Siem Reap, city on the South of Cambodia.
Angkor Wat, the famous temples in Cambodia, better known for being the setting of Lara Croft adventures. Maybe that is why it is crowded by Americans. But not always. When the sun starts to blaze, most of the tourists, who have been fooled to see the sunrise, disappear exhausted after having walked for hours. At that moment you will feel like Indiana Jones in one of his movies. You, by yourself, surrounded by a dense jungle where hundreds of temples fight to survive the invasion of Nature. An absolute wonder that expands further.
We were sure that it would be selected as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, according to that survey that some fellow started up on the Internet. At the end it turned out to be the typical Pop Idol race where the only people participating, voting over and over, are the countrymen of the contestants. And with good reason, there was too much to risk. If we counted all the places we have been where they tried to sell their token attraction as the Eighth Wonder of the World, we wouldn’t have enough fingers and toes. Too many contenders for just one title.
In Cambodia, however, while landmines are blowing all over the country, you have to make the Internet cafés up. So, not being able to vote for themselves, their proposal had a snowball’s chance in hell. And it’s a shame, because there is a winner that, in spite of its height, was not able to hold a candle to the Cambodian contestant: Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The rest, you have to see them, are wonderful:
The Great Wall of China
The Roman Coliseum
The Taj Mahal
The Mayan Piramid of Chichen Itza.
The ancient Greeks, who came up with the selection of the seven greatest masterpieces made by men, won’t be disappointed by the new list. There is only one of them from their initial list still standing, surprisingly the oldest: the great Pyramid of Giza. Three of them were demolished by armies and emperors: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Temple of Artemis restored by Alexander the Great. The rest have managed to survive through the dictionary. Colossal, because of the gigantic statue of the Colossus of Rhodes; mausoleum, because of the big tomb of the Greek Mausolus; and lighthouse (faro in Spanish and quite similar in most of Romanic languages), because of the big one in Alexandria built in the island called Pharos. Curious, isn’t it?
Like is also curious that the only Wonder of the Modern World that we won’t visit during this trip is the one we saw before we left. We took Mamina(the mother of Pedro) to Rome to celebrate that she is younger every year. She is the real Wonder, by absolute majority and with no rigged votes.