There's nothing quite so relaxing as getting out of town and chilling out in a nice, comfortable prison...at least, as long as that prison is one of these 11 prisons that have been refurbished into hotels. While some of the hotels have modified their interiors significantly, they all seem to maintain a certain institutional charm that seems both chilling and thrilling at the same time.
I've actually stayed at one of the hotels on the list, Långholmen Prison in Stockholm, Sweden. It was fascinating to learn about their country's penal system and to experience a night in a hundred-year-old prison cell, even if the room was somewhat modified to keep guests more comfortable.
When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.
Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).
No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.
The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.
Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”
Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:
In the modern era, we take for granted having constantly updated, largely accurate maps of just about every road in the world at our fingertips. If you need to find your way through a city or across a country, Google Maps has your back. You no longer have to go out and buy a paper map.
But to appreciate just what a monstrous task making road maps and keeping them updated was in decades past, take a look at this vintage short film, "Caught Mapping," spotted at the Internet Archive by National Geographic.
The 1940 film, produced by the educational and promotional company Jam Handy Organization (which created films for corporations like Chevrolet), spotlights the difficult task of producing and revising maps to keep up with new road construction and repair.
The film is a major booster of the mapmaking industry, and those involved in it come off as near-miracle workers. The process of updating maps involved sending scouts out into the field to drive along every road and note conditions, compare the roads against topographical maps, and confirm mileage figures. Then, those scouts reported back to the draughtsmen responsible for producing revised maps every two weeks. The draughtsmen updated the data on road closures and other changes.
Once those maps were printed, they were "ready to give folks a good steer," as the film's narrator puts it, quietly determining the success of any road trip in the country.
"Presto! and right at their fingertips, modern motorists can have [information] on any road they wish to take." A modern marvel, really.