Dubai! One of the emirates. I guess they all have stupid buildings, but Dubai has made it their priority to have more stupid buildings than anywhere else.
Exhibit 1: a large indoor ski slope. Attached to a shopping mall. In the desert. I didn’t have any plans to go skiing or snowboarding, mainly because I’ve never learnt how to snowboard, and it’s been 15 years since I last went skiing.
If I return to Dubai I’ll see about having a go though, because it looks like a lot of fun.
I visited that on my first day in Dubai. I caught the metro there and back, because I had a few hours to kill before I had to catch my ride to the desert. The metro is interesting; it’s so new the first station I tried to enter hadn’t opened yet. All the metro stations are numbered, but only seven or eight stations are open just yet. It’s a raised train, and it runs down the main strip of Dubai.
Main strip? The only strip. That’s what the new center of Dubai is, really, one massive road lined with stupid shaped buildings.
On the way the way back from the ski slope mall, I stopped off to see the Burj Kalifa, the tallest building in the world. I didn’t have time to get really close, so I just took some photos. Here’s one.
On my second day in Dubai, I had to do some work, knowing I only had two days at home before my next gig. That meant the first time I left the ship was when a driver picked up me and Mike, another entertainer leaving that day, and took us to our hotel.
We only had the hotel as somewhere to stay between when the ship sailed (about 4pm) and when we had to go to the airport (flying out at 2am). It’s a hard life!
I told Mike I was going to go visit the Burj Kalifa again, as the folks at the safari highly recommended watching the new fountain installation. I also wanted to see if I could ride a lift to the top of the tower. After some convincing, Mike tagged along.
The area around the base of the Burj Kalifa isn’t open yet, as it still being landscaped. The paths are there, but are closed off. At first I thought they were open, but the crowds were made up only by hundreds of workmen.
So the only way to reach the base of the tower is to walk through the Dubai Mall. I’m not sure, but this must be one of the largest malls in the world. That’s a theme of Dubai.
At one end of the mall are a series of five story high indoor waterfalls. It’s probably best not to ask why.
Outside the mall is a wide open space with a huge pool. Oh yeah, there’s also the tallest building in the world.
There’s a lot of demand to visit the top of the tower, so you have to buy your tickets in advance. As we arrived late in the evening, there were no tickets left. It’s normally possible to pay four times the normal ticket price and jump right to the front of the queue, but even those tickets had sold out.
If I’d planned better I could have bought my ticket earlier in the day. But I didn’t. That means I didn’t visit the inside or top of the Burj Kalifa, even though I’m a big fan of going up high buildings in cities. I guess it gives me something else to do next time I visit Dubai.
The tower is stupidly big though. Standing at the base and looking up actually makes you fall backwards. And I’m not just saying that. It really does.
The Dubai Fountains! Here’s Mike watching the show.
Each evening from 6pm, the fountains do their thing every twenty minutes. They are like the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas. Except, of course, there are many more fountains, and the individual water jets shoot higher. Yeah, they are the biggest and tallest fountains in the world.
We stayed to watch four displays, each time from a different direction. I’d timed the visit just right too, as we saw the first in daylight and by the latest the water was mainly illuminated by colored lights from below.
Here’s the Burj Kalifa again, without the fountains.
One more photo of the tower, which I took on the walk back to the metro. We found it amazing that the tower actually stood above the clouds.
When (or if) I return to Dubai, I’m certainly going to revisit the fountains and tower twice, both in the evening. The first time I’ll go to the top of the tower as the sun sets, and watch the fountains from above. The second time I’ll have dinner in one of the restaurants beside the pool, and watch display after display.
Maybe I’ll return a third time, just to take more photos.
Mike and I ate at this India restaurant. We both agreed it was some of the best Indian food we’d ever tasted.
In all, Mike and I had a really fun evening. And it was cheap too! The fountains are free. The metro works out at about 3 euro each. One thing I found interesting was the minimum charge in the taxis we took to and from the metro station. The meter starts at about 2 euro (equivalent), and our ride only raised it to about 4 euro. But it didn’t matter, as the minimum charge was about 5 euro.
If there’s a minimum charge, why not just start the meter at that amount, but just wait the appropriate time before increasing it? No idea.
Anyway, Dubai is a unique destination. It isn’t the kind of place I’d choose to go on holiday, but there is certainly enough to do there to fill a week away.
And when I return there’ll probably be another twenty stupid buildings and “Largest xyz in the world!” to visit.