IMG_1894No visit to the city of Chicago is complete until one reaches the pinnacle of this building, standing on the glass ledge that sometimes bobs with the wind, and looking through the floor to the street 1,353 feet (412 m) below.

Well, it’s no more called by that old and adorable name, The Sears Tower. Now it’s just the Willis Tower since March 2009 – a tribute to the new owners. However, the experience of going up the whole flight of floors to the observation deck at the top of America’s current tallest building is never any less exhilarating. The experience includes a historical tour of the city’s architectural, human, historical and cultural landscapes, and before we got to the top, we had learnt so much more about the city and the influences of its most famous citizens and residents including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Harrison Ford, Kanye West, Jeniffer Hudson, Ernerst Hemingway, Louis Armstrong among many many others.

Here’s a new ad campaign that plays on the height of the building in relation to the height of some of the city’s famous figures.

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Ask me. “Forget feet, miles or kilometers… the Sears Tower is actually 226 ktravula’s tall.” Go figure.

The trip to the top of the SkyDeck Observatory was not without its thrills, and today I discovered why it was such a thrill to step onto the glass ledge and look down even though we had an illusion of protection from the outside world. Who was the evil genius that came up with the idea of a glass observatory at that kind of height above the ground? We eventually gathered for a few seconds of fright and took the group picture, before we stepped off and headed out through the other way.

IMG_2033Standing on the glass ledgeI will remember this visit to the 103rd storey of the world’s fifth tallest building mostly because of the way the city/investors take maximum advantage of the landmark for their own financial gain. According to the displayed statistics, the building receives 25,000 daily visitors, and it only has 149 staff members. Considering that the amount spent by each visiting tourist is about $50 or thereabout, it is definitely a good long-term investment, along with returns from several other similar buildings in the city, one of which is the John Hancock Building. One could only wonder how much of returns these buildings/structures would have brought to Chicago if the rights to host the Olympics had been given to them. Now, at places around the city, one could still see little torn posters of the city’s Olympic bid: Chicago 2010.

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