People, people, people. Dark-skinned, light-skinned, white-skinned, people of every shade and color. Tall men, short men, skinny and short and medium-sized. The women are the same, plump, shapely, blondes, narrowed-eyed ladies, woman in saris, in occasional trousers and few in abayas and of all characters one can think of. Its a melting pot.
Scores of people, a human mass on the move, on pavements, at pedestrian crossings and across roads and in between traffic. It’s never-ending, in mornings, afternoon, evenings, late at night. People everywhere in Sandals, pink toes, miniskirts, long skirts, hot pants, in trousers and occasional thobes, all moving; its a bustling metropolis of souks, squares, plazas, surrounded by parks, gardens, water and glass.
Tall buildings, skyscrapers, buildings in brightly lit colors. Shaped high rises, oblong structures, skinny from the bottom and wider at the top, symmetrical shapes and those that come in waves and of course every tower perks up into the skies, dominating the blue horizons. These are architectural marvels dressed up in tainted glass, some blue, some black, others white and alluring with tin copper tops and cones, giving the onlooker a Transylvanian imagination.
In Dubai, there is everything, a cryptic mixture of modernity versus tradition, an emerging confluence of identity, culture and make believe, a built up urban environment, a concoction of sorts, dhows versus slick cars with highways and trains wrapped up in tufts of congestion and adventure with everyone moving at their pace.
Today in Dubai there is an even bigger wonder: Burj Khalifa tower, standing directly opposite the Dubai Mall, a dreamworld shopping center that caters for the rich-and-famous to the ordinary man-in-the street. On its outside there is a dancing fountain and next to that, is souk albahar which is a mixture of exclusive boutique shops.
On top of that there is one upholstered restaurant with outside seating that gives another wonderful viewing of the world famous tower, an engineering feat that glows into the skies and can be seen from miles on end. At 829.8 meters tall, it stands as the highest skyscraper in the world. Its 163 stories topped by a 244-meter spire high makes it a sinewy building of steel and concrete structure rising deep into the skyline.
We sat and marveled at this huge tower in front of you. You feast your eyes on its vertical shape that keeps getting slimmer and slimmer as you survey the building upwards from the entrance doors at the bottom right to the top. Its a wonder of modern architecture, divided into thinning blocks of modern living with flickering lights into the black night, giving you the feelings that spotlights are everywhere with the skies lighting up through a visionary feel of human ingenuity.
Burj Khalifa is a tall facade of magnanimity. From afar, the tower looks part-and-parcel of all the other skyscrapers in the vicinity – the so-called Dubai’s newest business district – but its an optical illusion. You soon appreciate its length for the tallest skyscrapers surrounding the tower only come to its mid-level and these stand at around 50, 60 and 70 stories.
You never tire of looking at the flash and razzmatazz embedded in the structure or maybe because one is seeing it for the first time live, there in front of you or at intermittent time of length. Still with me, included just like everyone else, I busily get my iPhone out again and start taking photos and videos no doubt for memory’s sake with the tower facade turning completely psychedelic with interwoven colors of red, pink, and more.
Here politics takes a back seat; it business, urbanization, modern living and of course status symbols. This is the highest tower in the world and has been since since it was opened in 2009, easily beating top world skyscrapers in Chicago, Toronto, Kuala Lumper and Taipei. Of course, here there is much more. There is an Armani hotel, apartment flats and business accommodations as well as a viewing deck for the public at storey level number 124.
We pay the bill and leave. Moments later, we are still confronted with the swarming crowds refusing to go home but taking delight in the dancing, splashing fountain. Inside the mall, we make our way to the car park finally finding our space and quickly get out. Its a lot easier to get out of the mall than to get in, and swiftly the vehicle makes it on the highway at cruising speed.
At Deira, the city center is still jammed with traffic at 11 pm and of course, we take our turn in moving between the cars, the red lights and pedestrians who don’t want to sleep.