Thursday 29 April 2010

At the Top, Burj Khalifa, Worlds highest store?

I'm not great with heights particularly, although when one is faced with a challenge I have to at least attempt to conquer it. The 'At the Top' store is situated literally at the top of the the Burj Khalifa, currently the worlds tallest building. Well, I say the top, although it is 120 storeys up in the air and the highest point where visitors can get too - there is more of the building above this point. I have followed the building of the Burj Khalifa over several years and seen its development with a lot of interest, although this is the first time I have been able to get inside. Having travelled along several corridors through the bowels of this building, with is its amazing digital screens, travelators and printed glass, before being rocketed at 10 metres per second in a digital screened elevator to the 'top' of this monster of construction. The sensation is bizarre to say the least, as the elevator almost doesn't move. The only sensation is your ears popping as one reaches these dizzy heights. Once the elevator stops at the viewing platform the views are incredible. I must admit, the palms of my hands were rather sweaty at this point and to add to the excitement, it is possible to actually go outside onto one of the exterior platforms (my legs were wobbly by now). Still the views are incredible and it was worth the effort. Within the enclosed viewing floor is the At the Top merchandise store. Possibly the highest store in the world? I liked the simplicity of the layout of this site, although I must say that the merchandise itself was a little disappointing. Some merchandise had clearly been produced before Dubai hit its monetary crisis and changed the name of the site from the originally planned Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa (I believe the name of the Sheik in Abu Dhabi who bailed Dubai out of its crisis). Therefore, the merchandise itself was partly printed with one name and half with the other. However, the selection of 'stuff' didn't meet my expectations given the iconic status of this site. After all, who really wants a printed camel mug or soft toy which has in this case no relation to the site at which it was purchased? Baseball caps, tea shirts, bags and Gold coloured mini-Khalifa's and candles are the main product here. It is such a shame that so much work has gone into this site and all we can buy as a souvenir is poorly designed merchandise. Still the experience is remarkable and perhaps the best reminder is our own shaky experience - just remember to wear extra deodorant.

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