Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Beach - Glass Beach


So you know how when you see broken glass at the beach your first instinct is to jump back 10 feet and rant about what the world is coming to? Well, a different set of rules applies at Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California, where the "sand" is largely comprised of broken glass. Visitors come by the droves every year to stroll on the shiny and colorful beach, the broken shards now harmless, polished sea glass.

Once known as "The Dumps," the area was a dumping ground for household garbage in the early 1900s. Eventually the location was closed and efforts were made to clean up the mess. The ocean did its part as well, pounding waves on top of the garbage and refining the shards of broken glass into small, smooth pieces that now cover the entire beach. Collecting the pieces of glass are prohibited, but visitors do it anyway and quantities are diminishing. In fact, there's now a movement to dump new piles of broken glass onto the beach. I'm not sure environmentalists would approve, but it does look awful pretty.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hello Kitties! - Aoshima Cat Island

Credit: NBC News

If you're a cat lover looking for a quiet island getaway for your next vacation, have I got the place for you. Aoshima, an island located in Japan's Ehime prefecture, is home to more than 120 feral cats that outnumber the fishing village residents six to one. A few cats were originally introduced decades ago to keep down the mouse population on the fishing boats, and things have since gotten adorably out of control.

Outsiders are allowed to visit, but the island isn't really geared for tourism. There are no restaurants, hotels, Uber cars or much of anything really, besides the undoubtedly rueful residents and the cats who run the place. On the plus side, there are definitely no mice here. Or cheezburgers, for that matter.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Riding on Stars - Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bike Path

Credit: ABC News

If you've ever been to the Netherlands, you know that biking is the preferred mode of transportation there. Look the wrong way while crossing the street, and you'll get mowed down by not one bike, but an entire fleet of bikes. I know because it almost happened to me. I also tried renting a bike while I was there, which proved to be an equally humiliating experience, as the Dutch are certified giants while I'm the size of a prepubescent girl. I was finally assigned a children's bike that was still too large, because it seems that even Dutch children of bike-riding age are taller than me.

Given all this grief, the Dutch would have to come up with a pretty awesome attraction to lure me back to their country. Which they now have, dammit. The world's first glow-in-the-dark bike path can be found in Eindhoven, and it features polished, solar-charged stones arranged in the same pattern as the stars in Van Gogh's "Starry Night." Artist Daan Roosegaarde designed the path as a tribute to Eindhoven's most famed resident, and you literally get to ride across a glowing, twinkling work of art. So, yeah. I'm going back to the Netherlands. But this time I'm bringing some platform shoes with me.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Roll With It - Zorbing


Maybe you like the idea of rolling down a hill in a carefree manner, but you're fussy about grass stains. Or you've always wondered what it's like to be a hamster. Or you're just plain crazy. Whatever the reason, there exists an activity in Rotorua, New Zealand, called Zorbing, in which people pay good money to roll down a grassy hill in a giant plastic ball.

Of course you can customize your hill-rolling adventure. Do you want to be strapped in or bouncing free? Would you like some water added into your ball so that you get splashed in the face while you're rolling? Perhaps you would like to tack on the adventure package, in which your ball switchbacks down the hill and does a vertical drop off the edge in the end. Whatever the case, remember to wear clothing that won't come loose and accidentally reveal anything. Because you'll want to be able to crawl out of your giant plastic ball with your dignity intact.

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