April 22, 2010

I wanted to continue on about phobias from yesterday’s blog.

There was another phobia that I had when I was younger. Fortunately I suppose, apartment living has helped me to get over this phobia. That is, acrophobia – the fear of heights.

I remember a few years after the CN Tower in Toronto was completed. A friend of mine and I were visiting Toronto, and decided to go up. I have since been in some of the highest buildings in the world. I think I have somewhat, conquered this fear.

We went up to the CN Tower, and were on the inside observation level – the center section, I believe. After a couple of minutes, Paul told me to come look at something. I figured it was another display showing the constructing of the tower. When I looked into the display box, I became dizzy, and almost fell over. It was a window looking straight down the side of the tower! He laughed his ass off, but I was not too amused.

Later on, once my legs stopped shaking, we had lunch in the revolving restaurant, the 3rd floor of the main ‘pod’. After that, what the hell. We might as well see the “Sky Deck”. This consisted of another ride up to the smaller observation section, above the main ‘pod’. Here, you had a great view of the top of the lower ‘pod’. I wish I still had these pictures. They’re probably (I hope) still packed away somewhere in Vancouver.

I also paid to have a plaque put up in the Sky Deck, SOMEWHERE, with my name and date of visit. Will I ever be able to find it again should I go for a visit? Probably not! After that, we decided to go for a walk along the outside observation deck. This is the lower floor of the main pod. The only thing I kind of remember about that particular trip, was that it was really windy, and you really couldn’t see straight down, because of barriers. Just as well, I suppose.

After this trip, I kind of lost my fear of heights. I been atop the World Trade Center in New York. That was amazing as well. It was actually a ‘walkway’ ON TOP of the building! It was set in quite far from the edge of the building, but knowing that you were on the very TOP of the building was amazing. Before coming to Taiwan, seeing the North and South towers coming down, did then as it does today thinking about it, send chills down my spine!

Other tall buildings I have visited include two office towers in Taiwan, one Taipei and the other in Kao-hsiung. Unfortunately, my trips to Taipei haven’t afforded me the opportunity to visit Taipei 101, however, it is still on my list of things to do before I ever leave this country.

When I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia a few years ago, I went up the Petronas Towers. The unique thing about these towers, is that there is a ‘bridge’ connecting the two twin towers. It is the only such tall tower in the world, so this was also quite unique. The bridge is on something like the 85th floor (??), so even though as a tourist, you are not allowed any higher, just being at this level, suspended between the two buildings, was very interesting.

In Bangkok, their tallest building (can’t quite remember the name), is not quite as tall as the CN Tower, World Trade Center, or the two towers in Taiwan, but it is still an incredible sight. Again, similar to the World Trade Center, you are actually outside, but caged in! It is sort of difficult to really see a lot from that vantage and because of the caging, but you still know you are very high up. The final tall towers that I’ve been in, are in Las Vegas.

If anyone has been there, the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino have a tower similar to the CN Tower. After playing some blackjack in the casino for QUITE A WHILE, the pit manager (pit boss) came over and asked if I’d had the opportunity to ride the Big Shot or the Roller Coaster. I politely (and with anticipated acceptance) told him that I hadn’t. He signed over two passes for myself and my friend to enjoy a free ride on both! JACKPOT! That was almost, in MY opinion, better than winning a blackjack on a $100 bet!

Now, I must say, the Big Shot was kind of weird. You’re not only ON TOP of the tower, but as the ride takes off, you are shot even higher in the air! Just before it falls back down, you get the feeling, and believe, this is one feeling that I have NEVER forgotten, you get the feeling that you are actually flying off the top of the tower! Once the ride was finished, I watched as the next group of people were getting on. In actually fact, the tower that the seats are attached to, is about twice as high as the seats are shot up to. It only goes up about 1/2 of the tower itself. Nonetheless, even knowing that, the ride is still fun.

The roller coast though was a little more, disappointing. Yes, it is basically on the outside of the building, and it circles around the tower a couple of times, but even at the front (which is where I always sit on roller coaster, I don’t care if I have to wait all day!!), the view was rather disappointing. The coaster is tilted into the building, and because of the centrifugal force, you really don’t have the opportunity to look around. When you can, all you really see is sky! It is very difficult to see down or straight out.

There is another ride on the Stratosphere that I haven’t ridden yet. If you get the opportunity, have a look at the Stratosphere’s website. They show a clip of this ride! Definitely worth visiting Las Vegas again!

The other building that is quite high in Las Vegas, is the replica Eiffel Tower at Paris Casino and Hotel. You can go up to the observation deck there as well, but, again, it is kind of difficult to really get a good view. Sure, you can look out and across, but not really down. However, if you look across the street to the Belaggio Casino and Hotel, they have a wonderful water show that the Eiffel Tower affords a great view to. Just be prepared to wait a while for a good spot to film!

I suppose, like anything else in life, phobias are, as Dictionary.com describes, ‘irrational fears’. To get over these fears, or to at least learn to adjust and accept the feelings, you have to confront it. I look at it this way. You see that there are hundreds and thousands of other people doing it. You only live once, and why be trapped in fear, when sometimes, such as heights, can afford some of the most spectacular views you can imagine. There’s no need to be reckless, still be cautious, because that will keep you ‘on your toes’ and aware of the potential danger, if any.

Confront your fears, and you’ll find that there are some incredible opportunities in life.


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