Top of the world


How quickly things change. When I began this blog in February, 2006 the Burj Khalifa in Dubai had been under construction for two years but wouldn’t be finished for another three; Google’s Maps was an ongoing thing but the company had yet to introduce their Street View. Now you can use the one to visit the other via the latest Street View tour which takes you up that monument to hubris at the heart of Dubai. One new feature is the addition of a scale showing the available floors: you can start at the ground floor then jump upwards having viewed a succession of expensively bland (and increasingly cramped) rooms and corridors. Google’s cameras always make places appear smaller than they are, but the effect when caught in a tiny space at the top of a very tall building gives the impression of being in a computer game where there isn’t much room to manoeuvre. Did you know there’s a Nando’s in the Burj Khalifa? I didn’t. If you’re wealthy enough you can eat multi-national cuisine while watching the dust storms blow in from the desert. They should have buried JG Ballard there. Welcome to the future.


The lifts on the ground floor.


The view from the 154th floor.