Dubai - Emirates World Cup - 2001

Travel from California to Dubai

DCP_1596 Karen Binns DiCamillo and SR Sharee. Waiting at LAX airport for departure.
DCP_1598 The cargo box - holds three horses
DCP_1599 Loading Sharee
DCP_1601 Loading the cargo box onto a truck for transport to the terminal
DCP_1602 Headed to the terminal
DCP_1607 Loading Steph
DCP_1608 Loading Karen
DCP_1609 Loading the horses onto the plane, LAX
DCP_1610 ...loading
DCP_1611 ...loading
DCP_1612 Karen - ready for take-off
DCP_1613 Pilots - ready for take-off
DCP_1615 Luxembourg - layover
DCP_1616 Layover - Khruschev in the box
DCP_1617 Desmond - the Irish groom
DCP_1618 Luxembourg - Karen and ground crew
DCP_1620 Luxembourg - Sharee and ground crew, getting ready to load the horse box
DCP_1621 Second cargo jet
DCP_1622 Karen - ready for take-off - again
DCP_1623 Arrival in Dubai
DCP_1625 Dubai - horse box unloaded
DCP_1626 Empty horse box - 20 hours after loading in California
DCP_1627 Walking the horses before transporting to Endurance Village
DCP_1628 Loading into the van - Sharee
DCP_1629 Loading - Khruschev
DCP_1631 Horse van - arrival
DCP_1633 Endurance Village - housing
DCP_1634 ...housing
DCP_1637 ...housing
DCP_1635 Village - sunrise
DCP_1641 Village - first camel!
DCP_1642 more camels
DCP_1644 Village - horse barn - Darolyn and Karen
I'm here in the horse barn at the Endurance Village, my computer is perched on a bale of pine shavings, I'm sitting on a bucket. Khruschev is relaxing in a paddock along with the other USA and Canada horses. Feeling rested, and starting to get into a routine... will take some time to describe our trip over.

The departure from LA was very smooth. We loaded the horses in the cargo box around 10 pm. Hoisted the box onto a big flatbed and drove them to the departure terminal. Karen DiCamillo was there with SR Sharee, and Christy Janzen's horse Tais was also travelling with us, with Kim - Christy's groom - scheduled to meet us in Dubai.

The cargo plane (CargoLux jumbo jet) was huge. We unloaded the box with the three horses off the truck, and then hoisted them up into the belly of the plane - packed in there along with all of the other cargo. Mersant International was the shipping agent and they had a professional groom with us the entire trip. Great guy - big burly Irishman named Des. Has been shipping horses for 30 years and he made us feel relaxed and comfortable from the start. He actually rode in the box with the horses during the truck transit to the terminal, and while the box was loaded onto the plane. He also stayed with them during take-off and landing. He was loads of fun, and had stories about the old days - 100 + horses tied side by side in the cargo hold - packed in like cattle - stallions challenging each other... sounded like some wild times.

It was very cool being able to walk around the ground under the jet - making sure our gear was loaded, so close to the rumble of the engines. It was dark out and made it seem even more exciting. Karen and I rode in the 'passenger' section - a few seats right behind the cockpit where the crew rode. We could watch the pilots and Karen even sat in the cockpit during the landing in Luxembourg. She came out with her eyes very wide. We had plenty of room to move around, comfortable seats (first class recliners) and we could climb down into the cargo hold and check on the horses whenever we wanted. Their box had canvas flaps that we opened for ventilation, and small doors up front on either side so we could walk in and offer them water, carrots, etc.

We landed in Luxembourg and unloaded the box from the CargoLux plane. Had a 2 hour layover but the horses stayed in the box. We had been flying east from LA, so had a brief period of daylight, then it was dark again in Luxembourg. We loaded the horse box onto a different plane - British Express - another big jumbo jet. Climbed up into the cockpit area and headed for Dubai.

We arrived in Dubai at 7 AM - 20 hours after we left California. The coast was in fog - and our first glimpse of the city was from the window of the plane as we descended for landing. The tops of the high-rise resort hotels were piercing through the fog. Karen looked out the plane window and said 'look - there's Atlantis!' - it was pretty amazing looking.

When we arrived at the terminal it was pretty confusing for a while. We had gotten pretty accustomed to just trusting that wherever we were, somebody would know what was happening and what to expect- because we never did! We unloaded the horse and the tack/baggage and were sort of standing around when an official came up, scratching his head, flipping through pages in his clipboard ... some fellow with an Indian accent "you have horses? I don't have any horses scheduled to arrive..." Oh great.... Des made sure the horses were at least unloaded and we took them to an area where we could walk them until somebody figured out what was going on. Somebody grabbed our baggage and started hauling it to the arrival area - until Des stopped him. The baggage was supposed to stay with us. But somehow some of the baggage ended up going anyway. Finally 'the man' showed up along with a big horse van, looking very much in charge - he pulled out a card and flashed it to the guys (who had thought they were in charge). As soon as they saw the card, everything started happening.

The horses were loaded into the van for the ride to the Endurance Village, our baggage was retrieved (mostly), apologies were made, and we were rolling again. The van went ahead, and we went in the car with David (the guy with the card) to meet the van at the Village. A few more hitches - the fellow with our visas and permits had left them in the office in Dubai and gone home for the holiday, the horse van got lost for a while, I had to go back to the airport for the misplaced baggage - but finally we made it. Settled the horses into the US/Canada barn (just completed the night before) - and then settled ourselves into our room at the village - decent facility, good food. Once the next wave of crew arrives, we'll have rooms at the nice hotels in Dubai - pool, excersize room, the works.

More later ... I feel very grateful to be here - and we're already being treated royally.

Steph Teeter, and Nature's Khruschev