Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 199

…”Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single…

“What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew,” counters Polly Pabst.

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear, it’s…I’ll explain it in the car…we’ll be seeing you again Polly.” Ace predicts that they will be back. “Did you ever have a pet rabbit?”

“No, we had a parakeet.”

“Then order the meat loaf, if they have it”Luft's-001

Not far down the road, tucked into a lightly forested foothill, they locate Luft’s Route 67 Inn. It is a “motel” by every definition: 10 or so rooms on ground level, each with their own door.

The kindly innkeeper takes their money and passes a register Ace’s way. Mr. and Mrs. Caraway are now official, if not unofficially married guests in Eagle, in the short time before heading into Cooney (Oconomowoc’s  odd nickname).

“Ajax Caraway, that definitely has a ring to it,” therein lays the root of Constance still being single. If she could figure out a way to keep her surname, maybe she could bridge that commitment disconnect.

Once you wing your way north out of Eagle, the terrain flattens out, carved smooth by ice age glaciers. The forests thin out, exposing acres of corn fields and large fenced in pastures that nourish hundreds of Holsteins, the four-legged machines whose milk help make this America’s Dairyland.

pabst-farms-signIf your destination is Oconomowoc Lake, you never do make it to the city proper, having to veer off of Hwy. 67 to less obvious road choices. Bodies of water dictate where roads go and if you come upon a fork in that road, you are given the opportunity to make a wrong turn.

To the right, you will pass away from the lake and the fields of Pabst Farms, 1500 acres of working agriculture that acts as a buffer zone; the Pabst family and Al Capone’s lawyer are tucked away on sprawling acreage.

Hang a left and you will soon see the waters of one of the cleanest fresh water lakes in the state. Sure, the winter’s ice is still floating off shore, but the Caraways can understand why this hidden gem is the destination for meat packers, brewery owners and gangsters; Armour, Miller, Uihlein and Capone; mansion after mansion line the hills along Beach Road, which runs along the western shore.

Right before you round the corner again, just as Ace’s friend’s directions say, P.A. Valentine’s Danforth Lodge sits high above, the royal landlord to the rest of the lake’s residences.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Oconomowoc Lake Club

Forever Mastadon


page 167

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 198

…Wouldn’t you know, both liver & onions and  meat loaf are not a part of today’s menu…

Pabst Diner Menu-001

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”

“That is locally caught perch with rye bread and a choice of coleslaw or french fries,” the waitress, a young woman with a farm girl look, recites by heart.

Guest check-001

“Can we have both,” asks Ace. “We are starved. It’s been a long drive.”

“Chicago… that will be $1 dollar extra.” She is unintentionally ambiguous.

“Is the dollar for coming from Chicago or the extra food?”

She ignores the question as stated, “We get a lot of folks from Chicago in here, but you two are way more polite than most; you don’t even sound like you’re from the north. I’m good at guessing where a folk is from.”

“Give it a shot darlin’. I’ve got an Alexander Hamilton here that says you can’t guess what states we are from.”

She looks around, after seeing there are no other customers, then offers, “The lady looks like a true Southern Belle, maybe Georgia or the Panhandle.” She looks at Ace from his head and stopping at his feet, “You sir are from Texas.”

“Tallahassee, Florida,” CC raises her hand, while Ace adds, “Austin, Texas and I bet my rattlesnake boots gave me away.”

She grabs the $10 Silver Certificate and stuffs it into her apron, “Do you want tartar sauce?”

“I like you, you, you are ____,” prompts Ace?

“Polly, Polly Pabst.”

“I like you Polly Pabst, but I wouldn’t play poker against you; you’re cold.”

“I have a mortgage to pay.”

“We are headed to Oconomowoc; do you have a name of a good place to stay for a couple days?” Constance is planning ahead.

“Cooney is only 20 miles away…we have a cute motel on the north side of Eagle, you can’t miss it. Are you two married?”

The would-be overnighters look at each other and say jointly, “Yes-no, no-yes.”

“I ain’t being nosey, just that the older gentleman running the place used to be the preacher over at the Lutheran church and his wife is a bit of a prude.”

“We thank you for the head’s up,” Constance locks arms with Ace as they head out. “What is the Saturday Special?”

“Hasenpfeffer stew.”

“What kind of stew is that?”

“German for good, let’s go dear.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 166

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 197

…they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles…

ROAD TRIP-001Thanks to a State Farm Travel Atlas and Ace’s keen sense of direction, they do not get lost on the twisting 130 mile trail through the Dairy State. Once they pick up Highway 67 outside of Lake Geneva, all signs count down the mileage remaining until you reach the city with the 5 letter Oconomowoc-001‘O’s in it. The road sign reads:

There are only 3 towns of note on this two-lane highway, an indication that there isn’t much else along the way. “You don’t go to Yellowstone Park to see skyscrapers,” the driver makes an analogy.

But not before they traverse the un-glaciated sliver of land named the Kettle Moraine State Park; bluffs, hogbacks, escarpments and kettles give it an out-of-place feel. “Are we still in the U.S.?” asks the passenger, even though she is the wiser.

Pabst Diner-001“Can we stop for a cup of coffee?” At 108 miles out of they have reached the inconspicuous berg named Eagle, 500 some odd folks who thrive on people traveling by automobile, hence the two filling stations, a general store and the Blue Ribbon Diner.

“I bet you that restaurant has coffee and a good home Pabst Diner Menu-001cooked meal,” Ace guesses. “Liver and onions, that’s what I’m hoping is on the menu.”

“Eeeuuwww!” Connie holds her nose. “I’ll settle for meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”

They stroll through the wooden screen door and discover a place frozen in time, like it hadn’t changed, even the stools at the lunch counter, since the 1920’s.

Wouldn’t you know, both of their menu wishes are not a part of the handwritten chalkboard list that includes homemade: chicken soup, pot roast, clam chowder and today’s special, the Friday Fish Fry.

“Liver and onion Special is on Sunday,” the cook (with long ears) reports from the back.

The would-be diners look at each other and say jointly, “We’ll have the fish fry.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Kettle_Moraine

Forever Mastadon


page 166

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 196

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 196

…Come to think of it, you seem to know just about every Tom, Dick and Harry around this and every other country…

Tom Dick Harry

You don’t have hit old Ace over the head with a hammer. He can tell that Connie is feeling left out and now that April has rolled around, outdoor activity possibilities are sprouting just like the crocuses and tulips. Having spent her time in the nation’s second biggest city bundled up and dodging frozen precipitation, it is time come out of recreational hibernation.

“Well, as luck would have it, I have a friend who is an executive at Armour Meats up in Milwaukee and he has told me that one of the most lavish country estates in mid-America may be torn down soon. He said that if I wanted to see it, he would meet me there for a personal tour.”

“Just who isn’t an old friend AB? Come to think of it, you seem to know just about every Tom, Dick and Harry around this and every other country, than Eddie Dombroski has cousins!”

Eddie's Cousins-001

“Now hold on CC; I’m not talking about some schmuck shirttail relative here,” he is offended by being compared to a Chicago cabbie.

“Take it easy here Ace. Don’t be flappin’ your flaps. Eddie’s cousins are merely closer to home than yours and his stories… are stories.”

“But mine help get us around the world.” He should know better. “Okay, I get it. I should know better than to minimize one of your pals.”

“Alright then, your bud is a businessman in Milwaukee…? That is in Wisconsin. Is that where the estate is?”

“No it’s on Oconomowoc Lake.”

“I-can-no-more-walk on a lake?” Connie’s ears are playing tricks.

“No, o-c-o-n-o-m-o-w-o-c,” he is reading off a piece of paper or he would not come off so phonetically smart. “From what I gather, Oconomowoc Lake is the playground for the captains of industry and gangsters from Saint Louis to Chicago.”

“Gangsters, oh swell. Shouldn’t we be getting away from them?”

“Retired gangsters.”

“That’s better.” She reframes her position. “It would be nice driving through some scenic home-grown countryside for a change. Italy was a great adventure, but I want to cruise, not fly, out of Illinois on fresh pavement and forget about creeps for awhile.

“Let’s see what we can see, go where the wind blows us, miles and miles of smiles, up one hill and down another……”

“How about, we see if you can steer an automobile better than you can land an airplane!”

Constance hits below the belt. What’s new.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 165

 

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 195

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 195

“Get up & stretch your legs, as Constance Caraway and her dashing friend Ace Bannion contemplate taking a side-trip.”

Chapter Seventeen

CALL HIM ISAAC

“When will the plane be fixed,” Constance asks a typical girl question, when the answer is guaranteed not to be a simple one.

Ace Bannion uses his teaspoon to stir his bowl of Corn Flakes, mixing the sugar down into the milk. “You know, I never used to like milk CC or boxed cereal for that matter.”

“What did you used to eat for breakfast, oh never mind, you’re changing the subject! That big thing you ditched on its belly, when does it get back in the air?”

“The Angel has an upset stomach,” Ace uses human terms to describe considerable fuselage damage. “But the Douglas sabotagerepair shop cannot touch her until the Civil Aeronautics Board can trace any possible sabotage back to Kansas City.”

“Dirty pool, I’d say,” she said with more than token certainty.

“Those guys need to be taken down; you don’t mess with thirty-five lives and get away with it. And with the Crusade switching to bus mode, for who knows how long, could be months, Billy told me to relax and make sure the rest of the schedule is tied up in a tidy bow.”

“Fanny and Worth are taking care of security for the Crusade for the next month, so that gives us a few days to burn, any ideas?,” Constance isn’t one for sitting around.

“It looks like Worth is fitting in quite nicely,” Ace is surprised that Fanny has brought the Tallahassee attorney into CCI’s everyday operations.

“Yes he is, filling a huge need since we have taken control of Graham security. They work so well together,” which is quite an adjustment for a previously small firm like theirs, “but that is them and we are us.”

You don’t have hit old Ace over the head with a hammer. He can tell that Connie is feeling left out and now that April has rolled around.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 164

Not Your Granddad’s Christmas – WIF Customs and Traditions

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Unusual Christmas

Traditions From

Around the World

In the United States, Christmas is celebrated in ways that are, at least to Americans, fairly banal by now. America and a lot of Western countries with extremely similar traditions (many of which are provide the origin of US traditions) have a Santa Claus figure who brings gifts to the good children, many people go to church, and of course, there’s all the delicious food and time spent with family. However, while these traditions are perfectly enjoyable, many other countries or cultures have Christmas celebrations and traditions that many Americans might find quite zany, but would also likely consider to be a lot of fun.

10. The Japanese Eat KFC On Christmas

In America and many Western countries, Christmas dinner is usually an absolutely ridiculous affair. Aside from a giant turkey being fairly traditional, people will also go to great lengths to make side dish after side dish, sometimes spending the whole day (or even days before) preparing the meal. However, in Japan, things are done a bit differently. Now, people in Japan don’t really celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday (most Japanese people are Shinto), but over the past few decades, they have made up their own Christmas tradition that they are now quite wild for.

It started out in 1970, when the manager of the first KFC in Japan, Takeshi Okawara, heard some Americans talking about how hard it was to get a turkey in Japan for Christmas and how much they missed that, and he had a light bulb moment to bring Americans who had moved to Japan a taste of Christmas. He created what he called, at the time, the KFC Party Barrel, and it took off with the Japanese public — even those who knew little or didn’t care about Christmas. Nowadays, people reserve their KFC Christmas order weeks in advance, and lines on the day of stretch out the door, often reaching 10-times usual sales. These are not your normal KFC boxes, either, as they often contain things like chocolate cake and champagne as well.

9. The American Jewish Tradition Of Eating Chinese And Going To The Movies

In recent years, a meme has been passed around showing a sign written — supposedly by the Chinese Restaurant Association of America — saying they don’t understand why Jewish people eat at Chinese restaurants on Christmas, but that they appreciate the business all the same. While the meme is of dubious veracity, the tradition itself is certainly real. It stretches all the way back to 1899, when Jewish newspapers would criticize Jewish people for eating at Chinese restaurants, for fear of breaking Kosher.

Today, most American Jews do go out for Chinese on Christmas, and often go to see a movie as well. This isn’t because Jewish people have a religious reason that forces them to eat Chinese on Christmas, as the alleged meme suggests, but because it’s the only thing that is ever open. Of course, when it comes to doing something besides eating, you are pretty much just left with going to the movies, which has also become a very common tradition for American Jews. It’s a way for them to not feel entirely left out, or at least stuck inside, on a day where most places shut down.

8. The Catalan Poop Log

Some people may think Mr. Hanky from South Park is bizarre and gross, but oftentimes truth is actually both stranger, and grosser, than fiction. In the Catalan region of Spain, people still celebrate the holidays with a traditional poop log. The log isn’t made out of actual poop — it is made out of wood. However, the log is made up to look kind of like a sentient poop log, and is brought out on the feast of the immaculate conception. Children spend the days up until Christmas Eve ritually “feeding” the log every night, and even go so far as to make sure it’s tucked in with a nice warm blanket.

On Christmas Eve, the children beat the fake poop log with sticks and sing songs about having good bowel movements, before finally removing the blanket to find treats and gifts underneath the log. This is may sound disgusting to most people, but to the people of Catalan, it is a tradition that goes back a long way, and has its roots centered in wishing(s) of good health. Another strange tradition in Catalan is a man named Caganer, who is depicted as a statue of a man squatting and defecating, often by the nativity scene. While some may consider this disrespectful, it is really just a ritual to bring fertility in farming for the next year.

7. The Chinese Sort Of Celebrate Christmas, But In A Very Different Way Than Most Countries

As many people know, China isn’t exactly all that friendly to religious people. While laws restricting religion have relaxed somewhat over the years, it is still not easy to be religious. If you want to join the Communist Party, and have any real power in the country, you have to entirely denounce religion. Christmas is observed by many non-Christians in China, but the observation is much more secular, as China has had a real war on religious celebrations for quite some time.

However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun time; you just cannot expect it to have the religious solemnity or significance you are used to. Chinese people celebrate it more like a holiday where you go out and spend time with friends, instead of staying at home to be with family like many do on Christmas. In China, Santas will show up at the mall — typically in groups — with several of Santa’s “sisters” instead of the usual elves. The sisters are usually good-looking young women dressed vaguely like American “elves.” Giving away apples on Christmas is also a common tradition, often decorated with various well wishes since the word apple sounds close to the greeting for Christmas Eve in Mandarin.

6. In Venezuela, They Roller Skate To Church On Christmas Day

As a country, Venezuela is going through a rough patch right now, but their economy and government were in a much better position not even that long ago — they’ve recently had a dramatic drop in oil production that’s had an enormous impact on the nation. Despite the toll the oil drop has taken on their economy and political stability, the country still has a certain sort of whimsy about it, and there are some Christmas traditions that will likely live on even in the worst of times.

One of the strangest traditions in Venezuela is that they like to roller skate to church on Christmas Day. In fact, the government is so used to this happening that they close the streets until about 8 a.m. on Christmas morning to make the roads safer for the ridiculous amount of people who go to church as a family… on roller skates. Some of the priests are not particularly enthralled, and will attempt to get their congregations to refrain, but it hasn’t seemed to have slowed down the tradition in the least.

While no one knows what the reason behind the tradition is for sure, some suggest it may be an alternate to sledding or other winter sports often enjoyed around that season, as Venezuela does not have the climate. As well as riding around on roller skates, Venezuelans (if they can afford it) like to repaint their houses before Christmas, and firecrackers and other noisemakers and fireworks are a common sounds and sights on Christmas Day.

5. The Night Of The Radishes Is Celebrated The Day Before Christmas Eve In Oaxaca, Mexico

In Oaxaca, Mexico, every year on December 23 the town celebrates the Night of the Radishes, or Noche de Rabanos. This tradition sounds particularly bizarre, but it has roots (er, no pun intended) in practicality. Merchants back in 1897 were trying to find a way to attract shoppers going to and from church services, and started carving their radishes into crazy shapes, or making radish people or other ornaments. The mayor at the time was so pleased that he decided to make it an official celebration from then on.

People sometimes queue up for very long lines just to see and buy all the various radish sculptures and carvings that people have made. As the years have gone by, the radishes have become increasingly elaborate and large, but it isn’t size that really gets you the prize. The radishes are carved into figurines, or have scenes from the nativity or traditional Mexican culture carved in, and the very best artistic design gets a 12,000 peso prize. Now, these radishes aren’t really meant to be eaten, and go bad pretty quickly since they’ve been carved (you wouldn’t eat a Jack-o-Lantern, after all, right?, but the tradition has now become more about a celebration of art and culture than actual food.

4. La Befana — The Italian Christmas Witch

While some in the United States and other countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day or the Epiphany, only certain countries display particular reverence to them, and very few actually place more importance on either than Christmas. To most countries, these are sort of auxiliary holidays that are part of the “extended Christmas.” However, some countries don’t believe Christmas really ends until the Epiphany, and Italy in particular actually treats more Epiphany with more importance than Christmas itself, at least in terms of gift-giving traditions.

They do have a Santa figure named is Babbo Natale that is starting to catch on a bit more, and he’s pretty similar to most versions of Santa. However, their Christmas Witch, known as “La Befana” and the Epiphany Holiday she holds sway over is still much more popular. Her legend goes that the Three Kings were heading to the infant baby Jesus to give their gifts, and getting others nearby to go with them when she gave an excuse of being busy cleaning up her house. She realized her mistake the next day and rushed, still holding her broom to bring the baby a gift. But alas, it was too late. In order to make up for missing out on giving the newly born savior a gift, she has roamed the Earth ever since on her broom, giving toys to all the good little boys and girls, and coal to all the bad ones.

3. The Story Of “The Boy Who Ate Santa’s Cookies” Is Of Completely Unverifiable Veracity

Another tale that has been passed around is one the internet claims to originate from South Africa, and it tells the story of a boy named Danny who mischievously ate the cookies that were left out for Santa Claus. In the morning, his grandmother was so angry that she beat him to death. Seems a little harsh, but hey, she worked hard on those cookies. Anyway, now parents in South Africa tell this as a cautionary tale to their children so they won’t eat Santa’s cookies. In some versions of the tale, the boy comes back as some kind of ghost in order to haunt children who eat Santa’s cookies.

Now, while it’s an interesting (if horrific) story and definitely something that could be told by parents as a morality tale to their children, we were unable to find any verification online that the story is actually a real South African fable, or if it was made up whole cloth on the internet in order to troll people, or simply to amuse. Regardless, it is an interesting legend, and even if South African parents are not telling this story to their children, it does bring up some amusing questions. If Santa were real, what would he do if he found out you ate his cookies? Would you immediately make the naughty list? And just how naughty would Santa find you to be for your crime? And if you’re from South Africa, please let us now… is this a genuine fable? And do your grandmothers really get that made about cookies?

2. The Tradition In Spain Of Eating 12 Lucky Grapes And Wearing Red Underwear

While Spain has many normal Christmas traditions that, like many Western countries, place a great emphasis on the holiday, they also have some rather strange ones. Now, the strangest, and some of the oldest traditions in Spain technically occur during the New Year’s celebration, shortly after Christmas — but still during the days of Christmas. On Old Night, the day before the New Year, everyone gathers around their TVs or in Puerto De Sol in Madrid, and prepares for the clock tower to count down for the New Year. First, the bell rings four times, and then people wait for another twelve chimes that signal each month of the year. Fair enough, that’s pretty close to what Americans do on New Year’s Eve.

The quirky difference, though, is that on each chime people attempt to eat a grape, and the goal is to eat twelve grapes — seeds and all — before the last chime ends. If you can manage this feat, you will have good luck for the coming year. Another strange part of the tradition involves wearing red underwear under your clothes for luck, and it is said that if you got the underwear from someone else as a gift, it will make you even luckier. And we say if you’re getting red underwear from someone else, chances are you’ve already gotten quite lucky. High five.

While this tradition may seem strange, it’s completely harmless (well, unless you choke on the grapes), and helps everyone ring in the New Year, and enjoy the Christmas Season, in a festive and silly way.

1. The Ukrainian Story Of The Spiderwebs And The Christmas Tree

Ukraine and many of the surrounding areas of Eastern Europe have traditionally had less wealth and prosperity than their neighbors to the west (though that’s been changing a bit in certain countries). In fact, for most people living in Eastern Europe, much of their existence has been marked by a long and unending struggle. For this reason, it probably does not surprise many that the type of Christmas legends to come out of countries like Ukraine are often rather grim. One of the most famous stories from Ukraine tells the story of a spider, and how it saved one family’s Christmas.

In some stories the mother of the family is a widow, and in others there is still a father, but the family — which includes a boy and a girl — is always desperately poor. They are so poor that they cannot afford anything to decorate their Christmas Tree, and they lament it the night before. In order to give them a good Christmas and boost their spirits, a spider in the house hears their plea and overnight, spins webs on the tree in order to beautifully decorate it for the family. When the family wakes up, they go to the tree and it is decorated beyond their dreams. To make things even better, when the sun shines on the tree, the webs turn to silver and gold, and they never need to worry about money again. In some versions the webs turn to precious metals because of the spider, and in other versions because of divine intervention. But in every story, the spider is a benevolent figure trying to help a poor family have at least one good day.


Not Your Granddad’s Christmas –

WIF Customs and Traditions

Bizarre Beach Barefoot Tour – WIF 10 Cent Travel

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Bizarre Beaches

From

Around the World

There’s nothing quite like a day at the beach filled with fun in the sun, sand and surf, but not all beaches are created equal. Some places have sparkling blue or green waters, while others have sand-filled, cloudy waves. Some shorelines are dangerous, filled with rocks and riptides, while others are shallow and lined with soft sand.

For better or worse, these 10 beaches are some of the most notable in the world. While most earned a place on the list due to their incredible beauty or unique offerings, a few belong here not because of how they look, but because they are notable for other reasons.

10. Papakolea: The Green Sand Beach in Hawaii

One of only four green sand beaches, the famous Papakolea beach is made up of a hollowed out volcanic cone that erupted over 50,000 year ago. The cone contained rich veins of a natural mineral called olivine, which when cut into gem form is a semi-precious stone called peridot. The eroded pieces of the olivine turn into sand too find to be sold as gemstones, but still vivid enough in color to shade the whole beach green.

Excited to visit? Well, that’s the one problem with this beach – getting there is a nightmare. To start with, you have to drive on a long, out of the way road and then you have to park 3 miles away from the beach and hike the remaining distance through rugged pastures that offer no signs to guide you towards your final destination. Once you get to the volcanic cone cliffs, you have to climb down the steep hills to actually access the beach itself and on the shore, only strong swimmers are advised to enter the sparkling blue water at all due to a strong undercurrent that sweeps people away with little warning. It should go without saying with a beach this far off the beaten path, but lifeguards are not posted here so should you encounter danger, you’ll be left on your own to handle it.

9. Kaihalulu: Hawaii’s Red Sand Beach

Hawaii seems to have beaches in just about all colors: white, gold, black, green, and even red. Like all beaches, the sand color at Hawaii’s Kaihalulu Beach is directly related to the rock and mineral content around the beach. In this case, like Papakolea, the rocks around the shore are actually remnants of a once-active volcano that has since been eroded into little more than a rocky cove. This volcanic cone happened to have a particularly high iron content, which appears a rusty red color when mixed with salt air and sea mist. The underwater wall of the volcanic cone creates a partial sea wall that ensures the water at the beach is fairly calm, making it a great place to snorkel. Even so, visitors are advised to exercise caution near the cove opening, where strong currents have been known to pull swimmers into the open ocean.

While the unique look of the beach is absolutely worth visiting, it’s worth noting that the sand itself is very coarse, so it is advisable to wear shoes even in the water in order to protect your feet. Also worth noting: the cove is one of only a handful of clothing optional beaches in Maui.

8. The Most Polluted Beach on Earth

When you hear about an uninhabited, remote island, you probably imagine a pristine paradise. But unfortunately, with all the plastic pollution in today’s oceans, when no one visits an island, it means no one is there to clean up the trash. And that’s exactly how Henderson Island, a 14 square mile island in the South Pacific sitting nearly 3,000 miles away from the nearest population center, is both one of the world’s only raised coral atolls unaffected by human contact and the most polluted island in the world.

In fact, the small island is home to over 38,000 pounds of plastic and a whopping 3,570 pieces of trash wash up on the shore every day. Of course, the problem isn’t just the lack of cleanup crews, but also the island’s unfortunate location right in the path of one of the biggest currents in the Pacific, the South Pacific Gyre. In other words, the perfect place to snag all the trash floating through the Pacific.

7. The Glass Beach of California

While Henderson Island shows how much damage trash can do to nature, Glass Beach near Fort Bragg shows that every now and again, nature finds incredible ways to repair itself. It all started after the famous San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Residents of nearby Fort Bragg found that almost all of their buildings were reduced to rubble. Before they tried to rebuild their city, they had to get rid of all the refuse from the earthquake. When burning the trash did no good, they decided to dump it into the ocean, thinking the currents would take the trash to sea forever. Only the debris didn’t go anywhere, and residents were now left with a seaside dump. Since the dump was already there, locals just took to tossing all their trash at the beach up until the mid-1960s, when the practice was made illegal.

Eventually, the currents did wash away much of the refuse and the government took away many of the larger items. Meanwhile, glass left at the beach was tumbled and smoothed away into small pieces of sea glass, which now are mixed in with tiny pebbles, creating the “sand” for this beautiful beach.

If you do visit, please note that as Glass Beach is part of the MacKerricher State Park, taking pieces of sea glass is illegal. Also, the water can be a bit rough, especially for young and inexperienced swimmers, so it’s probably best to stay on shore here.

6. Hot Water Beach in New Zealand

Unlike most beaches, the ocean itself isn’t a big attraction at New Zealand’s Hot Water Beach. Instead visitors come far and wide to enjoy the warm underground river that happens to flow right into the Pacific. Two hours before and after low tide, beachgoers can hit the hot water as it bubbles through the beach sand. One of the most common activities here is to dig a nice pool in the sand, essentially building a hot-spring spa. By the next tide, the pools will all be washed away, leaving a pristine patch of sand ready for the next batch of visitors eager to dig their own steamy, sandy bathtubs.

It is worth noting that Hot Water Beach is home to some very strong rip currents, so as refreshing as it may be to soak in the warm hot springs and then plunge in the cool ocean, it’s probably best to avoid that urge unless you’re a really strong swimmer or if there’s a lifeguard on duty.

5. The Swimming Pool Beach in Chile

Like the idea of the beach but don’t want to swim in the actual ocean? Then you’ll love the swimming pool at San Alfonso del Mar in Chile. The biggest pool in the world, this monstrosity stretches across nearly 20 acres of beachfront property, reaches depths of up to 115 feet and holds over 66 million gallons of constantly circulating, heated, and filtered seawater. It’s so big the resort even allows people to sail and canoe in it.

Best of all, its location allows you to take a stroll along the beach just between the natural ocean waves and the clean, filtered water of the pool. And the pool itself even has its own sandy beaches leading into it, ensuring you’ll always feel like you’re at the beach even when you’re within the confines of the world’s largest swimming pool.

4. Boulders: The South African Beach Ruled by Penguins

You’d be hard pressed to find another place on the entire globe where you can spend a nice day at the beach split between refreshing dips in the ocean and delightful walks to check out penguins in their native habitat. Boulders Beach is famous for its playful, tuxedoed residents, who are partially responsible for making this otherwise sleepy shoreline one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.

Fortunately for both humans and penguins, the swimming area for both species are kept completely separate thanks to the natural rock formations that split the beach into a number of coves. The best viewing area for the birds is on a wooden boardwalk that keeps humans away from the protected animal habitat known as Foxy Beach. This means the penguins can feel safe in their home and that humans can swim and sunbathe without fear of running into an angry penguin with a razor sharp beak or stepping in the bird’s droppings.

3. The Irish Beach That Disappeared and Reappeared 30 Years Later

When visiting a sandy beach, it’s easy to take for granted that it won’t be around forever. Eventually the sea will wash away the sand and you’ll just be left with a rocky coast. Even those who know that beach sands can be washed away and carried off to other coasts probably still wouldn’t expect a beach to disappear… and then reappear only 33 years later. But that’s exactly what happened to the small beach beside the tiny Irish town of Dooagh on Achill Island.

In 1984, severe storms stripped the sand away from the shore, leaving little more than rock pools along the coast. But in May of this year, locals were happily surprised to see the beach covered in sand again after a series of high spring tides. The town once had a lively tourist industry based around the beach, so locals were pretty happy to see it return.

2. Maho in St. Martens

Most of the time, this world famous beach is just like any other beautiful Caribbean coastline, but Maho’s proximity to the airport is what made it famous. That’s because the Princess Juliana International Airport is right next door to the beach and it has a particularly short runway, so planes need to get as close as possible to the ground before hitting the official airport property – meaning the planes approach their final descent just above the beach.

Plane watching is such a popular pastime at the beach that almost all of the local bars and restaurants have airport timetables so tourists can run to the shore in time to feel the rush of the engines push them towards the water. Aside from the obvious thrill of standing right below a landing plane, visitors are also rewarded with some strikingly awesome vacation photos. Unfortunately for thrill seekers, though, the most exciting landings are now a thing of the past as jumbo-jets no longer fly into this island airport.

1. The Florida Beach With the Softest, Coolest Sand on Earth

Consistently ranked as one of the top beaches in the US, what really makes Siesta Key famous isn’t its crystal clear water but its powdery white sand. While the sand from most beaches is made up of quartz, there’s something special about the quartz-based sand at this beach, most likely because it is both so pure (measuring it at around 99% crushed quartz) and ground up so fine. Scientists believe this particular quartz took millions of years to make its way from the Appalachian Mountains through rivers into the Gulf of Mexico, and eventually onto this Florida island.

The end result is almost pure white powder that doesn’t heat up in hot weather, leaving the beach comfortable to walk around on while barefoot under even the warmest summer sun.


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