25 Haunting Shipwrecks Around the World

Twisted Sifter is a web site with three simple goals. Provide content that is interesting, funny or creative, use BIG pictures whenever possible and to keep their readers up-to-date with what’s popular online. Gadling found this gallery of 25 haunting shipwrecks at Twisted Sifter who tells us

“Fellow blogger Tom Moran from Urban Ghosts inspired this post. His excellent article on ‘Ship Graveyards: Abandoned Ships, Boats and Shipyards’ sent me on a quest to find some incredible photographs of shipwrecks around the world.

The United Nations estimates that there are more than 3 million shipwrecks on the ocean floor [Source: Wikipedia]. These once mighty vessels, both sunken and beached, are a haunting reminder that nothing lasts forever. These beautiful ships used to rule the seas they traveled. Now they serve as a window into our past.”

In the gallery below, 25 Haunting Shipwrecks From Around The World, there are shipwrecks everywhere from the Canary Islands to Grand Cayman to Portugal in all shapes and sizes.


Ten most corrupt countries of the world

You spend every holiday weekend annoyed that you can’t talk your way out of a speeding ticket. If only there were some way out of that predicament … aside from taking your lead foot off the gas, right? You may be out of luck on the New Jersey Turnpike, but there are plenty of places in the world where money talks, according to a new study by Transparency International. So, if you tend to disregard local laws and customs, you may want to pick one of the 10 countries below for your next vacation.

WARNING: You may need to bring a bit of fire power for some of these destinations.

1. Somalia:
Is this even a country? It has no real government to speak of, not to mention a history of piracy, mob violence, warlord brutality and kidnapping. So, chew a little khat to take the edge off.

The Good News: You can’t really break any laws where there aren’t any.

2. Myanmar: Okay, the human rights issue here is pretty severe, and the military regime is known for being among the most repressive and abusive in the world. So, don’t complain about the thread-count in your hotel.

The Good News: There’s plenty of wildlife to enjoy as a result of slow economic growth. A bleak financial outlook is good for the environment!

%Gallery-106020%3. Afghanistan: Ummmm, there’s a war going on there – you may remember that. So, you’re dealing more with warlords than conventional law enforcement officials. This takes some of the predictability out of your mischief, and it does amp the risk up a bit.

The Good News: There are several options for civilian flights. Also, fishing is fine, but you can’t use hand grenades.

4. Iraq: Again with the war … The easiest way to get there is to wear a uniform, but that will make bribing your way out of trouble far more difficult.

The Good News: Prostitutes may not be in abundance, but if you have an itch in Baghdad, you’ll probably find someone to help you scratch it.

5. Uzbekistan: The CIA describes the government as “authoritarian presidential rule.” Is there really anything else you need to know? Yes, there is: Uzbekistan has a nasty human trafficking problem.

The Good News: Uzbekistan’s currency is the Ubekistani soum – that’s what you’ll use to bribe your way out of trouble.

6. Turkmenistan: Uzbekistan’s neighbor is no prize, either. Instead of trading in skin, though, Turkmenistan prefers drugs. It’s described in the CIA World Factbook as a “transit country for Afghan narcotics bound for Russia and Western European markets.”

The Good News: If you’re in the heroin business, this is a crucial stop in your supply chain. If you’re not, well, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to care about the place.

7. Sudan: The global financial crisis of 2008 actually affected this country. Until then, money was flowing in just as fast as oil could flow out. Then, economies crumbled around the world, which dealt a nasty blow to the country.

The Good News: There’s at least one form of equal rights in Sudan: both men and women can be drafted into military service.

8. Chad: Why is Chad so corrupt? Well, this may have something to do with the human trafficking problem, which the country “is not making any significant efforts” to address. Rebel groups in the country add to the likelihood for mayhem.

The Good News: Chad ranks 190 worldwide in terms of GDP, which means your bribe dollars will go much further than in more developed nations.

9. Burundi: A dispute with Rwanda over sections of the border they share has resulted in various conflicts and a spirit of lawlessness that will make your own nefarious plans pale in comparison.

The Good News: Though landlocked, there is probably some great real estate alongside Lake Tanganyika.

10. Equatorial Guinea: Any country that has failed to try to combat human trafficking is probably a top spot for corruption, so it isn’t surprising that Equatorial Guinea made the top 10.

The Good News: Government officials and their families own most of the businesses in the country, so any broad complaints can be addressed by a handful of people.

[photo by The U.S. Army via Flickr]

Immigrants’ perspectives on life in the U.S.

One question I like to ask people who have come to live in the U.S. is in regards to what surprised them the most about living here. Something they did not expect to find– or something they didn’t think about before moving here. The surprises could be sensory based, as in, what sights did you not expect? Sounds? I leave the question open just to see the variety of responses.

The question comes from my own quick impressions from my experiences living overseas. Often, as been my impression when one passes though a country quickly, certain nuances are missed, or we have one or two experiences that are hard to make a definite comment about–unless one is paying close attention as Neil did with his series on North Korea. Because Matthew is living in Japan, there are things that he picks up on that many folks in Japan for just a week, as I was when I traveled there, would not find out about as easily.

The results of my question are as diverse as the people who gave the answers. Although this is about the U.S., the question “What has surprised you the most?” can work in whatever country you happen to be living in. Let’s call it a conversation starter.

Here is a sampling of what was said one morning this week. Keep in mind this is from immigrants who are living in Columbus, Ohio, a city with large populations of people from a variety of places. Recently Somalians are tipping the immigrant scale.

Two or three students talked about how people in the U.S. always have time to help. If you ask people for help, you’ll get it. This came from one Somalian man and also from one man from Ghana. The man from Ghana said that in his country, that’s not the case. (Again, remember this is his experience and his impression.) I asked him if, as an American, or at least as a foreigner, if I were in Ghana, would people help me? He thought they would.

His sister, also from Ghana, talked about the school system here. How everyone can get educated and how education is free. She also talked about how girls in her country don’t have much of a chance to go to school.

The person from Morocco lamented that she can’t find clothes she likes here. She is a lovely dresser and quite sweet and pretty. I told her that I bet if she were living in NYC she could find such clothes. I have a hard time finding clothes in Columbus that get me all excited. Let’s just say this is not an in fashion hot spot.

A man from Eritrea mentioned how much people work here. He said the work culture has been an adjustment. Let’s just say that his impression of work in Eritrea is “laid back.” He used another word, but I rephrased it.

One woman from Guinea thought the health care system is better. She said in Guinea you had to pay before you get treated at the hospital, even if you have a stab wound. This detail is from a story she recounted where she paid for someone else’s care since it looked like the guy would bleed to death if she didn’t help.

Other Somalian man commented about the interstate highway system–you can go from state to state easily and this is simply marvelous.

A man from Mauritania said that in the U.S. you can get business done by going to a place once with papers filled out and not have to keep going back to talk with several different people over several days. He did not find this to be the case in his country.

In the past another person was surprised to see wooden houses. In this person’s mind, wooden houses look awful.

Almost all of them talked about how much more expensive life is in the U.S. and how complex day to day life is. None of this was said in a whiny way, but matter of fact. Being able to save money is a real problem. If you listen to the news, they have company.

In general, all felt that moving to Columbus, Ohio was a good move. Some were living elsewhere before coming here. The move to Columbus came because they heard it was safer, cheaper, an easy place to get around, and had good schools. Now, if they say this when they are in their own home, I don’t know. An interesting study, I would think, is feelings of well-being of people who are enrolled in English classes compared to people who are not.

Word for the Travel Wise (05/20/06)

For animal lovers, especially those who love watching monkey’s and aren’t intimidated by feces being flung their way, a trip to the area of Bossou in Guinea is a must. This is said to be one of the best places in West Africa to spot chimpanzees. According to Lonely Planet’s guide book information online, the guides in the Bossou area see the chimps on a day-to-day basis which almost guarantees a first hand encounter of your very own. But even if you never saw a chimpanzee, the hike alone is supposed to be quite scenic and simply amazing.

Today’s phrase is a Pular Fuuta phrase spoken in Guinea:

Enee, Porto! A majju! – Hey, white boy, you lost?

When I came across this online manual for learning the language of Fuuta Jallon which we know most of which as Guinea, the first phrase in the travel section was the one listed above. That being said, something tells me it may just come in handy when wandering around with your map all up in the air on your chimpanzee hunt.

French is the official language of Guinea so anyone with even a little French under their belt should be able to make it around fine, but there are several ethnic dialects still used in the country, with the Pular Fuuta being one of the more popular. This Mido Waawi Pular guide was developed to help Peace Corp volunteers learning with an instructor, but can be a great tool for anyone seriously wanting to learn. In Adobe format and 128 pages, it is probably one of the best resources you’ll be able to use from the web. Scope out the Wiki on Fula in addition to the guide above, however the family breakdown of the language may be slightly difficult to follow.