Why am I being badgered by bearded women demanding that I vote for Table Mountain? The last time I voted for anything was in 1994, and look where that got us. Cape Town’s precious mountain takes up an enormous amount of valuable real estate and, quite frankly, blocks the view.
It seems the badgering is connected to something called the New7Wonders of Nature. It’s backed by a shadowy Swiss-based, government-controlled foundation and if that doesn’t set your ganglion aquiver, nothing will.
When I warned Brenda there were moves afoot to create a list of seven natural wonders, she gave me the lazy eye and said she’d vote for me. “Given your lifestyle, it’s a wonder you’re still alive.” Hilarious. Especially considering that I have a gastrointestinal tumour. Well, it turned out to be wind. But for a while there, I thought it was cancer. Brenda seemed disappointed.
Scouring that tiny portion of the internet that isn’t devoted to genitalia, I was astounded to discover that the planet is riddled with wonders of nature. It just seems so wrong in a world crying out for more parking garages, shopping malls and office blocks.
From what I can make out, the field has been whittled down to 28 finalists. I thought we might take a look at the top 14. So, children, gather around this warm tik pipe and let us begin.
The Amazon. Overgrown and neglected, this patch of bush proves that South Americans make lousy gardeners. The wood is always wet and useless to braai with. Half the plants will kill you and the other half will make you so high that, as Kinky Friedman puts it, you’ll need a stepladder to scratch your ass. And a river runs through it. A river runs through Upington, too.
Angel Falls. A waterfall in Venezuela. Near the border with Brazil. When I think of this region, I don’t think of natural wonders. I think of cocaine. I can’t help it. It’s the way I was brought up. Waterfalls are good for little more than having sex under. Not Vic Falls, obviously. But Angel Falls would do nicely.
The Dead Sea. This glittering jewel lies between the tropical paradise of Palestine and the verdant garden of Eden that is Israel. Glamorous Jordan, where the fun never sets, is also right there. The Dead Sea is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. After a weekend on these fabulous sodium chloride-caked shores, you will be 8.6 times more depressed than usual.
Galapagos Islands. Made of razor-sharp lava that will cut your feet to ribbons. The bleeding will attract giant land iguanas and if you try to escape into the sea, you will be ripped to shreds by vicious marine iguanas. If the iguanas don;t get you, a tortoise the size of a Volkswagen Beetle will chew your feet off and crush you to death.
Grand Canyon. A large hole in the ground. What’s so grand about that? Bloody Americans. They say it was carved by the Colorado River six million years ago. Liars. All good Christians know it was carved by God six thousand years ago.
Great Barrier Reef. The biggest single structure made by living creatures, many of whom went back to China when it was finished. Some stayed on and opened restaurants. It can be seen from outer space, which means nobody can fully appreciate it until Richard Branson gets his intergalactic taxi business off the ground.
Halong Bay. Okay, fine. It’s pretty. But it’s in Vietnam. What the hell good is that?
Iguaza Falls. Yes, another waterfall. Also deep in cocaine country. The first European to find it was the Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541. He was so inspired that he rushed off and pillaged a small village of Incas.
Jeita Grotto. A couple of caves within mortar range of Beirut. One of the caves channels an underground river that provides drinking water to more than a million Lebanese. Let’s hope the Israelis never get wind of this.
Jeju Island. Owned by South Korea. Expect to see large basalt carvings that look like circumcised willies with scary faces. Leave your dog at home. Or bring him if you’re allergic to seafood.
Komodo National Park. More like Jurassic Park. Fauna includes lizards the length of telephone poles. They hunt in packs and can kill you just by licking your face. If you’re close enough to a komodo dragon to have your face licked, you probably shouldn’t be allowed out on your own. Avoid visiting during mating season. Males challenge each other and vomit or defecate before a fight. I have a little komodo dragon in me. The females resist with their claws and teeth during the early phases of courtship. Brenda has a little komodo dragon in her, too.
Maldives. A metre above sea level. Nothing more to say except, perhaps, goodbye.
Puerto Princesa. A small town on an island in the Philippines. On the list to make up for the fact that almost everyone who visits an island in the Philippines gets snatched by Islamic jihadists.
Vesuvius. A volcano somewhere in Italy. Went ballistic in 79AD, ruining Sunday lunch in Pompeii. Not currently erupting.
I think Table Mountain deserves to win for several reasons. Ours is the only natural wonder on the list that is infested with muggers and sealed off at night by heavily armed park rangers. It is home to a large community of drunk people called Bergies and is a death-trap for hikers. And the authorities regularly chop down the non-indigenous shade trees and unleash snipers to shoot the alien wildlife.