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A bucket full of wishes

The Sahara Desert is the largest in the world, with miles and miles of hot burning sand.
The Sahara Desert is the largest in the world, with miles and miles of hot burning sand.flickr.com

It's amazing the things we think about when we get old. I don't mean to say any of us is old, but most seniors know what I mean. But I think when we slow down from the hectic schedules of raising a family, work and juggling dozens of other issues that pop up in our lives, it's nice to sit back and think of our secret wishes.

Live your list!
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I have always had a "bucket list" of places I would love to visit. Knowing full well it will never happen doesn't deter me from wishing, though. Most people would have a rather sedate list, with places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park or the Bahamas. I, instead dream big, no, humongous. I would like to share part of my "Dream bucket" list with my readers.

A trip to the Amazon River

The oldest wish on my bucket of dreams list is to visit the Amazon River basin. Having owned a pet store, I sold tropical fish, many of them from Central and South America. The colors and variety of these beautiful creatures astounded me. Neon Tetras, angel fish, strange looking catfish and Oscars, a type of cichlid.

The Amazon River is the world's second longest river, but the largest in water flow, and it also the largest drainage basin in the world, dumping directly into the Atlantic Ocean. The river originates far away in the Andes Mountains of Peru. What is amazing is the Amazon Basin's biodiversity. Over one-third of all the known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest, and there are more than 2,100 known species of fish, with more being discovered every year.

My mind pictures floating down the Amazon, or one of it's tributaries, looking over the side of a boat, and seeing schools of these fish, in their natural habitat. But there is one fish, in particular I would love to see in the wild, the Red-tailed catfish. I actually had one of those critters. When I bought him, he was a fingerling, about four-inches long. When he was turned over to an aquarium in South Carolina, he had grown to an astounding 3 1/2 feet long.

The pyramids of Giza

Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations on earth, is home to one of the seven wonders of the world. The pyramids of Egypt remain one of the world's most enduring mysteries. Set against a backdrop of desert sands, they are a testament to man's belief in a life after death. While the most famous pyramids are found at Giza, as of 2008, archaeologists have found 138 pyramids.

Giza is where the "Great Pyramid," also called the "Pyramid of Khufu," can be found. Very close by is the somewhat smaller "Pyramid of Khafre," and then, there is the "Pyramid of Menkaure." There are also a number of smaller structures, called "Queen's pyramids," and then one can see the mysterious Great Sphinx.

I've always wondered about the Sphinx. Generally, the sphinx is said to have guarded the entrances to temples or tombs. In Giza, the Great Sphinx is male, where Greek tradition has them as female. The Great Sphinx is close by the Nile River, and faces due east, a significant position to the ancient Egyptians.

More intriguing is something called the "Mystery of the Sphinx," It is believed by scholars the sphinx guarded the entrance to the ancient Greek city of Thebes. In order to get into the city, a traveler would have to answer a riddle posed by the sphinx. History has not divulged the question, though a possible question does exist.

"Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?" If someone gave the wrong answer, they were devoured by the sphinx.

The Answer is this: "Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age."

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China begins in Shanhaiguan in the east, and rambles on in an arc, following a line along the southern border of Inner Mongolia, and ends at Lop Lake in the west. Archaeologists have concluded, that with the Ming Wall, all the trenches and river gorges, the wall actually measures over 13,000 miles in length. But most people conclude that the actual remaining wall is 5,500 miles in length.

The earliest parts of the wall have been dated to the 7th century BC. The wall has been built and rebuilt many times, but the most famous, and the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

The earliest building of the wall was in response to warring factions within the borders of the country. Divided into states, they fought for control, resulting in the building of fortifications. These individual sections of wall were eventually combined, as future rulers tried to keep rampaging Mongol hordes out.

The wall today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a once in a lifetime trip for anyone wanting to see the world. A myth about the wall says it can be seen from the moon. This is entirely false, as no lunar astronaut has ever claimed to have seen the wall from that distance. But regardless of whether or not we can see it from space, a trip to China is a great addition to someones bucket list.