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Home Tourist Attraction Seattle’s Gum Wall is gross, but so are these other ‘attractions’

Seattle’s Gum Wall is gross, but so are these other ‘attractions’

by Staff

If you can’t get enough of that icky feeling, eschew the eiffel towers and harbour bridges of the world, and head to these stomach churning hotspots.

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Jeremy Drake visits San Francisco and learns why it’s the fastest growing city on the west side of the United States.

I’m completely flummoxed that this place is even a thing. It’s midday, and the bricks of the laneway are starting to warm up in the sun, meaning the pungent sweet stench of decaying chewing gum now fills the nearly 30 metres of air in Post Alley beneath Pike Place Market in Seattle.

In some places, the famous ‘Gum Wall’ (believed to originate in the early 1990s when chewing gum was banned by the Market Theatre and patrons would discard it at the entrance) is several inches thick.

It’s a technicolour nightmare for the queasy. I watch people wait in line for more dramatic and colourful backdrops to capture their Instagram photos or interact with this immersive, gag-worthy public art installation. By ‘interact’ I mean stretching their recently chewed gum into long, string-like shapes they can hang from the laneway window sills with their saliva still oozing from the bottom.

Is this the world’s grossest tourism attraction? Unfortunately not. There are a bunch of other questionable tourism spots that have become folklore. 

The Blarney Stone, Cork City, Ireland

Want to lock lips with a stone? Head to Ireland.

Locking lips with this rock is destined to give you more than the reputed gift of the gab. Dysentery, disease or hepatitis is more likely. The Blarney Stone in Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s most famous sites, attracting thousands of tourists annually. How? No idea. To me, it’s disgusting, and rumour has it that it’s not just saliva going onto this rock either; locals are said to urinate on the stone after hours to keep things entertaining. Ah, there’s that classic Irish sense of humour.

The Berkley Pit, Montana, United States

This place is the pits.

This old copper mine is so polluted and dangerous you’re not permitted to get too close, and birds die if they land and spend too long sitting in it. It’s the largest polluted body of water in America, yet 35,000 tourists a year still pay a small fee to visit. Out of guilt? Who knows.

Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke, India

Drinking left over rats’ water? That’s a no from me.

I’m okay walking through a festering and aging bubble gum wall or kissing a stone that’s been urinated on. Still, if that gum wall or stone started moving and nibbling at my toes, I would struggle to continue living on this earth. My heart would stop. The Karni Mata “Rat” Temple in India is home to over 20,000 rodents, all supposed descendants of the Kani Mata, an incarnation of the god Durga. Visitors are encouraged to drink the rats’ leftover drinking water (no thanks) and wander the temple barefoot (also, no thanks). Eating food that has been nibbled on by one of the rats is considered to be a high honour. This is far from the top of my bucket list.

Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico City, Mexico

Does it get much creepier than this?

There’s an incredible stretch of gorgeous tree-lined canals in Mexico City called Xochimilco, where multi-coloured barges ferry tourists with beers and music in the afternoon sun. But stray just a little, and you could find yourself floating towards Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls). This is not so gross as it is macabre. On this horror movie of an island, thousands of old, mouldy, bacteria-ridden dolls hang from trees and gaze back at you menacingly. It is said that a girl was found drowned in mysterious circumstances near here many years ago and that the dolls are possessed by her spirit.

The writer was a Seattle Tourism, Visit Washington and the Port of Seattle guest.

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