THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 8

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 8

…“If you are trying to talk me out of the Commander’s chair on the New Mayflower, forget it; space is my future, not World League Baseball.”…

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The Mission of the New Mayflower is taking center stage.

“You must have girls  at every Air Force base..around the world I would bet.. but they will have to stand in line and wait Rick,” Roy is messing his dashing protégé Rick Stanley.

“Don’t get me wrong Crip. The space program is my life and probably always will. It’s just the little things about home that I’ll be missing; Spring training, the warm Southern sun, using my Symantec Telepathic Implant, Mexican Food, spring break, the Rio de Janeiro Red Snappers.”

“It sounds like baseball, fun and sun are your life, not Space Colony,” Roy points out. “If your heart is on the diamond or beach, you better get out while you can. I know of a dozen lieutenant commanders, who would be more than pleased, if you resumed your career with the Snappers.”

Roy is giving the young gun a gut-check.

“If you are trying to talk me out of the Commander’s chair on the New Mayflower, forget it; space is my future, not World League Baseball.”

“That is why I talked NASA into letting you play baseball six months a year, Rick my boy. You and you alone had to confront that crossroad in your career, answers only you can provide. For what it is worth, I knew you would make the right decision.”

“Yeah, well it was not as cut-and-dried as you make it sound. Baseball has been in my blood since I can remember,” Commander Stanley looks back at just one of his loves. “Thank you for allowing me to have two professions at once.”

“I’ll miss going to your Rio home games, I love that city! Can you still get me free tickets?”

“Sure Crip, box seats right next to Riva Riviera,” the wildly popular South American singing superstar.

“Hubba-hubba! She can sure shake……….”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 8


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Bad Beach Blanket Bingo – WIF 10 Cent Travel

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The World’s

Nastiest Beaches

When most of us think about beaches, we visualize pale sands, clear blue waters, and picturesque palm trees waving in the breeze. What we imagine are tropical paradises where we might soak up the sun’s golden rays, with tropical drinks in hand.

Unfortunately, there are beaches that don’t measure up to our fantasies. Some of the beaches on today’s list are unpleasant places. They get bad press for good reason.

10. Henderson Island, British Overseas Territories

If visiting a beach that’s polluted by a whopping 18 tons of plastic sounds good to you, you may want to plan an excursion to Henderson Island. This isolated island is uninhabited and it is home to sugar-sand beaches, which are unfortunately marred by the presence of plastics and other garbage from Japan, America, and a host of other nations.

So, how does all of this trash arrive at Henderson Island, which is part of the Pitcairn Islands Groups, which is a British Overseas Territory? Well, Henderson Island, which is a notable marine reserve, has ended up with trash on — and buried inches under — the sands due to a strong ocean current known as the South Pacific gyre.

This circular current sends debris from international seas directly onto Henderson Island’s shores. Every day 3,500 pieces of garbage end up on the shores.

This island is at the halfway point between Peru and New Zealand. Right now, experts estimate that 38 million pieces of plastic are present on the island’s beaches. The hermit crabs of Henderson Island have taken to living in plastic containers and birds and other wildlife are consuming plastics.

Back in the ’80s, the island was a pristine paradise, which earned a World Heritage Site designation, thanks to its unspoiled beauty.

9. Cabrillo Beach (Harbor-Facing Side), Los Angeles, USA

You’ll find Cabrillo Beach in Los Angeles. This beach should be an ideal place to frolic in the water and chill out on the sand, but pollution has made the harbor-facing side of this beach an unappealing destination for city residents and tourists. Cabrillo Beach’s harbor-facing side has the dubious distinction of being one of the USA’s dirtiest beaches.

The beaches of California are prone to pollution from urban runoff that lands in the ocean, plus rusted septic and sewer systems. Decomposing algae and kelp also contribute to pollution problems. The section of Cabrillo Beach that faces the harbor of San Pedro is subject to all of these issues, and it’s been ranked as one of the most polluted beaches in the Golden State.

Interestingly, the oceanside section of Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, is in good shape, pollution-wise. This is because the two sides of the beach are separated by a seawall, as well as a long pier. Sadly, the side facing the harbor is anything but pristine, in part because of icky human bacteria that enters the waters through a source that is currently unknown.

If you want to go swimming at Cabrillo Beach, stick to the oceanside area. If you want to swim at a beach that’s known for being one of the cleanest in the region, consider heading for Las Tunas County Beach in Malibu.

8. Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, USA

This beach used to be stunning and relatively unspoiled. Now, Hawaii’s Kamilo Beach is saddled with two nicknames, “Plastic Beach” and “Trash Beach,” which speak volumes. This beach is off the beaten track and used to be a hidden gem for adventurous beach lovers, who were willing to take 4-wheel drive vehicles down an unpaved road to get there.

Now, people visit Kamilo Beach to gawk at the astounding amount of garbage that is mixed in with the sand. Some come to help clean it up. The trash on this Hawaii beach really piles up and this trash comes from the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” This patch is a collection of marine litter that’s situated in the North Pacific Ocean.

Kamilo Beach currents are unique and these currents push plenty of things onto the stores, including garbage, logs, and dead animals.

Logs aren’t so common on the shores these days, but an abundance of plastic arrives regularly. Ninety percent of the debris that washes up on the shores is composed of plastic.

At Kamilo Beach, the sand is dotted with small pieces of bright plastics, many of which have faded a bit because of exposure to the elements. There are also bigger pieces of garbage, such as plastic vats. A lot of the garbage comes from the fishing industry.

The beach looks terrible. It stands out for the wrong reasons. It’s beach that is a total downer.

7. Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Another extremely dirty beach is Juhu Beach in Mumbai, India. It’s mega-polluted.

This beach isn’t part of an uninhabited island or tucked away in some out-of-the-way location. It’s part of an upscale Mumbai neighborhood where many Bollywood stars choose to live. While people are making a serious effort to clean up Juhu Beach, with some success, the pollution problem is major.

Pollution in the Arabian Sea is rising alarmingly, and an Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay report indicates that there may be more plastic than fish in the sea by the year 2050. According to the report, 50% of plastics that pollute the Arabian Sea have been generated in the past decade. Plastic usage is on the upswing and marine life (and beach-goers) are paying the price.

Hundreds of tons of trash have been removed from Juhu Beach, so it doesn’t look as bad as it used to, but the root issue that leads plastic and other garbage to wash up on the shores, which is rising pollution in the Arabian Sea, means that clean-up efforts will need to be aggressive and ongoing.

Although the beach can look picturesque sometimes, particularly, after clean-ups, the waters are always intensely polluted.

As of November 2019, the beach earns an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 at TripAdvisor. In November 2018, a reviewer described the beach’s waters as “black” due to pollution. In August of 2019, another visitor characterized the beach as a “disgrace” due to its overcrowding and general dirtiness.

People are valiantly trying to make this beach better, but it’s a 24/7 job which is an epic undertaking. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now overseeing clean-up operations, and these operations are changing things for the better. Large machines are needed to get rid of the trash that collects on the beach in the morning.

People who visit the beach may not realize just how polluted the water is, since garbage that washes onto the beach is now being cleaned up faster than it once was. Visitors, and those considering visiting Juhu Beach in the future, do need to know the truth.

Of course, there are concerned citizens who understand. Some of them are activists who are trying to turn things around.

6. Fujiazhuang Beach, Dalian, China

Do you want to share a beach with 50,000 other people? Probably not, right? This is what you’ll need to do if you decide to spend time at Fujiazhuang Beach in Dalian, China.

Beaches may be nasty for an array of reasons, including crazy overcrowding. This beach is widely considered to be the most crowded stretch of sand in the world. Visitors are encouraged to avoid swimming if they have skin ailments, or eye diseases, or gastrointestinal problems. They are also supposed to avoid smoking, spitting, and littering.

Will several tens of thousands of visitors follow all of these instructions? You know the answer.

So, why do people keep flocking to this beach? What is the attraction? Well, it’s a scenic pebble beach. It’s a pretty place, really.

The overcrowding is worst in summer. During spring, there is a lot more space to move around and enjoy the pretty locale. Unfortunately, the beach is polluted year-round. Food packaging and plastic waste are generated by all of the beach-goers.

This beach also gets a 3.5/5 rating at TripAdvisor (as of November 2019). Some extroverts enjoy the fact that so many people visit the beach during the high season, because it’s a socially vibrant environment, but others hate the overcrowding. People who gave Fujiazhuang Beach poor reviews commented on the fact that the beach’s pebbles were painful to walk on, noted the unpleasant pollution, and remarked that it was hard to see the water because of all of the people.

5. Villa Angela State Park, Ohio, USA

Villa Angela State Park is home to Villa Angela beach, which is connected to Euclid Beach. These beaches are known for having high bacteria levels in their waters. Unfortunately, the bacteria levels tend to stay high, rather than plummeting sometimes. Villa Angela State Park beach and its adjacent Euclid Beach are often unsafe to swim at.

Some of us expect American beaches to be safer than some international beaches, thanks to the Clean Water Act, but this isn’t always the case. American beaches may be filled with human fecal matter, or other nasty contaminants, just like beaches in undeveloped nations, or beaches in other countries that are developed.

USA residents, and tourists who visit American destinations, need to understand that American beaches can be hazardous sometimes — or all of the time. Anyone who wants the inside scoop on a beach’s safety should look for official reports before visiting and, especially, before swimming or wading.

So, what’s in the water at Villa Angela State Park in Ohio? Well, this state park’s beach is often filled with fecal matter that contaminates the water and may trigger respiratory illnesses, ear infections, intestinal distress, eye infections, and skin rashes. The main beach at the park is 900 feet in length and it’s a pretty place to be, but the waters are dirty, which is actually the case with many Ohio state beaches.

4. Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia

Beaches situated near this Victoria, Australia bay are places where roughly 800 million pieces of garbage flow into the waters yearly, via a couple of rivers. The situation at Port Phillip Bay beaches highlights the damage that pollution is doing to Melbourne’s coastline. Most of the pollution is plastic garbage, which surges into the bay and threatens the survival of marine life.

Microplastics in the water are a huge issue. These types of plastics are smaller in size than a typical fingernail. Plastic bags also end up in Port Phillip Bay waters. Feces contamination is also sometimes a problem at Port Phillip Bay beaches. Usually, flash flooding is the cause of high contamination from feces.

Port Phillip is home to a lot of beaches, which are generally long, flat, and shallow. These beaches are quite popular with tourists, because they offer gentle conditions for swimming. These beaches aren’t surfing beaches with big, rough waves.

Unfortunately, some tourists don’t know about all of the pollution in Port Phillip Bay. Popular beaches in this region include Dromana Beach, Sandringham Beach, St. Kilda Beach and Brighton Beach. Some of these beaches fail water quality tests on the regular.

3. Guanabara Bay Beaches, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Guanabara Bay Beaches in Rio land on most lists of the world’s most polluted beaches, including this list. The problem is the untreated human waste that pollutes the water.

When it comes to swimming in the waters of Guanabara Bay Beaches, strongly reconsider, as local neighborhoods are very short on sanitation, which means that water conditions are terrible, and that nasty microorganisms, and raw sewage, are rife within the water.

Some people who do swim at Guanabara Bay Beaches live to regret it, because they experience skin irritations and stomach problems afterwards. Athletes, including Olympic rowers, take pains to avoid splashing the bay’s waters on themselves or others. They also disinfect with sanitizing products while they are in their boats.

A beach shouldn’t make you sick. This beach very well might.

Exposure to pathogens from raw sewage from millions of Rio residents is just the beginning. At this beach, the water is also polluted by industrial waste. There are tons of refineries, pharmaceutical factories and oil and gas operations in the region. A huge amount of industrial wastewater ends up in the bay daily.

These beaches may look beautiful, but they have a dark side that local residents and tourists need to be aware of. If you’re going to hang out at these beaches, maybe don’t go in the water. Stick to a little people-watching and sun-bathing on the sand.

2. Freedom Island, Manila, Philippines

You may not want to load a beach tote or knapsack with towels, sunscreen, the latest juicy, best-selling novel, and drinks, and then head out for a day at the beach at Freedom Island, Manila, Philippines. Freedom Island’s sands are basically buried under piles of trash.

The Philippines is known for being a big generator of ocean plastic pollution and the garbage dump that Freedom Island has become is testament to the fact that the Philippines needs to reduce ocean plastic pollution as soon as possible.

The buildup of plastic waste is linked with the development of the sachet packaging craze in the Philippines. Sachets are plastic pouches which are fortified with aluminum layers that provide durability and shape. If you’ve opened a package of ketchup and squeezed the contents onto your french fries, you’ve used a sachet.

Sachets make life easier for Philippines residents, but this ease and convenience comes with a very heavy environmental price.

This Metro Manila beach is covered in plastic pollution. It’s really pretty horrible.

When waves are vomiting refuse onto the shores, and beaches turn into landfills, we should all be alarmed. It’s happening all over the world, including on Freedom Island.

1. El Gringo Beach, Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic

When a beach earns the unofficial title, “Dominican Chernobyl,” it’s a clear sign that the condition of the beach isn’t exactly safe or inspiring. El Gringo Beach in DR is remarkably filthy and some of its pollution is dangerous, hence its worrisome nickname.

People who visit El Gringo Beach need to worry about plastic pollution, as well as toxic levels of lead in the soil and sand. The lead comes from an illegal car battery recycling smelter. The car batteries recycled contained lead-acid. That smelter is now abandoned, but activities there caused significant environmental damage.

Those who go to this beach also have to be concerned with other forms of industrial waste that land in the waters and on the shores. Examples of toxins found the Bajos de Haina beach include the aforementioned lead, plus ammonium, formaldehyde, and sulfuric acid. These toxins are generated by oil refineries, manufacturing plants, and power plants in the region.

A non-profit organization called the Blacksmith Institute considers Bajos de Haina, which is home to El Gringo Beach, to be one of the most polluted areas of the planet. Toxins in the area are present in sand, soil, and water, and some of these toxins are also airborne.

Suffice is to say that El Gringo Beach isn’t the ideal location for a leisurely family beach picnic. It’s not the nicest place to go for a dip, either.


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Overrated! – WIF 10 Cent Travel

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World’s Most

Overrated Cities

The urban environment is powerful and evocative, reflective of the people, places and times that saw the construction of specific communities. Cities can be iconic, but they can also be overrated. They say you should never meet your heroes, but in this list, you might come to the conclusion that it’s equally unwise to visit your favorite cities. They may not live up to your lofty expectations after all…

You may or may not agree with me. This is just one traveler’s opinion. It could be I had:

  1. one lumpy mattress,
  2. two bad taxi rides or
  3. three  bad meals.

10. Paris

Paris may be iconic for its Eiffel Tower, culture, and architecture, and for being a romantic and meaningful place to get away. However, Paris is reputed to be overrated, so we’re going to check out the somewhat startling facts about this exceptionally famous French metropolis. Referred to as the City of Love or the City of Lights, Paris does have a variety of most famous human artifacts to appreciate or places to check out that are of historic or cultural fame and significance. Paris even has its own Disneyland. While seen as romantic and a place of love, Paris in fact might ironically be defined as a place to get lonely. Yes, there is much to appreciate architecturally and in the form of art and culture but Paris is well known as a place where bids for politeness do not constitute the highest priority in day to day life.

Paris has actually suffered the fate of being voted no less than Europe’s most overrated city, topping the list due to its unfriendliness. Visitors have often complained about unduly curt or unwelcoming treatment by locals. While Paris is a dream destination for foreign visitors around the world, it seems that becoming tired of serving foreigners without perfect French is an attitude clearly conveyed by enough Parisians. Apparently condescending attitudes and bluntness are ubiquitous in Paris to the point where visitors may not only feel disappointed but downright depressed. Finding that Paris does not measure up has created such severe symptoms as to be labelled as Paris Syndrome.

9. Rome

The Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. In iconic Rome, Italy, the list goes on, and there’s plenty to see for those interested in some more modern history too. The Vatican is also a stone’s throw away. While the famous ancient city does have remarkable architectural sites that are rich in history of religious, civic, and political significance, as well as being the scene of great conflict and drama, Rome itself is a place that one might say has seen better days in some regards. The ruins of ancient structures in Rome have been preserved for visitors but unfortunately, a number of modern amenities have come to resemble a less appealing version of what might be called another form of ruins.

Despite a steady injection of funds through tourist dollars, work to improve problematic transportation, sanitation, and municipal infrastructure shortcomings in Rome have lagged exceptionally. As money keeps coming in and the city remains crowded with tourists, a lack of efficiency and even strikes have left much to be desired, to put things mildly. Remarkably, sanitation problems, including garbage being left to the point of mass overflow, led to threats of European Union sanctions. Furthermore, visitors have complained about disreputable conduct from touts taking on the roles of taxi drivers, cash exchangers, and guides. Rome might attract millions of visitors yearly, but the city suffers some of Europe’s lowest repeat visit rates.

8. Sydney

The iconic Sydney Opera House of Sydney, Australia is so famous that one might say it is touted rather than simply promoted. Images of Sydney are also so curiously focused on the Down Under city’s famous opera house that you might make that image and the general character of the city synonymous in your imagination. However, the fact that the Sydney Opera House is such a focal point of the city’s depictions might hint, to the analytical mind, that perhaps this is the case because there is really little else that is all that remarkable in Sydney. Furthermore, the opera house itself is so overrated that the entire presentation begins to fall upon critical inspection.

The design of the opera house is the work of Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who won the contest to design it out of 233 contestants in 1956, with construction beginning in 1959 and lasting 14 years instead of the originally anticipated four years. Despite the fantastical appearance of the Sydney Opera House, the acoustics have presented many problems and it has not been the world star venue it was intended to become. With the acoustics of the opera house being widely criticized, makeshift solutions have often had to be sought due to some parts of the building being too big and others too small. The pit in the opera theatre has been identified as too small, causing acoustic difficulties, with the concert hall being overly large, causing sound to get lost. Interestingly, Australian music magazine Limelight gave the opera theatre the worst rating for acoustics out of 20 venues of significance, while giving 18th place to the concert hall.

7. London

London, England has a history going back to the Roman Empire with everything from sites of Royal interest at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben as a monument for the most die-hard clock fans, those infamous red double decker buses, and perhaps the odd unexploded German bomb lying somewhere waiting to be discovered, decades past the rabid fighting of World War II. The largest city in England and the United Kingdom, the capital of England suffers pollution in the Thames that was once so bad people were dying from it, and air pollution had the same effect by a different means of causing ill-health. Despite the mix of grandeur and squalor, visitors to London may find themselves disappointed by the crowding and also the lack of friendliness despite being surrounded by people, as London has the questionable distinction of being voted the second most unfriendly city worldwide.

Then there’s the sometimes garish and disjointed modern construction that has grown up in the city. While historic squalor and wartime damage have been definitive events in London’s history, visitors will be surprised by how iconic traditional buildings and perceptions of English culture and architecture in London are dwarfed by modern architecture. The skyline of London definitely appears rather random, with buildings in the financial district described in comparison to a cheese grater, a scalpel, and a walkie-talkie in some prominent examples.

6. New York City

New York City may not be the political capital of the United States but the grand city is certainly the de facto financial capital of America (and some might argue the world). With such iconic elements portrayed in popular culture, literature, news, movies, and daily discourse, New York occupies a larger than life place in the minds of the American public and further. Those who live there know what it is like, but first time travelers may be in for a disappointment upon actually arriving.

From 1785 to 1790, New York was actually America’s capital city. In recent history, the tragic 9/11 attacks represented the single worst incident to strike any North American city. While many cities are destinations for visitors, there has been a surprisingly significant level of effort — to the point of sacrificing comfort — just for the sake of living in New York City. Due to grand real estate costs, living in tiny, overpriced, and sometimes substandard accommodations has become commonplace. For visitors, sites such as the Empire State Building, Wall Street, and Statue of Liberty are certainly icons of great interest, but the actual city will produce a feeling of being dwarfed by two things. These are the enormity of the buildings, crowds, and traffic-jammed streets, and the enormity of the tab run up to stay in the city.

5. Shanghai

Shanghai is so well known that it has become an almost clichéd stand-in for popular imaginations of the People’s Republic of China. Yet while Shanghai is an important Chinese city with enormous economic, historical, and cultural significance, it is a city with a significant legacy of influence by Western culture and hotspots of past east and west conflict. Known for its modern towers, including the aptly named Shanghai Tower, and a myriad of modern architectural wonders, Shanghai is also defined by “The Bund” — a block of iconic European colonial buildings now repurposed for a variety of uses. Yes, Shanghai may feel too “westernized,” a valid perception based on the composition of the city by those seeking the “real China.” It certainly is the place to get coffee and hamburgers in China.

While modern architectural creations may define the Shanghainese skyline, the “waterline” of Shanghai is largely defined at its most famous points by these magnificent but undeniably foreign European buildings, the work of “Laowai” — or foreigners — in China. The foreign presence in China has been a tumultuous one, with many flash points relating to trade and attempts at colonization. So, why is Shanghai perhaps overrated as a place to experience China? While interesting, there are many other places, such as Xi’an in Shaanxi province, with the Terra Cotta Warriors close by, remote hill forests in Sichuan and incredibly spicy cuisine, ancient temples in Henan province, and of course the many access points to the Great Wall that more accurately reflect traditional Chinese culture over a more Westernized one.

4. Rio de Janeiro

Depicted in countless movies and artistic images, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is known for being located below the huge Christ the Redeemer art deco statue that contrasts with the extraordinary natural features of Rio de Janeiro combining steep hills, the sea, and perched buildings. The world famous statue constructed above the city is 98-feet tall with a 92-foot arm span, built on the 2,300-foot tall Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca Forest National Park. While famous for everything from car race hosting to nightlife and urban tourism, Rio de Janeiro is actually not so great to look at once you are down amongst the buildings, many of them generic in architectural form, lacking a sense of place, and often run down.

While Rio is often promoted as a center of culture, activity, and interest for travelers in search of a lively and exotic destination, the Brazilian city is becoming a hotbed of criminal activity. Crime rates have risen so drastically that violence is feared throughout the city, costing an immense number of tourism dollars. People are becoming smart enough to stay away from many parts of Rio much of the time, to the point where lost revenue in the year 2017 totaled an incredible $200 million.

3. Barcelona

Spain is both renowned for positive cultural aspects, notorious for being host to events with which many people do not approve (including bullfighting), and as the site of a brutal civil war in its 19th century history. With all of the complexity and intrigue of Spanish architecture and historic and modern culture, Barcelona is a famous destination that draws visitors globally every year, but something is clearly wrong when disappointment follows the arrival of the discerning traveler. What exactly is the problem with Barcelona? While the city is a cultural icon, the true Spanish cultural experience has unfortunately been, shall we say, diluted by the emergence of an extraordinary quantity of tourist traps replacing a quality experience.

At the same time, overcrowding of this already highly populated parcel of Spain is making additional visitors face immense challenges in simply getting around to see the place once they’ve arrived. Esteemed Spanish writer extraordinaire Miguel de Cervantes put the praise of Barcelona into the mouth of his fictional character Don Quixote, describing the city as nothing less than a “fountain of courtesy, shelter of strangers, hospice to the poor, land of the valiant, avenger of the offended, reciprocation of firm friendship, a city unique in its location and beauty.” Yet the crowded-ness of the city and tendency for many people to treat it as a short stop interestingly leads many people to be less responsible given that they will be in the area for a limited time, further adding to the aggravation many visitors experience.

2. Athens

Afforded near mythical status for being so ancient and the place where countless Greek Gods and Goddesses are described as having their origins, Athens is a richer place in history and culture than it is today in the flesh — or rather, in the brick and mortar. While the development of ancient democracy, philosophy, and faiths in a place where such famous humans such as Socrates and deities such as Zeus and Venus have their claim is bound to make Athens a revered site in popular imagination, there is much to disappoint, according to some visitors. The city of the Acropolis and other impressive architecture actually consists of vast arrays of run-down buildings that are often crowded together without very much shade in many areas. The Acropolis itself is known for being less spectacular and archaeologically, architecturally, and historically pristine than is popularly imagined.

Try to get to it, and you could be turned back by heat due to the barren nature of the grounds where the ancient relics stand, and monumental levels of overcrowding. Add that to the sometimes suffocating air pollution that Athens experiences. Upon arrival at the Acropolis, the scaffolding significantly takes away from appreciation of the architecture, creating the feel of a construction site. While ancient people built the monumental sites expediently, modern repair works have taken decades and still remain underway, resulting in not only scaffolding but all manner of construction equipment anti-climatically lying about the grounds of the most iconic structures of Athens.

1. Amsterdam

World famous Amsterdam. This city is an active metropolitan area situated on flat land, including areas that have had to be reclaimed from the ocean. Subject to flooding, massive urban construction has required more than just a little engineering to be sustainable. Amsterdam may be geographically flat and lacking in mountains, but it has been viewed as a place of where people can get high in the drug use sense without fear of legal reprisals. So-called “coffee shops” function more as marijuana lounges in Amsterdam, where use of the almost universally banned drug is tolerated by the authorities.

Furthermore, red light district activities draw more than a fair share of visitors, since prostitution is legal. However, a variety of issues, as well as a simple lack of interest when it comes to more standard comforts, render Amsterdam a place that is not just overrated but leaving something to be desired when it comes to mainstream human comforts.Amsterdam’s food is lagging behind the attention given to the marijuana focused “coffee shops,” being monotonous and simple for the most part, while the architecture of the coastal city is less than spectacular in many instances, with exceptionally plain construction defining much of the municipal jurisdiction.


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