Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities

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If the items were really as its name, Tombées du Camion, (items fallen from the back of a truck) suggests, this little shop in Montmartre would never have lasted as long as it has. Tucked away in a forgotten passageway, between chic fashion and the questionable Pigalle area, is found one of the most interesting assortments of salvaged and found items in Paris.

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A temporary resting place for unwanted and unclaimed curiosities, Tombées du Camion is like a museum of the odd, all squeezed into under 200 square feet. Everything in excess, from doll parts to police whistles and pill containers on display in wooden crates will hold you in it’s spell. There are French porno banners from the 1970s, rusted mortuary plaques (probably pried from old burial sites), and unused flasks of an opium cure for diarrhea. Most of these items are made in France, and every object has a story.

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Much of the stock has been salvaged from attics and corners of old factories in random locations around France, often left after their usefulness seemed to have passed.

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http://binged.it/1mzLCbx

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Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

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Son Doong Cave the world’s largest, is located in Vietnam. It was originally found by a local man who discovered the entrance in 1991. He was afraid of the 300 foot drop and the roar that came from below. For 18 more years, it stayed unexplored until it was re-discovered in 2009 by British cave explorers. The name Son Doong means “mountain river”. The cave was created 2-5 million years ago by a river whose source is still unknown. The cave is so big it contains a jungle and you could fit a 40 story building inside.

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Where the limestone was weak, the ceiling collapsed creating huge skylights. Thousands of “cave pearls” sit untouched in Son Doong. These were formed over hundreds of years when dripping water created layers of calcite that build up around grains of sand.

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Vietnam has a very difficult terrain, and the cave is far out of the way. It’s totally covered in jungle, and you can’t locate anything on Google Earth.  A team from the British Cave Research Association, who first explored Son Doong, will be returning to find out more of the cave’s mysteries.

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A tour company called Oxalis, is running trial tours of the cave and accepting sign-ups for real six-day tours to take place next year. Ropes and harness are needed to get inside Son Doong, and any visitors will need to rappel 260 feet to reach the cave floor. Tourists will explore the cavern by day and sleep on the cave’s sandy beaches at night.

 

Ed Fairburn – Human Geography

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Artist  Ed Fairburn has some very odd habits. Once as a bored 15-year-old, during a long school break, he glued a stamp on a slice of toast and mailed it as a postcard. Since then, he has used the postal system as an alternative gallery space, although his talents have outgrown the mailbox. His most current work has him bringing new life to a series of maps. Fairburn seems to prefer the kind of art that’s easy to fold away, possibly because it makes them easier to put into a mailbox.

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Ed Fairburn is a Welsh artist, who has the ability to combine the geography of facial features with the geography of the earth. Combining the two has a completely natural feel. built and natural echo the human form. Like a sculptor, Fairburn uses patterns to cut away unnecessary details showing form in a new way.

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Today we’re living in a new age of map making, with interactive, electronic mapping technology that gives us real time detail. But it is nice to be reminded that, despite the benefits of this Google-era reality, maps can speak to more than how to get from one place to another.Ed-Fairburn-Retratos-Cartográficos5

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

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A road winding to the top of a North Carolina mountain is the entrance to Oz, a 1970s theme park that closed less than 10 years after it opened. Back when it started, the Land of Oz would attract up to 20,000 visitors a day, but now the Yellow Brick Road is missing some bricks, and the Wicked Witch’s castle is empty.

Grover Robbins developed the Beech Mountain theme park as a way of attracting families to the  resort town. Robbins never lived to see his masterpiece, dying at the age of 50 of bone cancer only six months before  the park was complete. The park opened on June 15, 1970 with Debbie Reynolds making an appearance, along with her daughter, Carrie Fisher. In its  first summer 400,000 visitors came to the Land of Oz.

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The Yellow Brick Road wound its way through the park, leading tourists to a replica Emerald City (destroyed in a fire), Dorothy’s house, the castle of the Wicked Witch and the Munchkin village all accurately recreated on over 450 acres.

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After a decline in amusement park visitors in the 1970s and a lack of modernization and updates in the park itself, the Land of Oz closed in 1980. The park was left to vandals and decay, but there was enough interest in its restoration that it was eventually restored as a private garden in the Eagle Mountain community built at that property near the top of Beech Mountain.

The park does open to the public one week-end a year in the beginning of October.

http://www.ourstate.com/north-carolinas-land-of-oz/

Snow Cave in Kamchatka

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This surreal-looking ice cave is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. With very little snow, and a hot summer huge snow melts occured. As a result, a passage was formed in the snow was leading to the cave formed underneath.

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At the entrance, the ceiling is thin enough for light to break through giving unique effects. The colored lights aren’t a computer trick, but are the result of sunlight streaming through the ice into the hidden world below. When you get further away from the entrance, the arch of the cave becomes thicker, and less sunlight comes through it, but you can still see unreal spans of form and color.

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The snow caves of were formed by hot springs flowing from a volcano. The Kamchatka Peninsula, in the far east of Russia, is a region of extraordinary natural beauty with  large symmetrical volcanoes, lakes, raging rivers and breathtaking coastline.

(photos by Denis Budko, Marc Szeglat, Michael Zelensky and xflo:w)

Mate, The Drink Of Argentina

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Mate is the national drink of Argentina. “Maté” literally means “I killed” in Spanish. Later the word was used by people who colonized the region of the Río de la Plata to describe the natives rough and sour drink, always consumed with nothing added to soften the taste. Traditionally the beverage is prepared in the same gourd cup, also called mate or guampa.

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The initial preparation involves an arrangement of the yerba within the gourd before adding hot water. In this method, the gourd is first filled half to three-quarters of the way with yerba The mate is then shaken very gently in a side-to-side motion. Now the mate is ready to receive the straw.mate bombilla

Some people pour warm water into the mate before adding the straw, while others say that the straw is best inserted into dry yerba. If the straw was inserted into dry yerba, the mate must first be filled once with cool water, then be allowed to absorb it completely (which generally takes no more than two or three minutes).Gaucho Drinking Mate, Fiesta de la Tradición, San Antonio de Areco, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mate is traditionally drunk in a social setting, like a family gathering or among a group of friends. The same gourd (cuia) and straw (bomba/bombilla) are passed around and used by everyone drinking .

Showmen’s Rest Circus Cemetery

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Here the clowns have stopped laughing, the acrobats no longer fly, and the music has quit playing. Everything is quiet here, but now in immortal life, the show must go on. The small town of Hugo, Oklahoma,  the winter home of the traveling circus since the 1930s, has become the eternal home for some who have spent their life under the big top.

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A section of Mount Olivet Cemetery called Showmen’s Rest, is bordered by sculptures of elephants on granite pedestals and each grave is designed to show the circus skills of the performer. Here they will remain forever performing under a timeless Big Top.

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While these lie in quiet slumber, the rest of the city celebrates their legendary past with clowns, elephants, and death defying stunts. Children watch with delight as performers practice their impossible feats. Adults are held spellbound by the show overhead.  This small Oklahoma town has a history more unique than any other in the state.

http://www.okgenweb.org/~okchocta/cemetery/showmans_rest.htm