Sunday 13 November 2011

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I Wonder About These 7 Wonders

I wonder if I should have been disqualified. After all, if you're going to vote on the world's seven wonders of nature, shouldn't you have seen at least one of the nominees? I make it a point every Oscar season to see all of the best picture nominees before deciding which one I think should win, and I don't even get a vote for those. In the choosing of the new 7 Wonders of Nature, my vote actually counted, although apparently not for much.

For the last four years, people around the world have been voting on their favorite natural wonders of the world. That's most people. I only found out about it a couple of weeks ago (Thanks GoneWithTheFamily). It doesn't matter if you vote early or late though, your vote still counts the same, so I sorted through the 28 nominees and selected my favorites.

Let me explain my thought process behind each of the votes that I cast:

Amazon - Of my seven choices, this seems like the least likely one that I'd ever visit. Too many bugs. Still you can't live in North America and not hear all about the rainforest. Combine that with the fact I'm pretty sure this is where Tarzan is from, and the Amazon gets my first vote. I will confess that I almost didn't vote for them, as I once got really bad service at a Rainforest Cafe.

Bay of Fundy - How sad is it that I live in Canada, yet didn't know where the Bay of Fundy is? Having never seen it, I'm not sure that merely having the highest tides in the world should qualify a place for being one of the seven wonders of nature, however, since I don't like snow, can't play lacrosse, and prefer Starbucks to Tim Hortons, a vote for Canada's lone representative seemed like the least I could do.

Photo via
Cliffs of Moher - I didn't know that the Cliffs of Moher existed until about two months ago. Up until then I thought it was just people misspelling Cliffs of Dover (which I only know from the Guitar Hero song). I was set straight when I read a post by Hecktic Travels about their visit to the Cliffs of Moher, and their pictures really impressed me, except for the one where she dangles her foot over the side. That one just makes me queasy.

Dead Sea - I've heard stories of the Dead Sea from Lori's parents, who visited it a few years ago. They told me about how it's almost impossible to sink and that no matter what you do, you'll find yourself floating on top of the water. For someone like me, whose buoyancy level is something akin to a boulder, this sounds appealing.

Grand Canyon - It's kind of a makeup vote as we've made the drive from Las Vegas to Phoenix at least a dozen times, and despite my wife's frequent requests, we've yet to take the detour to see the canyon in person. It is the closest that we've been to a nominee though, as we did fly over it once.

Photo via
Great Barrier Reef - At least I knew this one existed. I went back and forth between the reef and Uluru, but in the end it came down to one thing: turtles. I think sea turtles are pretty cool, and there's tons of them at the Great Barrier Reef. Apparently there's fewer of them at Uluru.

Maldives - I think I knew less about this destination than any of the others (which is really sad when you consider I thought the Cliffs of Moher was something I could download from iTunes). What I did know about the Maldives was that it's a top destination for frequent flyers to redeem their air and hotel miles for. The whole "over the water bungalow" thing really looks pretty cool too. I wonder if they have sea turtles?

So how did my choices do? Well here's the list of winners, announced two days ago after the initial counting of the votes:

Amazon - Nailed it!

Halong Bay - A neat bay in Vietnam with lots of hollow islands and limestone. Probably no turtles though.

Iguazu Falls - Massive waterfalls in the middle of the rainforest. I'm sure there won't be any bugs there.

Photo via
Jeju Island - A volcanic island in South Korea that looks exactly like the 14th green at the Coeur D'alene golf course.

Komodo - A huge national park in Indonesia. Dragon's are cool. So are those robes that the Japanese people wear. I'm not sure which one this park is named after.

Puerto Princesa Underground River - It's listed as the PP Underground River. Seriously? Were five year olds allowed to vote?

Table Mountain - Mountains are supposed to have peaks. Ask any kindergartner to draw you one and you'll see (if they're not busy laughing about voting for the PP river).

Obviously I won't be starting a career as a natural wonder odds setter in Vegas any time soon. On the other hand, this vote was taken by online voting, with people allowed to vote multiple times, and thus should be taken with about the same amount of seriousness that you accredit to American Idol results. The best singer/natural wonder very rarely wins, but almost all of the finalists receive enough exposure to make the competition worth their while.

I'd love to hear the opinion of somebody who's actually had a chance to visit all 28 of the finalists. That would certainly carry more weight with me than the "get out the vote" competition that the tourism boards responsible for each of the nominees had to wage. Of course, I probably shouldn't be complaining about the results considering the expertise that I used to make my choices. Not much I can do about it now though I guess, except turn my attention to the next four year long competition to name the New 7 Wonders Cities of the world. If we all start voting now, I'm pretty sure we can get Spunky Puddle, Ohio on the ballot.