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Creepy Statue in an Abandoned School (in a neighborhood that’s almost gone) Modern Ruins 

Creepy Statue in an Abandoned School (in a neighborhood that’s almost gone)

Last week, DK and I stumbled on a strange abandoned school in northern Beijing. We were looking for the city’s largest recycling center, but this mad statue was a far tastier find. Seven demonic babes, lounging, suckling, emerging from the concrete. “Can you imagine seeing this every day? As a kid?” It was strange. But so was the trip. The sprawling neighborhood, the entire neighborhood, is being demolished for new high rises. Block after block was sprayed in the graffiti’d 拆, for “demolish.” Red banners wrapped across buildings and trees…

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One Ghostly Cambodian Ruin Historical Wonders Modern Ruins 

One Ghostly Cambodian Ruin

It used to be a retreat. 90 years ago, the French spent 9 months building Bokor Hill Station up as the ultimate getaway: escape from the miserable heat and humidity of Phnom Penh. 900 laborers died while building it, but to the French all these ghosts were worth it. There was a casino, a ballroom, a hotel, and when all the sinning was done, a Catholic church. But this was a century ago.

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Fake Graveyards outside Beijing Modern Ruins The Occult 

Fake Graveyards outside Beijing

The Beijing suburbs are expanding like mad. We spent the last ten days living in a small Tongzhou village, an hour east of Beijing, and construction was non-stop. Every day we were there, a ramshackle house was torn down and replaced by a building site. New walls would go up in hours. Bricks and dust were everywhere. Often, a 4′ pile of sand would block our driveway. If we wanted to drive anywhere, the six of us would have to pick up shovels and move it ourselves. (The builders would…

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Modern Day Cavemen of Shanxi Historical Wonders Modern Ruins 

Modern Day Cavemen of Shanxi

Recently, Woo and I were in rural Shanxi Province, and noticed a series of caves carved into the landscape, off in the distance.  They were just dark shadows, really, but they were clearly man-made. “Before, did people live there?” we asked the cab driver, like the good tourists that we were. “Yes, but they still live there today,” he laughed.  “They’re called 窑洞.”  Yaodong, a cave dwelling.

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Learn How to Speak North Korean Modern Ruins 

Learn How to Speak North Korean

On our recent trip to Pyongyang, we picked up this incredible guide to speaking Korean — clearly with a northern bent.  While the first half is filled with standard small-talk favorites (“How do you do!”, “I’m awfully sorry,” “It really is heroic,” and “It is Juche-oriented”), about halfway through, it gives up any sense of restraint, and becomes all about the wonders of North Korea. It’s especially interesting to note the areas that the government the publishers were clearly especially eager for visitors to notice (the coziness, the modern city,…

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North Korean traffic lights… um… robot ladies. Modern Ruins 

North Korean traffic lights… um… robot ladies.

North Korea The DPRK doesn’t have much money.  Or electricity. In our hotel, the Yanggakdo, the upper floors had no electricity (save for the one with a handful of Americans/Europeans staying on it).  The Koreans would get on and off the elevator, into a floor of darkness.  Shops with customers were pitch dark. The skyline at night was pitch black. So of course they’d save $ by skimming on traffic lights. Here’s their mad wonderful solution:

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The Romance Park of the Heart – an abandoned Beijing theme park Modern Ruins Theme Parks 

The Romance Park of the Heart – an abandoned Beijing theme park

Beijing’s filled with hidden secrets. Behind all those highrise tower blocks and overpasses, there is awesomeness to be found. And so it was that we heard rumors of a decrepit half-built theme park, somewhere way out west. The rumors came from a Chinese film student, who’d heard them from a friend, who’d heard them from another friend. No-one knew where on a map they were. “Just go to the Yuquanlu subway stop,” said Bing, “and walk south. That’s where it is! Ask a passerby.” We did just that. And two…

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