In 4 years of nomadic life and thousands of kilometres around the globe, I have witnessed lots of original things. Some scenes, more atypical than others, have especially caught up my attention and I sometimes had the time to pick up my phone, wondering out loud "What the fuck?!" Here are 11 WTF images caught up on my camera.
Number 11 : Australian taxidermy
In almost every Australian souvenir shops, one can find various items made out of different kangaroo body parts. Here, a bottle opener showing a middle finger.
This dubious taxidermy is only the result of the crazy amount of kangaroos on the Australian continent. Shooting them, or rolling them over, is apparently an ecological move.
Number 10 : Bob the Cambodian builder
In the chill-out area of a hostel in Cambodia, a blade from the fan brutally emancipated itself from its fellows, going for a rather brutal gliding flight across the room. Miraculously, the flying object crashed on an empty couch. That's when Bob the builder appeared to replace the fan blade, with a suspiciously big amount of spare blades. His intervention became a balancing act. No ladder or harness to be used, our repairer was clearly above these details…
Number 9 : Indonesian restrooms
In Asia, restrooms are often a wonderful adventure that awaits behind every door, when there is one. If you're passionate about toilet stories, if you're looking for a 5-minute laugh or if you're into a throne reading shortage, I suggest you check out the toilet guide of Southeast Asia.
Number 8: "Close the door, otherwise you’ll have mozzies and kangaroos"
One day, while I was trying to walk out of the Australian desert (It's a long story), I found shelter in an isolated farm. I was then offered to work in exchange for food and accommodation, for as long as it would take to find a car passing by, driving back to civilisation. The first night, I was taken to a room and told to close the door to avoid being infested by mosquitoes and kangaroos. Obviously, I left my door open. I woke up 6 am to very loud thumping noises on the floor, inside the room. I opened my eyes to a snout almost touching my forehead.
I had to clean and milk cows with my bare hands for 3 days before finding a car to get out of the outback.
Number 7 : It’s normal in Vietnam
Vietnam taught me there is absolutely nothing that can’t be loaded on a motorbike. With a great recurrence, one can see scooters loaded up to the sky, with a cargo that defies the laws of gravity. The scooter on the picture doesn’t seem so loaded at first glance, but if you look closer, you’ll be able to quickly calculate it’s about 240 kg of water, plus the driver !
Number 6 : E.T phone home
The phone network covers only a small portion of the Australian territory. In the Red Center, there’s absolutely no signal. However, one day, I came across this antenna on which was written “E.T phone home”. It's the only one I've seen during my trip in the desert, and we had to keep our cell phones against it to get 2 weak bars of signal.
Number 5: The art of parking in Vietnam
My Vietnamese is far from being sensational, so I didn’t understand immediately what the lady wanted from us. It turned out I had understood the instructions, but they were so unlikely that I discarded them. Shoes were not allowed inside the hotel, but we had to park our scooters next to the bed.
Number 4: Indonesian Public Transport
The photo was taken on a boat going from Gorontalo to the Togian Islands. In some countries, like Indonesia, bus and boats only leave when full. And when they are full, they still find more room! The pedestrian part of the boat, being filled with passengers on top of each others, sitting between the seats, in the aisles and in front of the toilet door, the company crammed people into the lower floors, between scooters and cars. It was a 14 hours boat trip.
Number 3 : Historic stone jetty
There are many and various things classified as historical in New Zealand. They appear as points of interest on maps and naturally, they attract the attention of travellers.
Descriptions of historic places are attractive and driven by curiosity we always took detours that we systematically regretted.
Here, the description of the historic jetty was "the very first wharf built at Mount Maunganui in 1888". All the inhabitants took part in the project to finalise the construction in 1889. Reaching the spot, we discovered an amazing pile of stones, regurgitated in some cement, vaguely forming a 3 m long jetty.
A multitude of other sites in New Zealand offer a range of historical things of the same kind, throughout the territory. New Zealand is a very young country, patience, one day there will perhaps be fabulous historical monuments.
Number 2: Toraja Rock Cemeteries
Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, however, in Toraja there is a tribe of Christians who live their religion in their very own way. An Indonesian friend showing me around his country, took me to a big rock and introduced it as a cemetery.
The rock is pierced with several holes closed with small wooden doors on which are engraved names. On the top of the rock, I noticed a hole that had no door and inside we could see piles of things packed up in white-ish clothes. I questioned my friend about that, he simply answered they are dead bodies. The holes in the walls are too narrow to slip a coffin in, so the bodies are taken out once brought in front of the rock, then a member of the family carry the deceased on his shoulder up to the hole, thanks to a bamboo ladder. My friend added that all of this consists in offering to the deceased a last dwelling as close as possible from god. Makes sense. We all agree that God is in heaven so why do we bury our loved ones six feet under?
The presence of empty coffins all around us added a perfectly creepy note to the place, hardly bearable for my French sensitivity.
Number 1: The catacombs of Paris
The catacombs of Paris are the proof that one can feel out of place at home. So far, I haven't found anything more WTF than making art with tons of human remains, in the subfields of a capital, opened to the public. When I bent over this skull, my imagination put blood and flesh back on this unknown face. The flashes of tourists, the aesthetic of it, nothing managed to make me forget that they were living human beings. Formerly they had names, lives and stories, now they form a fresco of strangers.
The macabre beauty of this underground show reconciles us a little with our own end by offering an aesthetic facet, in a shamelessness that overcomes the taboo of death.