Sunday, August 30, 2015

My Side of the Mountain - Skylodge

Peru is well known for its crazy elevations and gorgeous views. But did you know that you can experience these two things from a transparent capsule dangling off the side of a cliff? Well, of course you can.

Nature Viva's Skylodge is a group of three pods suspended 1,200 feet up on a cliff face in Peru's Sacred Valley. You can choose one of three fun ways to access your room: by climbing an insanely tall ladder, embarking on a treacherous hike, or flying across a series of ziplines. The hotel's website mentions that "safety is ensured by having the exit portal located in the upper part of the craft." So there you have it - should the cables holding up your capsule snap, an escape hatch will somehow prevent you from dying a distinctly terrifying death. Or, you could just stay at the Days Inn in town.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Land Before Time - Dinosaur Place

You never know where you might come across a dinosaur. For example, you probably didn't think they'd pop up in southeastern Connecticut, and yet that's exactly where you'll find a whole bunch of them, in all their life-size glory.

The Dinosaur Place in Montville features 40 realistic-looking dinosaurs along a shady trail that runs through a park. All of the dinosaurs stand still in their designated places, except for one, the animatronic Dilophosaurus that's tucked away in a cave. There's a sign outside the cave that warns visitors that this attraction may be frightening for small children, and after going in to view it myself, my conclusion is that they need to make that sign larger! My blood ran cold at the sound of its screeching, and when it spat "venom" at me, I almost fell over in terror. The thing is positively evil. So maybe stay away from the Dilophosaurus if you've got a heart condition.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hiking to Hell - Erta Ale Volcano

Credit: Indrik Myneur

So you say you hiked a volcano on your vacation to Hawaii? Big deal. In the Afar region of Ethiopia there's a continuously spewing volcano called Erta Ale that's got lava lakes. Yes, we're talking LAKES filled with LAVA. And there are two of them. Mother Nature doesn't get more cray-cray than that.

At one time the volcano was only visible via helicopter, but after growing demand from those with a death wish (aka adventure tourists) for a closer look, it is now possible to hike Erta Ale and get within 4 miles of the lava lakes. Just don't expect an ice cream stand near this attraction.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall - Wat Lan Kuad

Credit: Mark Fischer / Flickr

Just when you think you're doing good with your neatly labeled recycling bins, along comes some Buddhist monks to blow you out of the water. More than 30 years ago, the monks of Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, in the Khun Han district of Thailand, decided to turn all of the discarded beer bottles that were littering the outside of their complex into a gorgeous temple now known as Wat Lan Kuad, or Temple of a Million Bottles. It actually took more than a million bottles to complete, and some walls feature intricate mosaics made from the bottle caps.

Then, drunk on the sight of their amazing feat (if not the beer fumes), the monks took it to the next level and started constructing more buildings in the complex out of bottles, including the bathrooms and crematorium. I know. I can't think of a better way to leave this world either. So let this be a lesson to you: Never compete with a monk, even when it comes to alcohol.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

So Bad It's ... Good? - The Museum of Bad Art

Credit: IronHide

Art can be very subjective, but at the Museum of Bad Art (MoBA) in Boston, the curators believe they've discovered pieces that can universally be labeled as "bad." Exhibit A: "Sunday on the Pot with George," Artist Unknown, a pointillist painting that depicts a middle-aged man sitting regally on a toilet in his tighty whities.

But even mediocre masterpieces can be judged using rigorous standards, and nine out of 10 submitted pieces are rejected for displaying too much artistic competence. What the museum is looking for are works that feature "wonky perspective, confusing symbolism and lurid color combinations." In other words, that painting you did while sloshed during Paint Nite last week.

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