“We built the high-rise for people with strong will and determination. The highest point in the world should be linked to the big names and I announce today: the opening of Burj Khalifa.” ~ Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Like a lot of people residing here in the U.A.E., I pass the tallest building in the world every single day to and from work. So I had to be there when it opened last night. I went with my Mom and sister. We didn’t have the courage to brave the traffic on Shaikh Zayed road, so we took Al Khail road. We were still driving when it was announced on the radio that fireworks will start in five minutes. And we were nowhere near the Burj!
We couldn’t get too close to the Burj, but from where we were, we could see the fireworks very clearly. Within minutes, we were joined by several other spectators. I saw a few of them setting up their DSLRs on the tripods (I noticed 8 out of 10 were using Nikon, mwah ha ha). Anyway, since I was camera-less (on one of those occasions where I shouldn’t be), I decided that I should just simply enjoy.
And so the fireworks started. I don’t have the right words to describe it. Instead, here are a couple of pictures from Gulf News:
It was only when we got home last night did we learn that Burj Dubai had been renamed Burj Khalifa. Mom has named it ‘Tallest’. They had put out the building’s lights before the opening, so while we were looking for that ‘spot’ to watch the fireworks, Mom kept asking, “Where is it? I don’t see the Tallest yet.”
It definitely came as a shock, but then whatever name the Burj will be known as, for me it is still an engineering marvel. If you Google ‘Burj Khalifa’ you will notice a lot of negative news about Dubai, its ruler and how this building is a sort of payment for the debts Dubai took. And most of the ‘interesting’ comments are from people who haven’t even been to Dubai.
This city is not perfect. As a matter of fact, it is far from being perfect. But for those of us who live here with our families and feel safe, we love Dubai and we respect its ruler.