A party for a very tall building

Burj Khalifa_Opening Night_January 2010.jpg

On 4th Jan, almost all of Dubai and most of the world watched the opening ceremony of Burj Dubai (renamed that same evening to Burj Khalifa).

Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time and ended up in the new park at the base of the Burj. It was where the VIPs and invited guests were seated, but they also let other people in, mostly residents from the neighbourhood, one of whom I was accompanying. So after we got in we found beanbags to sit on, made ourselves comfortable and waited for the party to start. I felt like we had the best seats in the house.

When it was time to unveil the plaque and for the ceremony to begin, Sheikh Mohammed stated that like all great projects named after great people, "This great project deserves to carry the name of a great man. Today I inaugurate Burj Khalifa," - and just like that, the new name was revealed.

That was followed by a video showing how Dubai’s landscape changed over the years – projected on the very large screen in front of us. Then the final reveal of the height was shown, 828 metres (yikes!) followed by the moment I was waiting for, the fireworks! It was out of this world and a great Dubai moment. I absolutely loved it. It was sensationabulous!

There she was, standing tall and proud at a big party honoring her. I remembered how I disliked her and for what she stood for over the past few years, but on 4th Jan 2010, I was proud of her. I thought of the thousands of labourers that built her and felt gratitude towards them and hoped they felt proud too.

Thankfully there were no flown in celebrities to 'glam' up this party, no tackiness and no crazy stunts, just some very impressive fireworks that all of Dubai saw and enjoyed.

So now that records are broken and she's open for business, I hope she gets occupied by classy people and not dodgy ones leading to a 'there goes the neighbourhood' feeling. Oh please dear Burj, don't turn into a glorified ghetto. Please....

I also hope she’s gotten over the sudden name change and isn't going through any identity crisis. But you know what? Between you and I, I think us Dubaians can still call her Burj Dubai. No one outside Dubai has to know. It will be our little secret.

Articles related to this event worth reading:
Burj Khalifa: The world's tallest building
World's tallest building opens in Dubai
Gulf News - In Focus - Burj Khalifa
Burj to Burj to Burj. AlAbbar to Zayed. Dubai’s Decade.