47 0 0 0 13 6. It is nonstop, high energy, and over the top, a land of superlatives and hyperbole—not to mention Lebanese meze, fresh sushi, Pakistani curry, Italian pasta, and drinks atop the tallest building in the world. It is a ninety-surrounded By Insanity-degree October day in Dubai. I am standing on the back lawn of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the one scaled by Tom Cruise in the latest of his Mission: Not Possible movies, facing a dapper African security guard.
Chastened, I shuffle off to the circular drive filled with Ferraris and Maseratis that separates the world’s tallest tower from the world’s biggest mall. The mall gives on to a man-made creek that leads to a fake souk that turns back into a real mall, then twists into a garage and then circles back to become a mall again. Oblivious to the heat, a gaggle of ex-U. I thank the concierge and hang up my bedside phone, which is about the size of my first 1980’s Apple computer. I’m staying in the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel, one of the twin Emirates towers, which look like crisp space-age steam irons against the busy Dubai skyline. Gazing out my window, I see an ocher construction site resembling a fresh Zuni fortification. An hour later, my taxi is stuck on the multi-multilane insanity known as Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai’s principal thoroughfare.
Far East Movement, or some other song about expensive planes, trains, and helicopters. To ascend to the world’s highest restaurant in the world’s tallest building, one goes through the Armani Hotel. After I present my credentials at reception, an elegant Chinese woman with a British accent takes me through the stylishly morose lobby to an elevator that takes us down to a second lobby, where I am handed over to a statuesque Russian with a Russian accent. Many key cards are swiped along the way, into elevators, into turnstiles. This is the sign that greets me at the entrance to the At.