Anyone who grew up playing with LEGOs knows there is something quite satisfying about assembling the small colorful blocks to build a castle, car, spaceship, landmark or other magical creation. LEGO buffs also know what a treat it was to graduate from regular blocks to special building sets, which allowed them to construct near-exact replicas of their favorite characters and scenes.
Standing at the southernmost tip of Africa, it is easy to think there is nothing in the great blue beyond until Antarctica. However, halfway between these continents lies Bouvet Island, an uninhabited landmass so remote it has earned the unofficial nickname of “The Loneliest Place on Earth.”
In most Western cultures, death is considered a sad occasion and discussions on the topic are often avoided. However, Mexicans have a different view. Once a year, from October 31 to November 2, people throughout Mexico honor the memory of family members and friends who have died, during the “Day of the Dead” (Dia de Los Muertos) celebration.
Every year on the last full moon in the lunar month of Phalguna, between the end of February and the middle of March, villages across India become awash in color. During this time, men and women, rich and poor, old and young, and locals and visitors come together for the joyous Hindu celebration of “Holi.”
As the birthplace of jazz music, New Orleans, Louisiana, has no shortage of music venues. Amid the eclectic street performers on Frenchmen Street and numerous jazz halls dotting the city, one institution stands out for its legacy of preserving, protecting and perpetuating traditional New Orleans Jazz, the aptly named “Preservation Hall.”
In the far northwest corner of Mongolia, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) across Russian and Chinese mountains from Kazakhstan, there is a community of 87,000 people that still live by the traditions of their ancestors. The Kazakh eagle hunters that inhabit these lands are descendants of Huns, and Turkic, Mongolic and Indo-Iranian indigenous groups who lived in this area.
Long before there was a modern trend of minimalistic living, the British Romani, or gypsies knew how to live simply. As a nomadic culture, they traveled only with what they could carry or fit into a cart or wagon.
Longyearbyen, Norway, a small coal-mining town near the Arctic, might be one of the most interesting cities in the world, despite having just over 2,000 residents. Why the intrigue? It’s illegal to die here.
In the 1930s, London city apartments were decorated with protruding cages that stuck out like air conditioning units. Babies were placed in these baskets as parents enjoyed the idea of actively “airing” their toddlers out to promote health, a fad that emerged in many popular parenting books at the time.
Oh, those wacky Swiss. As if those giant horns, yodeling, and Heidi weren’t crazy enough, consider the antics that transpire around New Year’s Eve in the tiny Canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, in North-East Switzerland.