Shanghai – China
The Shanghai World Financial Centre (SWFC) stands magestically at 492m high and is the worlds tallest building to roof level. I reckon it should count as the worlds tallest building, the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan only beats it because it has a long spire and sure, you could stick a really long coat hanger on the top of the SWFC and it wouldn’t be any more impressive. The SWFC stands next to the very different but equally cool Gotham City style Jin Mao building. The Jin Mao buildings sharp angles are in contrast to the elegant curves of the SWFC which are reminescent of a champagne glass; though with the hole in the top, it also reminds me of a giant beer bottle opener. Of course, not all the buildings in Shanghai are elegant, on our way from the metro we spotted this ghastly building in construction, complete with fake Greek columns all the way up the side, uuurrggh nasty.
The SWFC is 101 stories tall, has 2 huge mass dampers to prevent major sway in windstorms and is topped with the highest outdoor observation deck in the world. The trapezoidal hole atop the Tower was originally a sphere, but the design was changed after the Chinese Government claimed that the Japanese Funded Building’s circular hole was too similar to the rising sun on Japan’s Flag.The SWFC houses the highest hotel in the world and that was where we spent a large part of yesterday afternoon.
We had heard as Marvin Gaye would say, “through the grapevine” that it cost 15 euro to go to the skybridge on the 100th floor but was free to go to the hotel bar on the 91st floor, so that’s where we headed. The lift took about 15seconds and the only indicator that we were climbing was that our ears started to pop. On entering the bar and seeing the view, both of us let out a gasp of exhileration, the view was absolutely incredible! Even though many of the surrounding skyscrapers would dominate the Dublin skyline, they seemed like tiny ants below us. To one side we could see the Huangpu River that meandered around us, and the wierd, Star Trek styled Pearl TV tower. As you’d imagine, the lush mocha and chocolate coloured surroundings of the bar were worlds away from our usual fare, but were welcomed with open arms, even if only for a short while.
We ordered our cocktails which at 9 quid a pop were cheaper than any Dub pub and they even came with some lovely candied almonds covered with Porcini mushroom powder and salt and pepper. Not a combination I’d ever think of but they were bloody tasty. After being guided to the elegant bathroom I came across what is probably the best toilet in the world. Not only did it have a bum wash facility, but by using the stainless steel control panel, I could adjust the pressure and position of the water jet, and even make it oscillate and pulsate! Then, when you’re finished it has an inbuilt hot air dryer to gently dry off your bum. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, I’m glad there was noone else there.
It was with a huge reluctant fall that I went to the grotty loo in the internet cafe later that day!