Terrifying Travels to the Great Eastern Garbage Patch

Great Eastern Garbage Patch, Pacific Ocean

I recently wrote an article for MSN about the World’s Most Terrifying Places. The list included Chernobyl, Jack the Ripper Tours and witches markets around the world. Want to talk about scary….listen to this! North of the Hawaiian Islands, far from civilization at the center of a set of swirling ocean currents called the North Pacific Gyre, there is a massive buildup of trash known as the Great Eastern Garbage Patch. A floating island of waste the size of Texas, this part of the Pacific is littered with bottles, grocery bags, toothbrushes and plastic junk that has drifted from the mainland. The ocean water is saturated with confetti-sized plastic particles. Fish that feed on plankton ingest some of that plastic, and the toxic trash works itself back up the food chain, onto our plates. (Keep reading.)

World’s Spookiest Places

Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico City:
Isla de las muñecas
(photo credit: Troels Myrup)

Located in the canals south of Mexico City, the Isla de las Muñecas (Island of Dolls) is certainly one of the world’s weirdest tourist attractions. Picture thousands of dismembered, decaying and decapitated dolls strung up from trees, their lifeless eyes staring blankly. Ahhh! The story dates back around 50 years, when the island’s only resident, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a little girl who drowned in the canal. Haunted by her death, he turned the island into a shrine of dangling dolls, in an attempt to free her tortured soul. When Santana drowned in the canal in 2001, locals said it was the evil spirits of the dolls that killed him.

(Keep reading.)

Art Crawl in Toronto

Nuit Blanche Toronto

(photo credit: JasonParis. Nuit Blanche, an annual art crawl, in Toronto Canada)

A vibrant city of unique neighborhoods and cultural diversity, Canada’s largest city is a thriving metropolis with trendy restaurants and a playful nightlife scene. But beyond hosting one of the world’s largest film festivals and it being generally awesome, Toronto is also my hometown. Born and raised under the shadow of the CN Tower, my neighborhood hangouts included Kensington Market, the Eaton Centre and Queen Street West, where I maintain has some of the best hot dog street vendors you’ll find anywhere around the world.

(Keep reading.)

Surf’s Up in Maui: Surf Camp for Adults in Hawaii

juliasurf1

From an ant’s perspective, it was a tsunami — a frothy thundering wave, curling and crushing sea anemones in its path. As it approached me, I paddled furiously with my tiny T. rex arms feeling the wave rise beneath me.

(Keep reading.)

World’s Sexiest Beaches: Punta del Este, Uruguay

Solitude
(photo credit: Vince Alongi)

Dubbed the St. Tropez of Uruguay, Punta del Este draws an upscale crowd of models and millionaires, looking to escape the sweltering heat of summer — which begins in December and ends in March — and hit the beautiful beaches in style. On the Southern tip of this underrated South American country, this coastal resort town is where the Buenos Aires elite go to see and be seen. In La Barra, Punta’s trendiest neighborhood, a glamorous crowd flirts and flits from beachside chaise lounges at upscale resorts, to yachts, chic casinos and nightclubs complete with velvet ropes. Here at the sexy seaside playground of Punta del Este, there’s a unique beach vibe for every kind of traveler. From the fashionable Bikini beach, where you’ll find sun-kissed, bronzed bodies dressed in the latest swimwear, to Jose Ignacio Beach, where international DJ’s set up turn tables and tiki torches for “chill-out” sessions in the sand.

(Keep reading.)

Manure Tossing in Wisconsin

Choose your chips carefully at the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw!

(photo credit: Corey Taratuta)

In its 38th year, the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival draws a crowd of some 40,000 people, eager to launch dried cow manure paddies as far as they can throw. Yup…dried shit tossing. The current record in the Chip Chuckin’ competition is an impressive 248 ft, but contestants are encouraged to warm up their pitching arms and toss up a new record breaker. This annual feces-flinging fest takes place every Labor Day weekend in Prairie du Sac, a village half-an-hour’s drive from Madison. This year’s theme is Pirates of the Cowwibean with steel drum bands, the Cow Chip Classic 5k Run/Walk and a parade displaying a 13-foot animatronic Trojan Cow called Cowabunga. If sling poop is your kind of sport, head to Wisconsin next week.

Fore more weird festivals check out my article recently published on MSN Local

(Keep reading.)

La Tomatina

Tomatina Festival
(photo credit: Flicker Fearghalonuallain)

Mom always said you shouldn’t play with your food…unless, that is, you’re at La Tomatina, a saucy tomato-throwing event that takes place the last Wednesday in August. It’s coming up, so book that ticket to Spain and run naked in the red heirloom tomato river. A tradition since 1945, an estimated 30,000 descend on the tiny town of Buñol to join the world’s largest food fight! This giant tomato-tossing fiesta is part of a week long festival honoring their patron saint. Here are a few tips about participating in La Tomatina http://www.latomatina.org/tips/

(Keep reading.)

Rickshaw Run

Rickshaw Run Spring 2011

(photo credit: The Adventurists)

Most commonly used to navigate congested city streets in Asia, these seven-horsepower, three-wheeled conveyances are an unlikely ride for a 2,000-mile race. Yet every year, teams of courageous travelers gather to complete the Rickshaw Run, a two-week-long race and charity fund-raiser across the Indian subcontinent. The experience is organized by The Adventurists, a U.K.-based tour operator offering three seasonal race routes around the towns of Jaisalmer, Cochin and Shillong. Rickshaws are pimped out with zebra stripes, decorated with bubble-gum-pink garlands and given clever names like “We Break for Ghandi.”

(Keep reading.)
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