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Never In My Wildest Dreams
You came into my world like high beams on some two lane highway in the middle of a desert night; just as I lost the fight between thirty more miles and pulling over for a nap until sunrise. Fracturing my momentary dream into a million pieces of panic and surprise as your light burned through the lids of my eyes and your horn’s noise grabbed at nerves that shook my insides alive.
I remember the giant halo of your glow and light coming head on, the fog in my brain was overwhelming, as muscle memory spurred both hands and they registered on the wheel. My grasp was wrapped tight and pulled sharply, sending me into a wrenching swerve; a sudden desperate attempt to avoid our impending collision, as you careened head long my way. In the moments that came, I couldn’t tell if you were slowing or attempting to avoid the obstruction of my vehicle that had wondered into your lane. I only knew the fear as my life flashed before my frozen, bulging eyes. I felt my knuckles strain, threatening to rip flesh, as they pulled against the tension of my grasp on the wheel.
I remember feeling my knee slam under the dash as terror took me and I over compensated. With pang in knee, I stabbed my foot back down at the break. I remember the feeling of gravity shift as my vehicle began to swerve and my body flatten into the door panel as I began the fight to regain control of my vehicle, careening down that lonely highway.
I remember my body recognized and felt something I couldn’t have truly felt. At least something felt different, this specific time, than any other before or after. Both the fear of loosing control and this new feeling are forever linked somehow. It was something I felt as my shoulder pressed into the drivers side door panel: the feel of the gravel beneath my tires, not in the normal sense of peeling out, or hot rodding around a turn, or when you are navigating a gravel incline and a tire slips, spinning a bit. But, I remember feeling every, single, piece, of gravel, as my tires slid over them, like they were brail desperately attempting to be read by someone with an untrained hand.
And suddenly, I remember, I was fighting gravity to avoid being thrown into the empty passenger seat next to me; with the dutiful assistance of my seat belt I remained square in seat. By this point my perspiration was beading at my brow and my palms were slick and damp. The smell filling my nose was terrible: rubber skidding across tar and the metal chemical burn of clutch mixed with burning metallic fumes of locked, red hot breaks. The noxious smoke produced from the instant tire tread wear of tires attempting to grapple with the texture of pavement at sixty miles per hour and the dust thrown up from the narrow desert road was thick in the air as my vehicle began to spin violently. This must have been one of my wildest dreams.
Your tail lights passed by my view out the front windshield a few times before I came to a slow, lazy roll backwards, eventually coming to a halt on the pavement; vision now dizzy and disoriented. My motion had not stopped however. The spinning had turned my head into one of those twirling carnival rides and transformed my extremities into shaking nerve noodles, who’s vibration emanated from my core.
Regaining my composure, I found myself immediately worried about who I had almost collided with and what state they were in; my concern seemingly met with reply as your hazard lights lit up from the tail lights of your vehicle ahead. I remember blood pumping in my temples as I raced toward your vehicle, grateful to be alive, and grateful you were still on the road and in one piece as well. Closing the distance to your flashing hazards just hoping you were okay. I felt embarrassed and foolish for putting myself, and you, at risk not stopping a few miles back. I prayed you were not scared or upset with me. Not knowing what to expect as I slowed to a jog nearing your vehicle, I took in the details of the multiple spins my vehicle completed as it whipped round and round directly down the center of the highway. I took in the sight of fresh tread on the pavement left by my tires, scrawled like a signature of some artist signing their work of near miss.
I remember as I looked up again to where your vehicle had come to a stop, that you too where now running my direction. As we approached each other I could tell we both did a quick visual assessment of each other, our vehicles, the tire tread scrawl on the road. We asked each other if the other was okay and learned no harm had come to the other other than shaken nerves and a bit of embarrassment on my part.
I remember hearing your laugh for the first time as we sat on the side of that highway in the middle of the night and lost track of time. We talked about everything, and nothing, as we watched the stars and smiled at each other honestly. Morning came faster than either of us expected announcing it’s a rival gloriously. The sunrise was exceptionally beautiful that morning. As we peacefully watched, finally pausing in conversation for the first time since we met, we took in it’s orange, blue, yellow, and pink shifting colors sharing glances at each other now and then, smiles and blushing cheeks as we did.
As the morning sun’s heat set upon our skin and the brightness of the desert view began to become overwhelming you turned to me with a smile. I remember taking your business card and the electricity fire through my fingertips as our hands touched for the first time.
Your touch felt so exotic then, like some distant land I had read a million books about and knew every detail of but had only learned from in the texts written in those pages. I imagine I looked like an adventurer, captivated and in awe, as they stepped of an old steam engine train onto a new landscape. Amusing the locals watching a new traveler standing starstruck seeing, smelling, and feeling the foreign environment they had read so much about but were only experiencing in person for the first time.
As I put your business card into my wallet, so many unknown feelings and pressing questions that I wanted to ask you were coming to my head fighting each other for place in line and internally pleading for one more second of your time. They were interrupted by one major new question I hadn’t considered so distracted by my internal conflict.
When would I would see you again? This question was followed by an even larger: Would I see you again? I was so caught off guard at their staggering weight I remember feeling intimidated by how much it meant to me. I chickened out. I didn’t ask and though in that moment didn’t know what to do with myself, or my shaken emotions, as we said our good byes.
Before you turned to depart I managed to make sure you too had my number and awkwardly, shuffled back, half facing you, half trying to walk away. I could tell you noticed in the words your smile always seemed to hold.
I remember you driving away and the stress I felt realizing we were going in opposite directions for the first time since we met and how something immediately felt missing in my world. I remember kicking myself not wanting to end up just some guy who you met and called you down the road or being just a story of a time you almost got hit head on by some guy in the middle a desert one night. A bit late, but just in time, I buckled my seat belt and decided not to become that guy. I threw my vehicle in drive and accelerated after you. Headed in your direction for the first time.
My heart raced as I drove fast to catch up to your vehicle once again and as I pulled up behind you, obnoxiously got your attention with my horn and the flashing of my lights. I couldn’t believe I had chased after you like a crazy! What would you think of this? Was I crazy?
As you stepped out of your vehicle your beauty was staggering and I confidently acknowledged, almost applauded myself; I had made the right decision. I jogged up to you on the pavement of that two lane highway and blurted out “When will I see you again?!”. Your laugh told me everything as it often did, I would learn.
I canceling my plans, my new job would have to wait, or I’d find a new one when I got to my destination. I suddenly had you placed at the center of my life’s main screen and didn’t for one second consider what else was on outside in my periphery. Everything seemed like it mattered just a little bit less than the focus my mind found when trained on you. I spent the day with you, headed in your direction. We played, both lost in the world together, on a new adventure, and loving every moment of it.
By that evening I was already in love, and knew it as for the first time I watched the sunset reflect forever in your eyes. I will never in my wildest dreams forget your smile when I admitted my love to you as we watched those stars again, together, that second night.
I also remember how we really met, and this isn’t it! Not even close! But it sure could have been. I mean, some things are similar to how we met all those years ago. You do remember don’t you?
The night we first met we were hurling in each other’s direction at a million miles per hour and barely missed colliding. That near miss put us into permanent dance as we orbited each other - dancing in and out of each other’s life, always friends, lovers, strangers, family; whatever we needed to be for the other at that specific moment in time. The first night we met I knew I had met the most amazing woman and I couldn’t believe that I had finally found you; never in my wildest dreams did I think you were really out there.
We did watch the stars and talked until the sun came up. We also spent the next day playing together and I really did watch the sunset reflect forever in your eyes. I did fall in love with you, only immediately, almost at first sight.
My love switch flipped the very moment you said “Hiiii” that way you did. Your mysterious brown eyes - strands coloring them wonderful, as your cheeks smiled for days. They reached into me latching onto my heart and I did not resist the comfort of your grasp. There was just something so familiar in the way you drew me in and made a place for me in your world. I felt like I had seen this smile of yours before somewhere and it belonged right after that “Hiiii”, and right in front of me. There was also something so familiar in the way you said my name, always smiling, you giggled a lot more back then.
I chased after you and that smile, following the echoes of that giggle from that moment on without any regret and loved every moment you chased me back laughing as we played. I remember how grateful I was getting to know you, and how grateful I always will be to have spent all the moments we shared through the years, building our story. The rest of that story and how we really first met is ours. A story to be remembered another time I think.
I remember the many other things that are similar in the story I have told but happened completely differently, to a completely different moment, in a completely different part of our story that I’d like to share in this letter to you. I think it is supposed to help...telling you these things, we always shared our deepest feelings with each other and It’s hard holding them all by myself. I’m working on it, love, I promised. Writing these letters to you and the chapters of our time together contained within.
In this part of our story, the true part of this story, and part of our chapters I’m sharing in this letter is a moment where I remember a collision that happened head on and it all started with a phone call.
I remember we were both asleep at the wheel and wholly unprepared as I raced down the highway to you. I remember how sudden the impact came after I reached your side. I remember the pain and jarring as your light in my world, that light that engulfed my vision completely, was in a moment no longer present. I remember my confusion as my momentum came to a complete, and immediate, stop. I remember that I didn’t even have time to scream or brace myself as everything in my world shattered in a devastating explosion and all it’s shiny pieces showered into the air around me. I remember that I didn’t even have both hands on the wheel as my life turned upside down. I remember that there was no seat belt to fasten me in as my breath choked in my throat, stalled, as if suspended mid air.
I remember the look, taste, sound, smell, touch, and feeling of every, single, thing, in that hospital room. I remember the smell of my tears in your hair. I remember how soft your skin was and that your fingernails were not painted like they normally were as I held your hand. I remember the feeling of my nerves as they achieved complete pandaemonium within me. I remember I was trembling as I struggled to breath between crying, then breathing, then crying, tasting the snot running from my nose mixed with the salt that clung to my face as I sat at your side. I remember hearing the sobs in the room as your heart rate monitor stopped blinking. I remember that exact moment you left me. I remember all of the feelings I felt at that moment as my emotions burned deep within and imprinted them as if by brand, permanently emblazoned on my soul. I remember not having the words for them then and I still do not have words for them now.
I remember every single detail, reflected in the pieces of my world as they crashed to the polished surface of the tiny room’s grey and white checkered tile floor. I remember that for the first time in a long time we were no longer running toward each other, or in the same direction together, and you weren’t there to make sure I was okay. I remember praying that you would be okay but my heart didn’t hear the echo of yours anymore to be sure. I remember hoping you were not lonely just minutes after you left and began crying: differently, because I didn’t know how to be there for you like I promised I always would be. I remember wanting so badly to chase after you, especially in the months that followed your funeral to keep that promise I made. I remember wanting to make sure you weren’t alone and be by your side as you took off on this new adventure to make sure you got under way okay. I remember trying to lighten my mood and joke about you making a new friend jealous, telling them about a guy that loved you unconditionally in another life. But, I remembered I could not chase you this time; I couldn’t be there to hold you if you happened to fall in love with him and he broke your heart. There was no catching up to you minutes down the road, just to see your smile again and hear you laugh at me for being silly. There was no way to pick you up off the ground and piece your heart back together with pieces of mine if it was broken this time.
I can only hope you receive all the letters like this one and that you are able to answer my call when I get home. We can meet in the middle of some two lane highway in the clouds, talking about life down below, or everything, or nothing, and laugh at the concept of time.
I can’t wait for that moment I see you again and we can remember all the years since the night we first met and remind each other how that story really went. I want so badly to be reminded exactly how it feels seeing the sunset reflect forever in your eyes like I used to.
I remember you every single day and wrote this letter to remind you: that more than anything, I patiently wait to learn how we finish our story, because never in my wildest dreams, could these stars be as beautiful as I remember, all those moments, I spent watching them with you.
The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.
1. Mazatlan, Mexico
Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.
2. South Africa
Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."
3. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.
Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.
Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.
Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.
Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.
Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.
9. Costa Rica
Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.
Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.
Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.
Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.
13. Where: Guatemala
Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.
14. Bonaire & Curaçao
Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.
15. Las Vegas
Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.
Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.
Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.
Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.
Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.
20. San Luis Potosí, México
Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.
21. Quebec City, Canada
Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.
22. Buenos Aires
Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.
Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.
24. Santa Catalina Island, California
Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.
Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."
Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.
27. Cusco, Peru
Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.
Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."
30. Dallas, Texas
Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.
Visiting her grave was part of my routine. If I returned I would know exactly which wooden box to walk too, in which flower patch her body rests and exactly how far beneath the ground her degrading body sits in harmony with the earth. She was ready to die. She was ready to die six months before I forced her body awake every morning. Before I coerced her to eat her wet soggy food. Before I held her so close to my body and dripped my tears of optimism all over her back. She was ready to die long before I decided she should live.
On September 6, 2010 Mother Nature decided that Idaho was ready for winter. The clouds swirled into a monotonous tundra over my home. The hawks mocked us for not being prepared for winter. It’s easier for them – they fill their stomachs and fly south. It was their time to eat. They flew in circles over my chicken shed meditating on their prey. As I saw the commotion in the sky and the craving of flesh in their eyes I knew it was time to corral my chickens.
My chickens roamed around the ten-acre land as they pleased. Some would make their way into my home on occasions and eat the food off the counters and others would go near the barn and roll their bodies into the hay hiding themselves from the rest of the world. The ones with more exploring initiative would lay on their sides in the middle of the fields like they were born in the tropics – stomach turned toward the heat finding every way to become one with the sun. They didn’t succeed but when I would pick those ones off the ground their heat would soak into my body and I would understand their logic. After their day of roaming the world they would find their way back to the coop. The coop was painted with my neighbors and my love. The names of the chickens were written on the walls and amateur drawings covered all the nooks and crannies. It was comforting to me. I wonder if they thought it was too.
As the hawks picked their prey I was frantic. My mom and I frolicked the land, me in search for all my babies and her supporting hers. I was yelling trying to scare away the hawks but they knew I couldn’t fly. I could never reach them. The sound of my petrified voice didn’t pierce the hawks as much as it pierced myself. There was one chicken missing. Where was the last one? I saw her body frantically trapped on the other side of the fence. I guided her around the fence to the shed and I pushed the last chicken into the shed and slammed the door shut. As the door slammed I heard the cries of a bird. Did I miss one? Did a hawk steal it before I did? But the distant noise wasn’t so distant at all. As I turned my head toward the door the chicken I had just saved from the hawk I had shut in the door. She lay – just like she used to lay beneath the sun but this time it was not out of pleasure. I opened the door and my chicken rest, her neck strutting in multiple directions and her eyes looking at me in desperation.
I convinced my mom to let me buy chickens when I was eight. She said “if you pay for them and take care of them – you can get them.” So, I saved my money, did my research, and found it only reasonable to make a business to pay for my chickens. I would sell eggs and thus my chickens would be paid for. And this is what I did. But the relationship between my chickens and I over the years became less of a business venture and more of a companionship. When I heard the arguing in the house I found solace in the chickens outside. I talked to them like I was a chicken myself. I would tell them my secrets and my fears. They would sit in my lap and tilt their head whenever I said something noteworthy. After I paused they would come in with some of their thoughts. It’s too bad I didn’t understand their language.
My chicken laid in my arms. My mom took it upon herself to make a bed in the warmth of our home. I brought the barely breathing chicken to the bed that was so delicately made and placed her in it. My tears of optimism didn’t cover the chicken today – they covered her body creating a coat of pain and suffering. I’m sure this coat wasn’t ever taken off my chicken – but I pretended it didn’t exist. I’m good at pretending.
In the preceding days, every morning, pre-lunch, lunch, pre-dinner, dinner, pre-dessert, and post dessert I would feed my chicken food that I soaked in water so it was soft enough to go down her broken neck. I wasn’t an anatomy expert but somehow I figured that with a neck that looks like a 90-degree angle it might be easier to eat if the food is soft. My chicken laid there day after day – gaining energy by night. I convinced myself or perhaps I dreamed it – that she was getting better. I imagined her standing up. I craved her leading a happy life – the life that she deserved.
My mom used to say that if she got in an accident and was unable to move or do anything with her life that she would want to die. She wouldn’t want her children spending their lives caring for a cause that we cared so deeply for but that she left long ago. Our family likes knowing one another at our best and at our worst. But when our worst makes others suffer it becomes a problem that affects all those around us. When I ponder the chicken months today – I always wonder if my chicken was like my mother. Did she want me to let her die? Did she want to close her eyes and sleep to her death? Had I stripped her of her one wish just like I would strip my mother?
As her health improved and she began to seem more alert to the world we started having daily sessions. In the morning’s we stretched. I would pick her immobile body up and slowly move her legs away from her body. I would do the same for her feet. I trusted I was saving a child from its misery. I know now that death isn’t something to fear. I feared for my chicken – I’m sure she didn’t fear it. I would put her body to the ground like she was walking – reminding her of a past long forgotten. A past that today she only sees in her heaven. I didn’t put any of her weight on the ground – it was more of a presentation. When she gobbled, I thought she was telling me things. I would listen and try to pick up on her words. But somehow her gobbles never translated to English.
When people visited our home, they wondered why my mother let me keep a dying chicken in our bathroom. You couldn’t use that bathroom because it smelled of manure and death – so people were ushered to the one in my mother’s room. My mom and I thought it was normal. She was a part of the family. I considered her a part of me just like a person would consider their sibling a part of them. My mother felt the same way. Often when I slept in too late my mom would do my job for me. She would help her walk and feed her her wet food. I remember her words ringing in my head “if you take care of them, you can get them.” I knew she believed this but my mother would also check in on my chicken day and night when I couldn’t care for her myself. She is a mother after all. I learned my ways from her.
A month later my chicken could stand up. I never thought her progress would be so vast. Balancing was a difficult task for her. Her vision was off – or at least something was because when she stood up to eat her food – she would go to peck the liquid matter but she would miss and peck the ground instead. It would take her a few tries to get her beak into the bowl. I didn’t know how to teach her without moving her head in the right direction. Sometimes I would place my hands around the bowl covering the ground. My chicken knew when she pecked me – she never wanted to peck me so she would try to find the bowl. When the days were still warm I would bring her under the hot sun to some of her favorite places – to the sawdust where she used to roll or to the blanket of grass where she would heat her body. She loved the days when it was warm. She would place herself near a tree and sprawl on the ground.
Sometimes my mother would come play the guitar outside. Her lyrics penetrated the atmosphere. She wasn’t playing for anyone – or at least anyone I knew of. But I know my chicken would sit under the tree a few feet away from her and she would turn her head, in any way she knew how, to look at my mother. She would tilt her head, a sober sign of listening and she would keep it that way until my mother’s words receded. Then she would go back to sticking her beak into the ground in search of insects but whenever my mom started up again she would always repeat her actions. I think her voice was a gift into a world of pleasure that was absent from her life. My mother’s voice was a gift to more than one.
As time went on my chicken became stronger. She could walk. Her head and neck leaned to one side of her body making her unbalanced. When she could walk, she would only go in a circle. Her circles eventually got bigger and some days she would make it all the way across the yard by way of circles. When I think about spending life only able to move in circles it makes me shiver.
We could never reintroduce her to the other chickens because they would peck her to death. Chickens are cruel birds – or cruel to the human eye. If one has a disability they will peck it until it dies. I couldn’t let this happen – but maybe that’s the way of the chicken world – and maybe that’s what is best.
My chicken would go to the fence and stand at it looking at all the other ones on the other side of the fence. She looked in desperation as if she was so alone – as if she wanted to be pecked to death – as if she was ready to take death. I couldn’t bear to see her own kind kill her and I couldn’t leave her knowing exactly what was going to happen when I left.
By May 8, 2010 my chicken acted as if she had never got her neck crushed in a door. She laid eggs, she only tilted her head slightly and she befriended the less cruel chickens. She still slept in a different place than them, she would still eat wet food, and I would still watch her with a hawk’s eye.
Months later I walked into her bed and she lied there dead. I still wonder what caused it. Was it her age? Was it something from the event that occurred seven months earlier? Or was she just ready to die?
We buried her on the same day and my tears covered the dirt of where she lay. My tears soaked the area – I’m sure they reached her body that lied so far beneath the dirt. Her body lays in the dirt that I shed my tears on today. But, she doesn’t lay there. She is somewhere, in some beautiful place, dancing with the land just of how she always dreamed. A rock lay by her grave and on it are the words ‘Crazy 8.’ We called her Crazy 8. Her name is Crazy 8.
What are crazy things people still believe in all over the earth?
Cannibalistic gum chewing in Turkey
In some parts of Turkey you may want to think twice before whipping out a piece of chewing gum. There is a belief that if you are chewing gum at night it’s bad luck. This is because at night instead of chewing gum, you’d actually be chewing rotting dead flesh (Eew).
Groaning cheese for a newborn
You’ve probably heard of Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, or pepper jack cheese but have you heard of Groaning Cheese? In Medieval England, expectant mothers made what they called a ‘Groaning Cheese’ which was a large wheel of cheese that matured for nine months as the unborn baby grew. When the ‘groaning time’ or time of birth came, the whole family would celebrate by eating this cheese until nothing but the outer rind was left. The newborn would then be passed through the rind on Christening day to be blessed with a long and prosperous life. What a cheesy superstition!
Good luck horseshoe
Some people believe hanging a horseshoe in the bedroom or on a door knob with its ends pointing upwards will bring good luck and keep nightmares away. This belief comes from the fact that a horse shoe has seven holes, which is considered to be a lucky number. Also the fact that is made of iron can supposedly ward off evil spirits that may haunt you in your dreams.
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th has been a source of superstition ever since the 19th century. Though it’s origin is shrouded in speculations and theories, it’s impact is quite evident. Many people will purposely avoid doing anything significant (like business meetings, socials, banquets, etc) due to the belief that the day is cursed and its a source of ill fortune.
Curse of the Opal stone
If your favorite stone is the Opal, you’re out of luck…literally since this stone is said to bring bad luck to whoever wears it. This superstition comes from the 1829 best selling novel ‘Anne of Geierstein’ by Sir Walter Scott. In the novel, Lady Hermione was falsely accused of being a demon due to her sudden death after a drop of holy water accidentally falls on her opal jewelry and changes its color. This book had such an effect on the image of the Opal that shortly after its publication, the Opal market crashed and Opal prices dropped by 50%.
Ringing of the Bells
Have you ever wondered why bells are always associated with weddings and special occasions? As it turns out, the association stems from the widely held belief that bells frighten evil spirits away. This belief originated during Queen Elizabeth’s reign for two reasons; to ask for prayers for the departed soul and to drive away the evil spirits who stood at the foot of the bed.
Bird poop equals riches
Don’t worry, you read the title right. In Russia, there is a belief that if a bird defecates on you, your car, or your property it’s a sign of good luck and may bring you riches. The more birds involved, the richer you’ll be! So next time a bird poops on you, count it all joy.
Old, new, borrowed, blue
This popular wedding tradition is said to have originated during the Victorian era and involves giving the bride various gifts. One of the gifts is something old and represents continuity; another is new and represents hope and the future; the third is borrowed and symbolizes borrowed happiness while the last is blue and is supposed to bring purity, love, and fidelity.
Black cats, bad luck
Most people have heard the saying that if a black cat crosses your path its bad luck (if you haven’t well now you have). This interesting superstition finds it’s origin in the middles ages. Single women (usually elderly) who associated themselves with many cats where believed to be witches who could become cats themselves. Thus a black cat crossing your path could actually be a witch.
Unlucky smoking triad
From the Crimean War through World War I, it was considered bad luck among soldiers to light three cigarettes with one match. It was theorized that by the time the third cigarette was lit, a sniper would have had the time to have the soldier in his sight, ready to make the kill. However, some believe that the superstition may have been invented by match tycoon Ivar Krueger to drum up more business.
No, im not referring to the 90′s band. It’s believed that the amount of crows in a murder has the ability to predict your fortune as exemplified by the popular phrase: “One’s bad / Two’s luck / Three’s health / Four’s wealth / Five’s sickness / Six is death.” More than six however seems to be up to the person whose counting.
The Wryneck or Jinxtorquilla are a breed of birds that can twist their heads very liberally. A superstitious belief among the locals is that if this bird twists its head towards you, death is on the horizon.
Soul capturing mirrors
Most people use mirrors daily which means, according to this superstition, most people are soulless. There is a superstition that states that looking into a mirror steals your soul. This helps explain why the evil queen uses a mirror to harm Snow White, why Narcissus was ensnared by his own reflection, and why soulless vampires have no reflection. Think twice before you look into the bathroom mirror…you have been warned.
Fingers crossed for good luck
To cross one’s fingers is a hand gesture commonly used for good luck. Which makes sense since it was used during ancient Christian persecution by believers to identify other believers as a sign of peace. Today however, this has evolved to excuse the telling of white lies which may have its roots in the belief that the power of the Christian cross may save a person from being sent to hell for telling a lie.
Photographic soul cage
When photography was first invented in the early 19th century, people all over the world held the unfounded belief that taking someone’s picture was akin to taking his/her soul. Thus if an enemy was able to obtain a photograph of you, he/she not only held your soul but also held a spiritual power over you. Thank goodness this is just a superstition, I can only imagine how many people would have power over me…(Facebook).
Not to be confused with Friday the 13th (which is a superstition of the actual day) but similar in nature, this superstition simply states that the number 13 is associated with bad luck. That’s why many architects refused (some still do) to design stairs that ended with 13 steps or buildings that ended with a 13th floor. The fear of the number 13 is so real to many people, that an actual phobia has been created to describe it; its called Triskaidekaphobia. (try to say that 13 times fast).
When you wish upon a star
The superstition involving wishing on the first star you see in the evening is somewhat uncertain. Some Europeans believed that the gods would occasionally peer down, and when they moved the sky, a star would escape and fall down. The Greeks also believed that the stars where falling human souls, and it was lucky to make a wish on them.
Opening an umbrella indoors
According to superstition, if you open an umbrella indoors you are literally asking for bad luck to “rain on you”. One explanation comes from the days when umbrellas were used as protection from the sun; opening one inside was an insult to the sun god who would then curse you with bad luck. Another theory states that an umbrella protects you against the storms of life, so opening one inside your house insults the guardian spirits of your home (whom also protects you from the storms of life), causing them to leave you unprotected.
New broom, new house, bad luck
There are many superstitions associated with brooms (heck, that could be a list all in itself) but there is one very curious and particular superstition that we want to caution you on. As the lore goes, you cannot sweep dirt out of a new house (or apartment) with a new broom unless you sweep something in first. If you don’t sweep something in first, then you will be sweeping out your good luck. Do not sweep out your good luck!
Lucky rabbit’s foot
To have this token is an unfortunate thing for the rabbit but a magnet of fortune for the wearer. According to superstition (which can be traced as far back as the seventh century BC) the rabbit’s supernatural luck could be exploited by taking the left hind foot of a rabbit that was shot (or captured) in a creepy cemetery on a full moon.(I still fail to see how this is lucky for the rabbit).
Knock on wood
The superstition of Knocking on wood, or simply saying “knock on wood” after making a hopeful statement, is a consequence of the idea that you’re tempting fate by acknowledging your good fortune. It’s possible that the expression comes from an ancient belief that good spirits lived in trees, so by knocking on something wooden, a person was calling on the spirits for protection. Another reason why we should all be tree huggers.
Breaking a mirror
We’ve already mentioned how mirrors are believed to be soul sucking mystical items (which is bad enough) but what happens when you break these devices? Why, seven years of bad luck of course! Some superstitious sources state that the trapped souls adversely influences your luck. And here you thought you were doing them a favor! Nope. Make sure those suckers stay inside that mirror!
“God bless you”
For many; saying “God Bless You” after someone sneezes is a gesture of politeness. However, the origin of this interesting superstition is somewhat two fold. On the one hand, it’s believed that the phrase originated with Pope Gregory the Great. He would say “God Bless You” to people who sneezed during the bubonic plague in hopes that the prayer would keep them safe. However another possible origin comes from the ancient belief that the soul escapes the body during a sneeze unless God prevented this by blessing them.
Though the origin of wishing over a four-leaf clover is lost to antiquity it has long been a symbol of good luck and fortune. It has also been used in some traditions for finding a husband or a wife. The way this works (for you single people) is by first finding a four leaf clover (good luck with that one), if you happen to find one, you must then eat it (or put it inside your shoe…but eating it is more fun). After this, the luck powers activate and the first person you come in contact after the activation will be your future mate…(Word of warning, stay clear of anyone you don’t want as a future mate).
There seems to be a lot of variations on this superstition, but the idea of having an itchy palm generally refers to someone who is greedy or has an insatiable desire for money. Some people believe that if the right palm itches, you will lose money, while an itchy left palm means that money is coming your way. If both palm itches…you may want to go to a doctor for that.
Usually grumbled by an expert who just lost a game to a novice, "beginner's luck" is the idea that newbies are unusually likely to win when they try out a sport, game or activity for the first time.
Beginners might come out ahead in some cases because the novice is less stressed out about winning. Too much anxiety, after all, can hamper performance. Or it could just be a statistical fluke, especially in chance-based gambling games.
Or, like many superstitions, a belief in beginner's luck might arise because of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a psychological phenomenon in which people are more likely to remember events that fit their worldview. If you believe you're going to win because you're a beginner, you're more likely to remember all the times you were right — and forget the times you ended up in last place.
Find a penny, pick it up,,,
And all day long, you'll have good luck. This little ditty may arise because finding money is lucky in and of itself. But it might also be a spin-off of another old rhyme, "See a pin, pick it up/ and all day long you'll have good luck/ See a pin, let it lay/ and your luck will pass away."
Don't walk under that ladder!
Frankly, this superstition is pretty practical. Who wants to be responsible for stumbling and knocking a carpenter off his perch? But one theory holds that this superstition arises from a Christian belief in the Holy Trinity: Since a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, "breaking" that triangle was blasphemous.
Then again, another popular theory is that a fear of walking under a ladder has to do with its resemblance to a medieval gallows. We're sticking with the safety-first explanation for this one.
Bad luck comes in threes
Remember confirmation bias? The belief that bad luck comes in threes is a classic example. A couple of things go wrong, and believers may start to look for the next bit of bad luck. A lost shoe might be forgotten one day, but seen as the third in a series of bad breaks the next.
Three sixes in a row give some people the chills. It's a superstition that harks back to the Bible. In the Book of Revelation, 666 is given as the number of the "beast," and is often interpreted as the mark of Satan and a sign of the end times.
According to State University of New York at Buffalo anthropologist Philips Stevens, the writer of Revelation was writing to persecuted Christians in code, so the numbers and names in the book are contemporary references. Three sixes in a row is probably the numeric equivalent of the Hebrew letters for the first-century Roman Emperor Nero. [End of the World? Top Doomsday Fears]
Make a wish on a wishbone
The tradition of turkey bone tug-of-war goes back a long way. Legend has it that first-century Romans used to fight over dried wishbones — which they believed were good luck — and would accidentally break them, ushering in the idea that whoever has the largest bit of bone gets their wish. Bird bones have also been used in divination throughout history, with a supposed soothsayer throwing the bones and reading their patterns to predict the future.
Most common one
1. A bird in the house is a sign of a death
2. A loaf of bread should never be turned upside down after a slice has been cut from it.
3. Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.
4. If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.
5. If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
6. An acorn at the window will keep lightning out
7. A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen.
8. It’s bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one used to come into it.
9. A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.
10. If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn you will not catch a cold all winter.
11. If a mirror in the house falls and breaks by itself, someone in the house will die soon.
12. Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house.
13. All windows should be opened at the moment of death so that the soul can leave.
14. If the groom drops the wedding band during the ceremony, the marriage is doomed.
15. To dream of a lizard is a sign that you have a secret enemy.
16. If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your friendship will soon be broken.
17. You should never start a trip on Friday or you will meet misfortune.
18. Dream of running: a sign of a big change in your life.
19. If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family.
20. It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match
Very good question :D
Let's get into then.
I am becoming Christopher Nolan :D
New movie will be named- “JOKER : AFTER THE DARK KNIGHT”
Two police took one man and kicked him into the cell.
He shouted with pain, “Ahhhh! Bastards!!!! I have rights too”
Suddenly, he heard a laughing noise from a nearby cell, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
He said, “Who it is? STOP IT, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. STOP IT”
“Good doctor, I presume or should I say bad……. Scarecrow!!! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “You are Joker, aren't you?”
Joker: “We finally meet then. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “Do you know what has happened outside?”
Joker: “No. I don't care. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “Stop acting so insane all the time and listen Batman is dead”
Joker: “WHAT?!!!!!!????? CANNOT BE. ONLY I WILL KILL HIM”
Scarecrow: “Yeah, sorry to disappoint you, Buddy, but I was working for some very powerful people and they managed to inflict a far more damage to the city than you could ever possibly imagine and along with Batman”
Joker: “No, no, no, no, no”
Crying sounds was coming from other cell
Scarecrow: “Buddy, don't cry, I am sure we can find something…….”
Suddenly, sounds stopped
And then, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “STOP IT. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. STOP IT. GUARDS TAKE ME AWAY. I CAN TAKE IT ANYMORE. I WILL GO CRAZY”
Meanwhile in Gotham City-
In Wayne mansion-
Lucius Fox: “What did you say your name?”
Robin: “John Blake, I prefer to call myself, Robin”
Lucius Fox: “Do you know everything?”
Robin: “Yes. This is the message Bruce Wayne gave me”
Lucius Fox: “Oh! Are you sure that you want to do this specially after seeing the outcome Bruce Wayne had to endure. Look at him in the end loosing everything in the process even his life”
Robin: “ Batman can be anyone, it is a sign to protect the City so Bruce Wayne may have died but Batman didn't and neither did his legacy. It was Bruce's wish that I took the mantle so I have to respect that and crime isn't slowing down either in Gotham City”
Lucius Fox: “You need training though. If Bruce Wayne was alive then he would have trained you but since he isn't, I know someone who can”
Robin: “Who is it?”
Lucius Fox: “He is known as Richard Dragon. He is the best MMA fighter in this planet. He is a friend”
Robin: “Let's do it then what are we waiting for?”
Couple of days later-
Richard: “Did you ever fight professionally?”
Robin: “Nope. Just in the neighborhood. I grew up in the tough neighborhood”
Richard: “Are you interested in octagon? Because whatever I saw from you till now is very impressive. Believe me I don't ever say that. I have some old contact there”
Robin: “Thanks. But I am not interested”
Suddenly, there's some angry noise
Richard ran away towards the source
Robin followed him.
Two police captured one kid but the kid was fighting back and giving his everything.
Richard: “Wait! Guys, I know this kid. He trains under me. What happened?”
Police: “This is a very troubled kid. That jewelry storekeeper informed us that he was stealing from them”
Richard: “Okay, take it easy, guys, he is just a kid. Let me handle it”
Police: “Mr Richard, you are a good man, we are big fan of you so we are trusting your word on this kid but that kid is anything but trouble. This is not even his first time. We are letting him go because of you, Mr Richard. Watch out. I wouldn't trust that kid”
Richard: “Thanks, guys, I have got it from here”
Robin: “What's the story with him?
Richard: “Someone from mob killed his parents and left him to rot for himself. I found him and trying to teach the good stuff. But clearly it's not working. I wish if he could identify with someone. A role model”
Robin: “Let me try”
“So you are good at causing chaos, what are the things you good at?”
Boy: “Who are you?”
Robin: “My name is Dick Grayson and I understand what is going on with you. I know you are angry all the time and you have this rage inside you and it's trying to come out and trying to destroy everything”
Boy: “Really, you can tell. How?”
Robin: “I know what it's like to grow up in a rough neighborhood without any parents”
Boy: “Your parents were also killed?”
Robin: “Nope. I was never that lucky to begin with. I never knew my parents. What is your name by the way?”
Boy said with a smile, “Jason Todd. And who are you?”
Robin: “Dick Grayson is my current name. Don't tell anyone”
Jason said with a smile, “I won't”
In the meanwhile in Arkham Asylum-
Alarm bells are ringing.
“Someone is killed by the Joker”
“And one guard's uniform is missing and along with Joker”
Commissioner Gordon came and investigated.
Suddenly, his mobile phone was ringing.
Commissioner Gordon annoyingly said, “Who is calling me now in this busy hour"
And he heard a laughing noise in other side
“Ha, ha, ha,………..”
Commissioner Gordon: “Joker”
Joker: “Commissioner Gordon. My favourite commissioner. Oh! I missed you so much. Ha, ha, ha”
Commissioner Gordon: “What do you want? We will catch you soon”
Joker: “I have no doubt about that. Ha, ha. Ha. I just want to know where is Batman?”
Commissioner Gordon: “I don't have time for this. Batman is dead”
Joker: “No. He isn't. Ha. Ha, ha. Ha”
Commissioner Gordon: “Stop this insanity Joker and give yourself up”
Joker: “Oh! My dear commissioner. Not so easily. Tell Batman that I am coming for him and you also as you didn't help me. Ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha”
Connection got disconnected
Commissioner Gordon said, “Did you find the link?”
Commissioner Gordon: “Okay, Joker. We have got you now. No more asylum. This time I will make sure that you will never ever see the daylight again”
Police: “Commissioner. Commissioner”
Commissioner Gordon: “What is it?”
Police: “Commissioner, it's coming from your house”
Commissioner Gordon: “WHAT? Oh! No! My daughter. Barbara”
When he reached his house.
He saw a card of Joker with a lot of ‘Ha, ha, ha' written on it. And Barbara was missing.
He heard a laughing noise and he ran towards the sound and found his wife's face was damaged but she was laughing constantly.
Commissioner Gordon said with tremendous shock, “OH! MY DEAR! WHAT DID THAT MONSTER DO WITH YOU?”
Later in Gotham morgue-
“Sorry, commissioner but we didn't have any drug for her. She was dead even before we tried to do something. I am very sorry”
Commissioner Gordon: “No. You did your job. This is my fault. I should have been more careful since Batman is gone. I can't even imagine what Joker is doing with her. Oh! My God! I can't think”
“Again I am very sorry. But commissioner, we analysed the drug we found from your wife's blood. It's some kind of gas mixed with scarecrow's fear gas”
Commissioner Gordon: “Scarecrow. I should have known”
Commissioner Gordon was beating the hell out of Scarecrow and asked, “Where is Joker? What he will do with Barbara. Tell me or I will kill you”
Scarecrow said with tremendous pain, “Believe me I don't know anything. He was making me crazy. I asked him to stop. He said that he wanted to know my fear gas formula. I told him. That's what I know. Believe me that's the only thing I know. I am scared of Joker too. I don't want to be anywhere near to him. Believe me I don't know anything beyond this”
Suddenly a police officer came and said, “Commissioner, there's some message from Joker”
He turned on the TV and it seemed Joker hijacked one major Gotham news station and killing people for fun and laughing and saying, “Batman, batty, batty, batty, my favourite knight, come out and play. We all know that you aren't dead. Batty, batty, batty, come out and play or I will kill one by one” in saying this he shot down the news anchor and presenter and was laughing laudly, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Everyone let's go immediately, with our full force let's gherao the whole building”
Robin saw everything
Lucius Fox said, “You aren't properly trained yet for this”
Robin: “Look what Joker is doing. Batman should have killed him in the first time”
Lucius Fox: “Remember, Batman didn't want to do that because that's exactly what Joker wanted”
Robin: “And look at him now”
When Robin entered the newsroom, he saw everyone was laughing laudly and every one of their face was damaged.
Suddenly, he was gassed from the behind by Joker and said, “Hmmm, another Batman wannabe. Ha. Ha, ha, ha”
Robin jumped on Joker and kicked his mouth and two of his teeth were broken. Blood was coming out from Joker's mouths but still he was laughing and saying, “Ha. Ha, ha, ha. Face mask good one. Ha, ha but I was expecting Batman not batboy. Ha, ha” in saying this he brought out a detonator and said, “Good bye. Batboy. Ha, ha”
Robin jumped out of the window and the whole room was destroyed by the explosion.
Robin was injured from the blast. He was walking slowly through the Gotham slum and then tried to contact Lucius Fox but became senseless.
Just before he lost his conscience. He saw someone was coming towards him.
When he woke up. He saw Jason was sitting worried.
Robin said, “How did you find me?”
Jason said, “I live here. I was trying to steal something in night. But instead I found you. Your Mask is damaged, Robin or should I say Dick Grayson. Don't worry I won't tell anyone”
Robin: “Give me that mask”
Jason said, “But I won't tell anyone”
Robin: “I know I just have to contact someone. There's a microphone”
Jason: “Wow! Such a cool tech! Very Batman like. Wait! ARE YOU WORKING WITH BATMAN? DO YOU KNOW BATMAN? IS HE ALIVE?”
Robin: “Hold on kid. No. I am not working with him. Batman is dead”
A few minutes later, Lucius Fox came and picked up Robin into the car and said, “I told you so”
And then looking at the kid, he asked, “Who is this kid? Wait, did he know about your secret? Wow! You managed to screw up so many angles. I don't know what Bruce saw in you”
Robin: “Thanks for the vote of confidence. I know him. His name is Jason Todd”
Fox: “Can we trust him?”
Looking at the face of Jason Todd, Robin said, “Yes. Not only we can trust him, he is coming with us”
In Wayne mansion-
Jason: “Wait! Bruce Wayne is Batman. I can't believe it. Impossible”
Fox: “I am already not feeling good about this”
Robin: “Look I understand his situation. That kid is at the brink of his life. A little push and he could go dark. He needs to channel his anger correctly and I am going to help him on that”
Fox: “So now what? He is too going with you to fight crime. Wonderful. Now I have to deal with two amateurs”
Robin: “Well. Not right away but after a lot of training definitely. As you said before that we need more training and better suits and Batman's gadget. It was a mistake going against Joker like that and since he added some stuff on his own. Why not we do the same?”
Jason: “Hooray. We are Superheroes”
Fox: “I am already regretting this”
When Commissioner Gordon entered his house, he was struck from behind and he woke up, he found himself in a dark room with Joker.
Commissioner Gordon said with tremendous anger, “Where is Barbara? What did you do with her? You monster, you didn't kill her, did you?”
Joker: “Relax commissioner, she is alright, just tell me where is Batman and I will let her go”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Didn't you hear, Batman is dead. Okay. He died saving this city from a nuclear bomb”
Joker: “Ha. Ha, ha. Ha, ha. Now that's the official story but did they find any of his body parts?”
Commissioner Gordon: “You Stupid, crazy idiot, we are talking about Atom bomb here. There won't be any body parts. Batman is dead”
Joker: “Ha, ha. Ha. I know very well our cape Crusader friend. Batman don't do anything without any plan. So where is he hiding?”
Commissioner Gordon: “I don't know. Please, believe me. Please. Torture me all you want but please let my daughter go. Please. Joker if you have any humanity left, please let her go. Please”
Joker: “Oh! You think I am such monster. You hurt me commissioner. See I am exactly what society wants me to be. Do you think you and I are so different? Since it seems like Batman is really dead then let me rather concentrate on you. Let me show you that anyone can be like me if situation pushed him. Welcome to your new life commissioner Gordon. Enjoy the view from 360° angle. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Commissioner Gordon shouted with tremendous shock and anger and pain, “What did you do with my Barbara? You monster. I will kill you if I ever get out of here”
THERE WAS EVERYWHERE NUDE TORTURING VIDEOS OF BARBARA GORDON
Joker: “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Bruce Wayne got a letter
Selena Kyle said, “Bruce someone sent a letter from Gotham. Who knows that you exist?”
Bruce Wayne got up quickly and read the letter, “Hey, batty, how long are you going to hide behind in France? You took early retirement. But Gotham didn't. Guess what your honest commissioner friend did? He told me about your whereabouts? Ha. Ha, ha. Looks like commissioner Gordon has lost his mind as well. As they say bad apple corrupt other apples. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Can't wait to meet you. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Bruce Wayne said, “We can't stay here anymore. Taking retirement was the biggest mistake I made. Now everything is chaos in Gotham because of me. Batman can't take retirement”
Selena Kyle said, “Don't say such thing. You needed it more than anything”
Bruce Wayne: “Now the break is over and I won't make that same mistake again”
Selena Kyle said, “I understand, I am going to help you, Bruce”
And they were preparing to kiss
Suddenly, the house was rained with bullet and they heard a familiar voice, “Ha, ha. Ha, ha”
Bruce and Selena escaped from the underground tunnels from that old European castle”
When Bruce got up to a safe place, he realised that Selena was shot.
Bruce said, “Oh! No. Don't leave me. Selena. I need you”
Selena said, “Don't worry about it, Bruce, I am only holding you back, I made the Batman weak. Bullet has hit my kidney. I have no chance to survive now. I am releasing you from this, Bruce. Gotham needs you. Gotham needs his Batman more than it's Bruce Wayne”
Joker said with anger and disappointment, “He again managed to survive. But Bruce Wayne is Batman which means only one place he can go Wayne mansion”
In the Wayne mansion-
All the alarm bells were ringing
Fox, Dick and Jason saw Joker was laughing looking at the CCTV cameras before he destroyed each of them.
Jason said, “Now is the time to set the things straight. I will punish this psychopathic Maniac.”
Dick said, “No, we won't do any such thing. Remember last time we went without any plan. First of all, this is not Joker's style which means he is really desperate now. Let him make a mistake and we are going to capture him”
In the meantime-
Joker: “Brucy, Brucy, Brucy, look what you did, you not only left yourself vulnerable but you lost your advantage as well. I know now who are you? Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Dick turned off the electricity of the building
Joker was roaming around aimlessly and laughing and talking his usual shit.
Suddenly, Dick turned on the headlights of the building which blindsided Joker and Dick knocked him out one punch.
When Joker woke up he saw himself in some cell.
Dick Grayson came and said, “Your game is up. I heard what you did with Commissioner Gordon. He is in Arkham Asylum going through some heavy treatment and is daughter is currently in ICU because of your inhuman torture. We are sending you to California. You are going to have capital punishment since Gotham doesn't have death penalty. I am going to be your guard. Believe me you have no chance of escape”
Joker didn't say anything just clapped
Dick Grayson said with a lot of sarcasm, “Yeah, clap now. But you won't be doing that for very long”
Dick Grayson came to Jason and told him, “Don't go close to the cell, he is master manipulator, don't give him any opportunities, I am going to see how Commissioner Gordon and his daughter are doing. I will be back very soon. I am trusting you with these. Don't let me down”
But Jason being Jason, he does not listen anyone and he never did anyway. So he was very curious about Joker so he went to the cell to check him out.
He said to Joker, “So you are the joker, huh! You don't look scary to me. I never feared any clown infact I kicked their asses”
Joker said, “Didn't your babysitter ask you not to come to me?”
Jason said, “He isn't my babysitter. I am not scared of you”.
Joker said, “Good for you. Kid. I like you. I like your courage”
Jason said, “He also told me that you are a master manipulator and that you will try to manipulate me”
Joker said, “He said that, didn't he? Look I am not going to do any such thing with you. I am not going to laugh either. Do you know what is the difference between you hero type and us villain type. Nothing much. We are the same. Except we keep you from becoming us as you can then channel your aggression fighting against us. So see we are helping you becoming sane. So kid let me give you one last lecture before they took me away forever. Why are you staying here? Why can't you live like a normal people. Do you know why because you are already damaged from the very beginning just like us. If you try to lead a normal life. You will end up becoming me. Let's take an example of Bruce Wayne the Batman. Why did he need to become Batman? He could have lead a very normal life like just another rich guy but no, he had to become this Batman because otherwise he would have become me. That's also the reason even after so many crimes Batman didn't want to kill me because he feared then he will become me. So what does that tell you about your hero type?”
Jason: “Yeah, you are not trying to manipulate me. Listen clown, I grew up in a terrible rough neighborhood. I am not some snowflake that you will manipulate and I am going to be one. I am not Batman and I don't think I will ever become one either. I would have killed you in the first place if I was in Batman's place. I had no problem with sleeping after that as well. People like you don't deserve to be alive and there is nothing complicated about this.”
Joker: “You are right. I tried to manipulate you but it didn't work. I have to say that you are a very clever type. Probably even more than Batman”
Jason: “Yeah right. Now you are just boring me”
Dick came back and said to Joker, “Yeah, police is coming, you are getting very close to your death”
Joker: “Ha, ha, ha”
When Joker was going to the police van, he tried to get a gun from one last time from a fellow police officer but Dick Grayson floored him with one punch. Joker was suddenly laughing and said, “I am human bomb, I have one bomb inside my belly, and the detonator is my mouth under my tongue. If anyone of you try to touch me, I am going to bomb all of us”
Dick said, “He is bluffing”
Fox said, “Nope, he isn't. There's really a bomb under his belly. Look through this”
Dick said to Joker, “Are you really going to try that? Because I don't think you are capable of blowing yourself up. You are only capable of killing others”
Joker said with a smile, “Question is- are you going to take a chance on that or not? This is a long range bomb which means there's going to be a lot of civilian casualty, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Suddenly, Jason brought a gun and tried to shoot him and looking at that, Dick tried to stop him.
Joker bit one of the police's ear and jumped out of the van and was running away and suddenly a black van came out of nowhere. And said to Joker, “Came on, get on it. I have been sent by the Falcone family as you requested”
Joker got on it.
After a while, he realised that driver wasn't taking him to Falcone family.
Joker said, “Well played, Bruce Wayne or should I say Batman?”
Bruce took the mask off and said, “Finally we meet face to face. You wanted me and now I am here. What do you want to do now?
Joker said, “I just wanted to do this” in saying he turned on the detonator and the van was exploded.
Joker's body was destroyed completely and before he died for the final time, he realised that was just a hologram of Bruce Wayne not real
Joker died in trying to smile
Fox said to Bruce, “Why did you do this?”
Bruce Wayne said, “Because he wanted this. I just gave what he wanted. I didn't get him earlier when I figured him later, I realised what I needed to do. That's when I decided use my hologram with a remote control car. I knew Jason could not help himself. Whatever I saw of him, I can tell that he is probably more damaged than me. I need to handle him very carefully. It's not going to be easy to decipher him from Joker's manipulation”
Dick Grayson heard everything and said, “You knew about all of this. You came here before Joker????!!! Yet you didn't do anything. I am sorry, I don't understand that”
Bruce Wayne said, “You don't have to be. It's very messed up shit. Not everyone has to go through that”
Dick Grayson said, “You probably right, but since I don't understand your method, I no longer have to work with you. I am getting the hell out of here”
Bruce Wayne said, “Are you sure about that because you have lots to learn yet?”
Dick Grayson said, “Yeah, I am sure. Jason, will you come with me?”
Jason couldn't say anything
Dick Grayson said, “You don't have to say anything, I understood” in saying this he left
One month later-
Commissioner Gordon was released from Arkham Asylum.
Batman met him and said, “Friend, you did everything for me. Now let me do something for your daughter”.
Commissioner Gordon said, “Can you help her, Batman, she is completely damaged and broken, I don't think she will ever be able to function in normal society”
Batman said, “Now, let me handle that. Normal conventional medical treatment won't work with her. I know certain things that could be very helpful to her but it's going to be hard and it will take some time but I believe I can help her make again a strong independent confident Woman. But she has to stay with us with your permission of course”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Please help her Batman, please help her. Do whatever you need to do but please make her full again”
Batman said, “I promise that she will again be normal but she has to use her dark side properly. I believe I can help her with that”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Thank you so much Batman”
End not really?
This is the beginning of Batgirl, Nightwing and Red hood.