Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Diversion: Drawn to the Places of the Dead

Okay so I have been kinda quiet for a few. Monday afternoon, while still recovering a hangover and an awful neck ache from too much thrashing with Noringo on Saturday, I watched this awesome History Channel show on Netflix about Egypt and the engineering feats of their culture. Insane stuff. Anyway, my diversion from my usual blog talk about music and movies, I want to talk to you about cool places in the world I'd love to see. Most of these will be ancient places or abandoned places as my attention has been drawn to them lately. What are some cool old places in the world you'd like to see?

The Necropolis of Dahshur, Egypt - Sure, I want to see Giza as well, but something about Dahshur has captured my attention. Mainly, the Bent Pyramid. It's pretty amazing to see the learning curve that the Egyptians went through in making these insanely dramatic dwellings for their deceased pharaohs. The Bent Pyramid was built for Sneferu around 2596 BC and shows how part way through the construction of the pyramid that they found it wouldn't work at the original angle they were building. So they changed the degree of the sides from 55 degrees to 43 degrees giving it the bent shape. Aside from this intriguing pyramid, The Red Pyramid also lies here, which was the first true smooth sided pyramid. Dahshur seems like a really intriguing place.

Uluru & Kata Tjuta, Australia - I have been obsessed with Uluru, more commonly known as Ayers Rock, for many years now. And after reading about it more and more, I would love to make a trip there. Australia is definitely high on my list of must see places in the world and I'm not talking Sydney and the other outlying major metropolii. I'm more interested in the Outback and the mystery behind it. Uluru is a spiritual place for the Anangu people who are indigenous to Australia. One thing I've constantly read is that people can climb Uluru, but to the Anangu it's against their laws to climb Uluru. It is in that case then that I will see this rock formation but respect their tribal laws and see it just from the ground. Also, I hear many people die on the walk up. Seems kinda scary. Kata Tjuta, the adjacent small range of mountains, also looks breathtaking and natural beauty is something I need to do more of in my travels around the globe.

Centralia, PA - Of all the places I will be talking about, Centralia is the only one I plan on doing this year. Back in the 60's, a giant mine fire was inadvertently started when nearby residents were burning trash near the entrance to many connecting coal mines that were abandoned underground. The result: massive amounts of fuel for a fire that has yet to stop burning. That's right.... it's still burning. And so is built the perfect precursor to what a post apocalyptic environment may look like. What makes this deserted burgh so enticing? Well it's just the fact that by human hands, a whole community has been slowly ravaged to it's end. It's the perfect place to see for anyone obsessed with apocalyptic scenarios and it's only a few hours away.

Machu Picchu & The Nazca Lines, Peru - Growing up their were a few things I was obsessed with. Australia, Dinosaurs, The Titanic, Mt. Vesuvius and the South America/Central American tribes of the Incas, the Mayans and the Aztecs. My favorite of these were the Incas. These Peruvian natives conquered land as far north as Ecuador and all the way down the spine of the Andes in Chile. Machu Picchu is their grandest site with an amazing complex of ruins. It was never found by the Spanish Conquistadors and it wasn't brought to international attention until 1911. It seems like a perfect place for a trek through the jungle. Amazing how people lived in ancient times. While Europe was beginning to flourish in the 1400's, the Inca's were coming near an end to their excellent empire. It's sad that these people were lost due to small pox and it may seem like sacrilege to walk on one of their most intensely famous landmarks, but I feel drawn to it.

Also nearby, The Nazca Lines. The Nazca's predate the Incas in their culture and their most insanely genius gift to the world comes in the form of geoglyphs that when seen from a plane create amazing portraits of animals and other great figures. It's incredible to see a picture of these lines, which were built well before anyone on Earth could ever see them. I can't even wrap my brain around these lines and just how amazing it is that they were constructed, if you want to call it that, between 200BC and 700 AD. Truly unbelievable.

Aokigahara Forest, Japan - Why would anyone want to visit the second most famous spot in the world where people go to commit suicide? Well, it's not because I feel as if this place is a fun place to visit as much as maybe it's a visit one should make to honor those who decided the ultimate fate. Aokigahara Forest is by Mount Fuji in Japan and has a strangeness to it. Aside from being second to the Golden Gate Bridge for suicides in the world, it's a forest that is devoid of wind due to it's density and mostly devoid of life. There is something captivating about this place. I'm no ghost hunter either, but apparently the amount of paranormal activity in the forest is unprecedented. It might just be worth the experience.

I guess I'm on a quest to discover some of the more eerie and almost spiritual places on earth. Am I obsessed with the dead and their tales? Do I enjoy the idea that all things move toward their end and the places on earth that outlast the lives that appreciate them? Maybe I am. But there is a beauty and tranquility to these places where people once tread and where death is a common thread to their very existence. And it's in abandoned places or remote locales that seem against the grain of humanity to exist regardless that maybe we can truly find the meaning of life. That's my diversion for the day.


leo said...

There's a pretty creepy farm near me where a bunch of kids were murdered. It was part of the crazy story that The Changeling (with Angelina Jolie) was based on. I'll send you the link.

Paul Tsikitas said...

Surprisingly enough, Leo, my attraction to the Places of the Dead is less about murder and more about the sacrificial dead. I'm not big on visiting places were murders happened. Although the Suicide Forest seems like the only one that fits the bill, but I think that visit is more about the stillness than the chance to stumble upon bones or a corpse.