After 30 min. of walking around we went into the Dubai Mall to find the kiosk for the Khalifa just to find out the times. Surprisingly, we could buy tickets right away and only wait 45 min. Now the tickets were pretty pricey (compared to the Eiffel Tower in Paris)at about $27 a person (Geetu said it was 4 times that much when it just opened a few months ago)
. We walked some more before we went to the entrance. I had to give my bag for check-in but Pooja got to keep hers as she is a women! We went through a long corridor to a small video that showed the progressing of the building being built. With us was a group of ex-pat kids from an English school nearby – they acted and dressed just like our kids back in the States. The elevator was pretty interesting. It did not face the outside so you really had no idea how fast you were going. But every time you swallowed your ears would pop. It took just over 60 seconds to go over 127 floors and just like that we were on the top platform of the Burj Khalifa. The view of the world below was unreal – everything looked like a model, as if the previous high buildings of Dubai were just little toys. Pooja and I were in another world. I took plenty of pictures and video (it will take me several days to upload them). I saw what is called "The World" out in the Arabian Gulf – it is reclaimed land that is the shape of the world with all the continents. However, since Dubai is in major debt only the land is there and nothing has been built. Looking west was just a few buildings and the open desert of the UAE. We did not want to leave. But Manoj was coming to pick us up for work. Going down the elevator was another quick, ear popping, ride. At the bottom there were a few displays on the construction of the tower.
We walked back outside around the Dubai Mall
. Since we had about 10 min. we did check out a little of the inside of the mall called the waterfall. Inside were a few cafes located next to these 3 story waterfalls with diving mannequins. Pretty interesting – not something you see at a US mall. There was even a sushi bar that had a track belt constantly going around the tables with all kinds of sushi. Just pick whatever you like.
Manoj soon pick us up. Our next stop was the IKEA in Dubai. It would be interesting to see if there was anything different from our Atlanta store. About 95% of it was the same but there were some differences. Pooja ended up buying a grass woven roti(Indian bread) keeper and some very nice towels. On the way out we snack on a few Chicken Shwarma's (each just over $1 – can’t get this at the Atlanta store) and some ice cream for 36 cents. Next to the IKEA was a huge ACE hardware the size of a Home Depot or Lows (usually ACE stores in the US are small mom & pop type stores).
We then went home & got some lunch and took some major two hour power naps on the hard beds (when you are sleepy, it does not matter). Getting up it was time to get ready to watch the US vs Algeria World Cup match. At first I wanted to just see it on a big screen at one of the many malls in Dubai. But Manoj thought it would be a good idea to see it at the Dubai Golf Club. I just went along for the fun. Manoj’s nephew took Pooja and I. She just hung out in a tent style restaurent by the creek for some juice drinks while I had to go to another building to watch the US on a small screen. The England match was on at the same time and it was on the big screen. The US gets no respect in international soccer which is starting to tick me off. At all the stores they have the Brazil, Germany, England, Italy, and for god’s sakes, even Mexico who we have been ahead of for many years now
. Plus, the entire Muslim world, which is where I am, was pulling for the Algerians – the only Muslim country in the tournament. If we lose or tie, we are out if England wins. And they scored pretty quick and stayed that way the entire match. Watching the US was excruciatingly painful. I was with a bunch of Algerians. But I never held back my enthusiasm for the good ol’ US of A. However, with the score tied nil-nil after 80 min. I was starting to get frustrated. After 90 I thought our World Cup was over. Then our goal keeper threw a pass better than most in the NFL spot on for 60 yards to Landon Donovan who passed it to a forward streaking down the side toward the Algeria goal. He blasted one spot on to the goalie which bounced off of him and straight back to Donovan who crushed it into the goal and a win at the last second for the US. Plus, for the first time in the modern era, they won their group over England. It was one of the best times I have ever had watching a sporting event. Now we play Ghana on Saturday of which I will be somewhere in Oman.
After the match, Pooja and I walked about 2 km to the Deira City Center Mall to the Carrefour to get the GPS I have to English (for some reason it went straight to Arabic and I could not change the language – even some of my Arab friends could not do it). However, the Pilipino at the electronics desk fixed it in no time. Awesome. Now I think instead of taking a bus to Oman, we can use Hilal’s car and I can drive to Oman. After a little time there, Manoj came to pick us up and take us home for dinner. After dinner we just bummed around until it was time for bed.
Even after sleeping on a hard bed I slept pretty well and late again. Manoj was to drop us off at the Dubai Mall on the way to his work. The Dubai Mall is right next to the Burj Khalifa, which is the world tallest building and was just opened this year. I did not think we would go to the top today as the guidebook said you had to have reservation in advance. We walked around the area of the Burj Khalifa which was centered around small lakes with fountains (they are only on at night) with what looked like very fancy hotels that looked like villas around the water. There were several cafes too with $10 coffees but we just walked and looked at the fancy design of the place.