“Well,” the tour guide explained to the aliens aboard the gondola, “We humans accidentally had the city of Venice sink beneath the waves. But before that happened, for a long time it sank slowly and we were treated to some fine centuries where the city had water roads and gondolas plied those city streets and it was oh so beautiful.
“So, not to be too saddened when Venice finally disappeared beneath the waves, humanity made a pact. We would build great cities on the seashores and then flood the streets with arctic and antarctic ice. We used global warming as our tool for this mega engineering effort.
“I’m sure that most of you have found that burning fossil fuels leads to global warming and the flooding of much of the coasts. We realized this and also realized because of the beauty of Venice, that we could continue the global warming making all our coastal cities Venices.
“Unfortunately architecture could only manage two thousand foot buildings when the flooding started. But still that flooding led to the beauty of Manhattan on gondolas. The tallest buildings rise over a thousand feet.”
“It is especially beautiful on July 13, today, also known as Manhattan henge. We ply the river roads in our gondola as the summer sun sets slowly. In only a few more moments the sun will be setting and lighting up our cross streets with a beautiful glow on this day. You can already see the colours in the sky as you gaze west. In a moment the setting sun itself will appear.
“So we humans were smart to burn most of our fossil fuels. And now we are a big tourist destination despite still being behind the United Worlds in technical prowess.
The aliens might not have been savvy enough to question these lies. Still one alien said, “I’m just questioning if you burned all your fossil fuels in city centres. I mean that could lead to premature death amongst air breathers. It certainly wasn’t viable for we Sorrhinnians. We had to halt our industrial ways for a while in order to save lives.”
The tour guide was quiet for many long seconds. Finally he began quietly, “Doesn’t everything beautiful have a -”
Beautiful light shone on the gathered aliens so the tour guide turned around and said much more loudly, “Behold the setting sun of the mighty Manhattan henge of the Earthlings!”