List-based books are definitely the flavour of the moment. And travel guides have joined in as well: with the royalties earned from the sales of 1,000 places to see before you die Patricia Schultz can retire and spend the rest of her life travelling around the globe. It is now the Rough Guide‘s turn. On their 25th anniversary, they have released a series of books of lists, one of which is called 25: Wonders of the World. On the list we find the usual suspects (the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Taj Mahal, the giants of Easter Island, Angkor Wat, the Perito Moreno glacier and other equally wonderful places). Bottom of the list, a surprising, if not not baffling, presence: Itaipu dam, in Foz de Iguazu.
To include Itaipu dam in a list of 25 wonders of the world can only be explained in two ways: first, less likely, whoever chose to include the dam is an engineer in love with megavats and the power of water in motion; my second theory, much more likely, is that whoever included Itaipu simply never visited the place.
This entry has only one purpose: to alert visitors to the area not to waste a single minute of their time visiting the dam and devote all their time in Iguazu to the truly wonderful falls. Visually, Iguazu dam is horrible. Do not expect to find a Hoover Dam and even less a Three Gorges Dam. Iguazu dam is flat and wide. When the spillway is closed (most of the time) it’s no more than a huge amount of concrete without any redeeming feature. There are no mountains around, there isn’t a spectacular gorge in the middle of which the dam was built. Nothing. It is not worth your time.
A few days ago I informed in this blog that the visit to the dam was no longer free.
Shame on you, Rough Guides! I strongly feel all lists are debatable. But I also feel there is a clear distinction between what can be argued and what is just blatantly ridiculous. To add insult to injury, the authors of the guide didn’t considery the mighty Iguazu falls worthy of inclusion on the very same list.