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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