Sunday, 24 February 2013

Kingdom Tower (that's right, we ventured out!)

At the weekend we finally went into ‘town’ to see Kingdom Tower. The Mall there is massive and we mooched around for a bit, mainly just stopping at Taco Bell and Starbucks. As I’ve mentioned before, the Saudis are generally obsessed with expensive clothes and jewellery. Personally I would argue that this comes from a lack of other fulfilment's such as being able to go out and enjoy yourself, but hey that's just my opinion. I also think sometimes their obsession borders on worship, which from a religious perspective could be seen as equally bad, if not worse than, say, drinking alcohol. One of the shops was Saks, Fifth Avenue, which made me laugh. I feel like the whole point of a shop like that is to express not only the fashion but the lifestyle and culture that goes with it. To have it here is an insult to New York!  

Kingdom Tower from the floor
The journey up Kingdom Tower was much like going up any tall tower (the most recent for me being Taipei). We went up in a lift, and then we were there. The bridge, with it's glass walls is very high and very scary!
We thought it was funny that there was a sign saying ‘no photography.’ OK, so I don’t believe in taking photos in some situations, for example at a concentration camp, or in a theatre, but as Lee pointed out, for what other reason would you really go up a tower?

The report from the top of the tower is as follows: Riyadh is as shit all over as it is in our little area of it. We searched the mass of sand coloured buildings for something beautiful. I found one park and one swimming pool. At least I was reassured that we’re not missing much; that we're not stuck in the only crappy part of the city. I remember that at the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas I was struck by how beautiful the contrast was between the bright lights of the city and the canyon beyond. But the view from Kingdom Tower showed only the mass of endless sand coloured blocks, followed by a hazy sandy mist in the background. 
The most amazing (-ly disgusting) part of the view was the roads, leading in straight lines in and out of the city. The traffic was as fun to behold from way up high as it is unbearable to be in when you are stuck in it. From the Tower it was plainly obvious that the city isn't coping with the lack of public transport. How can a city this big survive with only cars and taxis? It’s ridiculous and not to mention bad for the environment.

Talking of the environment, I think Saudi Arabia is possibly the most wasteful and polluting country I’ve ever been to. I haven’t seen a single recycling bin since I’ve been here, they give you fifty nine million plastic bags when you go food shopping and of course they use so, so much petrol. Urgh. I've been doing a recycling project with my students and so far I think they think recycling means just not throwing their rubbish on the floor like they normally would. But I digress.

There’s also a restaurant at the top of the tower that’s meant to be really nice, which we might go to on our anniversary.
So that’s Kingdom Tower. If you’re ever in the area (haha how I joke) you should give it a look.

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