SFM #117: Curiosity. The Mostest

Star Ferry Musing #117:  The Mostest

Written by Robert Wu for his family and friends

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In my 70 years of life, I have been blessed with some of the world’s most outstanding experiences.  They are my “mostest”.

The oldest living thing

The bristlecone pine trees in California can live to 5,000 years old.  They are the oldest living single organisms in the world.

The biggest living thing

Sally stood with our young children in front of a sequoia tree in Sierra Nevada.  They are are so large cars can drive through holes cut through their trunks.

The tallest living thing

The coastal redwood trees can grow to 380 feet tall.  Walking in the redwood forest with sun rays streaming through is a cleansing experience.

The lowest point in North America

We were in Death Valley, the lowest point of North America.

The lowest point on Earth

I floated in Dead Sea which water was so salty I could not sink.  At 1,400 feet below sea level, it is the lowest point of the Earth’s surface.

(Sally Wu)

The biggest supervocano

Yellowstone sits on top of a hotspot where hot magma breaks through Earth’s crust.  The Yellowstone supervocano has the largest caldera (35 x 45 miles) in the world, and erupted catastrophically periodically at approximately 600,000 year intervals.

The Arctic Circle

We took a trip on a road alongside the Alaska oil pipeline.  We crossed the arctic circle in the warm summertime.

The Equator

We stood on the Equator in Kenya, one foot in the Northern Hemisphere, the other in the Southern.

The highest railroad

We stood at the highest point of the Tibetan railroad at 16,630 feet above sea level.  At over three miles elevation, I became very ill from altitude sickness.

The fastest train

I took the commercial magnetic levitated maglev train to the Shanghai airport.  The train flew at 260 miles/hour with inches of clearance above the tracks.

The cruelest place

Killing a person is a crime, murdering a group of people is a massacre, and killing thousands of persons for entertainment is a sadistic crime against humanity.  The Romans killed thousands of people and animals in the cruelest manner for the deviant enjoyment of its blood thirsty population.  The Colosseum in Rome was purpose built for institutionalized, sick, cold blooded murder fests.  I could not bear to be in the Colosseum.

The longest wall

I took several trips to visit various places of the Great wall.  They were some of the most enjoyable travels of my life.

The largest un-reinforced concrete dome

The ingenious Roman engineers built the concrete dome of the Pantheon 2,000 years ago and it still stands today.

The largest brick and mortar dome

Florence built the largest brick and mortar dome 600 years ago and incidentally kick-started the renaissance.  Its construction method is still a puzzle today.

The race course with the highest betting turnover

Sally and I attended functions in the Hong Kong Jockey Club as non-gamblers.  In 2010, this race course had betting turnover of US$9 billion vs. US$12 billion of all US race tracks combined.

Biggest gambling city

Las Vegas used to be the biggest gambling city in the world.  This distinction has been taken over by Macau SAR of China.

Highest density residential area

Due to a historical fluke, a former Chinese fort in Hong Kong became the highest density residential area in the world.  The 6.5-acre Kowloon City had a population density of 3.2 million persons/square mile.

Tallest building

The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa at 2,722 feet tall.  It is almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building.

The “mostest” list is constantly being revised.  These are some mostest that have been surpassed.

The former biggest canyon

I let out a “wow” when I went to the edge of the Grand Canyon and looked down its 5,000 feet depth.  The Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet has since been found to be bigger at 18,000 feet deep.  I don’t think I will ever go to that biggest canyon.

The former highest bungee jump

Our daughter, Tammy, likes adrenaline highs.  Here, she was jumping off the Macau Tower.  At 764 feet, this tower ranked as the tallest bungee jump in the world until this distinction was overtaken by a Colorado bridge at 1,000 feet.  I would never willingly jump off any high places, thank you.

But a record has been kept for over 46 years, and is unlikely to be surpassed:  The luckiest man

I am the luckiest man to have married the greatest wife.


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Author: Robert Wu

Two engineering and one business degrees, all from NYU. National president of Organization of Chinese Americans, two terms. General manager of a multinational corporation in China. Retired but still active. Married to a wonderful wife, one son & one daughter.

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