Seattle's Gross Gum Wall Gets Too Gross

Seattle's Gross Gum Wall Gets Too Gross

Who's idea was this in the first place?

Vendors around Pike Place aren't expecting to sell a lot of gum in the next week or so.

Seattle is hitting the restart button on one of the city's oddest and most popular tourist attractions in decades. The city is scraping 20 years’ worth of gum from the alley using cleaning crews armed with shovels and high temperature pressure washers. The brick wall is estimated to hold over one million pieces of sugary chewing gum. The strain on the 115-year old wall is said to be too much with an estimated (literal) ton of gum sticking to the surface.

The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority plans to weigh the left overs of this disgusting tourist anomaly. The group’s intention is to preserve the buildings in the area covered by the gum. No plans are in place to prevent future gum patronage in the future.

The origins of this presumably unexplainable tradition is believed to have an explanation! Patrons waiting outside of an improv comedy club during the 90s were believed to have placed the first sacred wads of gum on the brick wall. Thus, the nasty trend started and several attempts were made to clean the wall off. After mentions of the wall circulated through tourist guidebooks and word-of-mouth, the city decided to leave it alone and let those tourist express their God-given right to smash chewing gum between ancient bricks.

Cascadian Building Maintenance is the group responsible for possibly the most disgusting job of their enitre careers. They’re careers are spent doing a lot of gross projects but this one probably takes the cake. They have set a containment system to collect the run-off water and molten goop. The pressure washers are using water above 250 degrees to blast the layers of gum from the alley. The cleaning, according to Seattle Times, is expected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000.

The whole operation sounds like an industrial check up with your dentist. Imagine the smell of that alley during the cleaning. A nice medley of peppermint, fruit flavors, and a whole lot of mold.

The grimy tourist trap is likely only the second most revolting attraction in all the world. After visiting the Blarney Stone of Ireland, pilgrims of the monument are given complimentary antibiotics. Okay, not really but the Blarney Stone is a big rock that thousands of people, per week, literally kiss with their literal mouths. The only thing nastier than kissing an old rock (or touching a gum wall) is kissing the same rock everyone else in Ireland has kissed.

At least the Blarney Stone has some historical significance to it. People have been climbing their way up stone step to kiss that son of a gun for over 200 years. The origin of the stone is unknown. Theories range from it being a thrown for Irish kings of old, to the stone that gushed water when Moses struck it. And that stone somehow ended up in… Ireland?

Anyway, the gum alley of Seattle will surely be renewed in gooey fashion within months of its bi-decade checkup. In the mean time, go check out a bunch of dudes chucking frozen fish at each other in the market.

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The Joys of Traveling Abroad

I wouldn't trade it for the for the world

Over this past spring break, I was lucky enough to go on a choir trip to Spain. We went to Barcelona and Valencia, and it was of the most amazing experiences ever.

There were about 55 people on the trip, 2/3 were the female choir I'm in, Voices, and the other 1/3 were the male choir, Singers. We prepared for months, getting song after song ready for the trip. The whole thing started off with a bit of a bump when winter storm Riley decided to postpone our trip for two days, cramming our plans in Barcelona into two days.

We had the chance to sing in some of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen and I met some of the most amazing people ever, as well as strengthened old friendships.By the time I got back, I was dog tired and proceeded to stuff my face with a pizza and then passed out for 13 hours.

I don't know how I already feel nostalgia for something that just ended, but I do. I miss watching movies with the girls while braiding hair. I miss creepily hitting on everyone on the trip. I miss some of the most amazing food I've ever eaten. I miss late night deep conversations with my roommate.

I know I can still see all these people, but it just isn't the same. These one in seven billion people are the coolest, funniest, most talented people I've ever been lucky enough to know, and I know the memories I made over the past week will last for a lifetime.

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Why You Should Visit New Orleans

There's more to the city than just Mardi Gras

For my last Spring Break, I decided to do something a little special and venture outside of New Jersey for the week. My friend and I packed our bags, but instead of heading to Florida like many college students, we headed to the Big Easy. While NOLA may not have a beach of its own, there's plenty of other reasons why this trip was so memorable and amazing.

1. The food was amazing!

From gumbo and jambalaya to Caribbean taquerias, New Orleans has so much to offer in the way of flavor and food. And much to my surprise, they had plenty of options for vegetarian, vegan, an gluten free diets.

2. The architecture was beautiful.

The unique architecture of the city will pull your eye in and make it really hard to look away. Picturesque and gorgeous homes litter the streets of the city, especially in the Garden District.

3. Cemeteries

Since the city is mostly below the water table, and due to the influence of the Spanish, many cemeteries in New Orleans feature the unique concept of above ground burials. You can visit the tomb of Marie Laveau and the tomb purchased by actor Nicholas Cage (who is notoriously obsessed with New Orleans).

4. Voodoo and Hauntings

Speaking of Marie Laveau, New Orleans is special because you can explore the world of voodoo in an area where Caribbean and Catholic influences alike contributed to this unique culture. Visiting one of the most haunted cities in America opens up doors for lovers of all that is creepy-- you can go on ghost tours and visit the sites of some of the most gruesome murders and notoriously haunted establishments.

5. Drinking on Bourbon Street

Walking up and down Bourbon Street is an experience in and of itself. The only rule about carrying alcohol on the streets of New Orleans is no glass bottles. Other than that, its open range for walking the streets with the crazy cocktails Bourbon Street has to offer.

6. Jazz on Frenchmen Street

Jazz is one of the first things I think of when I think of New Orleans. Its hard to walk around the city without hearing the soulful sound of a saxophone or trombone. On Frenchmen Street, you'll find more of a local vibe where bars have open doors and jazz bands playing almost 24/7.

7. Shopping at the French Market

Although a bit overwhelming, you'll find almost anything you could need from trinkets to food to cocktails from the various vendors in the French Market.

8. Steamboat tours on the Mississippi

One of the best ways to tour the city is on the Mighty Mississippi. Grab a cocktail, some authentic Creole food, and watch the sights pass you by.

9. A Huge Casino (with a nightclub).

Enough said. Central to many areas of the city is a Harrah's Casino with their own nightclub, Masquerade. If you aren't afraid of your wallet being mad at you, go spend an evening at the casino.

10. Festivals and Parades.

I was lucky enough to catch the Top Taco Festival during my visit, and it was one of the best nights of the trip. A ticket got me endless tacos, tequila, and cocktail tasters, and the vendors were very accommodating to the fact that I was vegetarian.

11. Beignets and Cafe Au Lait

If you didn't get Beignets and Cafe Au Lait at Cafe Du Monde, did you even go to New Orleans? And don't you dare say it is the same as donuts and coffee, because it just isn't. If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further.

12. The Restaurants and Shops on Magazine Street

A little different and more laid back than the French Market, this is a must visit area of New Orleans. The Rum House has some of the best cocktails and tacos you'll ever eat, and its worth the wait for a table.

13. Explore a city with a very rich history.

I was blown away by the amount there was to see and learn during the day in New Orleans. From French rule to Spanish rule, to the Louisiana purchase that made New Orleans part of America, the city has seen the influence of many different cultures as well as the impact of natural disasters such as fires, floods, and Hurricane Katrina.

14. National Parks, Museums, and Art Galleries

If art, nature, or history is your thing, you will love the Big Easy. With plenty of art all around the city, Museums on Mardi Gras and World War II (just to name a few), and plenty of gorgeous parks to stroll through.

15. You'll remember it forever!

Because of all of the things listed above, New Orleans will be a place that I will never forget, and only hope I get to visit again.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Kleinwaks

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