I am back to astound and amaze with more on Dubai. The photos I present today are from day ‘2’ of our trip—we visited the Dubai Mall (the world’s largest shopping mall, Wikipedia) as well as the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building, Wikipedia).
Like I said, Dubai is full of superlatives.
I was so much fun to walk around such beautiful architecture, landscaping, and cultural contrasts. The strangest thing is that Sean had to keep reminding me that we were in the DESERT. Yes, even though Dubai is a modern-day oasis, it is still a desert geographically speaking.
So do I side with my mother nature, laissez-faire mentality and scorn the irrigation, pollution, and squandering of money on tourism? Or do I put aside my cultural condemnation from a Westerner’s viewpoint and embrace Dubai for what it is; a part of the world entirely new and foreign to me. It would be wrong to say, “Well, if you only did _____, the water would be cleaner.” or “Why doesn’t everyone just _______ instead?”
In the words of Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Our walk from the metro (which, remind you, we took everywhere) to the Dubai Mall. I loved all of the plants and green spaces there are in Dubai! (Also notice the stop sign…. that’s a rarity back in Kuwait!)
Sean nabbed this photo of me walking toward the mall. what a pleasant morning… notice the palm trees dotting the left side of the picture. *sigh*. Also notice the lack of garbage on the clean, polished sidewalks…. ALSO a rarity back in Kuwait!
Never miss an opportunity for a smile and a picture 🙂 Beautiful fountain display in front of yet another seven-star hotel…
A futuristic vista…
Inside the Dubai Mall. We still maintain that there are parts of this mall we never saw, even though we spent eight hours in it… it was gigantic!
Sean had fun watching 3D television and trying out all the new tech gadgets in the electronics stores.
Also inside Dubai Mall. How calming!
Yes, there is an ice skating rink inside the mall. This got REALLY crowded at night… kids were skating, jumping, falling, spinning, and doing all of the things I miss watching kids do on the frozen lakes back home.
View from outside the mall. Sean loves this picture because you can count SEVEN construction cranes! Talk about a city that building upward!
There you have it, the Burj Khalifa. The world’s tallest building. Kudos to Sean for setting up such an awesome picture! (On a 10 second timer, too!) Did I mention that we bought tickets to travel up inside the building? Keep reading for pictures…
It’s not every day back in the states that you can stroll the mall and stop to rest in a store like this…
View from another part of Dubai mall. I love how they fused contemporary, futuristic architecture with traditional Arabic designs (like the beautiful bridge…)
All right. Let this be an introduction to our trip up the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world, don’t forget!) This plaque marked our entry into the skyscraper.
Looking down from the Burj Khalifa. Now, understand that we weren’t at THE TOP of the building. We were on the 124th floor. That’s all the higher they let visitors go. The total height of the building is 2,716.5 feet and over 160 stories. The Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
• Tallest building in the world
• Tallest free-standing structure in the world
• Highest number of stories in the world
• Highest occupied floor in the world
• Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
• Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
• Tallest service elevator in the world
The outdoor observation desk was an other-worldly experience! The cool air, breeze, and mental realization that we were that high up was really memorable.
Dubai from the outdoor observation deck.
QUESTION: Those of you who know your science, Sean and I have a disagreement about the above photograph. When looking UP the rest of the tower from the outdoor observation deck, we were able to see a dark line cast from the tip of the building. Is this dark line,
A. The sun casting the building’s shadow?
B. The clouds being split apart by the wind as they blew past the Burj Khalifa?
To maintain objectivity, I will unfortunately not be able to acknowledge which of us believes the above hypothesis. The answer to that will come once we determine which of us is right 🙂
Looking down from the observation deck onto the metro. What a cool looking metro, huh? It really was an above-ground monorail. You could cross the city for the equivalent of $2.50!
Sean demonstrating the “outdoor” part of the outdoor observation deck.
We hung around until the sun set… it’s a rough life.
Back in the Dubai Mall, we found a massive aquarium… holding a world record (see plaque below). As if the world’s biggest mall and tallest building aren’t enough, it also has the largest single acrylic panel in the world!
That’s right, if you had too much money and too little desire to hoof it, these taxis would take you around the mall! Can you imagine an indoor space large enough to pay people for this?
And if you still aren’t convinced of traveling to Dubai, maybe a trip to the Rainforest Cafe would help.
A Botero statue outside the Dubai Mall. Tres chic! (Note the Burj Khalifa in the background… it’s hard to take a picture WITHOUT it in the background!)
Every night from 7-11 there is a fountain show outside the mall. It shoots water 50 stories up in the air and is synchronized to lights and music. Oh, did I mention that it is the WORLD’S LARGEST DANCING FOUNTAIN? (Are you getting sick of seeing “world’s largest” in this post yet?)
To close, I want to remind you where we are. After seeing all of these wonderful, awe inspiring things that test the forces of nature and stretch the powers of humankind, we have to remember the little things. Sean and I are in the Middle East, staying in a hotel room at the Holiday Inn Express that has—as seen in the above picture—an arrowing point towards Mecca for the Islamic prayers. Dubai is futuristic, worldly, and internationally renowned, and it’s less than a two hour flight from Kuwait.
I guess what I’m saying here is that I hope my blog unveils another element of the middle east to those of you who, like myself, are unfamiliar with it. It is a land of contrast, of rich traditions and beliefs, of beautiful cultures and juxtaposing landscapes. It is a place that Sean and I have chosen to call home.
I hope that through these blog entries you are not only entertained, but enlightened. I hope you carry this knowledge with you and spread your understanding of a place so often stereotyped and misunderstood to others. Spread awareness and spark interest.
And most importantly, keep reading 😉
Stay tuned for the next post, Dubai: Part 3 (the final segment).