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Inter Milan Beat Barcelona: Has Mourinho Done The Impossible?

Without doubts, the new football era has just started. Referee Frank Bleeckere’s final whistle at the Camp Nou this evening just marked Inter Milan’s triumph over Lionel Messi’s FC Barcelona in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.

The title holders went down at the San Siro 3-1last Tuesday following the official’s favoritism for Jose Mourinho’s Inter, but the Catalans were not able to overturn their negative score line at home in Spain. Hence, a 1-0 victory for Pep Guardiola’s team subsequent to Gerard Pique’s goal was not enough to keep the Blaugrana alive in the Champions League.

How Barcelona became the “Unbeatable Side”

After keeping their courage despite their controversial victory over Chelsea in the semifinals of the European Championship last season, Barcelona went on to defeat Premier League defending champions Manchester United 2-0 in the final.Justify Full

As they won the treble that season, the Catalans had the chance to compete in 3 additional tournaments, which were the Spanish Super Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

At everyone’s amazement, Barcelona finished their 2009 year with the snatching of all 6 possible cups, and Lionel Messi played a major role in the creation of their incomparable success. With this achievement valuing their greatness, the Blaugrana became the “unbeatable side” according to many journalists, players, coaches, and fans.

Messi himself declared that his club was undefeatable when in form, but surely without knowing it, such a statement coming out of his mouth went straight across the ears of his biggest enemies. Regardless, Barcelona kept powering their 2009-10 season with precious victories in all possible competitions, but nevertheless, they suffered an early Copa del Rey exit when they lost to Sevilla.

Yet, Barcelona tried to cope with what they still had left, and it seemed like everything was on track. Humiliating Champions League victories against Stuttgart and Arsenal when Lionel Messi revealed his strongest goalscoring skills, as well as convincing wins in La Liga, were just enough to confirm the might of the FIFA Club champions.

Nonetheless, Barcelona knew that in order to seal their excellence in football, they had to defend their Champions League title. And it was only then that they faced their toughest challenge as they were placed against the Special One’s army in all its power.

Jose Mourinho's triumph, controversy, and the end of Barcelona's reign

The clash between Inter Milan and Barcelona had many representations for the majority of football fans, among which were: Jose Mourinho vs Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o vs Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and a few others. Unexpectedly, Inter Milan immediately stamped their authority on the Azulgranas by stealing a controversial 3-1 victory at the San Siro when they both met on April 20.

Video highlights clearly showed the partiality of Referee Olegário Benquerença who is said to be a long-time friend of Inter coach Jose Mourinho, but bizarrely, the Portuguese manager justified his side’s triumph by repeatedly putting emphasis on Referee Tom Ovrebo’s favor toward Barcelona last year against Chelsea at the Stanford Bridge in the Champions League.

This angered Barca fans and players, and since the second leg was set to be played at home, the least Barcelona could do was to secure a 2-0 win. All eyes were then set on the Champions League’s top scorer Lionel Messi and his potent team mates; yet, things did not really prove to go as positively as Catalan fans were hoping.

Despite the sending-off of former Barcelona player Motta after 26 minutes of action, an ineffective Zlatan Ibrahimovic was incapable of giving the hosts the lead. Inter then decided to play a completely negative game, and with Lionel Messi only being able to make intelligent and short passes outside the D, Barcelona were struggling to make goalkeeper Julio Cesar work.

Messi however came close to scoring late in the first half, but it was the second half which proved to be more promising. A few substitutions from Pep Guardiola enabled Bojan Kikrik and Jeffren to make their entries into the game, and on 84 minutes, Gerard Pique scored an offside opener which truly got the home crowd on their feet.

Watch the video highlights of Gerard Pique's goal and Barcelona's attempts

Barcelona kept pressing on for a second goal which would have been the saving goal to reach the final, but it never came. Dani Alves was in some way fouled inside the box by Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari, but the referee waved away the appeals for a penalty.

In the end, 3-2 the clash ended on aggregate at the delight of Inter Milan, and Coach Jose Mourinho–who was verbally abused before the game by opposing fans–could only run onto the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate was is said to be his 6th Champions League final in 6 years, and the beginning of a new football era.

Watch the celebrations of Inter Milan after the match

Lionel Messi and Barcelona’s powerful empire has now collapsed under the invasion of the Special One. No matter what happens to the Nerazzurri at the Bernabeu Stadium in the final against Bayern Munich, Mourinho can feel proud that he broke the chains and realized the dreams of Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid, and all the previous victims of Barcelona’s incursion.

Surely–not counting the invasion of Pep Guardiola last season in soccer–football has not witnessed an achievement as memorable as the one Jose Mourinho just did, since a couple of years. Perhaps, it will take a lot of strength and cleverness from the next coach which will be able to make such an attainment.

Currently, most Barcelona fans might be complaining about their unjust defeat against Inter Milan in the semifinals of the Champions League; while others might wonder if and how Jose Mourinho was able to do what was previously regarded as the “impossible.”

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Why bad habits are bad?

Four common bad habits combined — smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet — can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 percent. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 percent.

The risky behaviors were: smoking tobacco; downing more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men and more than two daily for women; getting less than two hours of physical activity per week; and eating fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily.

These habits combined substantially increased the risk of death and made people who engaged in them seem 12 years older than people in the healthiest group, said lead researcher Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo.

The study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

The healthiest group included never-smokers and those who had quit; teetotalers, women who had fewer than two drinks daily and men who had fewer than three; those who got at least two hours of physical activity weekly; and those who ate fruits and vegetables at least three times daily.

"You don't need to be extreme" to be in the healthy category, Kvaavik said. "These behaviors add up, so together it's quite good. It should be possible for most people to manage to do it."

For example, one carrot, one apple and a glass of orange juice would suffice for the fruit and vegetable cutoffs in the study, Kvaavik said, noting that the amounts are pretty modest and less strict than many guidelines.

The U.S. government generally recommends at least 4 cups of fruits or vegetables daily for adults, depending on age and activity level; and about 2 1/2 hours of exercise weekly.

Study participants were 4,886 British adults aged 18 and older, or 44 years old on average. They were randomly selected from participants in a separate nationwide British health survey. Study subjects were asked about various lifestyle habits only once, a potential limitation, but Kvaavik said those habits tend to be fairly stable in adulthood.

Death certificates were checked for the next 20 years. The most common causes of death included heart disease and cancer, both related to unhealthy lifestyles.

Kvaavik said her results are applicable to other westernized nations including the United States.

June Stevens, a University of North Carolina public health researcher, said the results are in line with previous studies that examined the combined effects of health-related habits on longevity.

The findings don't mean that everyone who maintains a healthy lifestyle will live longer than those who don't, but it will increase the odds, Stevens said.

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The world's smallest horse

If baby animals are "cute," then how does one describe Einstein the newborn pinto stallion? Super-incredi-adora-cute? Weighing in at just six pounds, the New Hampshire-born foal may be the world's smallest horse. Dr. Rachel Wagner, Einstein's co-owner, says the Guinness record for the smallest newborn horse is 9 pounds. Wagner notes Einstein shows no signs of dwarfism, unlike the current record holder. Photos of Einstein standing next to a young child and a bemused Saint Bernard really put the horse's 14-inch frame in perspective. All together now: "Awwww!"

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I'm Kecman,Dušan Kecman - 006

In one of the most amazing finishes at any level this season, Partizan won its fourth consecutive Adriatic League title by edging Cibona 74-75 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd in Zagreb, Croatia on Sunday.

Dusan Kecman became the game hero with a midcourt buzzer beating three pointer that allowed Partizan to lift the trophy in unbelievable fashion.

Cibona trailed 68-72 with seconds left but back to back triples by Marko Tomas and Bojan Bogdanovic gave their team a 74-72 edge with 0.6 seconds left, but Kecman stole the show right when it mattered.

Aleks Maric led the winners with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Lawrence Roberts added 13 points and 14 rebounds while Aleksandar Rasic and Petar Bozic each had 11 points for Partizan.

Marko Tomas and Jamont Gordon led Cibona with 31 points apiece. Partizan led for the best part of the fourth quarter but Gordon allowed Cibona to force overtime, 60-60. Roberts downed 4 of 6 free throws to give Partizan a 68-72 lead late in the extra period and even when Cibona regained the lead, Kecman sank a shot that will go down in history as one of the most incredible ones in Adriatic League history.



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Time Traveler Caught in Photo?


It’s the short description for the photograph shown at the virtual Bralorne Pioneer Museum, from British Columbia, Canada. The image can be seen specifically on this page (scroll down to the middle), among other items of the online exhibit. Did you notice anything out of place? Or perhaps, out of time?

The man with what appears to be very modern sunglasses seems to be wearing a stamped T-shirt with a nice sweater, all the while holding a portable compact camera!

Internet people reached to the obvious conclusion: it’s a time traveller caught on camera on 1940! Finally, we have proof!

If the story seems straight out of a movie and the photo is in itself a great funny find, the most amusing thing i came up with while looking into this – as an Internet person, on the Internet – was the reply for a skeptical, or perhaps somewhat cynical comment on how spurious it would seem the idea that a time traveler would want to visit the reopening of a bridge in some small town in Canada.

Read this on Doc Brown’s voice: “Of course, because we know nothing happened there right? But if we are considering time travel, how can we know if in some other timeline something historical happened right there?”

Indeed! Once you consider time travel, everything changes. But before writing Hollywood scripts, let’s get back to reality and ask again: is the photo evidence of a time traveller?

As noted, the image is indeed available through the official website for Canada’s museums. It was part of the exhibit “Their Past Lives Here” from Bralorne-Pioneer, available to the public since 2004. It was put online since February this year, perhaps before that. And the peculiar “time traveller” image was only noted as such in the end of March, when it was linked on main websites such as Above Top Secret and FARK.

Given the source, we would assume the photo is authentic, and correctly dated to c.1940. Indeed, an Error Level Analysis suggests the image was not digitally tampered with, or at least that if it was, the author was smart enough to normalize the error across the whole thing. It’s a good job, if it was a job. And again, given the source, we would assume it was not a job.

So, how do we explain the man out of time?


Not quite out of time

As members of the ATS, like “Outkast Searcher”, diligently noted, despite looking very modern the man’s outfit and even glasses and camera could be found in the 1940s. Below, similar sunglasses used by actress Barbara Stanwyck on the movie “Double Indemnity” (1944):

The outfit could also be found 70 years ago. Being used as we are to our contemporary fashion, we look at the man and assume he’s wearing a stamped T-shirt, something that would be indeed out of place (or time). But if you look carefully, you can see that he’s actually wearing (or could as well be wearing) a sweatshirt. And sweatshirts with bordered emblems were not uncommon in the 1940s – in fact you can find those in other photos from the same exhibit.

The sweater he also uses seems to be hand knitted, with buttons on the front. Something that was definitely available at the time, if he had some kind grandma perhaps.

Finally, despite some comments about the camera lens being too big for the time, too compact, it looks like a Kodak Folding Pocket model, available since the beginning of the 20th century.

That is: even taking this photo for granted, as depicting an authentic scene, a real man with his curious glasses and outfit in Canada 70 years ago, there’s nothing that can be seen that is actually out of place or time. He looks different from other people, but it has already been suggested that he’s using welding goggles and a glove.

This is not much of a proof of time travel, and more like evidence of the cyclic nature of fashion. These days, even a beggar can be mistaken for a trendy fashion model. Keep reading for more into this and other time travel stories.


Not quite new

Despite being an awesome photo and story, the Canadian time traveller is not the first on the genre. One of the most famous Internet stories deals with Andrew Carlssin, a man from the year 2256 who appeared in Wall Street on 2003. It was published as a news item on Yahoo!, but few people noticed it was in the Entertainment section and that the source was the Weekly World News. In case you haven’t checked the WWN, you should do it now.

There’s also the story of John Titor, an elaborate story where a time traveller joined several online discussion forums! On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, but if you tell elaborate stories about being a time traveller, you may just create an enduring digital myth. Alas, time itself took care of disproving all of John Titor’s stories about the future. Or perhaps that’s a nice thing, since the future Titor invented was pretty gloom.

And some years ago, the photo of a man with a Mohawk hairstyle at a festival before the punk movement made the style popular was also reason for buzz. I remember seeing it on BoingBoing, but now I can’t find it! Was it erased by the time travellers? Will I forget about it soon? In any event, I also remember that people quickly pointed out that although the hairstyle was popularized by punks, it was not unseen before that, dating even from before the Mohawk tribe.

Time travel is an amazing idea, but so far it’s all speculation, fiction, hoax and misunderstandings.


Case closed?

As a matter of fact, no! Despite being clear that the image, even if authentic, would not be evidence of an out of time man, it’s still possible it could be a hoax. After all, photoshop jobs mixing modern figures in old photos are not that complex. A series that has been popular the past few weeks placed contemporary super-heroes in historical photos:

Is it possible that an elaborate hoax could have included a manipulated photograph among the items of a museum exhibit, only to have it put online and finally exposed as “time travel proof” later? Well, it would be quite an elaborate hoax, but it is possible.

Let’s look again at the photo. Pay attention to the right arm of the “time traveller”: you may realize that the arm actually belongs to the man right behind him. Why would another man’s arm be in that position? Is there even space for such a large, tall “time traveller” to stand in there?

These could be indications that the man was inserted into the image without much care for perspective.

Or perhaps it’s just an unusual perspective, and the arm from the man behind just looks like it’s over the “time traveller”, even touching the camera? Or could the arm actually belong to the hipster traveller?

I don’t know.

If this is a digital hoax, why would the hoaxer insert a man that seems out of place, but not actually using anything that couldn’t be found in the 1940s? The camera is definitely old. What looks like a stamped T-shirt is a sweatshirt with emblem. Why not have him use something definitely out of time, like the logo for a company that wouldn’t be created until decades later, such as NIKE or even Microsoft? It would even make an amazing viral marketing for any company that managed to get buzz from this. Why not?

I don’t know.

Once again, it must be clear that even if this photograph is authentic, even if it depicts a real scene from 1940, it would not be the proof of time travel. Alas. Also, I tend to assume that given the source, the photo is indeed authentic, not tampered with. But that arm, it does look strange. I’m not sure. I don’t know.

I tried to send an email to the Bralorne Pioneer museum, but the address was not valid. I’m still trying to find (an easy) way to contact it. If you manage to get an official response from them, do share it. If you discover anything else, do share it. This is an adorable little “mystery”.

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Top 10 Little-Known Dream Islands

Head to one of these undiscovered islands, where you'll find that dream beach vacation – minus the crowds

Everyone loves a little slice of island paradise! Unfortunately, that's the problem with an island beach vacation – you're often forced to share your stretch of sand with countless others in search of a little R & R. If you're looking for an island getaway minus the crowds, we've rounded up 10 undiscovered islands around the world where you'll find just that – and while you may have to work a little harder and travel a little longer to get there, you'll be rewarded with deserted beaches, fascinating culture, exotic cuisine, and the satisfaction of "discovering" a fabulous, off-the-beaten-path island destination. And if you've heard of every island on our list, pat yourself on the back – you're a well-traveled wanderer whose passport must be worn from use!

1.Anegada, British Virgin Islands

A small airport and ferry service makes getting here from one of the other British Virgin Islands fairly easy, but Anegada still feels a world away. The only coral island in the volcanic BVI chain and surrounded by the largest coral barrier reef in the Caribbean, this undiscovered island is a haven for beach bums, fly-fishermen, and wildlife enthusiasts alike. The north shore boasts nearly deserted white-sand beaches, the south is home to a huge population of bonefish, and the west end lays claim to large salt ponds and exotic birds. Spend your nights feasting on local lobster – rumored to be the best in the Caribbean – and rest your head at one of the island's few hotels and quaint guesthouse inns.




2.Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

If you needed another reason to visit Halong Bay – often hailed as the world’s Eighth Wonder – the limestone outcropping that is Cat Ba Island is it. The best way to explore the natural wonders of this undiscovered island – home to the remarkable Trung Trang Cave, cascading waterfalls, plummeting cliffs, and awe-inspiring National Park – is via motorbike. An hour-long ferry ride from Halong Wharf will get you there, where you can opt for accommodations that range from sparse and basic affairs to full-fledged four-star resorts. You'll have no problem staying awhile on this untouched, unspoiled masterpiece of Mother Nature.



3.Fakarava, French Polynesia

Overshadowed in popularity by neighbors Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea, Fakarava – a pristine Polynesian island enveloped by a coral reef and blue lagoon waters – is so remote, it's not even found on most maps. Yet, it's part of a UNESCO nature reserve and rich in natural fauna, offers pink-sand beaches, and is rife with rare aquatic life that includes loach, meru, and barracuda – not to mention hammerhead and tiger sharks. Not surprisingly, scuba diving is the undiscovered island’s top draw, but other attractions include the ancient village of Tetamanu, where you’ll find a Catholic church made of coral that dates back to 1874, and pearl farms, where rare black pearls are shelled.



4.Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec

Remote, beautiful, and altogether unique, the stellar Iles de la Madeleine (or Magdalene Islands, in English), 130 miles off the coast of Quebec, are the ultimate off-the-path escape. Of the dozen undiscovered islands that comprise this windswept archipelago, only seven are inhabited, six of which are connected only by sand dunes and long grassy reeds. The islands boast 200 miles of virgin beaches, the freshest seafood, and an uncomplicated atmosphere that make them a joy to visit. Given their northern location, summer is, not surprisingly, the best time to go. Of all the settlements here, Ile du Havre aux Maisons is our favorite for its colorful houses, charming boardwalk, and salty pubs and restaurants rife with local character.

5.Ischia, Italy

Though well-known to European and Asian travelers, the island of Ischia, Italy, is oft-overlooked by Americans whose sights are more often set on nearby Capri. Though you’ll hardly have Ischia to yourself, you will find fewer crowds and a less-pretentious attitude on this volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Though predominantly green and mountainous, beach bums will have no trouble scoping out a stretch of sand. And, when the sun sets, you’ll have your choice of accommodations for every budget to rest your head, plenty of al fresco perches that are primed for aperitivo, and some of the world's best food – this is Italy after all.




6.Lamu, Kenya

Kenya’s oldest living settlement, Lamu boasts golden sands fronting the Indian Ocean, tiny villages, and a breezy, slow-moving pace of life. It's an undiscovered island that offers a glimpse into the past – a place where donkeys are the main mode of transportation and residents still keep their arms and legs covered out of respect while out in town. The rich atmosphere and history alone makes Lamu worth the trek, but so do its beaches: Shela Beach offers the best swimming, while excursions to ruins and coral reefs could have you snorkeling alongside frolicking dolphins.



7.Monhegan Island, Maine

Though artists have sought out this remote, car-free destination for over a century, Monhegan largely remains an undiscovered island. Full-time residents number around 75, whose main occupation is fishing or lobstering, supplemented by an artists’ colony and tourism. Visitors who make the hour-long ferry ride from the Maine mainland can discover firsthand the beauty and simplicity of the village and surrounding landscape. Lobster Cove in particular draws nature lovers for its bird-watching and coastal views. Don’t miss the Monhegan Museum, housed in what was once a lighthouse and residence – it showcases the history of the community and boasts an extensive collection of local artwork. There are a handful of quaint inns and cottage rentals to choose from, though note that some accommodations are only open May through October.

8.Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe

Les Saintes, a spectacular cluster of eight undiscovered islands situated just off the coast of Guadeloupe and accessible only by ferry or private yacht, is the very essence of French West Indies life – without the crowds, to boot. Terre-de-Haut is the most appealing of them all, with its attractive beaches, mouth-watering Creole cuisine, and laid-back French-speaking locals; it also has the most options for overnight accommodations of Les Saintes' islands. Beach bums will love the powdery white sands of the palm-lined Plage de Pompierre, while the spectacular underwater world of colorful reefs and exotic fish (attracting divers as renowned as Jacques Cousteau) makes scuba diving and snorkeling another huge draw. Rent a golf cart to get around (you won't find much in the way of cars here) and zip around to a different beach at dawn, midday, and dusk.



9.Vis, Croatia

With its medieval villages, deserted beaches, ancient ruins, rambling olive groves, and the best vineyards in Dalmatia, Vis is poised to become the next "it spot" for sun and fun on the Adriatic. The winding streets of the two main towns – Vis and Komiza – are brimming with restaurants serving delicious seafood and Italian-style fare, while miles of sandy beaches, pebbly enclaves, and glittering shores attract sunbathers (Srebrna, a beautiful beach covered in large flat stones that appear silver in the sun, is one of the most beautiful). At just 2 hours by ferry from Split, Vis offers only three modest hotels, but visitors can also opt to rent apartments and villas.




10.Yap, Micronesia

Part of a remote tropical archipelago in the midst of the Pacific, Yap is the most intriguing destination in the island nation of Micronesia. Having managed to escape most outside influences, like colonization and mass tourism, the undiscovered island's traditional way of life remains both authentic and distinct: Legends are portrayed in colorful dances; village women dress in grass skirts, the men in brightly colored loincloths; and ancient stone money discs are still used as local tender (though the U.S. dollar is the official currency). Spend your days hiking among the island's rolling green hills, mangrove forests, and antiquated stone paths or, go off and explore the ocean’s coral reefs and swim with dolphins and magnificent manta rays.



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The Kingdom of Dwarves




In China, it's a small world after all...

KUNMING, China — The casting call went out across China earlier this year, in newspapers and online: Entertainers needed for a new theme park, no special skills required.

Applicants should be 18-40 years old, from any part of the country. The only stipulation? To work at the Kingdom of Dwarves performers must be shorter than 4' 3".

Since the park opened this summer in the mountains outside of Kunming, about 80 little people have signed on. Twice a day, they take to the stage to entertain smatterings of Chinese tourists by singing, dancing and performing slapstick comedy in the model of ubiquitous Chinese television variety shows. The dwarve are not, for the most part, accomplished singers, comedians or Qi Gong masters. The “king” is a 40-year-old dwarf and the shortest performer on the payroll, a tough-looking, silent character dressed in gold silk pajamas, who cruises away on his three-wheeled motorcycle after the show.

They are on stage because they are different, and in China, being different often means being a spectacle.

“I think this is a very unusual place, and quite funny,” said Li Ximing, a visitor from Kunming.

To many around the world, the very idea of putting people on stage to perform simply because they don’t look like everyone else is cringe-inducing. But even though they must dress up in frilly princess and caped warrior costumes befitting small children and dance for tourists, performers at the bizarre theme park see this place as a haven from the overwhelming discrimination they face in China at large.

“Back home, strangers will stare at and they look down on us,” said Yang Lichun of Beijing, who moved across the country to work at the park this summer with her fiance. “If we can even find jobs at home, we have to work harder than everyone else to prove ourselves.”

This is not a protective commune founded by dwarves, as some media reports have insisted. The performers do not live in the tiny concrete mushroom houses that serve as a backdrop for their shows, but in nearby dormitories. It is a for-profit theme park run by a Yunnan province-based venture capital company. The workers simply see this as dagong — the modern Chinese notion of migrant work, leaving your hometown for a job elsewhere. Tens of millions do it for factory and construction work; these workers came here to put on a show for tourists who want to see little people.

Disabled and different people are often shunned in China, and hiring discrimination based on physical appearance is widely accepted. Still, parks where the amusement is people are a dicey topic, especially given a shady past rife with stories of China’s ethnic minorities being rounded up and displayed in the mode of circus freak shows.

But to hear the workers tell it, there’s no better place to be right now — the underlying social attitude actually made the workers want to come to the remote park, and want to stay.

Yi Shaobo, 28, used to work in an auto parts factory in his native Wuhan, 1,200 miles east of here. He doesn’t earn a lot more at the Kingdom of Dwarves, but he prefers it.

“I didn’t come here for the money. I came because it made me happy,” said Yi. “People at the factory had to help me with my job, and I wanted to be independent.”

Performers earn between $120 and $175 per month, depending on their role. It’s about as much as a factory worker earns, and more than most could make back home. More importantly, the little people here say they have found camaraderie and respect they don’t often get in the outside world. Inside the Kingdom of Dwarves (the park’s own translation), because the performers are all small, nobody is judged on height. They joke and tease about dating and about falling in love. The gossip has it that eight little people already have met mates here.

The park, which sits about an hour away from central Kunming, is tucked away in the mountains, inside a larger venue devoted to butterflies. The performers live there, isolated from city life — both a good and a bad thing for most. It’s clear the honeymoon phase won’t last forever, especially as tourist numbers are low so far. Still, the performers hope for the best.

“I’ll work here as long as this park is open,” said Yang.

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