The Race to The Sky

People are always awed by tall buildings because they are gigantic structures that symbolize wealth, power and technological achievement. It is but natural for these giant edifices to become popular tourist attractions for their sheer height, size and architectural beauty. My office is within “perilous” distance from the CN Tower, which for many years held the title of the world’s tallest free standing structure . After 911, when the Twin Towers in NYC fell from a terrorist attack, I can’t help thinking of the “what if” scenario, if for some unthinkable reason the tower crashes down and hits our building 😯 The CN Tower has been eclipsed height-wise by the ongoing construction of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates). The building is already at 2,230 feet and is expected to rise to 2,684 feet ( 160 storey) when completed in 2009. While construction workers are hammering away to meet the construction deadline, Nakheel, a state owned construction company announced its plans to construct in the same city a kilometer high (3,280 ft) building , to be called Nakheel Tower. The 200 storey building will house about 100,000 people, a combination of condo dwellers and office workers, and will take some 10 years to construct. Not to be outdone, the Saudis promptly announced their plan to build a kilometer high building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia . The promoter of the plan is no other but the well known Saudi billionaire enterpreneur Prince Al Waleed bin Talal who plans to spend $40 billion to surpass the Nakheel Tower . Hmm.. what would be next ? A 2 kilometer high building ? Where? Would you love the idea of working at the 200th floor of a 200 storey building ? I suspect the insurance company would start jacking up the insurance premiums of folks working in such high elevation, high-risk work environments !

One may wonder – what is the motivation behind this rather senseless and infantile race? National pride ? Interestingly, an officemate of mine who hails from the Middle East told me that this event is prophesied in the Koran. Their holy book says that when the end of the world is nearing, powerful rulers will engage each other in a contest of constructing large edifices to boast of their tremendous wealth and power. The race to the sky is on and does this mean that the end of the world is nigh?

I took the captioned pic from the observation deck of the Calgary Tower  which at 525 feet is less than 1/3 of the height of the CN Tower (1,815 ft). It still gives you that “needles poking the sole of your feet” feeling 🙂

The 2o Questions Meme

I was tagged by Major Tom on this meme. Here’s the rule: Remove 1 question from the list below, and add your own personal question to make it a total of 20 questions. Tag 8 people, list them out at the end of this post. Unfortunately, the 8 people I intend to tag had already been tagged 😆


 1. What turns you off in today’s society ? Terrorism

2. What color do you like most? Blue

3. If you can have a superpower, what would it be? Being invisible.

4. If you can travel anywhere in the world, where would you want to go? I have never been to South America. Peru or Chile would be interesting.

5. Which part of you that you hate the most? My tummy.

6. When you get sad, what do you do? Drive to a quiet place like a park and be alone

7. What are you afraid to lose the most? My loved ones

8. If you win $1 million, what would you do with the money? One million in this part of the world isn’t a staggering amount. It is not enough to make me quit my job and live happily ever after. Can I have $10 million instead? 🙂 Anyway, I’d pay off my remaining mortgage and credit card debts, invest in the stock market and real estate to maximize profit and generate more wealth.  I’ll not quit my job but I will most certainly relish the idea of being debt free – for a while I hope 🙂

9. What do you love the most last year (2007)? I survived it.

10. How did you get your name? It is a combination of my grandfather, father and mother’s name

11. What is the moment you regret most? the recent global financial meltdown

12. What type of person do you hate the most? Liars

13. What is your greatest asset? My communication skills is one I am confident with.

14. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? A peaceful, prosperous world

15. How did you celebrate the New Year? With friends

16. Name the one body part your wife or significant other tells you she adores. She never said anything about my body. I hope her silence means all is hunky-dory 🙂

17. It’s 2008. What are you looking forward to this year? Health and more wealth

18. Anything in your life that you wish weren’t so awful? Being a handyman.

19. What’s the shallowest thing you intend to do this year? Play golf

20. What’s the meaning of life? I’m still in the process of figuring it out. 


Dusk at Canada’s Wonderland


37 Responses

  1. I am really not impressed with this sky high towers, must be due to my “fear” of heights. I just hope that all those skyscrapers they’re building are able to withstand future calamities.

    Hey, happy weekend.

  2. Lack of real estate in Dubai therefore the idea of large skyscrapers?

  3. medyo may fear of height ako..kaya kapag nasa mataas na ako ng building di na ‘ko tumitingin sa ibaba. funny because i love adventure but not to the extreme perhaps.

    nag-enjoy ako sa meme..learn about you somehow.hehe!

  4. Didn’t read your entire post as it was dizzying. Agree with three commenters above me. Been to Seattle many times and no one can convince me to go up there even with a free dinner every night, no way! Same with the Stratosphere of Las Vegas. I’m happy at the ground level, hehe…


  5. I don’t think my ears can survive the up-and-down elevator climb in high-rise condos. 🙂 I only live on the 8th floor, but everytime I take the elevator my ears get uncomfortable. And wouldn’t it be such a royal pain if you need to go, but still have to wait for 10 minutes to get to your floor…hahah. 😀

    Btw, I was in Canada in 2005, and my family and I did go to the CN Tower. 😉 The glass floor at the observation deck was really cool!

  6. Re the motivation behind the never-ending quest to build the tallest structure; it’s kinda like penis envy, but on a grander scale… hehe

  7. I am so scared of heights. I can’t imagine working in a building with the clouds in the window !

    When I’m sad, I go to a noisy place so I can forget about my worries 🙂

    Is Canada Wonderland still open? I thought they only open in summer.

  8. Ewok – you said it. A slight tremor of the earth’s crust could be devastating to these super skyscrapers.

    Have a nice weekend too 🙂

  9. Natez1 – you might be right. Dubai isn’t a large place so the natural growth of housing would be high rise. People are just flocking to this place to work and live. Some world class athletes have chosen Dubai as their residence.

  10. Cliffnotes – same here. I have fear of heights too 😦

    Thanks. Although this meme doesn’t really tell much about me, I’ve answered so many of these memes before and if you search my archive posts, you’d know a lot more about me hehe 🙂

  11. TrueBlue – hahaha.. you became dizzy-willy with the impossible heights being talked about 🙂

    Same here, I don’t think i’d be able to work at CN Tower’s sky deck restaurant. BTW, there is also an airport at the island close by so you can see the planes take off and land hehe. pretty scary.

  12. Kathy – our United Way fundraising program involved running the CN Tower stairs – up and down. I didn’t go hehe 🙂

    At 200 storey, the elevators may likely be jet prowered so you’d get to your floor quicker 🙂 The article says there are likely to have 150 elevators in the building ! I’m sure some of them would be express to certain levels so the wait wouldn’t be that long.

  13. Sngly – with the penis contest it would also be “pataasan ng ihi” I gues hehe 🙂

  14. Irrealis – that would be crazy, seeing clouds from your window ! Would anyone be allowed to open the window anyways ? hehe.

    Noisy places add to my depression it seems. I’m one of those people who would like to ram a problem head on rather than avoiding them. Peace and quiet seems to sooth me down better.

    That pic was taken in summer 🙂

  15. It is not a new phenomena… in the middle-age the people wanted the highest and the biggest Cathedrals… the tallest belfries…
    The foolishness of people…

  16. that picture can really test me if i really don;t have the fear of heights…i saw a simulation about the petronas tower if it was hit similarly with a jumbo jet. it claimed the building won’t crumble like the twin towers due to it’s construction, it’s designed to handle earthquakes, unlike in NY where buildings are not designed for them for there are no tremors there.

  17. 160 storey building? I can only imagine the elevator horror…

    I like that you featured Dubai in your blog, my sister’s there…

  18. Thanks for doing the meme. You added some zest to it.

    Anyway, it’s all childish about this ‘race-to-the-sky’ thing going on over there and in the Middle East. Reminds me of the story of the “Tower of Babel”. I mean, why would we need mile-high buildings when we couldn’t even fill up the low ones? it’s all hubris I think.

    Maybe, they should better be doing some good charity work for places like in Africa, that’s where their money are needed most and they’re gonna be more worthwhile for humanity.

  19. oh i hate liars. full of crap. haha

  20. Sidney – very true and economic power seems to the the criteria. The petro dollar rich Middle Eastern countries seem to be in that stage of their history hence the race to the sky.

  21. Backpacker – hehe, it does feel weird looking down that glass floor I tell you. I have problems with it too believe me 🙂

    The Empire State was tested with a small piper cub plane during its construction stage and the collision did not hurt the building. I’m sure these tall buildings were constructed with reinforcements for earthquakes. They say NYC and most of the eastern part of North America sits on solid granite and earthquakes are unlikely but…. you’ll never know 😉

  22. Jeff – in such height elevator management alone can be a tall order I bet 🙂

    Hey, good for sis to be in Dubai. Are you planning to join her there anytime soon ?

  23. Major Tom – my pleasure to do the meme 🙂

    Yep, with the recent financial crisis, it is rather silly for someone to be wasting $40Billion for a building that doesn’t seem to be needed in a relatively sparsely populated city as Jeddah. You’d be surprised to know that in Saudi buildings were mothballed in the 80’s because they were tall enough to have a view the King’s royal estate so the government paid off the owners and told them to close down the building. How about that ? 🙂

  24. Piapot – hmmm.. is there someone you have in mind? 😉

  25. talaga? hindi ko alam yung tungkol sa koran prophecy sa mga edifices. astig ah. pati nga pilipinas makikisali na rin dyan kahit na mahirap na bansa. dahil sa pagtayo ng tower na mas mataas kaysa sa Taipei 101. hehehe…

  26. You regret the financial meltdown? I thought it was the movie Shiloh that you regretted. hehe. But, seriously, I agree with you. The financial meltdown…. that’s very regretful. Hopefully we all learned from it.

  27. I wonder whatever happened to those parachutes marketed to high rise condo dwellers and office workers. The chutes were created immediately after 9/11 when some people opted to jump off from the window of the burning building. Horrific!

  28. “One may wonder – what is the motivation behind this rather senseless and infantile race? National pride?”

    — Well, many people like to be part of positive superlatives. That’s why people always want to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.


    Hey, saw that CN Tower on a CNBC (travel program) last night. I suddenly thought of you. It’s coincidental that you wrote something about it now.


    No. 17 –> Maybe your wife’s silence means it’s the other way around. LOL

  29. Dong – dunno’ bro but having seen earthquakes before in Pinas I ‘m so darn scared of living in a high rise building there. It is for the same reason why I’m holding off investing in a condo in Pinas. I like the condo concept because of its security and privacy features esp in the Pinas environment but the thought of earthquake bothers me somehow 😦

  30. Wil – hehe… there’s got to be things suckier than Shiloh Falls 🙂 I can’t wait for the financial turmoil to end believe me.

  31. Eric – I saw those horrific videos of people jumping from the tower to escape the flames. As for the parachute, I doubt if if can be deployed easily and besides, people have to be trained to use them to be effective, at jump at least once with it !

  32. Jayred – re the Guiness Book, it still boils down to pride chicken doesn’t it?

    Re thinking of the CN Tower and me – that’s an eerie coincidence 🙂

    Hey, you might be right, it might be the silence that means things aren’t OK. I’m guilty of that too, sometimes 😉

  33. I’ve always been fascinated by tall buildings ever since I was a child. I’ve always enjoyed the views from the heights afforded by a skyscraper. However, that glass floor might be too much for me. Hehehe Very nice view though but kind of scary. 🙂

  34. Panaderos – I am likewise fascinated by tall buildings and the unbelievable skill done to design and construct them. The glass floor does give me the shivers though. Thinking that all off the sudden the floor might break scares the hell out of me. The CN tower at 1800 ft is even more intimidating hehe 🙂

  35. “Re thinking of the CN Tower and me – that’s an eerie coincidence.”

    Yeah, feels like it. Although it may also be a simple case of mental telepathy. 🙂

  36. Jayred – well, CN Tower is in Toronto and so am I and when you saw it on TV and thought about me that was kinda normal. But when I blogged about the CN Tower, it became a litle eerie hehe 🙂

  37. BW, exactly my point! 🙂

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