Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tallest, fastest, biggest, noisiest!

I'm not a great one for heights. I get giddy climbing up a kerb! So when I entered the lift which was to take me at great speed to the top of the world’s tallest building I did so with some trepidation!

For the last ten days or so I’ve been with my son Tim, daughter in law Alice and my grandchildren Oliver and Ella at their home in Dubai. During my last visit, the Burj Khalifa was nearing completion but now it stands tall and proud, dwarfing the towers that surround it. On my journey skyward, I apparently shot through a boutique hotel and some of the most desirable residences on the planet. In no time at all I found myself standing over 800 metres from terra firma looking down at skyscrapers and ant-like people below. And guess what, I forgot I didn’t like heights!

click on photo to enlarge 

The Burj Khalifa is in Downtown Dubai adjacent to the magnificent Dubai Mall. Flagship stores from the world’s most celebrated designers sit side by side with a gold souk and some of the best known high street brands. The mall floor is covered in lush carpeting and thousands of white silk butterflies hang in the air above plush leather sofas.

 It also features an enormous aquarium and a spectacular waterfall.

At the foot of the tower sits a lake with the most amazing fountains which perform carefully choreographed water dances each half hour to ethnic, pop and classical music, pumped from massive speakers.
Regular readers will know that I’m pretty keen on going to the races! Well, I went to the races in Dubai last week! It’s all very different there! For a start you can’t place a bet! The stadium is very new and features one of the most high tec big screen information display imaginable. At least I didn’t lose my shirt this time! We also hob-knobbed with the stars – much of the cast and crew of the new Mission Impossible movie were there rubbing shoulders with us!

Tim and I also went to pub quiz one night at the golf club. Suddenly I felt as I was back home again! The bar would put most of the pubs I know to shame although beer at almost double the UK price was a bit sobering!
We did lots of other things to including going to a child's birthday party where the main attraction for the little guests was charging across the ocean on a speedboat and riding an inflatable banana! 

The main reason for choosing this particular time to visit was so that Tim and I could attend three days of Motor racing at the Yas Marina circuit down the road in Abu Dhabi which culminated in the last race in the Formula One Grand Prix season. Whilst there we also spent a morning at the brand new and utterly spectacular Ferrari World  which mixes high speed thrills with interesting facts about this iconic brand in a truly original way. Having earlier in the week braved scaling new heights, I passed up the chance of riding the words fastest roller coaster that propels its terrified passengers from zero to 280 kph in a matter of a few seconds! Another reason for giving it a miss was as a result of a story told to us by someone who works there. It seems that when it was given its final test a few days earlier using crash-test dummies as passengers, one of the hapless manikins head flew off its shoulders with the force of the acceleration!

Tim got us the best seats in the house for the Grand Prix. We were close to the front of the main grandstand right by the start/finish and opposite the pit lane. The photo below is the 'end of term' picture of all the drivers just before they set off for the last time this year.

click on photos to enlarge

We also had a spectacular view of the prize giving ceremony where German Sebastian Vettel became the youngest ever world champion beating Brits Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button to the chequered flag.

At the end of each of the three days at the circuit, we attended a concert in the Arena. The first night was not my cup of tea at all. We were ‘entertained‘ by someone who had until then had passed me by. I’m sure his name will be familiar to my stateside friends, erm...now I’ve forgotten! A quick look in the programme tells me it was Kayne West! The following night we were screamed at by a rock band with another name which was unfamiliar to me, Linken Park! They were a vast improvement over night one, but the main attraction for me and the other 29,999 people who crammed into the arena on the final night was Prince! The whole concert was awesome.

We started off fairly near the front and by the end of the evening we’d managed to get right to the front!

It was the perfect end to a perfect holiday thanks to my wonderful Family who are such perfect hosts!

All photos can be clicked on to enlarge. As soon as I've sorted through the hundreds of photos I took during my stay I'll be publishing them on Keiths Images.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Seems like an amazing holiday! Love the photos too! Not to take away from your joy, I just can't help but feel sad that there is so much, almost ridiculous affluence and waste in one area when so many suffer in poverty. If only it were more balanced! Oh well, it is what it is!!! I like money!!! lol

    Lincoln Park is an excellent band, my daughter went to a concert probably 9 or 10 years ago and their album played regularly in our house! Nice post!

    Hugs Giggles

  2. Wow, even with the numerous photos it is mind boggling. It sounds like an amazing experience all around. The photos are gorgeous.

  3. That is an impressive tower I spend one day in Dubai on my way to Holland
    years ago and have seen a bit of it.
    Pretty hot it was. Did you see the islands in the shape of each country with expensive houses on them. We flew over them.

  4. Wait till ya come ta NZ.....beautiful pics and brillantly told

  5. And all this for 39 years, I was recently in Dubai, they celebrated a National day,I was very surprised when I learned that the UAE 39 years...delightful pictures,just great!!!

  6. You and my sister have the same tastes, Keith. She too was at the Formula One Grand Prix season and the Prince concert. She didn't mention going to the first two nights though. She lives there.



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