I’m scared of heights. It’s not so much being high up that scares me, it’s more the fear of falling. Hike with me up a mountain and watch me stay far away from any edge. I once went hiking with a girlfriend and made her get away from the edge because it freaked me out too much. Driving along winding mountain roads also freaks me out. I can’t sit on the road side of the car. I only got over my fear of roller coasters a few years go. Any sign of turbulence in an airplane and my white knuckles grab the seat. Essentially, I don’t like being high up. So it was with a little fear and trepidation that I went to go visit the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101.
Rising up from downtown, Taipei 101 is a sight to behold. I visited the building on my very last day of living in Taiwan, and it was majestic. I’ve always seen the building here and there as I move through the city, and I’ve been near it as there are a number of clubs in the surrounding district, but I’d never actually gone to see it or even seen it in daylight. I was very excited. And there it was. I was even more taken aback than when I saw the Sydney Opera House.
Taipei 101 is the most impressive modern structure I’ve ever seen. It rises up and towers over the surrounding area. 101 is a beautiful building built like a bamboo reed. Construction began in 1997 and was completed in 2004. It’s the tallest building in the world (until the one in Dubai takes over) and, well, I can’t say this enough, quite impressive. It’s a very high-end building, and its offices and apartments are for those with money. There’s also the Taipei 101 mall, where you’ll find stores like Dolce and Gabana, Prada, Armani, Gucci, and many high-end restaurants. On my last night, I did eat at the sushi restaurant here, and though it cost me a fortune, it was the best meal I had in Taiwan.
Visitors can head up to the 88th–91st floors and take a look outside at the surrounding city and mountains. Being the sadist I am, I bought my ticket, waited in line, and headed up the elevator. The elevator ride is actually really fun. There’s a screen that shows how fast you’re moving and where you are in the building. It takes about 30 seconds to go from bottom to top. I even felt my ears pop a little.
Getting up to the 89th floor, I got to see Taipei and the surrounding area in all its glory. It took me about 10 minutes before I even got up to the glass, but when I did, I saw how beautiful Taipei is from above. The city sort of reminded me of the game Sim City.