Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tower Thoughts

The Burj Khalifa was officially opened this week. It is currently the tallest building in the world, and cost one and a half billion dollars to build. This is a fascinating story for so many reasons:

It seems like just yesterday that the economic crisis finally hit Dubai. This tower and several other building projects there seem like a thing of the past, of the days when everyone was drunk on credit and speculating that money was grown at the stock market and would never run out.

Dubai itself is a weird and fascinating place. It seems like a wonderland of imagination, being built on a patch of desert. We all remember the inauguration last year of their new hotel on those man-made islands. Now we have shots from the top of this man-made tower, and the view is anything but impressive. Sure it is high up, and seems like a view from an airplane, but the view is brown, drab, and lifeless. Why would anyone want to visit? For all the man-made wonders. Turns out, less than ten percent of Dubai’s income is from oil. They make a bundle on tourism.

“Let’s make a name for ourselves.” That was the sentiment behind the famous tower that some people began building in Babel all those years ago. Dubai has certainly made a name for itself in construction. Interestingly, when you read the accounts, several nations and languages had a role in building this tower. Times have changed.

It looks pretty amazing, unlike any traditional skyscraper, and that is a good thing. Futuristic is an adjective that comes to mind. It is fascinating to think, though, that people would travel all the way to this part of the world to see a bunch of buildings. I can think of about 100 other places to see before I die.

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