Fountains and waterfalls are commonly seen as we travel. Both get lots of attention. We seek them out as major attractions all over the world in places like Hawaii and The Alps, but we seldom linger. It’s rare to see a waterfall without a lot of other people but reactions to them seldom vary. They are beautiful but temporary.
The photo of Shoshone Falls above is misleading. We saw it the day before the controllers reduced the river’s flow and affected the falls’ water volume, so there were hundreds of curious observers like us on the tourist platforms looking at them. We saw the waterfall below, however, with just one other couple. It’s called Palouse Falls. We saw it on a very hot summer day in a remote state park in southeast Washington State. The closest town to it was tiny Washtucna. Curiously, I was more impressed with it than I was with thunderous Shoshone because of the very nature of these attractions.
Once you look at a waterfall or a series of them, what do you do next? Of course, you look at it again. But then what? Even Niagara has this affect on people. I feel sorry for folks who plan to spend 3 or 4 days looking at the same waterfalls. I recently watched a video of visitors to Niagara, and few of them are actually looking at the impressive waterfalls. They are taking photos of them with their phones, jogging, talking to each other, fixing their hair, thinking about standing under them or taking a boat ride, etc. Of course, you can take a ride and get wet like Ruth and I did at Iguasu Falls in Argentina, but we got lucky. An entire soccer team was in the boat with us, and as soon as we had been inundated we got out from under the major torrent. As we pulled away from it, the entire team shouted as if it was planned, “Again!” and the boat driver took us back under. This was both memorable and fun but shortly thereafter, we were on a nature trail trying to avoid South American coatis. We really like seeing Iguasu Falls but were ready to leave after one day.
Fountains are different but the same. Once you look at a fountain, even a historic one like the classic above in Sydney’s Hyde Park called The Archibald, what do you do besides look at it again and think about getting your feet wet? They are interesting to look at, decorative, and famous like the Forsyth Fountain above in Savannah, GA but a temporary thrill. This fountain has to be one of the most photographed subjects in this southern city. No one, not even me, can resist taking a picture of it. Perhaps the best public fountain I have ever seen, however, was above my head in the courtyard of the inexhaustible Museo Nacional de Antropoligia in Mexico City. Its water cascades down like a sudden rain shower, but after looking at it, Ruth and I had an entire museum to explore.