BEIJING, Nov. 9 -- The world's tallest living man from China visited Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Tuesday, causing a stir as he towered above the crowds on a walk through the streets.
The 55-year-old Bao Xishun, a native of North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, who stands seven feet and 8.95 inches (2.36 meters) tall, walked through Rio's downtown area to attend a book signing of the 2007 edition of the "Guinness Book of World Records," in which his record was published.
He is in the country to take part in the Guinness Day celebrations.
Bao beat the previous record holder by two millimeters in 2005.
"Brazil is very nice. The people here are very nice and Rio de Janeiro is a wonderful city," he said.
Nine-year-old Viniscius Nascimento was mesmerized by Bao, who is at least three times taller than him.
"He is really, really tall," Nascimento said.
As Bao left the bookstore where he was autographing copies of the book, the crowds continued to surround Bao.
He entertained onlookers by touching street signs and even gave a high five to the one person who seemed taller than him, a Brazilian store promoter walking on stilts.
At his hotel, in the southern area of Rio, the staff furnished his room with the largest double king-size bed, as well as a single bed, where he will be able to lay his feet.
Bao was raised in the countryside and currently works as a herdsman.
"Before, I wanted to be normal, but now I am satisfied," he said.
Bao was the tallest member of his family and has five normal-size brothers and sisters.
One advantage of being so tall was that he did not have to raise his arms when he helped build houses, he said.
His size means he cannot buy regular shoes or clothes, Bao said.
Bao said his record-growth started at age 15, and continued until age 23 when he reached his current stature.
He lives in his own house "with plenty of space and a high ceiling."
"I like to drink tea, watch television and play cards," he said, adding researchers often approached him to try to figure out why he was so tall.
The Chinese giant had to undergo a series of physical and mental tests in January 2005 before entering the "Guinness Book of World Records."
Although Bao is the tallest living man, he is not the tallest man on record in the book.
The late Illinois native Robert Wadlow still stands above the competition at eight feet and 11 inches.
(Source: Shenzhen Daily/ Agencies)