Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mos Eisley Cantina

Amy and I were in Dubai last weekend, and I couldn't help but think the Dubai Mall reminds me of the Mos Eisley Cantina. It's not dangerous, and no, it's not dirty or gritty. But it is different. The mall is a strange amalgam of international shops, services, restaurants, and most importantly people. It's diverse. As a matter of fact, I think it contains the most diverse population of people under one roof anywhere in the world. It helps that the roof is one of the largest on the planet... but still. On this visit to the mall the interior had been completely covered with tens of thousands handcrafted butterflies. It was incredible to see, and very beautiful.

This trip was much better planned and we were able to reserve tickets to go to the top of the Burj Khalifa. It is one thing to experience the Burj from the ground. It's a completely different thing to experience it from the top. To try and give some perspective, just off center to the right in this photo is a hotel called The Address, Dubai, which stands 991 feet tall. The tallest building in Charlotte, North Carolina is the Bank of America Corporate center, which is 871 feet high, and The Address seems tiny from the top of the Burj!

Another fantastic thing we were able to do that evening was rent a ride on an electric Abra that spun us out into the middle of the Burj Khalifa Lake to watch the Dubai Fountain. The fountain is the worlds largest choreographed fountain. I've seen the fountains at The Bellagio in Las Vegas, and as impressive as they are, this is better.

The water cannons can fire columns of water up to 500 feet into the air. When they erupt it sounds like artillery fire!  Warning: The video is a little shaky at first... but it gets better after 30 seconds or so...

I think I can safely say that much like Las Vegas, Dubai is a city that is best experienced at night. The city transforms from pillars of concrete and glass to canyons of light and shadow. The tourists and residents emerge from their daily air conditioned hibernation and flock to the streets in mass. It's a sight to behold, and I recommend that everyone experience it for themselves.

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