When Seven Just Isn’t Enough

OK class, I would like to start today’s lesson with a question: which of you is considered the eighth wonder of the world? Alright, alright, quiet everyone settle down. Not all at once. Let’s try this again: raise your hand if you are considered the eighth wonder of the world. Wow, that’s a lot of you. I wasn’t expecting so many. Alright, I’m going to have to narrow down the field a little bit. Seriously this lesson won’t work if there’s more than one of you. If you’re a natural wonder, lower your hand. That’s right Grand Canyon, you can put your hand down. Giant’s Causeway, you too. You know what, just get out. You reek of Guinness.

Alright, now that that is settled, let’s narrow it down some more. If you’re a wonder from Europe, put your hand down. Hagia Sophia, stop playing the two continents card, we’re sick of it. You’re not special, put your hand down. I don’t care if you live in America, Statue of Liberty, we all know that under that toga you’re French birthright is growing out of your follicles, particularly in the armpit area. Put your hand down and get a razor for goodness’ sake.

Hmm, there’s still quite a few of you. Let’s get a bit more specific. If you’re a wonder from outside of China, put your hand down. Well, well there’s still three of you? Amazing. How about I just pick one of you, and you can be the “official” eighth wonder of the world for today:

The eighth wonder of the world! Or at least one of them…

The Terracotta Soldiers is apparently, as many signs so blatantly claimed, the eighth wonder of the world. A quick search on Wikipedia or Google will lead you to the same result that I came to: there are a lot of eighth wonders of the world. There are a lot of contenders for the title of Eighth Wonder of the World, but I guess the committee that decides that sort of thing died of boredom after never being able to come to a unanimous agreement.

To be quite honest, I found the warriors a bit underwhelming. It’s one of those things where you walk into a room, snap a few pictures, and then leave. The thing that stuck out the most in my mind was the myriad of people trying to hawk their wares to us in a very loud and annoying manner. In all my travels, there have been a number of instances that were completely sullied by obnoxious dealers of touristy tchochkes and trinkets. There have also been plenty of times where the magnitude, beauty, and magnificence of the thing I was seeing far outweighed those bothersome people. After seeing such a thing it was like I was on some sort of high, like I was walking on air. I was totally geeked out.

On this trip, however, I did not get that feeling. The size of the main chamber is quite impressive. The length is at least that of a couple of football fields. And as you can clearly see there are plenty of soldiers still in perfect condition. But for some reason the magnitude of it all just never hit me. It was cool and all. It’s definitely one of those things that everyone should see at least once in their life. But for some reason I just never felt the impact of it all. I mean, it’s just a big hole in the ground covered by an over sized air plane hangar with climate control.

The sights that stick out most in my mind are the beautiful vistas and landscapes, and nature. Watching the sun set off the coast of Naples, breathing in the cold night air on the banks of the Nile, seeing the lights of Paris illuminate the Eiffel Tower against the night sky. For some reason the Terracotta Soldiers just didn’t excite me like some of these other places did. I wish it did. These clay statues are over 2000 years old and some are perfectly preserved. I fully understand the magnitude of this accomplishment. How many thousands of hours, day and night, that must have gone into forging this army in which each soldier is unique. It really is incredible.
But for some reason it just didn’t hit me. We went in. We took the traditional stack of photos, and we left. Just like that. Maybe it’s just me, that there are other things I appreciate more easily. I just don’t know.

What type of sites are you into? Are you into nature and landscapes? Ancient history, no matter how dirty or stagnant? Architecture? Whatever fits your fancy that day?

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