Dubai World's Needle To The Sky

Perhaps no edifice symbolizes Dubai's corporatist dream better than the Burj Dubai, built by Nakheel's rival, Emaar, part of the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Constructed at a cost of $4.1 billion, its needlelike spire soars 2,684 feet, more than half a mile, into the sky -- a breathtaking sight.

Hoping to ascend to its top, Mohammed Ali, a retired civil servant from Abu Dhabi, took advantage of a national day here on Wednesday and brought his family to Dubai, only to learn that the tower's opening had been delayed yet again till early January.

"It is a very nice thing," he said, as martial music blared over loudspeakers and the fountains in the lagoon shot spray over the gawking crowd. "But it's a waste of money. Millions of flats, but for whom? Now the investors, they have run away and they leave everything here."

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