Ten Whackadoo Travel Facts From Around the Globe

I love the weird, gross and obscure—finding it and then sharing it with you (like this post on how butter rum flavor comes from the scrapings inside a civet’s anus, for example). This week, let’s focus on travel, shall we?

  1. Saba airport
    Saba airport

    A large cruise ship can generate 210,000 gallons of human sewage during a week-long cruise. What they do with it is largely up to the cruise line, and the options range from on-board waste treatment plants to burning the waste to dumping it in the ocean—as long as it’s 12 miles offshore, it’s legal! The “what do you do with the poop?” question might be a good one to start asking if you’re choosing between cruise lines.

  2. An estimated 3,000 Euros (~4060 USD) are thrown into Rome’s Trevi fountain each day. The money is collected and donated to charity.
  3. The average cab ride from Tokyo’s Narita airport into the city costs $300.
  4. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on the Caribbean island of Saba has the world’s smallest airport, with a runway length of just 396 meters (1300 feet). Better not tell the pilot of Boeing’s 747 Dreamlifter.
  5. There are 60,000 stray dogs in Bucharest, Romania. In other words, one stray dog for every 31 residents. (Funny, I was there in 2011 and don’t remember seeing many strays. Unattractive footwear, yes. Dogs, no.)
  6. Speaking of stray dogs, India has the highest number of human deaths from rabies per year. The number is estimated at 35,000.
  7. Island of the Dolls
    Island of the Dolls

    The kola nut, which comes from trees native to Africa and is the origin of the term “cola,” is still popular as gift currency for chiefs and guests in some African countries, such as Mali. (I handed them out myself while I was hiking through the Bandiagara region there.) Kola nuts are also an ingredient in the latest version of Virgil’s Real Cola (sold in the U.S.), proving once more, all that’s old becomes new again.

  8. A great place to get creepy for cheapy is Mexico’s Isla de las Muñecas, or, Island of the Dolls. All shapes, all sizes, some decapitated, just hangin’ from the trees.
  9. I was going to put in a little gem about some kind of disgusting food from somewhere, and in doing the research, got too completely grossed out myself to be able to include it. If you want to feel the bile rise from your belly to the back of your throat, fill your boots over here: “25 of the Strangest Foods from Around the World.”
  10. At the Heladería Coromoto ice cream shop in Mérida, Venezuela you can get Viagra ice cream. At the time this post went to press, birth control ice cream was still unavailable.

What global kookiness have you encountered in print or real life? Please share with us!

Images shared under Creative Commons license. Saba airport image by Fyodor Borisov and Island of the Dolls image by Esparto Palma.



  1. says

    First, I can never, ever meet you in person because I have a feeling we would giggle through an entire conversation! “unattractive footwear”?! lol!

    My odd thing is not really country specific, it just happens wherever I go. People spit. Not at me of course but in my general vicinity. It’s like they have called each other, around the world and said, if you see Jo-Anne, please spit for me. I guess it’s a gift I have for encouraging expectoration.

    Yes. YUCK!!

    • Laura Zera says

      Nooooo, Jo-Anne, don’t say that, I promise to be completely humorless when we meet.

      Spitters, hey? It’s a compliment somewhere in the world, I’m sure. :)

  2. says

    In Guanajuato, Mexico is the Museo de las Momias–Mummy Museum. It contains naturally mummified bodies interred during a cholera outbreak in the 1800s. One of them is of a mother-to-be with the baby still attached to the umbilical cord. But hey, at least none of them are wearing unattractive footwear.

  3. says

    Here’s to the creepy for cheapy tree danglers from The Island of the Dolls. I doubt my travel kookiness can be varied in an official source, but I would just like to offer up that I used to scrape mushrooms from the carpets of the cabins in Yellowstone’s Canyon Village locations. The mushrooms would sprout so quickly. It was a fun guessing game to see which guests would complain.
    Jeri recently posted…Editing Sample: Lessons from an Ordinary LifeMy Profile

    • Laura Zera says

      Eww! I can feel my allergies go into overdrive just reading about it! So, do you have “mushroom scraper” on your resume?

    • Laura Zera says

      You’re probably right on that one, Rachel, although I expect the sheer volume of it all at once, as well as proximity to shoreline, are what’s causing the environmental concerns. Thanks for reading!

    • Laura Zera says

      Hi Joey, thanks for stopping by, and your great add to the facts list! Aye yay yay, I think if I lived in North Korea, I’d be afraid to sneeze.


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