Don’t want to send your friends to sleep with tedious tales from you latest vacation? Here are five of the weirdest travel experiences, guaranteed to impress!
Watch a colorful cremation
Though death of a loved one is a somber affair in most places, this isn’t so in Bali. On the face of it, the ngaben cremation ritual looks more like Mardi Gras; the family of the deceased dress in beautiful traditional clothing as the body is transported through the streets in an elaborate tower carved from wood and bamboo. As the tower wends its journey, it is twisted and turned in all directions by those carrying it, in order to confuse the soul and ensure it cannot find its way back home again. The procession ends when the body is transferred into a sarcophagus in the form of a bejeweled bull, which is then set alight.
Mess with physics
The Mystery Spot near Santa Cruz, California is something of a phenomenon. Discovered in 1939 and a popular tourist destination ever since, the owners claim that their 150-foot area of land defies the law of physics and gravity. Visitors find themselves able to stand, hang and balance at all sorts of weird angles, often returning to ‘normal’ ground dizzied by the experience. Some say it’s no more than a grand illusion, although others maintain the source of the Mystery Spot is an alien spacecraft buried deep beneath the site.
Sleep with a ghost
The Norman castle of St Briavels in Gloucestershire, England is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country. Among other specters, the castle is said to be plagued by a crying child, condemned prisoners, and one of William the Conqueror’s soldiers. St Briavels is open to the public during the day, but there are also special nights on which you can spend the wee hours of the morning exploring the bloody history of this building, with the aid of an experienced psychic medium and a paranormal investigator. If you’ve the guts, you can then sleep in one of the rooms.
Bathe in noodles
Still bathing in warm soapy water? That is so passé! In Japan, people have started taking a nice relaxing soak in their lunch. Raman noodles are a staple of the Japanese diet, and some forward-thinking spas now give bathers the opportunity to soak in pork broth and noodles, the effect of which they believe improves bathers’ metabolism and helps cleanse the skin. If you’re more of a dessert person, dip into one of their chocolate baths instead.
Meet a Mayan god
There can’t be many saints who are depicted with fat cigars hanging from their lip and a bottle of liquor in their mitt, but Maximón is one of them. This Mayan deity is represented by an effigy that sits, flanked by two attendants, in various spots in western Guatemala. Seen as something of a bully, it is customary for those paying their respects to Maximón to pacify him with cash, spirits or smokes. It’s said if you’re lucky, Maximón repays the favor with good health, good crops or marriage counseling.