Becky Lucas is a little astonished at people who failed to be wowed by the fireworks
Imagine the scene: we’re amid one of the worst recessions the world has ever seen. We’ve just crossed into a new decade and are clutching at the very short straws of hope that things might get better in 2010. Four days in, the world’s tallest building opens in our home town. It meets its third deadline and has been constructed in just five years, with one fatality and 23 million hours of labour completed without injury. Its true height is kept secret right until the launch, and is 10 metres higher than everyone thought. Its new name is announced right at the last minute. The launch ceremony involves a hot air balloon, parachutists, the world’s largest dancing fountain and a fireworks display, during which explosives cascade from the tower, lighting up the sky and international news channels.
‘Now I know the meaning of the word “anti-climactic”,’ one friend tapped into Facebook minutes later. ‘The fireworks could have gone on for longer,’ another texted from her Palm vantage point. ‘It wasn’t as good as the Atlantis opening ceremony,’ a colleague mulled the next day.
I would like these people, along with anyone else who found themselves apathetic following the display on January 4, to return to the top of this piece and read the first paragraph again. And again, if necessary. Now tell me again that you’re anti-climactic.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of these blinkered Dubaians who can’t bear to admit the emirate has various ‘areas in need of improvement’. Bad driving irritates me; infuriatingly slow service at expensive restaurants; the fact that whatever note you give to pay your shopping bill you’re always required to dig around for a dirham.
But when it comes to dozens of world records being broken before my eyes, I tend not to moan. What would it have taken to reach that much-desired climax, I wonder? Would the tower have had to jet into the air and do a 360° spin? For the first time in a long time, this cosmopolitan city felt united in triumph. I’ll remember the collective gasps and squeals of shock and sheer delight as the ultimate round of explosives scatter-gunned from both sides of the building. I’ll remember the texts from friends in London and Perth asking for a first-hand account. And I’ll remember the news that people had stopped their cars on Sheikh Zayed Road to marvel at the show – and that entire camps of labourers in Al Quoz had gathered to watch the spectacle from afar. But then I didn’t see the Atlantis fireworks – so what do I know?
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Iain Feb 10, 2010 12:02 pm
It was anticlimactic.
What would have been a stunning climax, one that would have satisfied the crowd, would have been for the fireworks to conclude and for every light in the Burj to come on, visually demonstrating the building was "open for business". Instead, a tall dark tower was temporarily lit up by some fireworks (and, being a notional grown-up I'm never going to be amazed by fireworks no matter how spectacular) then, critically, just went on being a tall dark tower.
After all the expense of construction, would a few thousand light-bulbs really have stretched the budget?
Fenderstruck Feb 03, 2010 12:30 pm
It was lovely, we can't deny, but that was not the case.
Lovely in Dubai is not a measurement, it has to be one of a kind.
I don't give much care to fireworks, whether it is good fireworks or bad fireworks. I have no intention to make a stand against anyone. Life is full of people with contradicting views. We learn how to live with these differences or else we can simply fight.
I can say, from what I saw and heard, people were simply expecting more.
I am one of those people.
When you are bombarded with the preparation of the opening wherever you go, and it would become the talk of the town and the government, you start building your expectations. Especially that this is what we have always got used to in Dubai. The biggest and tallest and best and whatever.
I was among the thousands of people who parked at the sides of the road to watch. Many thousands I saw. I was amazed by the number of people parking on the sides of the road. Before the opening I had been thinking about a spot for few days and I thought I would be the only car there. Once I got there I was astonished. Cars were on the sides for a distance worth a 10-minute drive.
To add, I was among those who thought it is going to be bigger as well. No harm to get disappointed. I was among the thousands of people and many were just standing after the fireworks ceremony was over. We all thought this was just a warm up and waiting or the big blow. Asians, Arabs, Europeans...
After few minutes of no fireworks, I called a friend who was watching it on TV and asked. He said it is over. On the way back I was driving opposite to the direction of traffic. I believe those who were stuck in the mega traffic on the way back, they thought that watching it on TV probably would have been a better choice than getting stuck for 2 hours traffic.
I don't believe there is a recession in Dubai (sure there is) but if I want to follow the leaders, it is what they say, no recession and everything is positive and fine. You know the wave passed by near but did not come over. But as the hobbit said in Lord of the Rings "but you are part of this world," that’s another topic I'll stop here.
I wont get a ticket and leave the country, not necessarily because I like it, but there are disappointments, failures, and discrimination pretty much everywhere.
loudmouth Jan 16, 2010 12:59 pm
For a place where extravagance is the norm, we deserve to be blown away by awesomeness every time the world media lands in Dubai. After all the show must go on! If Atlantis party can be the antidote to the peak of recession, the Burj opening could have been the jump start to the economic recovery.
Fateh Jan 15, 2010 12:09 pm
In reference to Huzaifa Shabbir the fireworks and the ostentatious party at the Atlantis was show biz while the fireworks and the opening of the Burj Khalifa meant business.
Piiitna Jan 13, 2010 11:06 pm
Would it have helped if they slowed the fire works down? It may not be as amazing but atleast it would satisfy you all and last longer. Expectations should have been met by simply being there and experiencing this man made phenomenon. Now im sure you all have more important things to talk about and im pretty sure you could not have done it better yourselves!!!