Me and Chairman Mao
  Such great heights.
Shanghai has a lot of tall buildings, and when I say a lot, I mean a lot. In fact, there are so many that Shanghai apparently has the most skyscrapers in the world--4,000!--and I don't really think it's even a contest with anyone else. It has twice the number that New York has, and apparently last year Shanghai completed towers "with more space for living and work than there is in all the office buildings in New York City." (NYT, yo!) I'm not sure what that means exactly--more space for living and work than there is for offices? What kind of comparison is that? Next thing you know, people will be comparing apples and oranges or something insane like that--but what I do know is that there are a shitload of gigantic buildings here. And, let's face it, you can't get bigger than a shitload. You just can't.

And, speaking of things you can't get bigger then--nice shift, huh?--let's talk about the Jin Mao Tower, the tallest building in Shanghai at 1,380 ft (421 m) . (Although not actually the tallest structure--that's the
Pearl TV Tower, which doesn't count as a building because it's a tower. Hence the name.) It's actually the fifth tallest building in the world right now, and the tallest building in China, although they are currently building a taller building literally right across the street from it because, you know, why wouldn't you?

But whatever. Here's the building. It's the one on the right. You know, the tall one. If the building on the left looks vaguely familiar, that's the one Tom Cruise jumps off in M:i:III.

A closer view. Maybe it's just me, but every time I see the Jin Mao, I just think "Barad-Dur." (It's Sauron's dark tower. Like, duh.)

As with any self-respecting tall building, there's an observation deck on the top, at 1,115 ft (340.1 m) or so. The view's not so hot, what with the pollution-based haze that permanently covers the city, even on the sunniest of days, but it DOES have the world's highest post office, and how can you beat that?

(No, I didn't use it. As if.)

So when they say "London calling to the far away towns," do they mean Shanghai? Because 9,000-plus kilometers (over 5,800 miles) is pretty damned far away:

The outside. Looks very climable, doesn't it? You wouldn't be the first to do it. I mean, you'd still be insane, but you wouldn't be the first:

But enough about post offices and London views. There's cooler places to go in the Jin Mao than the observation deck. Like, say, the bar one floor below it: the Cloud 9 Bar--the highest bar in the world, natch--in the Grand Hyatt, which is actually in the Jin Mao. It starts on the 53rd floor and goes up to the top, which means it is not only the highest hotel in the world, but also has the highest hotel rooms in the world. And for all you hippies out there, I mean ALTITUDE. The hotel rooms will not actually "get you high." Got it? Good. Now get a haircut, stupid hippy.

Um, where was I? Oh, the Cloud 9. Here's the view from the highest bar in the world:

And one more time:

And yet again, but this time at night:

There is, however, one thing cooler in the Jin Mao than the Cloud 9: the atrium. Yes, an atrium. Specifically, the atrium in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt. What makes this atrium special--ergo, cool--is that it starts in the lobby and goes up 35 floors, almost all the way to the top of the building. Yes, the atrium is 500 ft (152 m) tall. You can look down the center of the atrium from behind a thick piece of glass if you are on the observation deck, but to get the full effect you have to go up to the 87 floor and look over the railing. Heights don't bother me, but hello, vertigo--you get this total swooning sensation when you do it. Luckily for you, that didn't stop me from putting my camera out over the railing and taking a picture, although all I could think about "What happens if I drop the camera?" Thankfully--more for the people in the lobby than myself, I suppose--that didn't happen:

(It's farther than it looks ...)

And finally, just because I can, here's a video of the atrium, which I took after not dropping my camera. Really, the video doesn't do it justice. If I could have made my camera zoom in and out really fast it might have helped. Lucky for you, I can't:

Feeling dizzy? No, I didn't think so. But still, I was hoping you would maybe feel a little dizzy. Try drinking a bunch of alcohol before looking--I think that might help. Probably it will. It couldn't hurt, at any rate ...
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