Friday, July 31, 2009

Don't Be a Baby - Diving With Sharks

Swimming with dolphins is for babies. Grown-ups swim with SHARKS. And not while safely enclosed in a wire cage, either. Wire cages are for babies. Grown-ups swim with sharks in the OPEN WATER. If you are a grown-up, you'll do well to fly to Long Island in the Bahamas, where you can sign up to descend 30 feet into the water and watch sharks being fed in their natural habitat.

So how do you make it out of this activity with all your limbs? The idea is that the sharks are eating the chum being given to them, so they won't eat you. Foolproof, right? Just don't sue me if you try out this activity and get ripped to shreds. I am only the messenger. You're the person who let a blog goad you into swimming with freakin' sharks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When Gambling With Money Isn't Enough - Insanity at the Stratosphere

I enjoy thrill-seeking as much as the next sicko, but an attraction in Las Vegas really had me questioning why I pay good money (when I could've been losing it all at Hold 'Em) to wet myself. It is called, appropriately, Insanity.

Insanity is an amusement park-type ride at the top of the Stratosphere hotel's observation deck. It consists of a circle of chairs held up by a metal arm. You get strapped into one of these chairs, and the arm brings you out over the edge of the tower so you're dangling 900 feet in the air. Then it starts to spin. Then the chairs TILT FORWARD so you are facing the drop to the faraway Vegas landscape below and hysterically wondering why you've put yourself on the fast track to imminent death. As much as I love thrills, this ride is just all kinds of wrong. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vacation in Squalor - Dickens World

Who hasn't wished they could live like a filthy 1800s street urchin? At Dickens World in Kent, U.K., you and your family get to experience the unsavory underbelly of 19th century London, right down to the inefficient sewage disposal. There's a Great Expectations boat ride, a town square populated by morally challenged Dickensian characters, and a Victorian school featuring a nasty schoolmaster. 

Kids misbehaving during the trip? Threaten to get the season pass. Personally, I find the concept for this theme park refreshing. There's nothing like traveling back to a time before the advent of proper hygiene and social services to make my own life look a little brighter. Is it me, or is it wonderful to not have to rely on mysterious benefactors and impromptu displays of fisticuffs to get by in life?

What the Neck?! - Giraffe Manor

So at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya, you get to sleep in four-poster beds, take in sumptuous multicourse meals, and, oh yeah, have breakfast with a giraffe. Literally. I'm talking you're buttering up your freshly prepared scone and suddenly Geoffrey's head is coming through the window and he's yanking the baked good right out of your hands. And guess what, you can't even yell at him or whack his butt with a rolled up newspaper because it's a giraffe sanctuary, and giraffe abuse is definitely frowned upon. All you can do is admire those dangerously long lashes while he puts away your gourmet breakfast.

If being taken advantage of by a giraffe is your cup of tea, fork over a mere 600 bucks and stay a night. The manor itself is gorgeous, and a herd of giraffes roams freely on the estate, sidling up to you as you stroll the grounds and poking their heads into rooms like the freakishly tall peeping toms that they are. There's even a family of warthogs on the grounds. I know. It's impossibly adorable. If you haven't already left this blog to look up airfare to Nairobi, I have nothing else to say to you.

Not So Tough Now - Jellyfish Lake

If you told me there's a place where I can swim with jellyfish and not get stung, I'd tell you that you're shadier than a Craigslist posting. But it's true. Jellyfish Lake on the island of Palau is an enclosed body of water that contains hundreds of the suckers, sans stingers. They have no predators in their private lake, which is why they've lost their natural defenses over the course of millennia. Save your urine for another aquatic emergency.

So go ahead: Mosey on down to Palau, slap on some snorkel gear, and jump in Jellyfish Lake. You can make faces at them all you want - they can't get you back. Evolution is cruel like that.

The Fine Art of Making Instant Noodles - Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

The last workshop you attended was probably on how to become a successful blogger, or some equally useless subject. If you want to receive a real life lesson, head over to Osaka, Japan, where they're offering chicken ramen-making workshops at the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. That's right, you learn how to make your own ramen, and I'm not talking about boiling up some water and dumping it over dehydrated noodles. I mean from scratch, starting with flour and water!

What's more, they make you put on a chicken-themed doo-rag while you knead the dough, run it through a noodle-maker, and draw your own design onto the wrapper. (I repeat: You wear a CHICKEN-THEMED DOO-RAG.) Next, a workshop attendant deep-fries your creation to preserve it and seals it into the bag you designed. Then you get to bring your ramen home and eat it on a day when you're super hungry but too drunk to cook and too poor to order in. How is it that you haven't yet placed a long-distance phone call to Osaka to reserve a spot at this workshop? 

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