Wednesday, February 10, 2010

At The Top That Is Not The Top

I wanted to be one of the first, but in an unexpected turn of events, I was one of the last. At least for awhile…

Last week I was in Dubai on a last minute trip to get away, have a change of scenery and spend some time with Ulco, who was sick of the snow and cold of St. Petersburg. I arrived Monday night and on Tuesday morning we booked out tickets to go to the top of Burj Khalifa. The first availability was for Saturday afternoon, and thanks to Saturday evening flights, we were able to go.

After a week of lounging at the pool at the base of the 800+ meter tower and evenings spent watching one or two of the water fountain shows at the lake, we finally went inside to go to the top. Well, for starters, “At The Top” as it is called is not at the top at all. It is on the 124th floor of a building with over 160 floors. There is, in reality, an entire skyscraper above you when you are on the 124th floor. Yes, it is high up, but it is not the top. It is so high, in fact, that one loses perspective and it is more like looking out the window of an airplane. Any other building in the area is no taller than one-third of the height we were at.  That, combined with the desert made for a pretty underwhelming experience.

Add to that, the fact that the outdoor observation deck was closed due to maintenance and you can imagine we felt a little let down. After about ten minutes on the 124th floor, we came down and went to pool to look up at the top. Viewing it from below is much more impressive. Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful building inside and out, causing my camera to complain of abuse, and the views were vast, but it just didn’t have the impact of being at the top of other buildings like the Empire State.

Now, the tower has been close until further notice. A friend tried to book it for his upcoming trip this week and was told they were refunding what tickets they had sold and were currently not selling any others at this time. It seems we were lucky in the fact we got to go to the top which is not actually the top, which in itself was a most unusual experience.