Folks in Uruguay finally got around to building a bridge over Laguna Garzón

Click to enlarge

When building bridges, designers do not often think about making their bridge round, but that is exactly what Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly did. The bridge spanning the Laguna Garzón in Uruguay just opened to the public and it has people wondering why such a structure was ever built. In sharp contrast to many purely architectural projects, this bridge actually has a need and purpose.

Designers of the bridge wanted to devise a way to slow down traffic while also forcing them to look out and appreciate the environment around them. The non-traditional circular design was selected through years of governmental debate. The bridge has a radius of 51.5 meters bracketed by two straight sections at the entrances measuring 46 meters. This design incredibly allowed for two lanes of traffic while creating a lagoon in the center that can be used for fishing…

Circular bridges aren’t uncommon, however they are rarely meant for road traffic. The Laguna Garzón bridge combines the beauty of a circular structure with key functional aspects of its design and the wonder of the landscape. While the project does not garner its attention from extreme size, the bridge is gaining a lot of interest, just as designers and officials intended.

Officials hope to attract the sort of tourist who cares for beauty, quiet design, nature – to a coastal region mostly ignored by the usual strain of sightseer.

Certainly attractive to me.

Pic of the Day

Click to enlargeAP Photo/Alberto Saiz

A man lays in a puddle of squashed tomatoes, during the annual “tomatina” tomato fight fiesta in the village of Bunol, 50 kilometers outside Valencia, Spain…

The streets of an eastern Spanish town are awash with red pulp as thousands of people pelt each other with tomatoes in the annual “Tomatina” battle that has become a major tourist attraction. At the annual fiesta in Bunol on Wednesday, trucks dumped 125 tons of ripe tomatoes for some 22,000 participants, many from abroad to throw during the hour-long morning festivities.

Phew! First look seemed like an outtake from the evening war news.

Spill from leaking pipeline reaches popular Thailand tourist beach

Koh Samet
What the beach looks like – minus oil

The oil spill from a leaked pipeline in Thailand has reached one of the country’s popular tourism islands, officials have said.

The authorities have warned tourists to avoid oil-slicked water on Koh Samet.

A pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical leaked on Saturday spilling an estimated 50,000 litres of oil.

Hundreds of people, including navy personnel, environment officials and villagers were battling to clean the oil from Samet’s beaches.

“The top priorities right now are to get rid of the oil on the sand and the seawaters, and to make sure the spill doesn’t spread to other shores,” said local deputy provincial governor Supeepat Chongpanish.

This is a very beautiful, white, sandy beach, so we want to make the spill go away as soon as possible.”

Some hotel guests were cutting their holiday short because of the oil spill.

“…It’s chaotic right now. Many people and officials are on the beach dealing with it,” a hotel worker told AFP news agency.

After the spill

Not so pretty for a spell. I don’t know anyone this side of Royal Dutch Shell who thinks the sight of oil on the water makes any place more attractive to tourists. Or to the folks who live there.

Firefly Squids in Toyama Bay, Japan

The Firefly Squid is a bioluminescent squid growing to a length of only three inches. The squid is equipped with special light-producing organs called photophores that emit a deep blue light. Large photophores can be found on the tips of the tentacles as well as around the eyes. Thousands of tiny photophores can be found throughout the squid’s body, giving it the ability to emit light along its entire form. In the Toyama Bay, in the central Japan Sea, the squid are found in fantastic abundance. Normally living at 1200 feet underwater, waves in the Toyama bay pushes the squid to the surface in massive numbers where they are fished by tons from March to June.

The spawning season of the firefly squid also runs during the same period. Millions of squid come together to fertilize and to drop their eggs in the Toyama Bay. The big reunion of these squids is one big light show that you can admire and it attracts thousands of tourists. This event is very important for other sea creatures and sea birds who enjoy eating the dead bodies of the firefly squid. Firefly squids is also considered a delicacy in Japan.

Fascinating. Mouthwatering. Beautiful.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Florida town seeks nudist vacationers – from Europe

Advert for campaign to get clothing-optional voting

A west Florida community is spending $3,800 in tax dollars to entice naked Germans to spend their summer vacations there.

The advertising grant was awarded Tuesday by the Pasco County commission to Pandabare, a local nudist organization representing 16 resorts, campgrounds and clubs located in the largely rural county north of Tampa.

The ads, to be placed in European publications, will promote the county’s longstanding reputation as the nudist capital of America.

“The idea is to create a Euro-bird season in July and August which are our worst two months of the year,” said Eric Keaton, public communications manager for the Pasco County tourist development agency. Keaton said nudism contributes to the county’s economy, but he had no figures to quantify its impact.

The first target market for the ad campaign will be Germany which, according to Pandabare’s application, is “a large and lucrative market whose millions of nudists are among the world’s most prolific travelers.” The group also anticipates a campaign aimed at British nudists.

Keaton said the advertisements…will be very clean, and somewhat funny…”

I always fall apart over states well-known for bible-based reactionary politics…which haven’t any problem with one part of the state making money from freedom-based lifestyles they would generally arrest folks for in another part of the state.

Top 10 silly summer events in the United States

Just the insanity you can get up to with stuff you find around the farm
If you enjoy the strange, unusual or downright wacky and you’re planning a summer of fun in the United States, online travel adviser TripAdvisor ( may have a festival of foolishness that will appeal to you in its top 10 list of the wackiest summer events in the United States. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Humungus Fungus Festival: August 5-7, Crystal Falls, Mich.

2. National Hollerin’: June 18, Spivey’s Corner, N.Carolina

3. Cream Cheese Festival: September 17, Lowville, New York

4. Watermelon Thump: June 23-26, Luling, Texas

5. Summer Redneck Games: July 9, East Dublin, Georgia

6. Gilroy Garlic Festival: July 29-31, Gilroy, Cal.

7. Barnesville Potato Days: August 26-27, Barnesville, Minn.

8. Cow Chip Throw: Sept 2-3, Prairie du Sac, Wis.

9. Baby Food Festival: July 20-23, Fremont, Mich.

10. Heritage Duct Tape Festival: June 17-19, Avon, Oh.

Actually, I’ve been to a couple of these. Only seriously considered entering competition in one. 🙂

Amsterdam Council lets “beer bikes” continue to roll

The beer bike will ride on in Amsterdam.

The outsized bikes, seating groups of people around a central bar, are something of a fixture in the city’s center. But two accidents within two months prompted the city councillor responsible for transport to launch an investigation in June.

Following that review the city has decided to allow the bikes to carry on riding, a city spokesman said this weekend.

They will, however, need permits from the various city boroughs, and those permits are likely to come with restrictions on hours of operation and requirements for a sober driver.

While non-drinkers already typically steer the bikes, their size has also been an issue in some cases on the city centre’s narrow streets. One of the better-known operators,, offers two-hour tours on bikes that seat up to 22 people and carry 30 litres (7.9 gallons) of beer.

Hopefully, city councils will find something better to do with their time.

Court turns loose cross-dressing mooning “nuns”

Seventeen British men stood trial dressed in nun’s habits on the Greek island of Crete on Monday for flashing their bottoms in public, but walked free after no one showed up to testify their behavior was offensive.

Police said they had arrested the 17 men, aged between 18 and 65, early on Sunday at the popular resort of Malia and a prosecutor charged them with exposing themselves in public and offending religious symbols.

“They were dressed like nuns, carrying crosses, but wearing thongs under their skirts and showing people their bottoms and the rest,” said a police official who declined to be named.

Apprehended in the early hours of Sunday, the men were taken into custody and appeared in court on Monday in the same clothes they were wearing at the time of their arrest.

But the court in the town of Iraklio ruled them innocent after no witness appeared to testify against them, the police official said.

Har! We’ll have to try that next year outside the Notre Dame commencement exercises.

Prevent terrorism by terrorising tourists – in London

Like most visitors to London, Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris took several photographs of some of the city’s sights, including the famous red double-decker buses. More unusually perhaps, they also took pictures of the Vauxhall bus station, which Matzka regards as “modern sculpture”.

But the tourists have said they had to return home to Vienna without their holiday pictures after two policemen forced them to delete the photographs from their cameras in the name of preventing terrorism.

Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was “strictly forbidden”. The policemen also recorded the pair’s details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses.

In a letter in today’s Guardian, Matzka wrote: “I understand the need for some sensitivity in an era of terrorism, but isn’t it naive to think terrorism can be prevented by terrorising tourists?…”

A spokeswoman for Metropolitan police said: “It is not the police’s intention to prevent tourists from taking photographs and we are looking to the allegations made.” The force said it had no knowledge of any ban on photographing public transport in the capital.

London is New York is London is New York is London is New York…