The search for that perfect spot for a selfie which will make your friends envious and become a sensation on social media knows no bounds. On the face of it, a lake close by the Russian city of Novosibirsk looks to be the ideal place for that perfect selfie. Because of the quality of its bright blue water, it is known as the Novosibirsk Maldives.
It even has its own Instagram account but the Russian authorities, spoilsports that they are, have revealed that all is not quite what it seems. The intense blueness of the water, they say, is caused by calcium oxides diluted in the shallow waters, the type of stuff found in quicklime and, although not poisonous, has a high acidity content. Rather than a natural miracle, the Moscow Times notes, the lake “is an ash dump into which CHPP-5 (a coal plant owned by the Siberian Generating Company) is dumping waste”.
But some people are not deterred and the oxygen of publicity has encouraged more brave, foolhardy souls to take a dip. Some report that the water tastes a bit sour and looks like chalk. One person who went for a dip seemed to confirm the warnings that the water may cause an allergic reaction by reporting that the following morning “his legs turned slightly red and itched for two days” but that didn’t put him off.
After all, as the German poet, Rilke, once noted, “no great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger”.