
I am sure you already saw the many many photos which were collectively hashtaged under #MEA_influencers (even if the official appelation was #MEA_digital_event), with people oohing and aahing over the ATV Safari, the dolphins, the yacht trips, the 5000 free miles we got as invitees, and all else.
Oddly it is the small things that mattered to me.
I truly appreciated that the chairman of the company (Mr. Mohammad Hout) and the accompanying staff were there for us, unobtrusively, all the time. Mr. Hout even traveled back in economy (not first class) - he gets bonus points for that, trust me.
I totally loved how, in order not to lose time on arrival to Egypt, our passports were pre-stamped by the Egyptian security allowing us to circumvent waiting at the airport and all the hassle that came with it.
I loved the lack of favoritism - I truly felt that all of us, from the youngest instagram-crazed youth to the most hot-shot journalist were all treated equally. I think getting to know each other where we were either by pool or dressed in sneakers facilitated that chummy ambiance.
I was a big fan of the diversity - when I was first invited to a "digital event" my mind was reeling as to how many kids will be there, and what on earth am I going to talk to them with so little in common! But from the very first moment at the Beirut Lounge (with the very kind Mrs. Khalaf behind the scenes) it was obvious that the age demographic was quite varied.
And yes, the two times we had belly dancers were nice, but the turning dervishes during the Bedouin dinner were such an standout spectacle - and take it from someone who already seen international-level turning dervishes. It was such an incredible feat they managed to perform so superbly when everyone was broadcasting live at an inch of their nose, or trying to take a selfie with them in the background or - horror of all horrors - someone trying to imitate them "for a laugh".
And finally, I fell in love! Yes, no other words, those scale model planes which were put on our tables  during the app launch dinner of a retro MEA plane (was it a Comet 4C? A Viscount?) were jaw-droppingly beautiful - sleek, stylish, full of glamour and incredible heritage, just like the 70 year-old company whose logo was emblazoned on their side.
And these were the highlights of my #MEA_digital_event trip to Sharm El Cheikh!