12.23.2012 - 12.23.2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
If yesterday was discovering Old Dubai, today is definitely Modern Dubai. After checking out of the hotel we navigate traffic to the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. I’ve purchased tickets online for a tour time of 10:30 am. Patti West has given us good directions about where to park to be close to the entrance for At the Top – the elevators up to the observation area on the 124th floor. It’s good to know, too as Dubai Mall has over 1200 stores and several parking areas.
In short work, we’re in line for the two elevators that take 8 – 12 people each at a time up to the observation floor. The floor encircles the core with an area outside – but still with outside walls that go up 20 feet or more. It’s mind boggling to look out and see how high up we are. And we’re not even on the very top of the building. It’s actually over 160 stories high and the elevator holds the world record for the longest distance travelled. It feels short though for such a long way to go. The tower is filled with restaurants, hotels, private residences, corporate offices, even a fitness center and private club. I read that the project was started in 2004, but when recession hit even this oil rich area in 2007, the project faltered. The Sheikh of Abu Dhabi who is also the ruler of the UAE stepped in with over a billion dollars to finance the completion. Hence the name was changed to honor him – Burj Khalifa – or Khalifa Tower.
We’ve purchased telescope cards and enjoy looking out over the city at various landmarks. The telescope has a setting “historic” and you can see what the city looked like a few short decades ago – basically palm huts and certainly no skyscrapers. An interesting sight is the man made archipelago built just off shore in the shape of the globe! These people only know how to do things on a grand scale.
We pose for the photographer that gives us tickets to buy a professional shot of us overlooking the skyline of Dubai. But when we look at the proofs and hear the price AED 200 for the single picture of us, and AED 300 for a double picture with the Burj Khalifa on one side and our picture on the other, we’re not sure it’s worth it! We like the pictures we’ve taken so we pass. However, on leaving at the mall level, there’s one last chance to purchase the double frame with a picture of Burj Khalifa on one side and a picture of us superimposed on the skyline of Dubai. This price has now dropped to AED 200 for the double picture. I still balk at the price and the clerk comes after me and lowers it by AED 50. I guess this is their last chance to get your money so they’re willing to bargain. I decide to purchase it and leave it in Chaz’s living room so he’ll have a momento of our trip.
We’re hungry and head to the food court to find some lunch. We settle on a restaurant called More – can’t someone help them with these boring restaurant names? Yesterday was Automatic and today is More! We enjoy our lunch then head out to find the aquarium in the mall. This is a 10 million litre tank with a huge reef and all manner of fish from sharks to grouper to sting rays and numerous schools of small fish. It’s two stories and holds the Guinness World Record of the largest acrylic panel at 33 metres by 8 metres by 750 mm thick. We stand and watch for a while enjoying the beautiful swimming fish.
We browse and window shop around the mall and then suddenly Chandler remembers he left his sack at the restaurant with our picture and a coffee mug he had bought. We navigate back and as soon as the wait staff sees us they are off to a corner where they have stored his sack. Whew!
We retrieve the car and head out to see Palm Jumeirah. This is the man made archipelago created in the shape of a palm tree. There are actually three such structures in Dubai and this one is the smallest but the most well-known. We drive to the tip where the Atlantis hotel is and park to take pictures of the Gulf and the hotel.
We’re ready for the drive back to Abu Dhabi and before we know it we’re home and headed to the grocery store. We’re also ready for a home cooked meal. I fix meat loaf and veggies for dinner. It’s nice to have “real food” for a change.