Bizarre Worlds with Andrew Zimmern searches the globe for the unusual, unexpected or downright strange (at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned.) It views the world through a lens that filters out the commonplace and celebrates the out-of- the-ordinary, starting with the pilot episode in Turkey.Andrew begins his exploration in Edirne, about two hours west of Istanbul. He is invited to participate in an ancient Turkish sport that has been the national past-time for centuries. It's called oil wrestling; a sport in which the wrestlers dress in tight leather pants, douse themselves in olive oil, and attempt to bring down their opponent, anyway they can including grabbing onto whatever is convenient-inside or outside one's pants. Istanbul is the second largest city in Turkey and the most cosmopolitan. Many of its clubs and social events feature belly dancers, make that male belly dancers. Andrew discovers firsthand how difficult the art of belly dancing is for men and why it's so entertaining for everyone involved. In Turkey ancient superstitions are alive and well. Everywhere you look from the exteriors of homes to a babies clothing, you see the blue and white disk called the Evil Eye. People wear it here to protect themselves from evil and Andrew makes it his mission to find out more about it. Turkey is also home to a religious sect known as the Whirling Dervishes. Andrew attends a performance of this strange ritual in which men and women whirl for hours to induce an ecstatic state of universal love and as a means of liberating oneself from the pain and anxiety of daily life. From the immaculate streets of Istanbul to the barber shops in every small town in the country, appearance and grooming are very important. Andrew experiences a man's life in Turkey, from the trips to the barber shop for a very close shave to an afternoon at a real Turkish bath, which isn't quite as relaxing as one would think. Andrew travels to Dalyan along the Mediterranean coast to take part in an even stranger ritual-soaking in a stinky mud bath that people claim softens the skin and has medicinal benefits.In the remote village of Koskoy, villagers have practiced something known as "bird" language for decades in which they communicate by whistling to each other over great distances. Since they don't get many travelers to this area, the entire village turns out to welcome Andrew by the locals who demonstrate just how their language works.Andrew visits an incredible place called Cappadocia. The amazing fairy chimneys and cave formations are best seen from the air and Andrew floats over it all in a air balloon. Once on the ground, he tours a cave-home and goes underground to experience what life was life centuries ago for those who lived in the elaborate underground cities of Cappadocia. Andrew completes his stay with a night in a cave hotel-a fitting ending to a trip that has proved that this is a bizarre world, but when you get up close, it feels a lot like home.
All New: Tuesday, July 25 at 9|8c