Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dubai Travelogue (6) - The tallest man made structure!

What started as an aimless round of window shopping turned into shopping with a purpose - seeing branded sports shops, I remembered that I had to find a pair of sports shoe that fit me; in India it was pretty expensive, my size appears once in a blue moon and I'd hardly have any choice. But after checking a couple of shops I found that it was hard to get my size even here; it was quite surprising because many Europeans lived in Dubai. At around 9:30 or so we decided to move on.

In the last couple of days, whenever my dad called he would ask my sister and me whether we had seen Burj Dubai - the tallest man-made structure. Since this was on the way back home, we decided to check it out tonight. Actually Burj Dubai is called Burj Khalifa - Burj Dubai was the original name prior to inauguration. They say that the name was changed to honor Abu Dhabi which has helped Dubai during the financial crisis (Sheikh Khalifa is the president of UAE and Prince of Abu Dhabi and hence the name Burj Khalifa). "Burj" in Arabic means 'tower'.

I didn't really feel much of awe when I saw it from a distance - it just looked like a lean stick much taller than its neighbours. But as we approached it, I realized that it wasn't really a stick but much broader. We parked the Pajaero in Dubai Mall after hunting for parking space - they had this interesting concept of keeping electronic boards in each parking lot which indicated the free space available in the lot. And in each individual parking slot there was an LED on top which indicated whether that slot was empty or not - but many of the sensors weren't working correctly because I saw green lights in places where vehicles were present. Dubai Mall was just beside Burj Dubai and Dubai Fountain. This mall also seemed huge - we followed the arrows that led to the Dubai Fountain and landed up in the open space outside the mall. There were plenty of people on the steps and near the railing which bordered around the little lake which contained the fountain. This was a musical fountain which operated only when the music was on. And on our right was the grand Burj Khalifa. We went as close as possible, which was only as close as the security gate that was probably 15 meters away from the building! There was a tall fence preventing people from accessing the building - no one had occupied the floors yet; the interior was all dark. After taking a few snaps and videos (since night snaps didn't look great), we sat down on the lawn between the Burj's fence and the lake.

(Below video is the Burj Khalifa at night; to the right is the mall; I had to reduce clarity of the video to make it small in size)

A few minutes later, the lights on the railing went out and for a couple of seconds silence prevailed. Everyone turned their attention to the small lake. It isn't all that small - they say it is the length of two football fields and the fountain is among the world's tallest and largest fountains.

Lights shone upwards from the water and the music started; there were plenty of nozzles (called shooters) on the lake arranged in circles, arcs and lines. The music was beautiful, especially the build up in the middle, and the jets fired water in certain patterns to dance along with the music. I don't know what song it was but it was beautiful and spectacular. Every 20 minutes from evening till 11 at night the musical fountain would dance to different tunes. Not being satisfied with the first show we waited to see the next one. The memory card in my camera became full and I couldn't record the second one!
(It's time to catch my cab and I got to run - Blogger is taking too long to upload videos; I'll upload the Dubai Fountain musical videos tommorrow - do check it out)

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