For four years, Kim Jong Un has filled the role of Supreme Leader of North Korea, just like his father and grandfather before him. Ruling from behind a shroud of poorly concealed mystery, the easily agitated international leader walks the line between fearsome madman and portly joke. Kim Jong Un controls North Korea with a nearly iron grip, and though the North Korean government would have you believe that everything inside the country is just hunky dory, the little bits of information that’s leaked to the outside world paints a picture of rampant poverty in which Kim Jong Un and his ruling class take most of the country’s natural resources and leave the working class to slowly waste away.
1. Kim Jong Un Has Gained 90 Pounds Since Taking Office
One spy agency has indicated that the ruler’s constant eating is a result of his paranoia that he’ll one day be assassinated.
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When most travelers think of Thailand, their minds wander to neon-soaked nightlife in the Bangkok. To others, the country is a gateway to the exotic splendor and party atmosphere of the islands. Of course, those aren’t the only cultural offerings that Thailand provides the curious traveler. In the Northern and Western regions of the beautiful country live a variety of indigenous peoples who have managed to turn their traditional way of life into a means of survival in a modern era by opening up to tourism. Treking around Chiang Mai to intermingle with them has become a big business and a must-do for travelers. Let’s take a look at some of the captivating hill tribes of Thailand.
1. The Hill Tribes of Thailand Were Left Largely Alone Until the 1950s
It was then that, thanks to an unsustainable increase in their numbers, the Thai government stepped in to help combat the rampant poverty, disease, and persistent statelessness. In order to accomplish this task, the government established the National Committee for Hill Tribes.
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To any traveler worth their salt, it’s no secret that Tokyo is a city of eclectic delights. Perhaps it’s the benefit of isolation that’s helped the Japanese capital develop such a unique look and feel. Whatever the reason, Tokyo is a delightfully weird combination of re-interpreted Western culture, geeky cosplay, quirky cuteness and a whole lot of neon. There’s always something worth seeing in this frenetic city that’s home to more than 13 million people. First and foremost, though, you should check out the city’s incredibly weird assortment of hangout spots. Tokyo’s thriving theme cafe scene has created myriad of niche experiences designed to cater to the most discerning of locals and visitors. Check ‘em out, you might just find something that lures you in.
1. Embrace the Oddness at Kawaii Monster Cafe
If you need several doses of straight up weirdness injected directly to your dome, then there’s no better place than Kawaii Monster Cafe in fashionable Harajuku, a colorful theme cafe with four distinct sections designed to offer something lovably off-kilter to every visitor who comes through. There are also five “cultural ambassadors” who travel around the joint to liven up everyone’s mood.
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Located off the coast of the Philippines are a truly seafaring people who have forged a nomadic lifestyle that’s persisted for generations. Though the world around them has changed drastically, these water-dwelling people have managed to preserve their way of life through fishing and trading. It’s a simple life for the Sama-Bajau, one that’s filled with hard work and a roving lifestyle that is as transient as the sea itself. Here is a fascinating glimpse into one of the most enterprising people on the planet.
1. Where to Find Them
Sama-Bajau is actually a collective term that refers to several groups of indigenous people in the area. Most commonly, the Sama-Bajau are found in the Philippines. They live off the coast of a series of islands on the eastern end of the island nation.
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The US State Department and other government equivalents regularly put out warnings on global hotspots they advise their citizens to steer clear of. Most of these are war torn areas or regions where consular support is non-existent. Largely this is sensible advice (for example, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Kenya, Venezuela, Haiti, North Korea, Syria and the Sudan are not the wisest holiday bets at the moment). Then again, sometimes these travel alerts and warnings are a tad alarmist, geopolitically motivated or tarnish a whole country when only a small area is potentially risky. This list is a little different, where the threat to your well-being is due to factors like animals, altitude, disease or disaster. Here are 9 non-war-related danger zones around the world with particular hazards that should ward off even the most intrepid traveler.
1. Ilha de Queimada Grande, Brazil
Rio is getting a bad rap at the moment for its World Cup furor and uptick in crime. However, it’s another area of Brazil that screams “keep out” as no amount of street smarts could prevent its deathly peril. Ilha de Queimada Grande is an island less than 100 miles off the coast from São Paulo that is frighteningly noteworthy because it is literally crawling with snakes (or should that be slithering?). Not just any snake, but the endangered, endemic and deadly golden lancehead pit viper. It grows to half a meter long and transmits a quick-acting venom that melts the flesh around the bite and leads to an almost certain death. Estimates say there is one to five snakes per square meter on this nightmarish island, so you’re chances of encountering one while here are pretty much guaranteed. That’s why the Brazilian Navy sensibly discourages curious tourists or wayward fishermen from visiting, and only brave herpetologists on a scientific mission are granted permits to explore “snake island.”
Lancehead Pit Viper
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With modern technology and science at our fingertips, we like to think we’re know-it-alls. However, there are lots of unanswered questions in the ancient and natural world that still have us stumped. Some of us are compelled to probe the hows and whys to try and explain the enigmas. Others just revel in the WTF of it all. Here are 8 sweet mysteries around the globe that make fascinating destinations to explore and speculate on. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to crack the code.
1. Stonehenge, UK
One of the most famous of all mysterious monuments is this iconic rock circle in Wiltshire, England. Archeologists have determined it was built around 2500 BC out of Welsh sandstone, but how the enormous rocks were mined, shaped, transported and positioned here is baffling. Even more cryptic is the question of why. The circular arrangement has been meticulously orchestrated to showcase the summer and winter solstices, an astronomical and engineering achievement seemingly beyond the scope of that primitive time. Stonehenge is firmly on the tourist trail and has a bit of a new age cult-following, especially around those mystical solstices.
Stonehenge at Night, Wiltshire, England
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