(1) Pyramids of Giza vs. (5) Machu Picchu
Now we are really getting into a Clash of Civilizations. But I rather think that both the Incas and the ancient Egyptians would most likely appreciate one another archeological record. Much of the Ancient Egyptians monuments still stand today, if not hidden in the Valley of the Pharoahs or slightly ravaged by time, these true monuments of human ingenuity have stood the test of time - the Great Pyramid of Khufu was completed around 2500 BC, an incredible 4500 years ago!) Machu Picchu on the other hand has only been around for a little over 500 years, but has the Amazon jungle constantly attempting to overtake it; amazingly enough, the site at Machu Picchu was "lost" for about 4 centuries before being discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. For this reason alone, I have chosen Machu Picchu over the Pyramids. The Pyramids are so omnipresent, they seem to lull mankind with their persistence. At no point in human history have the Pyramids been "forgotten". In close proximity to the known world throughout their entire existence, philosophy, religion, culture and education have constantly been aware of these great wonders. Machu Picchu on the other hand has an air of ghostly uncertainty to it. You can picture the young Peruvian boys talking at recess: "do you want to go and see a dead city, I know of one, a mere 3 days walk through the jungle and up the mountain, beyond the river and through the lost forest." "Get out of here", shouts his friends. But then this young boy, Melchor Arteaga leads an American to the site and the world of Peruvian tourism was never the same again. More than this, it was pictures in National Geographic that brought the Incan ruins to the world - call me Victorian, but there is something in this quest for lost treasures and ancient cities that stirs my imagination. And Machu Picchu is indeed the finest example of lost culture that the world - as a whole anyway - has come to reclaim. Sorry Pyramids, you should have got lost in a sandstorm and arisen some two thousand years later, then maybe you would still be dancing!
(2) Easter Island vs. (6) Mountain Gorillas
Please if Patagonia didn't stand a chance against Easter Island, what makes you think a bunch of dirty, hairy gorillas have? I will admit that if there was somewhere on earth where there was a gorilla island that had very large statues of gorilla heads, well that would win the whole darn tournament hands down. But, until we (we meaning I of course!) find such an island (perhaps Dr. Moreau can help out?), I would rather visit the ancient Rapanui island then go off for my Digit and company. As prophesized (on this blog nonetheless), we have a South American showdown in the regional final between Peru's representative - Machu Picchu - and Chile's - Easter Island. I'll have to sleep on this one.