Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My weird travels

Monday is a day I sometimes write about "weird travel." Today, I thought I'd reminisce about some of the stranger places and things I've seen in my travels.

In London, there was "The Gherkin," an odd modern building that earned its nickname from the resemblance of its shape to a pickle. To my eyes, it looked more like something else that I won't mention here.

I've already written about the Capuchin Crypt in Rome, a series of alcoves decorated with the bones of countless Capuchin monks. It was like the Catacombs of Paris in terms of weirdness, but with much more macabre creativity.

Shortly before I moved to the East Coast, I visited a small bar in the small Baja California town of La Bufadora, where I drank a shot of homemade tequila scooped out of a jar containing a dead and fermenting rattlesnake.

I can't write about some of the strangest things I saw in Pattaya Beach, Thailand, but one thing that was weird for its anachronism was the popularity of the game Connect Four. Here was a hedonistic playground of alcohol and women, yet one of the most popular bar activities was this Milton-Bradley game.

Diving in Bonaire, I saw hundreds of pelagic tunicates floating in the water column, some solo, some strung together like a long necklace. I don't know quite how to describe them... they were transparent sack-like creatures with the texture and appearance of hard plastic. When I shined my light on them on a night dive, they burst forth with rainbow colors, like the aliens in the movie The Abyss.

At Sea World in San Diego, I worked as a diver. While I wasn't traveling at the time, the park is a popular tourist destination, and the episode ranks as one of the weirdest things I've seen in my lifeā€”so it deserves mention here. To put it bluntly, I witnessed a 2,000-pound walrus masturbating. Enough said.

In Pompeii, a fresco on the front porch of a rich man's home seems vulgar by today's standards, but in the days of Imperial Rome, the painting symbolized wealth.

While racking my brain to dredge up enough memories to write this blog posting, it occurred to me that, while I've seen some amazing things and scenic places, perhaps I haven't experienced as many weird travels as I should. This list should have been a lot longer.

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