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Kihnu – The Estonian Island Where Women Are in Charge

There is a piece of Estonian land where men are a very rare sight. The island of Kihnu, located in the Baltic Sea, seven miles off the country’s west coast, is a domain ruled by women. This quaint place of pastoral tranquility and just 400 inhabitants is one of the world’s last matriarchal societies.

It’s not that the women of Kihnu have anything against men; it’s just that they have no choice but hold the social and administrative reins. That’s because the male population is away for months on end, providing for the small community by fishing. This leaves the ladies responsible for running things and they have been doing so for centuries – raising the kids, working in the fields, and handling matters of governance.

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This Landfill Diner in Indonesia Lets Patrons Pay for Food with Plastic Waste

An extraordinary new restaurant in Semarang, Indonesia is on a mission to support locals trapped in poverty, many of whome are earning less than $25 (USD) a month, by providing them with an alternative way to pay for their food.

The Methane Gas Canteen, run by husband and wife team Sarimin and Suyatmi, is located in an unexpected place for an eatery – Jatibarang Landfill in Semarang, Central Java. The landfill is a mountain of putrifying waste, where poor locals spend their days scavenging plastic and glass to sell. Meanwhile, the couple, who spent 40 years collecting waste before opening the restaurant, is busy cooking.

What makes the restaurant unusual, aside from its location, is that no cash is required to pay for meals. Poor scavengers have the option to pay for their food with recyclable waste instead of hard currency. Saramin, 56, weighs the plastic customers bring in, calculates its worth, and then deducts that value from the cost of the meal, refunding any surplus value to the patron. The scheme is part of the community’s solution to reduce waste in the landfill and recycle non-degradable plastics.

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Snowflake, Arizona – A Desert Refuge for People Allergic to Modern Life

A tiny off-grid community in Snowflake, Arizona has become a refuge for people suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Often referred to as Environmental Illness, (EI), the condition is a chronic disorder in which exposure to everyday chemicals and technology causes symptoms of varying intensity.

Some of the symptoms of MCS are merely annoying and range from muscle pain to general fatigue. Others are reportedly crippling, such as intense nausea, migraines, sudden panic, and even vertigo. Sufferers claim that their symptoms coincide with exposure to chemicals and technologies around them, such as fragrances, synthetic fabrics, pesticides, and Wi-Fi. Most doctors hesitate to legitimise the condition, citing lack of scientific evidence, calling it a psycho-social condition with acute physical symptoms. For this reason, sufferers, who typically are self-diagnosed, often have difficulty finding medical help for the disease and have to resort to alternative treatments.

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Mystery Surrounding Ancient City Build Atop Coral Reefs Leaves Scientists Baffled

In a remote region of the western Pacific, just north of the equator, lies the ruins of the ancient and enigmatic city of Nan Madol. The magnificent ruin, built in a lagoon on the east side of Micronesian island Pohnpei, consists of 92 artificial islets constructed on coral reefs which are linked by a network of canals, giving it the nickname Venice of the Pacific.

Nan Madol is an engineering wonder, with massive basalt walls reaching 16 meters high in some places. Carbon dating indicates the structures are around 900 years old, but the islets themselves date even further back to the 8th and 9th centuries AD. The basalt stones originated on the opposite side of Pohnpei from a volcanic plug, where magma had hardened within the vent of an active volcano. What has modern archeologists mystified is how these massive stones were moved from one side of Pohnpei to the other using what primitive technology would have been available at the time. Furthermore, once the basalt had been successfully transported, it would have then been hoisted to heights of 16 meters. The effort required to build the megalithic structures would have rivaled that of the Egyptian pyramids, with a total area of 75 hectares, and an estimated total weight of 750,000 metric tons.

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Vietnam’s “Old Flames” Market, Where Jilted Lovers Sell Memorabilia from Failed Relationships

In Hanoi Vietnam, a young entrepreneur called Dinh Thang has found a creative solution to the post break-up blues. Instead of wallowing among the leftover relics of failed relationships, such as love letters and clothing, Thang has boxed them up and put a price tag on them. In February 2017 he founded the Old Flames Market where the broken hearted can gather together and sell the remnants of their affairs to curious customers.

“This fair is only one of those many cool ideas my friends and I came up with after a chit chat about ex-girlfriends, boyfriends, and things,” Thang told Vietnam News*. “After the break-ups, we found there were many objects left in our homes by old lovers, and we do not want to see them again since they remind us of unhappy memories. However, these things were still in good shape. It would harm the environment if we tossed them away. Then, we thought we should make an exchange with other people, so the objects would find new owners. They can buy new, good objects and we protect the environment. It’s a win-win.”

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World’s First Holiday Resort for Plus-Sized Tourists Features Reinforced Beds, Extra-Wide Chairs

Known as a sanctuary for plus-sized people looking to have a good time without feeling embarrassed about their weight, The Resort is believed to be the world’s first and only vacationing retreat for the obese.

Hidden away on the island of Eleuthera, in the heart of the Caribbean, The Resort opened its gates two years ago, and has since become popular among overweight tourists looking for an exotic and judgement-free holiday destination. The entire complex was built from the ground up with obese people in mind. The doorways are wider than usual, the extra-strong beds are reinforced with  two bars of steel to support hundreds of pounds, and the chairs and loungers are a meter wide and made of a particularly strong wood. Even the toilets are custom made to support heavier frames.

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“Asia’s Cleanest Village” Sets Example for the World

From discarded plastic bottles and wrappers to the cow dung littering the streets of major cities like Delhi, trash is a big problem in India, but not in the small village of Mawlynnong. People here have zero tolerance for garbage and spend a lot of their time making sure every square inch of their village is spotless.

Mawlynnong first made news headlines in 2003, when a journalist from Discover Magazine dubbed it “Asia’s cleanest village”. After hearing about this place where everyone, from young children to the elderly, was dedicated to maintaining a state of complete cleanliness, he decided to investigate, and was so impressed by what he witnessed during his stay that he deemed Mawlynnong worthy of the title of cleanest village in all of Asia. His article drew a lot of attention to the community of around 600 people in the Indian state of Meghalaya, and people from all over the world started traveling there to see this example of cleanliness for themselves.

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The Alaskan Town Where Bald Eagles Are as Common as Pigeons

The majestic bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but most Americans are lucky to see one first-hand during their lifetimes. Unless they live in the town of Unalaska, Alaska, where bald eagles are as common as pigeons are in other human settlements.

Unalaska is home to around 4,700 people who have to share their space with over 600 beautiful bald eagles. It looks and sounds like something out of a fairytale, but it turns out that sharing your home with territorial predators also has its downsides. For one thing, you’re more likely to get attacked by a bald eagle in Unalaska than anywhere else in the US, and locals constantly have to keep an eye out for the birds, especially when going near their nests. They apparently hate it when people get too close.

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The Old Motorcycle Worshiped as a Deity in India

In the Indian state of Rajasthan, some 50 km from the city of Jodhpur, along National Highway 65, there is a temple. That, in itself, is not unusual, as temples are virtually everywhere in India, but what is strange is that the deities worshiped here are an old Royal Enfield 350cc motorcycle and its deceased owner.

The story of “Om Bana” or “Bullet Baba” temple dates back to an accident that occurred almost three decades ago.  On December 23rd, 1988, Om Singh Rathore, the 23-year-old son of a village elder in Chotila, Pali district, was riding home on his motorcycle when he lost control, hit a tree and was catapulted into a 20-foot, where he died on the spot. His body was discovered the next day, and the broken “Bullet” motorcycle was taken to the police station. And that’s where things start to get weird.

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Costa Rica’s Turquoise River – A Natural Optical Illusion

Up until four years ago, Rio Celeste, a 14-kilometer river in Costa Rica’s Alajuela province, was a complete mystery to scientists, who could not understand why its waters had an unusual turquoise color. And then they realized that it wasn’t turquoise at all.

Theories regarding the turquoise color of Rio Celeste had been circulating in the scientific community for years, but nobody had ever managed to provide enough evidence to solve this natural enigma. Some claimed that the unusual coloring was caused by high levels of copper, but tests revealed that there was no copper in the water, others said that it was due to chemicals like calcium carbonate and sulfur, and some even connected it to the river’s proximity to the Tenorio Volcano. Everyone was so convinced that a mysterious chemical reaction was turning the water turquoise that they never even entertained the possibility of an optical illusion.

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Hallerbos – The Blue Forest of Belgium

Most times of the year, Hallerbos is a beautiful but unremarkable forest in central Belgium, near Brussels. However, in mid-April and all through May, it turns into the Blue Forest, a fairytale-like natural attraction unlike any other.

The Blue Forest of Belgium gets its intriguing name from the vibrant carpet of bluebells that replaces the usual brown floor of the forest. Imagine millions of flowers covering the ground as far as the eye can see and you can get a pretty good idea of what this place is like in full-bloom. Bluebell forests are not unusual in Europe, but what makes Hallerbos unique is the density of the flowers that make its floor look like a living carpet.

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This Chilean Sanctuary Gives Rescued Farm Animals the Love and Affection They Deserve

If there is such a place as heaven for farm animals, it must be a lot like Santuario Igualdad Interspecies, an incredible sanctuary for domestic animals destined for slaughter or left for dead. Here, not only do they get to live in perfect peace and harmony, but they receive all the love and affection they deserve.

A couple of days ago, I cam across this incredible video of a man cuddling with a grown cow. The animal seemed to be enjoying the human affection immensely, and responded by gently laying its head on the man’s chest and closing its eyes in delight as he petted and kissed its neck. It was very touching, and I decided that I had to learn more about it. I soon discovered an entire YouTube channel full of similar videos of two people affectionately interacting with various farm animals, like pigs, goats or ducks. They were shot at Santuario Igualdad Interspecie, a small animal sanctuary, in Chile, where tending to the emotional needs of rescued farm animals is of the utmost importance.

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The Eerie Tree Carvings of Perryville Park, in Maryland

Maryland’s Cecil County is home to many interesting parks, but none more mysterious and disturbing than the Perryville Community Park, in Perryville, where around 100 trees are marked by eerie messages left by patients from a veteran psychiatric and rehabilitation center, decades ago.

Before becoming a public park, the land was owned by the nearby Perry Point VA Hospital, and some of its former patients carved their disturbed thoughts into the trees. Over time, the words and drawings etched into the tree bark have grown larger, drawing the attention of curious passers-by. Interestingly, even though the mark trees of Perryville Community Park have become quite popular among fans of eerie tourist attractions, and even gotten their own Wikipedia entry, few residents of the Maryland town know about them and their history.

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The World’s Most Amazing Five-a-Side Football Field

This photo of a five-a-side football field surrounded by lush greenery in the jungle of Sabah, Malaysia, has been doing the rounds on the internet for the last few days. And for good reason, as it looks like a place that can only exist in someone’s fantasy.

The picture was captured by a teacher at the Longongon National School, in Nabawan, Malaysia, using a Mavic Pro drone. It shows the unreal-looking pitch located on a greenery-covered hillside, with thick vines seemingly encroaching on the playing field. Allowing the thick layer of living plants to completely take over the fencing around the pitch was apparently by design, as this helps cool the players during hot summer days and provides much-needed fresh air.

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The Bottle Cap Alley – A Dumping Ground Turned Tourist Attraction

Bottle Cap Alley is a unique roadside attraction located at the north edge of the Texas A&M University campus, in College Station Texas. As the name suggests, it is paved with hundreds of thousands – by some accounts, millions – of beer and soda bottle caps.

No one knows exactly how the tradition of paving the 50-meter-long by 2-meters-across alley with metal caps began, but seeing as it is located between the iconic Dry Bean pub and the Dixie Chicken restaurant, some people believe that it started out as a dumping site for the two establishments. Patrons who took their drinks outside followed their example, and as word of the Bottle Cap Alley spread, other local bars started bringing in their nightly haul of bottle caps here as well. It is estimated that the tradition goes back four decades.

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