As Grant pointed out, the Giza Pyramids are not for wandering about freely because of vandalism. Here are some more can’t get close to items. Plymouth Rock can’t be seen up close due to vandals that once chipped at it for a souvenir. You can’t wander around Stonehenge at random anymore for the same reason. You can’t get too close to Michelangelo’s, Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica either. A man attacked it years ago with a hammer, although he didn’t really want the pieces to keep, he just wanted it in pieces.
The pull to take parts of history home, particularly if the history is etched in stone, was strong enough that Marko Kulju, the Finnish tourist got his hankering to cut the ear off one of the Easter Island statues and put it in his luggage. Marko, Marko, Marko, Van Gogh did the ear thing years ago to not very good results. To add to Grant’s admonishment, didn’t your parents ever say to you, “What if everyone decided to cut an ear off the statues?”
The Chilean president is fuming mad and wants a piece of Kulju’s ear as retribution. Kulju is currently under house arrest in Chile and will have to pay a fine. I picked that one out of three options in the AOL poll today that went with the article. Many people, 37 % when I checked, want his ear.
Jeez people. Get up on the wrong side of the bed did we? Anyone ever write their name somewhere? How about pick a wildflower from a national park? Walk where the sign says, “Don’t walk.” Take that tiny arrowhead or pottery shard that no one will notice home in ones pocket? (I haven’t done one of these things, I’m just saying.)
This story is one more lesson in don’t touch so the rest of us have something left to enjoy or you may have to pay. Think of the highway signs that say fines for littering. Those count too.
I’ve been thinking about this 7 Wonders of the World list. I read an editorial about it that made a point I also noticed. Happily, the latest wonders list takes in most areas of the world. Perhaps this is due to people’s increasingly global mind set. Also, perhaps with the communication network being so vast, there was more diversity among people who had a say in what they consider wonderful. And perhaps, because of technology, more people could be influenced. According to the two people who left exactly the same comment on the Christ the Redeemer post, this win was due to a large push by the Brazilian government. But, this is also what happens when movies are chosen as award winners. Those with the biggest studio push tend to win. Not always, but often.
My take on what ought to win is the “take your breath away” factor. When something makes you stop talking to whomever you are talking with, hang up your cell phone, take your eyes away from a map, pull you out of your thoughts, or whatever–that’s the winner. The one time I was in such awe of a piece of work created by humanity, that I felt as if my breathing stilled was when I saw the statue of David.
When I first saw David in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy I was a junior in college and traveling after a semester at Copenhagen University in Denmark. (This was a program through DIS, the Danish Institute for Studying Abroad.) I don’t know what it was about that day, but when I saw David, my impulse was to cry and I don’t get that weepy. That statue is glorious. It could not be more perfect. That’s my opinion. I don’t even mind the refrigerator magnets you can buy where you can put various outfits on a David replica. [photo by murky and posted on Flickr. Look at the comments. Even murky took pause.]
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel also floored me. So did the Pieta. So, my thought is that perhaps there needs to be a 7 Wonders of the World list where the people who created the wonders are the wonders. Michelangelo would be one of those people. Off the top of my head, Leonardo da Vinci could be one as well. Then, instead of traveling to see only one creation, you could go on a little tour of that person’s creations. Authors and musicians might be included so you can go on trips to see their original manuscripts, scores, favorite eateries, their houses, their graves, etc. The places to go could be expanded to include places where those people slept. That would be a real tourism booster.