I f you’ve watched enough of the television game show Jeopardy, you probably know that if the answer is “the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Lighthouse of Alexandria,” then the correct question is: What are the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?
Some years ago, Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber began a campaign to name a “Seven New Wonders of the World” since only one of the original seven wonders was still standing (the pyramid). At Weber’s urging, a panel of architectural experts chaired by the former chief of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization had narrowed a list of some 800 historic and cultural sites throughout the world to 21 finalists.
From that list, some 100 million voters worldwide selected the 7 New Wonders of the World. They are: the Great Wall of China, the Mayan City of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the Inca City of Macchu Picchu in Peru, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Colosseum in Rome and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.
If you’re like me, and for your sake I hope you’re not, two things about this list of New Wonders might have immediately struck you.
First, isn’t “Swiss Adventurer” an excellent job title?
It beats the hell out of “Panamanian Pipefitter,” or “Belfast Bedpan Polisher.” My college didn’t offer Swiss Adventuring as a major. If it had, it might have been me who was leading the charge to identify the Seven New Wonders of the World so long as I didn’t have to get on an airplane and actually go visit any of them.
The other thing that jumps out from the list of seven winners and the 21 finalists is that none is located on Bainbridge Island. This is a shocking omission given the vast number of awe-inspiring natural and unnatural wonders sprinkled across our fair island.
For example, how could Weber and UNESCO have omitted Fay Bainbridge State Park, home to the largest collection of indigenous driftwood logs in captivity?
What about the Bloedel Reserve or Fort Ward? And what about the unbeatable combination of the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial and Pritchard Park, recently voted BI’s favorite dog-walking destination by the two people I polled on the subject, and in the interest of full disclosure, one of those walking a dog.
The Labyrinth at Hall’s Hill Lookout is certainly a worthy contender for inclusion on the list, as is the BI Museum of Art. What about Frog Rock? And how could Al Philip’s Blue Dolphin panel truck not make the final cut? Every time I see Al’s truck go by, I always say it’s a wonder…that the thing can still move under its own power.
Finally, can there be a more grand historic structure in the world than that weird little concrete shack that sits at the head of Blakely Harbor that serves as a canvas for BI’s less-accomplished spray-paint artists?
This heinous oversight and civic slap in the face to BI from that chocolate-eating, watch-wearing, pocket-knife-carrying Swiss Adventurer cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. In order to regain our city’s lost honor, we must boldly put forth our own list of the “Seven Wonders of Bainbridge Island.”
Feel free to suggest your own list of Seven Island Wonders for consideration. But remember, the judge’s decision is final no matter how arbitrary and capricious it may be, and I can assure you that it will be veritably overflowing and bursting with arbitrariness and caprice.
In the meantime, we can take some consolation and share in the pain felt by supporters of some of the other 21 New Wonder finalists who failed to make the final Seven. They include the Easter Island statues, Stonehenge, the Sydney Opera House, Mount Rushmore, the Statute of Liberty and the amusing marquee on the now-defunct Lusty Lady strip club on First Avenue in Seattle.
Tom Tyner writes a weekly humor column for this newspaper.