Bizarre Beaches of the World
While the words beach vacation usually call to mind a tropical white-sand beach studded with palm trees and lapped by turquoise waters, the truth is that the world's beaches come in all shapes and sizes—some stranger than others. There are black, green, red, and even purple stretches of sand. And did you know that there are sands in Zanzibar that do a daily disappearing act, and a dragon supposedly visits a beach in Hong Kong? Humans also add their own bizarre twists to the beaches of the world and have even tried to trump Mother Nature. Just look at the world's largest swimming pool (pictured), which runs alongside a gorgeous Pacific Ocean beach in Chile. Oh, what will they think up next?
Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, China
Repulse Bay Beach, an artificial strip of sand on the south side of Hong Kong Island, is one of that city's most popular beaches, and you'll know it by the throngs who pack the place on sunny summer days. Shark nets and floating platforms have been added for swimmers, and of course the needs of a nearby dragon also had to be considered during the construction of a 37-story residential building on the hillside behind the beach. Legend has it a dragon lives at the top of the mountain, and a feng shui master warned that the building would block the dragon's access to the shore. Hence, a large hole was cut out of the tower's center to mollify the dragon and avoid a whole lot of bad luck.
Crosby Beach, Crosby, England
About seven miles north of Liverpool is a little coastal village called Crosby. It would be unremarkable if it weren't for the 100 anatomically correct cast-iron human figures that stand on its beach, facing out to sea. This surreal scene, called Another Place, is the work of English sculptor Antony Gormley, who used a cast of his own naked body for the installation. The statues, which were previously exhibited in Norway, Germany, and Belgium, were supposed to be shipped off to New York City in 2006, but locals fought to keep them here. (A similar project is on view in New York City through August 15, 2010.) Some statues are submerged when the rather large tides come in, and over the years, they've attracted barnacles and sunk into the sand. Still, it would be easy to mistake these lifelike statues for nudists watching the horizon—if it weren't for the freezing British location.
San Alfonso Del Mar, Algarrobo, Chile
Seeing as San Alfonso del Mar fronts a huge beach and the Pacific Ocean, it seems an odd spot for the world's largest swimming pool. But the pool's remarkable spaciousness complements the ocean beyond rather effortlessly, and jumping in the pool's 79 degree water is a much more tempting prospect than venturing into the 63 degree seawater nearby, with its dangerous waves and currents. The resort complex on Chile's central coast resembles a modern Mayan city, with pyramidlike apartment buildings towering above the colossal saltwater pool. Well, since it's over half a mile long and holds about 66 million gallons of water, it's more like a lake. Lining the pool are white-sand beaches, palm trees, and docks for the sailboats that ply the gin-clear water.
If you want to visit these beaches yourself: Book your vacation on www.medestino.com