The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #15

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Vfyw-contest_9-11

A reader writes:

Now we're talking.  This one is challenging, I suppose to balance out last week's easy one. At first glance, from the blue sky and waterfront background, I'd lean Mediterranean, perhaps a Lebanon location or Cyprus.  But after careful inspection, the tractor and buildings have a Soviet feel to them.  A water location that is Soviet and arid ... well, I can only make one educated guess.  I'll have to say the city of Baku in Azerbaijan, along the coast of the Caspian Sea. (Alternatively it could be the first buildings conceived of in the deepest dream state of Inception, but I'll stick with Baku).

Another writes:

Tough one!  Obviously we're at a beach.  The SUVs and the overall look of the buildings say we're in the US.  This is a tourist-type area, but not crowded, and there's new construction.  The avenue fronts the beach, with no hotels on the beach side.  It's a bit odd that the hotels don't have balconies, as most beach-front hotels and condos I've ever seen do, but I don't know the significance of that. This could be Galveston, where they're still rebuilding after Hurricane Ike, but there's no seawall (and again, most hotels have balconies).  Likewise, it could be Mississippi, where places around Biloxi are being re-built after Katrina, but that area has a lot more trees than are apparent in this photo. I really have no idea where this is, so I'm going to guess Dania Beach, Florida.

Another:

No one begrudges a harder one this week - I can convince myself there are places on four continents that might just work.  [300 words later] Ultimately, I decided it must be in Australia - the flattest and sandiest continent - and the logical choice seemed like the western coast near Perth.  A few Google satellite maps and street views don’t dissuade me; I have found red jersey barriers, stacks of red and yellow bricks, and designer street light posts that are similar to the picture. And there are many areas on the coast that look like they are being developed (with new harbors being built behind man-made breakwaters).  Plus, the Aussies love to sail.  But I don’t have time to scour the maps to find a likely location.  Just going by nice names, how about Sorrento, just north of Perth?

Another:

I may be terribly terribly wrong on this one, but that Dutch flag on the sailboat (celebrating Laura Dekker maybe?) and the rather Spanish-looking architecture make me think of Gibraltar. Could this picture be taken along Queensway?

Another:

My guess is Suez, Egypt.  I can't really make out the writing on the white sign next to, what I think, is the Egyptian flag. It would have been a huge help if it was in Arabic.  I lived in Egypt for a year and became friends with lots of Egyptians.  I spoke with a friend of mine that lives in Cairo and he also thinks it's in the same area.  I tried Google Earth to identify the exact location but after an hour, I gave up.  I figure based on the road, it has to be the 23 of July Highway.  How off am i?

Another:

Clues: Highway near water with visible coastline in distance, right-hand driving, dry-climate with some flora, windows structured to defend against some inclement weather patterns, flag in centre with insignia in white-flag. This is a bit of a guess, but I'm going with just south of Qantara el Gharbiya, Egypt, near the El Ferdan Bridge over the Suez Canal. I have attached two Google map screen captures of approximately where I think it is.

VFYW-3_img2

Another:

I thought I'd be one of the few to get Tallinn, but I was wrong; I guess I'm not as smart as I thought. This one has me totally stumped even for clues, but I'm going to hazard a guess at somewhere alone the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.  I know the sea is dying rapidly, which would account for new buildings far from the shore.   And Jordan is pushing new construction along the Dead Sea.  Finally, the street lights look like those I've seen in the Middle East, and the location might also account for the road barriers. Just a guess, no Google this time.

Another:

I actually won this contest at week #2 (Ft. Lauderdale), but since that time it has become SO difficult and SO high-tech (when do people have all of this time to go through street after street on Google maps?) I have felt intimidated to even send in a guess. However, like in week #2, I just got an instant impression when I looked at the photo, which reminds me of the coastline in Tel Aviv, Israel.  I was there a few years ago and the apartment building/hotels on the Mediterranean shore with little vegetation and those lampposts along a walkway at the sea remind me of that trip.  I have to admit I spent NO time scanning through Google maps and I may be way off base, but it does remind me of a wonderful trip I had a few years back.

By the way, we have a little group in our office who also love to play this game weekly.  Our "View from your Window" guesses are always a fun topic on a frequently depressing Monday!

Another:

What a bear! 

This is going to have to be solved by someone who’s been there.  Looks like the beach or dock road of an industrial port in desert terrain.  If that’s a dhow in the background, we’re in the Middle East or East Africa. The buildings look pretty utilitarian - not luxe enough for Dubai or one of the Gulf coastal cities, but more developed than what I imagine would be Aden or Africa.  Could it be military housing?  I’m going with the Khobar Towers complex in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, but that’s a wild-ass guess.

Another:

This looks very much like Saudi Arabia, where I was stationed during the first Gulf War.  Those street lights near the water look like the street lights along the way to a seaside resort (Half Moon Bay) we used to go to for R&R.  In fact I see some type of sculpture shaped like an Arab dhow.  So I am guessing Ad Damman or Al Khobar on the Persian Gulf. 

Another:

My guess is the Green Zone, Baghdad, Iraq. Chiefly because of the creepy orange-and-white Jersey barrier and the odd sailboat-looking item which has to be a military memorial to ... something.

Another:

Part of our trillions wasted in Iraq.

Another:

I'm gonna guess Dubai, United Arab Emirates. There's gotta be a few Dish readers there. Having spent a year in Baghdad with Army, several things in that picture suggest the Middle East and particularly the Persian Gulf. Even though Baghdad and Dubai are very different  Screen shot 2010-09-14 at 3.09.21 AMplaces, Baghdad and everywhere else in Iraq imports a ton of stuff from Dubai. The earth-mover, the pallets of bricks, the gated windows, the wide window ledge, the road barriers with a familiar orange, and white pattern are all little clues. I can't quite make out the text on the billboard sign with the red pole, but it looks as if the text on the sign reads from right to left, which suggests Arabic. The sweeping sand that runs up to the road also leads me to believe this is a Persian Gulf city. I think that red, white, and blue shape is a sail fixed to a boat that looks like boats I've seen in photos of the port of Dubai, but I have no idea why a boat would be on the side of a highway. Another clue is what appears to be a canal or some body of water and a bridge or causeway that was built up over it.

A quick Google Map check of Dubai shows there are a couple bodies of water within the city, but I have no idea which one. I've already spent too much time thinking about this. Lastly, the sunlight and the sky captured in the picture give off a hot and bright Middle Eastern locale. Before we flew north to Baghdad, we trained for a couple weeks in the Kuwaiti desert and I've never been experienced sunlight and heat as intense as I did there. I don't think this is Kuwait City, though, so Dubai is my guess.

Close. Another:

Screen shot 2010-09-14 at 11.59.02 AM This is exactly what it looked like when I was in Abu Dhabi!  But that was 2003 and it is probably all developed by now.  It must be some place in UAE.  But I am leaving for the airport and I don’t have time to try to find a bridge like the one in the background, so I’m just going to guess +24.56, +54.60, assuming coordinates are OK to submit. Maybe I’ll be on the right continent. (Someone will probably know the name of the construction company that owns that front-end loader in the photo.)

Getting closer. Another:

This one is tough. The catamaran had me thinking of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Clearly it's notScreen shot 2010-09-14 at 11.55.54 AMin Dubai proper, if it's Dubai at all; it's somewhere on the outskirts or elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates. The pattern on the median had me thinking UAE as well, as in this picture. The buildings also look similar to ones in the city of Ruwais, especially the windows, like on this building. So I'm going with Ruwais in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Final answer.

Closer. Another:

 The scenery seems to indicate a rather hot and sandy place with reasonable money but not over-the-top development. There's also water and what looks like a bridge in the distance. So I'm guessing this is in Saudi Arabia, Al Aziziyah, with the King Fahd Causeway to Bahrain in the background. The buildings in the picture (and the window used) seem to be such a novel development, that google maps hasn't caught up with it yet. Given that a) the buildings in the picture clearly are fairly new (given the shovel and the bricks) and b) that the area west of the King Abdul Screen shot 2010-09-14 at 3.05.03 AMAziz Street and south of the bridge indeed seems in development (by comparing satellite imagery of Google against yahoo maps, worldstreetmapfinder is even further behind with its roads), this is perhaps not entirely unlikely. The street lanterns in the picture also vaguely match those on pics from the bridge (King Fahd Causeway), but then again, most large street lanterns look alike and probably I'm off by a few peninsulae.

Just over the bridge. Another:

Durrat al Bahrain, Bahrain? First I started with the shape of the sign, being not just a sailboat, but apparently a dhow.  So next I focused on the colors - red, white, and blue.  None of the Gulf states (or individual emirates) have that color scheme, but Bahrain does have red and  white.  Though the Palms in Dubai are the most famous artificial islands in the Gulf, I know that they are not the only ones.  My searching led me to the official site of Durrat al Bahrain, on the southeast coast of the island.  Various photos on the website seemed to confirm that this might be the location, but especially one of construction equipment that matches the Durrat_constructionmodel and color of that in the contest photo (see attached).  So I am guessing that this photo was taken from a condo either inside or immediately adjacent to the development, looking at a causeway or artificial island in the distance.  Most of the buildings constructed thus far are low-rise and built close together, so they might also be a part of what is seen, although blurred by dust and/or sand in the air. 

Correct country. Another:

While I was traveling through the Middle East I passed through this area, Al Manama, Bahrain. The bridge in the background, the vehicles and the development put me at this spot. (I love this contest; it's the first time I've participated in responding and am a big follower of these postings.)

Correct city, but several readers got more specific. Another:

The view is from Al Manama, Bahrain, Umm Al Hassam neighborhood, looking southeast along the Sh Isa Bin Salman Highway. The dhow is located at the junction of the highway and Road No. 3321. There is a helpful photo on Google Earth that shows the dhow.  Here is the aerial view:

VFYW Bahrain

The view is conveniently close to the Bahrain Naval Support Activity and pier. I would wager that a member of the US military took the shot of the view from their apartment, and I would be especially pleased if it was a sailor.

That's because the reader is a sailor - the same one who won contest #11, in Sardinia. Another reader sent a similar map:

The dry desert-like conditions, the dhow shaped object and the general quality of the cars all suggest an Manama2 Emirates-type country.I got a bit lucky figuring the photographer was an expat and s/he was likely to be staying in a popular expat apartment (I've spent time in the Middle East). The building across from the vantage point is Building No. 983, Road No. 3320, Manama, Bahrain 333 (see photo - plus it is the blue "i" on the Google Earth photo). My crude arrow points to my best guess for the window. The other black marks locate the dhow shaped object and the traffic barriers.

Oh so close; the correct building is actually #989. And the winner is:

The pic is taken from the Elite 2 Hotel Apartments in Mahooz, Manama, Bahrain.  The sister property (the Elite 4) is pictured.  The Sh Isa Bin Salman Hwy is on the right.  This area is called Umm Al Hassam.  The Sitra Bridge or causeway is pictured in the distance.

I am the Georgia man who rode the green line via YouTube last week.  This time I was convinced it had to a rich city on the Persian gulf based on the sand and nice American cars.  I just studied Google Earth until I found the right perspective.  Looking back, if I had only searched for hotels I could have saved some time.  The Elite 4 hotel pops up quick in a search for Bahrain hotels.

Congrats! We will get a window book out to you shortly. Eight people correctly guessed Manama (out of about 100 entries), and most guessed Dubai. Here's a full breakdown:

Screen shot 2010-09-14 at 12.57.06 PM

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