Friday, June 22, 2012

Tallest, oldest, sexiest

...but enough about me! Brilliant, Dave. This blog was inspired by my visit to (look at) the Tokyo Sky Tree (東京スカイツリー) a few days before the grand opening of THE WORLD'S TALLEST tower.

It wasn't all that impressive. Maybe I've seen too many doc-off structures in the last couple of years or maybe I only visited reluctantly out of a sense of obligation - after all, if you've already seen a few examples of a thing, you have to complete the set, no matter what the cost to your finances and patience. That's what those never-ending Dinosaurs and Star Trek Fact Files magazines taught me as a kid (or taught my mother, who had to buy the bloody things).

Maybe having some official goals would make me feel more motivated and excited, and make it easier to obscure the pointless futility of life. Here's some far from complete brainstorming.


You need to travel at least several blocks from the tower to actually see it

I've got a head-start on this one, so why not dedicate myself to seeing or visiting the world's tallest things? Because it would be very expensive and involve trips to countries I don't really want to visit all that much (or I'm not allowed to visit until I get a new passport without Israel stamps), that's why.

Here's a list from the ever-reliable Wikipedia - so reliable, it didn't even include Taipei 101 in there, despite mentioning it earlier in the same article. That's how reliable Wikipedia is. I wouldn't have known to check if I hadn't been there myself, so there could be more major omissions:

  1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai (829.84 metres) - Dubai annoys me, I don't want to go there
  2. Tokyo Sky Tree, Japan (634 m) - seen
  3. KVLY-TV mast, United States (628.8 m) - I'll probably go to America some time, though I won't lose sleep if I miss out on Blanchard
  4. Abraj Al Bait Towers, Saudi Arabia (601 m) - Saudi Arabia annoys me for different reasons than Dubai. 'Annoy' might be putting it lightly
  5. Taipei 101, Taiwan (509.2 m) - did it

Malaysia' Petronas Towers are in the top 10 too, but really I don't have that much interest in seeing something just because it reaches higher into the sky than the things around it. I've flown in planes above all those puny buildings - get back to me when you construct a geostationary lift to space.

Good thing Japan never has earthquakes, those shops would be...



While ambitious architects and corporate show-offs will continue outdoing each other with ever taller buildings and making it an uphill climb to keep up (sometimes literally), the world's oldest things are in less danger of being out-aged, unless archaeologists find something new (old).

A more likely danger they face is getting blown up by the Taliban and other cretins, which might explain why there are much fewer remaining ancient monuments in the Middle East than I expected. Still, at least that saves me the trouble of having to visit those dangerous countries just to have my photo taken next to some old stone. Isn't all stone essentially very old anyway? Unlike big buildings, I have more of a genuine interest to see these old places - the photo of me hanging out with the Sphinx is my favourite.

Surprisingly, most of the top 10 oldest buildings - according to Wikipedia again - are right here in Europe. I mean... all the way over there in Europe. One of them's even in Scotland. Someone should have told me! Maybe they tried. At least I've seen the pyramids, the Parthenon and... hold on, the most recent entry on that list is only from 1060 AD, I've seen things in Sri Lanka and other places much older than that, but they don't even feature.

Breaking news: Wikipedia is bloody rubbish.


Alright, you got me - that's just to get the hits from my pervier fans. But it's as good a reason as any to visit somewhere, and by this stage I'll take anything resembling a plan.

The undiagnosed obsessive compulsive part of my brain would love to get completion on something, but the ideas I have are usually impractical, overly frivolous or just quite stupid, and would quickly come to feel like the self-imposed chores they are rather than an incentive to travel. If I visited America, for example, I'd quite like to pass through every state - which without a car would probably be extremely tricky and time-consuming at best, unless the Greyhound really does go everywhere. Plus, it would mean spending time in Delaware.

Though I'm actually getting on pretty well with Asia - only South Korea and Japan in the north-east and Israel way over there in the west, but South East Asia is getting close to being fully coloured in. That could be an achievable, cheap and not too annoying goal, I guess. As long as I didn't have a really unpleasant time last time I ventured to that part of the world and spend my entire month complaining? No? I can't remember either. I really need to start a blog or something to help me work through these boring thoughts in public.

Feel free to throw any pointless quests my way. It would be best if they didn't include travel to countries that don't let me in, or where I might get shot in the Dave.

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