The Worlds Wackiest Museums


I’ve travelled about quite a lot and at the time of writing I have hit about 54 different countries. During this time I have done a whole speight of museums and some of them have been just downright odd. So here are just a few of the world’s wackiest museums that I myself have been to.

Devils Museum – Kaunas, Lithuania

This entire museum is dedicated to one man’s collection of devil statues. There are devil masks, devils fornicating, devils drinking vodka,  devils of all nationalities, paintings of devils… you get the idea. So many devils, but it is quite an interesting visit.

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The devil pouring vodka down the throat of a clearly unwilling participant…. in Australia we call this ‘helping out a friend’

Natural History Museum – Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala

This museum should really be renamed “The Museum of Shit Taxidermy”. I nearly made my mother cry sending her a picture of two taxidermied budgerigars that looked proper retarded. If you have a totally sick humour however and are keen to check out some really weird looking animals, then this is a very cheap and entertaining way to spend an afternoon. They’ve even managed to make some of them look like hybrids of other animals or incorporated cardboard into the bodies…..

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These birds are just so pretty,,,,
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Check the eyes on this one….

Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb, Croatia

This museum is basically a giant collection of memorabilia from relationships around the world that have gone wrong, whether it be romantic or otherwise. I think my personal favourites are the ‘toaster of vengeance’ (basically the chick got pissed with the guy and stole his toaster), the caterpillar and the shoe from the prostitute.  The caterpillar was a symbol of a long standing relationship between two people who used to pull a leg off the caterpillar every time the saw each other. When the caterpillar became legless they were to move to the same place. This didn’t happen however. The caterpillar isn’t a total cripple and still has a few legs left.

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The semi crippled caterpillar of a fully crippled relationship

The Corn Palace – Mitchell, South Dakota, USA

Who the hell decorates an entire museum building with corn and dedicates an entire museum to shit made out of corn….?? The Americans, that’s who! This glorious beast is redecorated every single year with different corn. They also have an inside area that is dedicated to murals made with corn. All kinds of corny murals (but in some ways it is kinda cool).

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Everything you see here is totally decorated in corn kernels…. it’s insane!

International UFO Museum and Research Centre – Roswell, New Mexico, USA

This museum is dedicated to the “supposed” UFO sightings in Roswell in the 1940s. The whole town has gone stark raving mad. There was a pretend alien in a casket which is supposed to be reflective of what they found. There was a woman in the museum acting like the thing was a real alien. There are space ships that look like an art project done by a five year old. Loads of information anout the supposed sightings and debris from space ships. The whole thing is hilarious and worth the giggle if you don’t take it too seriously.

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A proper riot this museum

The Sex Museum – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Where else can you find a giant vagina-shaped lounge that is capable of swallowing you whole as you sit on it? Enough said. Actually, not enough said. There are all kinds of weird bits and pieces of things here. A kazillion porno pictures, a kazillion penises, vaginas everywhere. Only in Amsterdam….

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A vagina seat

If you get the chance, definitely stop in on these places and marvel at how strange some people and some things are. It really is marvellously odd.

Shit I Learned In Macedonia

I was only in Macedonia for a couple of days but while I was there I came across one of the most entertaining tour guides I have ever met! He was downright hilarious in the things he was saying and most of the shit I learned, I learned from him during my time in the capital, Skopje.

  • Mother Teresa was born here. Even though she lived a large amount of her life in Albania, she was born in Skopje in a house near the centre of town. It no longer stands but there is a plaque there to recognise the site.
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The site of Mother Teresa’s birth

  • ‘Stan’ is the Arabic word for ‘place’.
  • There was and earthquake in 1963 that levelled the city. The US and Russia came to help try and rebuild the city. The clock at the train station is stuck at the time the earthquake happened. The double decker buses like the ones in London were bought in to help after the time too and they eventually stayed.
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The train station with the clock that stopped

  • The mayor of Skopje suffers from ‘copy paste’ syndrome. He likes stairs in Rome. Bring them to Skopje. Whatever he sees elsewhere that he likes, bring it to Skopje! To the point where the locals now call the place “Skopjian Disneyland”. They ask you to pray that the mayor never visits Venice and decides that Skopje needs canals.
  • Despite that all of the buildings in Skopje look old and are in the ancient Greek style most of them are no more than ten years old.
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The new buildings of Skopjean Disneyland

  • They made so many statues in rebuilding Skopje that they now don’t have enough places to put them all. There are statues on the bridges, statues on the rooves of buildings, statues everywhere…. never before have there been so many damn statues. They even have statues of the shoe shiners that worked down the main street in the centre of town. The sit along beside the people who work as actual shoe shiners….. Distastefully, they also have a statue of a homeless person here as well. Because there weren’t enough as it is without making a statue of them too….
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Just a few statues…

  • The Macedonians lay claim to Alexander the Great. So do the Greek. Of course this leads to a giant pissing contest in which they try and outdo each other. Greece has a giant statue of Alexander. So Macedonia makes one. Then the Greeks crack the shits and are all ‘you can’t call this statue ‘Alexander the Great’ cause he is ours’. So they call it ‘man on a horse’ instead. Ridiculousness. Greece also won’t accept Macedonia as being a part of the EU unless they relinquish their claim to Alexander the Great….. what ridiculousness!
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“Man on a horse” – clearly Alexander the Great

  • In bazaars, the old market places, the corner shops were always worth more money. As such they would design the streets so that there were as many corners as possible.

Well that is about it for my fabulous visit to Macedonia! It was a lovely place to visit for a few days and would definitely recommend the visit!

What I Reckon About: Manners (or lack thereof)

I am not entirely sure whether it was always this bad or whether since the introduction of smartphones and reality TV they seem to have removed the part of the brain that controls consideration of others. The other day I helped out with a school play and afterwards sat to watch the kids perform. The audience was small, less than a hundred people and the kids were super nervous. Unfortunately, about 6 people were late and decided to walk in front of others during the middle of the show. Despite being told that phones were to be turned off, at least three phones rang in the first 30 minutes and one woman even had the gall to actually answer her phone in the middle of the performance and start having a conversation in the front row. Then after about two minutes of a conversation took it out into the hall and started loudly talking on the phone so it could be heard inside over the top of the play. I felt incredibly sorry for the kids. They are trying their hardest in something that takes a lot of guts to do and people sit disrespecting their own kids. Disgusting.

Other things that seriously shit me are:

  • People who take up the entire sidewalk walking in a line and have their heads jammed so far into their phones (up their own arses) that they won’t let people pass
  • Arseholes who get onto a full bus and leave an empty seat beside them so nobody can use it.
  • People who see you reading something at a museum exhibition and on purpose just stand in front of you like you weren’t there reading it in the first place.
  • People who cut into lines in front of others who have been waiting for a long time.
  • People constantly checking their phone while you are having a dinner or conversation with them.
  • Watching 15 people get off the bus but the bus seems to still be so “full” because people won’t move down in the bus that you wind up getting left on the side of the road because the driver can’t open the front doors.

I am pretty sure that things weren’t this bad with disregarding manners fifteen years ago. What I do know is this. This current society is becoming more and more selfish and less and less considerate of others. How this has happened? I am not sure. But I feel that a great deal of it can be attributed to media celebrating celebrities who are morons and behave atrociously.  Enter the Kardashians. People seem to spend more time embracing a culture of those who are so self absorbed that they have nothing to offer and give to others. I sit and watch kids take selfie after selfie after selfie. Their ideas of self importance don’t seem to extend beyond themselves to anyone or anything else. That to me is incredibly sad.

I also attribute it to increased use and reliance on technologies. People are so addicted and attached to their phones that they cannot seem to be able to sit through a movie or an hour long performance in a theatre without checking their phone to see if anyone has messaged them. This constant need to be checking and communicating through phones has decreased our ability as a society to have actual intelligent conversation with another person. Our kids no longer have the ability to communicate in a polite manner with each other because it is all done through text. And adults are getting just as bad.

Thirdly, and I am not entirely sure where this even comes from but people in western societies seem to have such little self awareness or awareness of others. I know where people are around me when I am walking down the street. I am aware of how my body fits and moves through a crowd. Self awareness seems lacking and maybe this is why people are constantly standing in other peoples ways, cutting lines and running into others. Perhaps this is extending from a lack of play with the younger generation now that a large proportion of parents choose iPad’s to babysit their kids instead of throwing them out the backdoor and saying ‘entertain yourself in the backyard’.  Perhaps it is because they can’t see what is happening because they are too busy seeing how many people liked their Facebook post. Perhaps it is that we have forgotten what the word community means and seem all the more focused on the ‘me’ in every equation.

Shit I Learned In The English Countryside

On my weekends to try and get out more and see a little more of England I have been taking tours to different parts of southern England. I did one tour through the Cotswolds which was really beautiful, I went to Shakespeare’s birthplace and home in Stratford Upon Avon, wandered the streets of Oxford and then headed south into Kent to visit Dover and Leeds Castle. On the way I picked up a few fun facts…. here they are!

  • The phrase ‘waiting on tenterhooks’ comes from the medieval days. In the castles, the place is usually freezing cold and when the royalty arrive, they have to wait for all of the tapestries and curtains to arrive to hang over the walls. The hooks they use to hang up the carpets are called ‘tenterhooks’. As such, waiting on tenterhooks is waiting on the carpets to come in an uncomfortably cold state.
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The lovely green town of Bibury

  • ‘Curfew’ is derived from the phrase ‘curb the fire’. Back in the days of Shakespeare the people used to have fires burning inside their houses to keep the house warm. There was a time that everyone had to have the fire out by and this was the ‘curfew’ or the time to ‘curb the fire’.
  • During these times they also used rope beds. The ropes were crisscrossed in a pattern across the bed and you would lay a blanket down and sleep on it. ‘Good night, sleep tight’ refers to wishing the person that the ropes on the bed would stay tight so that you wouldn’t slouch down in the middle of the night while you were sleeping because the ropes came loose.
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The room where William Shakespeare was born. Note the pull out rope bed

  • Cherries are a traditional symbol of innocence. ‘To pop one’s cherry’ or to take their innocence comes from this traditional symbol.
  • Up until the age of five, they used to dress boys in dresses like they did girls. This is because it made them easier to toilet train. Only after the boys were toilet trained were they then allowed to be dressed in pants and were identifiable as boys instead of girls.
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A boy…. dressed as a girl… for potty training.

  • Grapes are a traditional icon of fertility. This is why they use dried grapes and fruit in wedding cakes. The top tier was traditionally saved for the christening of the first born to wish for the fertility of the child however these days most people save it for their first wedding anniversary.
  • Each of the different houses in the Cotswolds has a different fenlight window pattern above the front door. This is because in the days before house numbers, people could identify who they were visiting based on the pattern on the window.
  • There are 2600 toilets in Wembley Stadium
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The famous Leed’s Castle

  • It was the Romans that invented road signs. They placed markers along the side of the road that later became known as milestones and these told you how many miles to your destination.
  • Dry stone wall building is an incredible art and it takes approximately one tonne of stone to build one meter of wall to ensure that the rocks all fit together snuggly for the structural integrity of the wall.
  • In the small town of Bourton on the Water, they have a football match in the town every August bank holiday. The catch. They play the football match in the water…. not sure how but I would like to check this out at some point…
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Apparently the world’s most beautiful street, Arlington Row.

  • To support the wool industry of the Cotswolds, several laws were passed by the monarchy. Queen Elizabeth the first made it law that you had to wear a wool cap to church on Sundays. Charles the second made it law that if a person dies that the coffin they are buried in must be lined in wool and that the person must also be dressed in wool.

So that is it for now with the things that I have been learning as I have travelled around this glorious countryside. Stay tuned for more interesting things I have learned on my travels about the place next week!

Teaching, Stress and Depression

Hi. I’m a teacher.  I am stressed to the eyeballs all the time. Because of this I find myself not sleeping, lonely, gaining weight and slumping into a state of depression.

Everyday I get up and travel an hour on public transport to get to school. I teach long days and am at school between 8.15 and 5.30 most days. After this I travel another hour to get back home and I attempt to go to my boxing class that I normally love. Some days I am so exhausted I can barely keep my hands at my face. Some days I don’t have it in me to even punch the bag. So I turn around, go home, attempt to make dinner, shower and get to bed. I usually don’t find myself in bed until some point after 9pm. Then I sit down to try and do planning. Or marking. Or some other form of work. I get 6 odd hours of sleep and the cycle starts again.

By Friday I am so exhausted I can barely function. I go home and go to bed and sleep for 10 hours just to make up for the lack of sleep during the week. By the time the weekend rolls around I have to actively force myself to do things or try and see people. For the most part I feel like I don’t have the energy in me to move. I don’t have the wittiness to hold a proper conversation. I am just spent. I am depressed. And come Monday, I have rested just enough to take the edge off to start the cycle again. I do this for 7 weeks in a row until I have really burnt the candle at both ends and then I get a week to try and get myself back on track before it all starts again. And I dread it. If I force myself to go and do something, I start the week off even more tired and the cycle continues. I don’t have many friends here. The friends I do have I see every couple of weeks. I don’t have time to date. If I met someone I would barely have time or energy to spend with them, not that they would probably want to spend time with me anyway considering the kind of person I have become.

I hate how negative I have become. I literally hate everything. I find no joy in anything I used to. I resent that for someone usually so social that I cannot be bothered to speak to people. I resent that for every time I try to make a positive change that I feel like I am pushed backwards by some other problem I have to deal with or more work that I have to face. I resent constantly feeling like whatever it is that I do is not good enough. To the point where I don’t feel like I am enough anymore. I am not enough to be in a relationship. I am not enough to be someone’s mother. I am not enough to do this job. There just isn’t enough of me left as a person to be anything that I once even thought I wanted. And yet for the sake of others I spend the entire day pretending like everything is fine when it really isn’t.

If it is not enough to have to mark piles and piles of exams. I have piles and piles of books to mark. Eleven piles actually. Every three weeks so they can be taken away and ‘scrutinised’ by someone who can tell me I am not doing my job well enough. Oh and the homework marking. Then there are the endless observations chewing up your free time. The neverending behavioural issues that never get dealt with and then get worse because they never get dealt with. The constant fighting and arguing with disrespectful kids who do not feel that they have to follow any instructions you give them or even speak to you in a tasteful manner. I don’t want to do it anymore. I feel like my life isn’t mine and that I am running on autopilot. I don’t remember a time when I felt rested. I don’t remember a time I felt good about the things that I was doing and good about my job. I don’t remember when I last felt good about living. And yet I am stuck dealing with this and I don’t know how to get out. All I know is this….

When you have nothing of yourself left, you have nothing of yourself to give.

Teaching is too stressful. And too much stress leads to depression where I am concerned because my hormones and cortisol levels become really unbalanced. And that is no way to live a life. So what now???

Shit Learned In Albania

Six months ago I travelled through Albania and it was one of my favourite countries that I visited in my trip through the Balkans. I learned quite a lot of shit there and despite the fact that this is well overdue, here is what I learned.

Albanian’s love American Presidents

In the capital city of Tirana not only is there a statue of George W. Bush, the first of the American President’s to ever visit Albania, but there is a George W. Bush Street and a George W. Bush café where he visited. They apparently rope the table he sat at off so that nobody else can sit there because that’s Bush’s table….. my gosh. On top of this, there is a Clinton statue erected in Prishtina (the capital city of Kosovo) most likely as a tribute from the ethnic Albanians as thanks for intervening in the conflict with Serbia. What I do find incredibly humorous, especially now post election, is that the Albanian’s had a special Hillary Clinton statue commissioned for Sarande in the south for when she became President…. I don’t know what they are going to do with it now since that went all pear shaped!

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Shock….horror….. my gosh….

Albania’s roads are shit

The dictator Enver Hoxha during times of communist reign decided that with all of the money he had he would invest in spending it on 70,000 war bunkers at a cost of 1,000 dollars each. This is 70 million dollars that could have been spent on roads and other infrastructure. He did this because he was utterly paranoid that Albania was going to be attacked. Of course this was all unfounded and now as you drive across the country you can see bomb shelters all over the place that have never been used.

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The view over the coast from the winding high roads towards southern Albania

Speaking of Shit….

Shitet is the word used ‘for let’. I don’t know why, but I find this thoroughly amusing…. ‘shitet’ lol….

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Shitet….. lol…. what a shit apartment.

Albanians are lovely giving people

It annoys me a lot that I have heard a bunch of racist things from the mouths of ignorant people. At one point a British guy I met in Italy asked me why I would bother going to Albania as they are all aggressive gang members and thugs. As someone who has lived with and teaches Albanians everyday I can tell you this is not the case. In fact when the Bosnian’s were getting displaced from their country by the horrific Serbian regime to rid all Muslims from the country, Albanian’s gave refuge to more refugees than any other country despite how poor the country was at that time. They are a family oriented and giving people.

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Goats wandering along the beaches of Jale

It’s all about the Eagle!

The Albanian flag is the black two headed eagle based on a red back drop to represent the blood lost fighting for the country. The eagle has it’s roots back to the Byzantine era. This eagle is featured and revered quite prominently. The Albanian word for eagle is Shqiponje. The flag is called the Shqiperise, the people are called the Shqiptar, the country is called Shqiperia. Everything eagle. It is a hugely embraced emblem of who they are as people.

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The fabulous Albanian flag

Albanian drivers are crazy

Pedestrian crossing? What pedestrian? You will find your average Albanian driver cruising around with a cigarette in one hand and a phone in the other leaving you wondering what they use to actually hold the steering wheel and where their eyes are for driving. And yet somehow it seems to work. You just have to make sure that at all times you are on alert and don’t get in their way. Drivers also seem to get a little bit extra crazy if they are driving for weddings. They hang red and white scarves out the windows and wave them ferociously as they honk their horns loudly and often. It is quite the affair to behold!

Tortoises eat watermelon!!

Yeah I know right! Totally weird but totally cute!

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In my jammies feeding the tortoise my breakfast.

So that is about it for my time. I did spend quite a large proportion of my time sitting on a beach in Jale down in the south and hiking from Thethi through to Valbona which is some of the most spectacular hiking I have ever seen in my life. It is such a beautiful country to visit and if you get the chance to, you should definitely go. Just don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere fast!

 

 

 

Bored and Boring…. My Worst Fear.

As I sit here and attempt to conjure up some random shit to do I am actively trying to negate my feelings of boredom. As I fall into the daily routine of doing the same things day in, day out, I see my life pass me by with little meaning. I don’t want to be one of those people who wake up 50 years from now and realise that I haven’t done any of the things that I wanted to do. For the most part, people tell me I am crazy. I like to call it ‘actively participating in life’. In fact, every New Years I create a yearly ‘bucket list’ instead of New Year’s resolutions. I work my way through checking the things off the list and it gives me mini goals and something to do.

The weirdest thing about being an active participant in life is that when you aren’t doing something new and different, everything else just seems bland. It is one of the appeals of the road and travel to me and another reason why I struggle so much with staying in one place. Of late, the monotony of routine is really bothering me. Same food, same work at school, same bus, same gym, same same, but different. And yet I have been go karting, dressed as Santa and gone on a park crawl at Santacon, taken bus tours to scenic parts of England and taken a few walking tours. But none of it seems to be filling the gaping hole of boredom I feel right now.

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I feel like a lot of this has to do with lacking new and open people in my life. The hardest thing about living in a new city and working very long hours is that you rarely get to meet new people. You barely get to know the people you do meet because people working day in and day out, they don’t really offer much of themselves. I find myself sitting here feeling like I don’t have much to offer them either. I find myself feeling boring to the vast majority of people I interact with and maybe that is my fault because I spend so much time trying to hide behind the mask of accepted ‘normality’ and I don’t know how to behave. I find that often that I am met with judgement instead of support for many of the random things that I choose to do. “Why go get drunk in the street dressed as Santa? Why go learn to fly a helicopter? Why go on a Jack the Ripper Walking tour?” While I sit here and ask ‘why not?’ I find that I spend a lot of my time hiding what I may consider some of the best parts of me from people. I find it isolating. I find it tiring. And more so I wonder why I do it and why I feel that I have to to be accepted in general society. My answer at the end of the day is always to move.

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As I sit here after just booking my flight to go home and visit my friends and family, maybe the answer it to go back to those that have known me the longest. Those that are used to my antics and have learned to love me for them and not despite them. Those that will even join in when my brain starts getting bored and crazy. But even then I feel torn with not being understood at times. Maybe the solution is to start letting more people in? And yet that would involve investing time to do so, which I don’t have very much here. All I know is this.

Boredom will kill me. It will make me a shell of a human and take away the fundamental parts of me. So I won’t have it. I will continue to try and grow and change and try new things.

As for being boring? I really don’t know. That is in the eye of the beholder. I had a guy in a bar once tell me I was the most boring person he’d ever met. I told him that if I was that boring he could fuck off and go away. But then I also didn’t really engage. I was in a headspace where I couldn’t be bothered, just like I am feeling right now. Too tired to let people in.

So maybe what I need to consider is this.  Who it is that I seem to feel comfortable allowing to behold who I am? And maybe I need to think about revealing more of myself without fear of judgement and persecution, which is a hard thing considering I get told frequently not to scare new people I meet. It plays on some of the largest insecurities I have of myself. Maybe it is time to try and put some of those insecurities to bed and move forward. But then again, maybe it is time to move to somewhere I can feel more accepted for being who it is that I am. If you have any idea of where that is, let me know…. I am all ears.

A woman's lifelong aversion to the word 'No'….