Saturday Surprise — Let’s Explore!

Hello friends, and welcome to the WEEKEND!!!  People tell me that since I am retired, every day is the weekend for me, but let me tell you … it ain’t so!  I have a fairly rigid weekday schedule that helps me stay on track with housework, cooking, laundry, then I write two daily posts for this blog, each requiring a minimum of about 3 hours, usually closer to 6.  Add to that time to pay attention to the Significant Seven, answer email, pay bills, roll smokes, chat with friends … 24 hours are simply not enough!  On the weekend, however, the girls take over cooking & cleaning duties (I refuse to let them touch the laundry), so it gives me a bit of a break.  Today, I felt like taking a bit of a journey to try to find new and unique things around the world.  Are you with me?  Good!  Strap on your imaginary seat belts, and let’s head to … Thailand!

poo park 1Specifically we are going to the Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Yes, you read it right, and yes, it means exactly what it says.  It is where they make paper from elephant poop!  According to Atlas Obscura …

“Making paper from elephant poop is a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional tree-based products. By not using trees, it helps reduce deforestation and makes sure the abundance of animal waste isn’t wasted. The paper is entirely sanitary and stink-free.poo park 3The process of transforming elephant poop into everyday paper is actually pretty straightforward. Once workers have scooped the poop and gathered it, they then wash the waste so that only the plant fibers remain. The fibers are then boiled and sanitized, then mixed with other non-wood pulp fibers. Finally, the intriguing mixture is screened and dried, just like typical wood-based paper has been for thousands of years.

poo park 2Visiting the Elephant Poo Poo Park gives people an up-close encounter with the whole process. You’re even invited to get involved, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. The park also has information about traditional paper making, which began in China nearly 2,000 years ago. In addition to the tour, people can check out the cafe and “poo-tique” to pick up souvenirs.”

Who knew?  I don’t think I would much enjoy working there, though.

I was planning for us to hop just a few miles north to visit the Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom, where visitors can actually snuggle with the tigers, but I learned some disturbing news and decided I would pass that one up for today.  And so … on to … Wales!

Now, I have a few great friends who live in Wales, and one of them I know loves his beans, but I had no idea that beans was such a … national treasure?  Here we are, then, in Port Talbott, where we find the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence.  A museum … baked beans … really?  The museum is owned and operated by a bean-obsessed superhero called Captain Beany, formerly known as Barry Kirk.  Now way back when, Barry was working for British Petroleum as a computer geek at one of their chemical plants. Capn Beany bathtubThen, in September 1986, Kirk decided to try for a new world’s record, and life has never been the same since.  What record, you ask?  Sitting in a bathtub filled with beans … for 100 straight hours.  And it was then that he first got his idea for a complete transformation into Captain Beany. Capn Beany tattoo It took some time, but in 1991 he quit his job, legally changed his name, and then he began the physical transformation, painting his head and bald pate orange, and donning a golden cape, pants, gloves and boots.  Since then, he has run marathons, pushed a can of beans along a beach with his nose, bathed in a bath of tomato soup, climbed a mountain, and had 60 baked beans tattooed on his head.

The museum is in the living room of his 2-bedroom apartment and is crammed full of baked bean memorabilia and orange furniture.  Since his apartment is a ‘council flat’, which I believe is similar to subsidized housing in the U.S., he is not allowed to charge admission, but he does accept donations from the 100 or so visitors he gets each year.  And Cap’n Beany is a generous man, donating all proceeds to charities such as Sport Relief, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation.

And now, I really hope you brought your jackets,  for we are headed someplace quite cold … Norway!

You know what it’s like, traveling on the interstate highway system and after a few hundred miles, you really need to stop for a potty break and perhaps a cup of coffee to help keep your eyes open.  Those rest stops, though … you never know what condition you will find them in.  But this rest area, named Uredd Rest Area, is situated along a section of the Norwegian Scenic Route. It overlooks stunning views of the fjords and the open sea, and is a popular spot for visitors and locals to watch the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer. And, it is quickly gaining fame for being home to what may be the most beautiful public toilet in the world.Norway rest areaAs part of a project to enhance Norway’s scenic highways with innovative architecture, a sleek viewing area with marble benches and amphitheater steps leading down to the water were built along the roadside. And next to them, a striking, wave-shaped public restroom.

Uredd rest areaMade of frosted glass and concrete in a minimalist design, the structure seems to glow in the dark as the glass is lit at night. In the daytime, the facility offers just about the most breathtaking view you could hope to enjoy while taking care of business.  Just look at that scenery … makes you want to sit here forever … except that I’m getting c-c-c-old.

Let’s grab a quick bite to eat … and warm us up … before we head back, shall we?  As I realize that a number of my readers are vegan, I picked a place we could all find something to love.  So let’s head over to Madrid, Spain, for some barquillos.  You guys all like barquillos, right?  What … oh, don’t worry … it’s Spanish for waffles. These particular ones are very thin, rolled into shapes like cones, and ever-so delicious.  Now here in Madrid, we will get our waffles from a street vendor, but there’s a little something you have to do first.  First, you have to play a game of roulette with the vendor!  No, not the Russian sort … just the plain ol’ sort.barquillosThere’s one now!  See that red tin canister?  That’s the roulette game, and the wheel to spin is on the top of the canister.  You can pay once to spin for either one or two barquillos or pay more and spin as many times as you want, racking up waffles until you stop or the ticker lands on one of the four golden markers, at which point you lose everything. barquillos-2You are so going to love these … you can get them dusted with cinnamon or vanilla and covered or stuffed with chocolate and other flavors.  I love them with fresh strawberries, but it’s probably a little too early in the season for those.  Enjoy your barquillo!

Well, folks, I hope you enjoyed our travel today, and I hope you all have a terrific weekend!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!!!

44 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Let’s Explore!

  1. Dear Jill,

    Thanks for an excellent travel log adventure. The elephant poo/ paper making factory is a great start. How fascinating. I bet one could make a house with elephant poo.

    I love the idea of a taking a potty break with beautiful views of fjords and the open sea in Norway.

    I would definitely skip a visit to Captain Beany’s museum but I do like beans on toast. Still a trip to Wales should definitely be part of a travel adventure. They have some gorgeous national parks along with at least one famous castle.

    I would love a barquillo!

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmmmm … I don’t think I’m crazy about the idea of living in a house made of elephant poo. Yes, I would love to see the views in Norway, and a trip to Wales, if for no other reason than to visit a few of the friends I’ve made here on WP! Ahhhh, to be wealthy, eh? Hugs, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a good job that you avoided the Tiger Kingdom post… Appearances are deceptive on some tourism experiences with animals. It is always good to do some research on visiting so called animal sanctuaries … Many are something else, and exploit animals to the Nth degree.

    There was a man of great means

    Who decided a bath amongst beans

    Would brighten his day

    And people would say

    There goes the guy with baked dreams!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, after I saw one glowing article on … I think it was Bored Panda … I did a bit of digging and found that they drug the animals. If true, that is a complete ‘no-no’ and a turnoff for me. I will not visit, even just in my virtual tour.

      HA HA … great limerick!!! So tell me, I’ve heard from David and Roger on the beans on toast thing … do you like baked beans on toast?


        • An interesting fact about elephant poo (in Asia) is that certain species of trees require that the seeds germinate in elephant poo. It is another reminder that when one species dies out, many others die out with it.

          Elephant poo paper production is one of those quirky things that bring the tourist money in. How well the elephants are treated, I’m not sure. The Thais are starting to wake up to the fact that westerners think much of their animal husbandry is cruel and changing the way they do things in order to keep the tourists coming, but a lot of bad stuff is hidden so people must be aware that there is a very good reason that you may be able to pet a wild animal. It just wouldn’t happen in the wild, so everyone must ask themselves…’What have they done to make this animal perform?’

          Liked by 1 person

          • Definitely interesting tidbit about the elephant poo and trees. Who knew? Yes, the ecosystems work well when left alone, but mankind seems to have an obsession with messing things up. My late husband always said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I think I could apply that phrase in many areas these days.

            Yes, the Tiger Kingdom responded to the question of why the tigers were so docile by saying they were encouraged to play all night so that they were tired by day. B.S.!!!

            You still enjoying Spain? Hope you are having a wonderful time! When will you head back to the UK?


        • Awwww … is there no gluten-free bread? I see gluten-free everything these days! Somehow, until the past month of so, I managed to never have heard of beans on toast. The first time I heard it, I thought one would still pick up the toast and eat is just as one would buttered toast, or toast with peanut butter (my personal favourite). I finally came to realize that one must eat it with … fork? spoon? Ah, so many culinary differences between our nations. 😉


          • Beans on toast is always Beans on top of the buttered toast (making it necessary to eat it fast before it goes soggy), and eaten with a knife and fork. The English still like to shove the toast and beans up on to the back of a fork, although the American way of eating with a fork (putting the knife down) is creeping in more as a societal preference with some of the younger generation.


  3. An enjoyable trip around the world. I’m thinking that it might be worthwhile to study the art of paper making from elephant poo in Thailand. It seems that there is an abundance of other poo cluttering the government that would serve a better purpose elsewhere. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I try to do something fun on Saturday mornings, a bit of a break from the darkness I usually write about. You are quite right … there is enough 💩 💩 💩 coming out of Washington these days to make more paper than all the books published for the next decade would require!!! Only thing is that I’m not sure we could ever wash the stink out of it!


  4. Loved reading your post!!!!! So much fun and incredibly interesting! Too funny about Captain Beany! It was a delightful journey…a great way to start off the day! Hope you enjoy your weekend! Thanks so much for sharing your wit and intellect! 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I will, indeed, enjoy the weekend … we are starting it out with a special family treat to a favourite restaurant, and from there, who knows? You have a great weekend also!

      Liked by 1 person

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