Saturday, July 7, 2007

The New 7 Wonders and memories of Chichén Itzá.

Today is July 7th, 2007 or 07.07.07 which some "superstitious" people believe will be an auspicious day.

It just so happens to also be the day that the New 7 Wonders of the World, as voted on by people around the world, was announced. Here's the list of finalists.

  • Great Wall, China
  • Petra, Jordan
  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Taj Mahal, India
  • Chichén Itzá, Mexico
  • The Roman Colosseum, Italy
  • Christ Redeemer, Brazil
The process to come up with a new list was spearheaded by an organization called the New7Wonders Foundation. As "snipped" from the foundation's website, here's some background information on the project to name the 7 New Wonders.
"The Foundation was created in 2001 by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber, with a mission to protect humankind's heritage across the globe.........Now, the N7W campaign is in its most exciting, and crucial, stage. At the end of 2005, the N7W panel chose 21 candidates from the top 77 nominees that had earned the most votes, and these 21 are now in the final stage of the competition. The official N7W 21 finalist candidates were announced by the panel's President, Prof. Federico Mayor, on January 1, 2006 in Zurich.The final round of voting for the New 7 Wonders will continue through the first half of 2007. Then, on July 7, 2007 -07.07.07, the dream of the N7W initiators will become a reality as the globe joins together to celebrate the New 7 Wonders of the World, as chosen by the world's population using modern communications technology. You can join the N7W Society now. Become an official part of this dynamic community and support this historic project. ... be a part of the making of history !"

I have been very, very lucky to have been able to travel to all of the new 7 wonders except for the Great Wall and Christ Redeemer. I'm hoping to see the Great Wall next year and fulfill a dream of visiting this world treasure in the land of my ancestors. As for the other two sites, they're on my list of places to see before I die so someday...... I've also been fortunate to have visited the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt - one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.

I have blogs to document my travels to Machu Picchu, Petra and the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, blogs did not exist when I went to the Yucatan Peninsula 20 years ago. Back then, memories were written into journals and photos pasted into albums. In a moment of nostalgia, I decided to dig up my photos from that trip - I don't know where the journal is and it saddens me as there's much I'm sure I've forgotten.

In January, 1987, I went to the Yucatan with 2 friends and one day, we drove from Cancun to see the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá. What a memorable experience that was! In an homage to that trip, I thought I would post up a few photos here.

Here's me (no comments on how skinny I was back then!) standing at the top of the "El Castillo" (the Castle) with the Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors) in the background. It was quite a climb to get to the top of the El Castillo which is a step pyramid. I remember the steps being very high in height and there were a lot of them. There was a chain link rope that you could hold onto to to help you get up the steps. It was an effort to get to the top but as you can see, the view at the top was breathtaking! You could see the jungle landscape that makes up much of the region surrounding Chichén Itzá.


Here's a photo I took of El Castillo.












.....and one of my friend Ed, posing in front of Templo de los Guerreros.













....and a snapshot of "El Caracol" - the Observatory Temple.

I remember we were planning to only spend a couple of hours at Chichén Itzá but I couldn't leave until I had explored every inch so a couple of hours turned into the better part of a day! Those were the days when we didn't have a clue about sunscreen so by the time we left Chichén Itzá, I was burnt to a crisp!

Back then, Cancun was a relatively sleepy town - there were only a handful of hotels and restaurants, a bull fighting ring and one gas station. You could walk on the beach and not see anyone else in sight. I have not been back there since but friends of mine who have tell me it's now very touristy. I'm not sure I would enjoy going there today - high rise hotels, crowds and all.

Here's a photo I snapped of downtown Cancun 20 years ago.
....and of our favorite orange juice vendor.


In those days, we didn't have much money so conserving pesos was always a goal. After a couple of trips to the orange juice vendor, Ed decided that it would be cheaper to squeeze our own so we bought a hand juicer at a nearby department store and then negotiated with one of the vendors to buy a sack of oranges. There must have been well over 50 oranges in the sack! To this day, I can remember just how sick and tired I was of drinking and eating oranges by the time I left Mexico for home!

Looking at the photos, from the trip to Cancun, brought back a flood of fond memories but as wonderful as those times were, I'm excited at the thought of the new experiences that future trips and adventures will bring!!