The weird, the wild and the wacky

DPRK, THE SHOW - The world's weirdest film festival provides an unique opportunity to sneak a peak behind the scenes in what has to be the quirkiest reality show on the planet. All part of the zany theatrics at the  Pyongyang International Film Festival.

ftcbr.jpg (1491 bytes)Australia - Way Down Under, where rivers and lakes are dry and men race boats, legs wiggling out the bottom, one gets jaded by all the oddities. Until you arrive at Coober Pedy, the cave city featured in "Mad Max" as well as "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the latter notably for portraying the place as something other than a nuclear wasteland. See why in Home Under The Range.

 MONGOLIA'S MANLY SPORTS - Clubs and internet cafes have come to the capital, but Mongolia still revels in Naadam, the world's second-oldest Olympics, which, eight centuries ago, was the definition of civilization: horse racing, archery and wrestling.

  Around-the-world - He's the Rip Van Winkle of the road, writing the ultimate road book, by bike. After a full four decades, Heinz Stucke has circled the globe more than 10 times, and he keeps going on and on: the Bikeman's Amazing Adventure.

tbpasla.jpg (5584 bytes)Indonesia - Spears fly and blood flows, as the worms wash ashore in a sexual frenzy when the moon is full over isolated Sumba, where stone-age tribes and voodoo culture reins. Then, and only then does the unique festival of Pasola brings a carnival of killing and sacrifice to the head-hunting tribes of Indonesia.

Vietnam - Jesus, Jeanne d'Arc and Thomas Jefferson are venerated, alongside Victor Hugo, Julius Cesar, Shakespeare and Winston Churchill. Lest the psychedelic colors flash you back to the Summer of Love, this indigenous alter belongs to Vietnam's Caodai, at the Congregation of Kitsch.

China - Who says the Middle Kingdom has gone overboard for Too much American influence? Many Chinese can't get enough of the old wild west.

tbJap.jpg (5605 bytes) Japan - the Japanese weren't satisfied with the mood swings of Mother Nature, so they built an enclosed ocean paradise, just a stone's throw from a real beach. At Ocean Dome, the surf's always up at the Indoor Beach

Japan -  And lest it seem too kookie, we find the concept fits nicely with Japan's insatiable mania for theme parks.

Haircuts - Don't sound too adventurous? They can be, when you are on a quest to find the world's cheapest, wackiest haircutters?tbsulu.jpg (3252 bytes)

The Phillipines - Kevin Costner squandered hundreds of millions of dollars building a fantasy world covered by water. In the wild, pirate-infested seas between Borneo and the Philippines, Sea Gypsies live their entire lives in a genuine Waterworld. tbnkz.jpg (4210 bytes)

North Korea - the title for the world's weirdest country is no contest. The Hermit Kingdom defies belief in winning the crown hands-down. In fact, North Korea is not only the weirdest place that I've ever been, it's also takes the five runner-up slots. I made a rare visit in 1991, and you can join me on a train tour to Pyongyang.

Taal - In the Philippines there is a mountain crater containing a lake. In that lake is an island, topped by another mountain, which also has a crater, containing yet another lake. In the midst of its warm waters is still another island. Here stands Taal, one of the world's smallest, but deadliest volcanoes. Join an expedition Into the Volcano.tbtahiti.jpg (3120 bytes)

Tahiti - Dreamy blue seas, gentle breezes, hula skirts, sexy smiles and aimless mirth, but the French brought trouble to paradise when they started nuclear testing in the South Pacific. But this tropical paradise told the French, No Boom Boom here please.

    North Korea DMZ and Tahiti by Ron Gluckman, Philippines by Stuart Isett;
    Cambodian haircut, Outback sunset and Sumba by David Paul Morris