Magic Mountain Lodge – Chile’s Water Spewing Volcano Hotel

Ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a volcano? Now you can have your chance at a hotel that’s shaped like one – Magic Mountain. There’s even stuff spewing off the top (water, not molten lava) and cascading down the walls and windows. But it doesn’t look much like a volcano, not to me at least. I think it’s got this old-world charm to it, like a tower from Medieval times. Especially with the antique doors and windows, and a shaky wooden drawbridge to let people into their rooms.

The Magic Mountain Hotel is located in Huilo Huilo, a private Natural Reserve in the Los Rios region of Chile. The antique appearance ends with the exterior however, as the interiors are done up in luxury. There are only 9 rooms, named after bird species found in the area. Each of them overlooks the thick forest and wildlife outside, including toucans, iguanas, pumas and lizards. Guests even get a glimpse of a real-life volcano from the hotel – the enormous Arenal Volcano. Outside the rooms the special services provided to guests are definitely worth a mention. Hot tubs made out of huge tree trunks, overlooking the forest are a major tourist attraction at Magic Mountain, as is the world’s longest zip line running through the grounds.

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Cuban Sculptor Proves Tobacco Can Be Used for Better Things than Smoking and Chewing

Janio Nunez is a talented Cuban artist who has the gift of making incredible sculptures exclusively from tobacco leaves. He creates works of art both tiny and life-size that prove there are better things to do with tobacco than smoking it.

Janio’s fascination with tobacco began as a little boy, watching his grandparents roll cigars at the factory. He started copying them and ended up becoming a tobacco leaf roller himself. He worked at the factory, but after passing evaluations, he was sent to Varadero, Cuba’s largest resort in Cuba, to roll cigars for tourists. Everything was normal until one day when something really strange happened. He began seeing his co-workers like they were made entirely of tobacco leaves. He would get scared and close his eyes, and when he opened them they were normal again, dressed in their regular clothes. Then would turn around and see another colleague sitting down, all made of tobacco (clothes, face, skin, etc.). This happened sporadically for about four months, and his friends even took him to see a doctor about his “problem”. That didn’t help very much, and realizing something was wrong with him, he decided to do somehow fix things himself.

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Believers Rock Out at Colombia’s Heavy Metal Church

Some may find it blasphemous, but for the members of Pantokrator Church in Bogota, Colombia, Heavy Metal is a form of pure devotional worship. I know it’s pretty hard to associate screaming and head banging with the serene image of Jesus, but somehow, the 40-member-strong church is able to make the connection.

I wouldn’t blame you if you took one look at the people gathered here and assumed it was for some kind of satanic ritual. What else could one expect, with people dressed in black clothes, army boots with metal spikes and weird body piercings. But nothing good has ever really come out of stereotyping people. So a deeper look does reveal that the church-goers at Pantokrator (Greek for ‘All Powerful’), are pretty serious about their faith. The founder of the church is 24-year-old Cristian Gonzalez, who is also a heavy metal drummer. According to Cristian, it’s perfectly normal to worship through heavy metal music, when Jesus himself got involved with people no matter what their condition – prostitutes, thieves or tax collectors.

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The Mosuo Tribe – China’s Kingdom of Women

There’s a popular one-liner that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook for a while now – “If women ruled the world, there would be no wars. Just a bunch of jealous countries not talking to each other.” While that’s something we’ve all laughed at and forgotten, there actually does exists a Chinese matriarchal tribe where things are seemingly always at peace. Also known as the Kingdom of Daughters, the Mosuo Tribe have been in existence for the past two thousand years in the Lugu Lake region of Southern China.

In the Mosuo tribe, women rule. To such an extent that their language doesn’t even have a word for ‘father’. Property is handed down from mother to daughter, and sons are treated as simple inhabitants of the house. Even after they are married with children of their own, the men continue to live in their maternal homes, while children live in the home of the mother. In fact, there isn’t even a concept of formal marriage. Couples who fall in love meet in the home of the woman, and continue to refer to each other as ‘friends’. Vows and bonds have no place in a “walking marriage” system where mutual affection is valued.

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Young Comatose Patient Loved to Shoot Hoops

Her eyes looked dazed, her expression blank. And yet, her hands worked in perfect coordination, shooting a basketball through the hoop with practiced precision. This is the story of 18-year-old Maggie Meier who was able to shoot hoops while comatose, at age 14.

In 2008, Maggie started to complain of headaches and suffered nonstop seizures. At the time, she was a freshman and star athelete at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kansas. When she was taken in to the hospital, she was diagnosed with a rare brain infection called mycoplasma meningoencephalitis that causes swelling in the brain. Maggie soon slipped into a coma, and remained in a vegetative state for nearly three months. During that time, her family made sure she was moved every two hours so her limbs didn’t stiffen up. And so that she wouldn’t forget her identity, a basketball was put in her hands as she sat upright on a wheelchair. It was then that her dormant memory kicked in and she could shoot hoops for a while, before slipping back into a coma.

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The Amazing Shadow Paintings of Rashad Alakbarov

Using various everyday objects and back light, Azerbaijani artist Rashad Alakbarov creates mind-blowing shadow paintings.

It always amazes me what some people can achieve by using the simplest materials and their imagination. Rashad Alakbarov is definitely one of these incredible individuals; using common items like empty plastic bottles, metal pipes or simple pieces of plastic and back light, he creates amazing works of art. Either by hanging these items from the ceiling, or carefully positioning them on a table, Alakbarov manages to produce incredible shadow paintings.

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South-African Company Offers All Kinds of Services Performed in the Nude

Hiring people to strip at a bachelor’s party has been a long-standing and extremely popular tradition. That’s why this South-African company wants to take it one step, or rather several steps further. Natural Cleaning Co. is “the world’s only all-naked service company.” With a description like that, I’m pretty darn sure they’re never going out of business.

The 1-month-old companywas founded by Jean-Paul Reid, who couldn’t find a decent job as an accountant. Their website is quite interesting, with pictures of the ‘Gorgeous Staff’ and ‘Tempting Services’ that include semi-naked and naked cleaners, lawyers, accountants, computer geeks and handy men. They even let clients customize their own nude service where they can provide their own entertainment request for an hour. The only thing the company does not condone is prostitution, which is a point stressed by Reid. The aim of Natural Cleaning Co. is purely to provide entertainment, he says.

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Mom Gives Daughter Plastic Surgery Voucher for Her EIGHTH Birthday

“Turning eight is the new 18” – I seriously wonder how and where people get such ideas. But, apparently they do, and 51-year-old Sarah Burge is one of them. She thinks it’s perfectly normal to gift her 7-year-old daughter plastic surgery gift vouchers worth £8,000 ($12,700).

The vouchers are meant to be a present for the occasion of Poppy Burge’s 8th birthday. At an age when most girls expect to be given dolls or a new bike, a plastic surgery gift is absolutely bizarre. More so, since Poppy is so young that even her front two teeth are yet to come in. It’s no surprise that Sarah herself is a plastic surgery addict, having spent over £250,000 ($400,000) on altering her own appearance. So according to her, all she’s doing is giving her daughter a chance to be happy with her looks and grow up with confidence. “I’m investing in my child’s future. I’m giving Poppy the freedom to do what she wants,” says Sarah. “That’s what Poppy wants for her birthday.”

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Wacky Therapist Swings Toddlers Around Like Dolls in Bizarre Baby Yoga Routine

If I told you of a place where babies are repeatedly flipped, spun, swung and dunked underwater, you’d waste no time it telling me it was baby-hell. Or at least some kind of baby-torture camp. But it’s neither. It’s really just a session of Baby Dynamics.

People who are not familiar with the routines involved in baby dynamics are usually, and quite understandably, horrified. Especially when the babies being subjected to the movements are obviously uncomfortable, crying and even vomiting. But the practitioner Lena Fokina simply smiles and asserts that it’s all good for the babies. The 51-year-old Russian has been practicing the techniques of baby dynamics for over 30 years and guarantees that no harm has ever been done to a baby she has handled. “It’s very good for babies and not dangerous at all,” she says. “Some babies cry at first, but then they begin to enjoy it.”

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The Flying Men of Bolivia’s Yungas Valley

It truly amazes me how people are able to find great shortcuts in any kind of situation. A while ago, we wrote about Bamboo Drifting , which was a means to cross rivers in China by balancing on a thin bamboo pole. Deep valleys exist in the jungles of Bolivia too, but the locals have chosen flying over rowing, and it’s much faster. On foot, the journey would take a good 1 hour, as they’d have to walk down to the bottom, cross the river and climb up the other side. But 30 seconds is all it takes for the people of Yungas Valley to fly across.

No, they haven’t mysteriously sprouted wings, nor do they use any fancy machines. Their flying equipment is simple – 20 ropes strung across the valley with old rusting pulleys, 200 meters above the river and stretching as long as 400 meters. Several of the local cocoa harvesters, the Cocaleros, use the ropes every day to travel to and fro along with their goods. They tie themselves to the pulleys using strips of fabric, and glide across effortlessly. Branches and leaves are used as brakes to stop themselves so they don’t end up crashing into the other side.

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Rules Are Simple at Atherstone Ball Game – Just Don’t Kill Anyone

Festival games are really fun to watch, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be in one like the Atherstone Ball Game. I’ve always followed the Spanish La Tomatina with interest, so when I heard about the Atherstone Ball Game, I had to find out more. Considered to be one of the oldest traditions of England, it is played in Atherstone, Warwickshire, as a part of Mardi Gras celebrations each year. For over 800 years, hundreds of men have gathered on the streets of the town to fight for a giant ball. The man who emerges in possession of the ball at the end of two hours of pushing, shoving and punching, is the winner.

The various traditions followed as a part of the festive day are quite interesting. The preparations for the game start early in the morning, with shop owners boarding up windows for protection. At 2.30pm, children start gathering under Barclays Bank. Pennies and sweets are showered on them from the balcony. Later, at around 3pm, the men start to assemble in anticipation of the ball game. A selected dignitary finally throws the ball into the crowd from a window above, and then all hell breaks loose.

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Woman Desperate to Find a Job Sells Herself on eBay

“For sale – a willing and able permanent or temporary employee’ – reads the eBay ad. It’s quite unusual for the e-commerce website where merchants are more interested in selling goods. But 38-year-old Deborah Bowen had no other choice but to try and sell herself on eBay, having had no proper employment for over 2 years. She went from a £33,000 per year role in sales, to looking for jobs where she’s willing to do almost ‘anything’ for a living.

In the last couple of years, Bowen has been sending out her resume to hundreds of recruiters and prospective employers. She didn’t even leave out local plumber’s merchants in the hope of receiving some sort of permanent employment. But all she could find was part-time work, sometimes paying as low as £6.6 per hour. Bowen and her partner have been struggling to make mortgage repayments and are facing eviction from their home in Gloucester. With the next payment due in March, she is desperate to try anything and hence decided to try out eBay.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #29

17 Spectacular Pictures of Siberia’s Altai Mountains (Environmental Graffiti)

Couple Makes Lovely Art Out of Beach’s Plastic Trash (Laughing Squid)

Write a Bike – Conceptual Bikes Made Incorporate Names (Behance Network)

Wold’s Shortest Man Measures 55cm (

Slovaks to Name Bridge After Chuck Norris, making It Indestructible (AFP)

Supermanning Is the New Planking (YouTube)

White English Teacher Quits School to Become a Rapper (Orange)

Pregnant Woman Has a Taste for Her Local Newspaper (The Sun)

BASE Jumping from the Top of Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower (Environmental Graffiti)

Chinese Make iPhone Branded Tabletop Stoves (Geekologie)

16-Year-Old Girl Is a Real-Life Barbie

Everyone meet Dakota (at least I think that’s her real name),  she’s a 16-year-old girl who goes by KotaKoti and looks a lot like a Barbie doll. Recently, photos of her have gone viral on several Asia and Arabic social sites because of her incredible resemblance to Barbie.

I stumbled upon some photos of KotaKoti while browsing a popular Vietnamese site for weird stories (yes, I do actually visit a lot Vietnamese sites, where else do you think I find all this crazy stuff) and was stunned by the resemblance between this girl and the popular Barbie doll. I mean, in some photos Iwas having trouble figuring out if she is actually a real person or just a life-size toy. I wasn’t able to find a lot of info on her, as she doesn’t seem to be as popular on western websites, and although she has her very own blog, it doesn’t have an “About” page or anything like that.

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Seo Young Deok’s Bicycle Chain Sculptures Are Off the Chain

You’ve probably sculptures made from bicycle chains, but I bet they’re nothing like the ones created by South Korean artist, Seo Young Deok.

The incredible ‘works of Seo Young Deok are clearly inspired by the shapes of the human body, but artists have been sculpting masterpieces based on our natural curves for hundreds of years. What makes this Korean designer special is the material he uses for his unique creations – bicycle chains. Miles of metal chains, to be exact, welded in such a way that they recreate the human body to the finest details. Deok says he finds inspiration for his art in crowded markets, and metro or bus stations, but also in Buddhist sculptures and paintings, which he has alway admired. “I like Asia Beauty” he says, “so most features of my work seem to take an Asiatic pose”.

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