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Which dead city should I visit?

As a traveler, there come’s a time when you done the following

  • Taken so many pictures that they all blur into each other … even the best pictures you’ve taken.
  • Talked to so many people in the hope of having that one trip or life altering conversation … only to realize that it is the combination of all those conversations that will help you.
  • Walked around so much that your feet hurt, your hips ache and your soul cries … only to figure out that sometimes being at home is where you’ll find yourself.

I feel like that time is already here, yet I always seem to daydream about going somewhere that will challenge me, so I’m trying to put together a bucket list of sorts. However how does someone who’s been to more than 1/3 of the world’s countries come up with a new bucket list?

Simple! Go where no one know you know or read about has gone before? Really simple! Go somewhere that you’ve read about, but no one else has come up with a plan to get to – this is a new thing called Dead City Tourism.

So here is the start of my dead city bucket list …

  1. Pripyat, Ukraine – Chernobyl Ground Zero
    Everyone’s heard of Chernobyl … some type of explosion happened there, I think … it could be a conspiracy theory. Anyway, the town of Prypiat used to be proud for being home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. But something happened on 26 April 1986…It took three days before all permanent residents of Chernobyl and the Zone of alienation were evacuated due to unsafe levels of radioactivity. People from around the Soviet Union were forced to come and work here in order to liquidate the danger and evacuate the residents. Many of the workers died or had serious illness from radiation. This is all very sad … very sad … however 20 years later, it’s become a sort of macabre tourist attraction.

    Source : http://www.boredpanda.com/chernobyl-20-years-after-the-accident/

    You can take tours over there and view the ruins. Crazy, but I totally want to see this – just because it isn’t some god damn stupid all inclusive.

  2. Maunsell Sea Forts : UK
    The Maunsell Sea Forts were small fortified towers built in the Thames and Mersey estuaries during the Second World War to help defend the United Kingdom – but the main reason is that I want to visit the Principality of Sealand. Seriously … there is a place called Sealand.

    However I do have to get the right visa … since there was update. I doubt I’ll ever get there since there is only one guy who lives there and he might not have time to process my papers.

    Principality Notice
    PN 037/10: Update of visit and immigration regulations
    28 September 2010

  3. The Principality regrets that visits to and immigration into the Principality continue to be subject to restriction and that the application list for visas remains suspended.

    For exceptional cases only, the regulations quoted in official notice 017/02 apply.

    Questions or comment should be addressed to the Bureau of Internal Affairs [[email protected]] either by e-mail or post to our address below.

    Bureau of Internal Affairs
    5, The Row
    SEALAND 1001
    (c/o Sealand Post Bag, IP11 9SZ, UK)

  4. Gunkanjima, Japan

    Credits: Photos by 36-degrees on FlickrThis island was blocked off for years. In my first trip to Japan, I heard about this place, but of course in 2006, it was blocked off, then in 2009, they turned this little ruined island into a tourist attraction … seriously. People can make money out of anything. The landing ban on Hashima was lifted and the first tourist boats in years were to be allowed to land.Well I’m definitely going there … if the writing on this blog has anything to do with things … http://gakuranman.com/gunkanjima-ruins-of-a-forbidden-island/ – be warned … there is highly awesome photography in there.
  5. Centralia, US
    250 year old underground mine fire. Crumbling town, inspiration for a horror movie – Silent Hill. Do I really need to say more?
    Source: http://ppiinvestigations.com/images/centralia.jpg

    Forty years ago, to be precise. That’s when somebody started a coalfire underground that’s still burning to this very day. The entire town is burning just inches beneath the surface, and noxious smoke churns up from every opening, every sewer grate, and every crack in the highway. The asphalt of the street forms giant misshapen bubbles from the heat below, and sink holes randomly open up from time to time – the ground simply dropping away to the eternal fires raging just beneath. Forty years ago the fire started, and forty years ago everybody left because they didn’t want to live balanced precariously on the precipice of hell.

    And come on … who wouldn’t want to visit Hell for an hour?

Going North to Blanchisseuse

Growing up in Chaguanas or Central/South Trinidad meant that going up “North” was a prettybig event. My parents being your very typical Indo-Trinidadians didn’t like the hustle and bustle of “North”. As you might figure, going up “North” meant that you were going to Port of Spain and the North Coast.

In Trinidad, we use four directions

  • North – means Port of Spain, Diego Martin
  • South – means San Fernando
  • East – means Arima
  • Central means Chaguanas

If you get in a taxi and ask if they’re heading north, they will invariably think, you mean Port of Spain. Note that West doesn’t exist in Trinidad. There is the West Coast of Trinidad but generally you won’t hear a Trini using “West” as a direction.

“North” for me, always meant Port of Spain, in fact from the ages of 3 – 15, I’d actually only been to Maracas Bay, a grand total of 5 times and the family never went further than that. Let’s call it a “safety first” philosophy on my parent’s part, since the roads were pretty pathetic and there were always landslides and there was a noticeable lack of guardrails blocking you from driving over the cliffs.

As for all the beaches in Trinidad, I didn’t get to Blanchisseuse till after I had actually left Trinidad. It tends to be a haven for Trinidad’s upper class, in that every old family with money had a house up in “Blanchie”. Of course, my folks don’t have a house in Blanchie … and while living in Trinidad, I never attempted the most famous hiking trail in Trinidad, which is the trail from Blanchisseusse to Paria Beach until much later. I’ve liked “Blanchie” because it is a relatively secluded beach that requires some effort and work to find and is definitely not the human zoo that other popular beaches like Maracas and Manzanilla can be.

As for the the trail; it is about 5 1/2 miles and begins from the Spring Bridge, which is basically the end of the road.  This route is mainly a coastal hike that begins on a gravel road and then continues along a forest trail. The hike is has a series of uphill and downhill portions interspersed with beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea. Paria Bay has a wide white sand beach and a short  20 minute hike leads to Paria waterfall where there is a deep clear pool below the falls. There are lots of companies that will lead on the hike, but I’ve never had to use one, since my friends are quite capable. 

While this trail is awesome, in the last couple years, it’s become quite unsafe because of the presence of Marijuana farmers, trap guns and possibility of being kidnapped on the trails.

How to get there:

  • From the airport : Head out from Piarco Int’l, head west on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, then north on the Tumpuna through Arima till you reach the Arima-Blanchisseuse trunk road and then it’s another 90 mins on winding roads till you reach Blanchisseuse