A reader writes:
Now you're getting interesting. It feels like India, but not quite. It almost looks as though there is a touch of East Africa in there. What is the most common place a person who feels like they are in India, yet is not, tends to find themselves? I'll have to go with Ambanja, Madagascar.
It looks too ramshackle to be in North America, though I searched every Colorado mining town for inspiration. And it doesn't look Spanish enough to be in South America or in most of Mexico. Then I thought of the Copper Canyon area of Chihuahua state in Mexico, and Google Images bear out the use of tin roofs in that region, so that's what I'm going with!
Do corrugated steel roofs look the same everywhere? If they do, then I am way off, but everything about the rust and pattern and makes reminds me of sitting on the balcony of our favorite restaurant we fondly called the "cockroach" in Murree, Pakistan. I lived there for 14 years, but I don't think this is in Murree because the mountains seem too close, but certainly feels like the Himalayas. It is a warm weather picture because of the potted plants, I am guessing it was taken during the fall or spring, because if it was the summer there would most likely be monsoon clouds. I googled for twenty minutes, but since I don't have all night to spend on this one, I'll leave it with a town where I spent a relaxing vacation: Naran, Pakistan, in the NWFP (North Western Frontier Province) recently changed to the unpronounceable, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
This location seems to be at a high elevation - not above tree line, obviously, but pretty darn high. I think that's a Chinese Parasol tree in the foreground. And with the Asian-style bench, I'd say we're somewhere in the eastern part of Asia. The buildings aren't quite right for China, and the mountains aren't right for Taiwan or northern Vietnam, Laos or Burma. The television/radio transmitter in the center of the picture indicates this is a larger city, as opposed to a smaller, less known town high in the mountains. This may be a bit far too to the west, but I'm guessing Kathmandu, Nepal.
I used to live in Birtamod, in the far east of Nepal. We would occasionally head to Kathmandu for R&R. This certainly looks like the Thamel district to me.
Namche Bazaar, Nepal? I spent five days there suffering gastroenteritis on way to Everest base camp.
I have no entertaining text. Something about the mountains and the architecture makes me think of Bhutan, and Thimphu is probably the only city that's big enough. Go ahead and tell me it's Chile or someplace.
This is a tough one. I generally am able to pick the correct continent, but this one ... it really could be almost anywhere.
There is a substantial mountain range in the background that, at least during part of the year, is not snow capped. The dwellings appear to be block construction with low pitched tin roofs. Both of these clues lead me to believe it's a warm climate. It's a densely populated area with a very limited amount of green space. The orange building appears to be either new construction, abandoned or simply an open air building. The largest building is of no help at all. A hospital? An apartment building? Who knows!
I scanned the world looking for some place remotely similar (Google Earth is fun!) - could it be Pakistan? Vietnam? Hong Kong? India? But I keep coming back to South America for some reason. Thought it might be Rio, perhaps Santiago ... but my final answer is Caracas, Venezuela.
Caracas? The roof tops look very similar to ones that I saw while saying in a seedy hotel there. I think the houseplant is a poinsettia. The radio towers are the same spreading the good news that Chavez spreads.
I grew up looking at pictures of my parents' youthful hippy-trail travels through South America, and this photo immediately me of the Andes mountains. I'm guessing Merida, Venezuela, because if that's correct, I get to pass on the story of the friend who got banged up in jail for reminding members of the local constabulary (in perfect, although strongly Oxbridge-accented Spanish) that 'Merida' is an anagram for 'mierda' - spanish for shit.
The mountain range seems substantial, but that particularly arid mountain (without snow or foliage) seems to be characteristic of parts of the Andes, rather than, say, the Alps or anywhere in Africa. The tin roofs and rest of the town also don't seem to fit with any European towns. The upper portions of the Andes seem to go directly from snow and ice capped to green, without these kinds of mountains in between. This leaves me with Peru or Bolivia. Peru, however, doesn't seem to have a town or village that is close enough to these kinds of mountains. My guess is the immediate outskirts of Cochabama, Bolivia.
My hunch says the Andes. The mountains look too dry for it to be Venezuela or Colombia, and those shanties suggest too much abject poverty for it to be Argentina or Chile. That leaves Ecuador, Peru, or Bolivia. I think I'm going to toss out Bolivia. It's a poor country, but much of the poverty is on the high altiplano, where there aren't jagged mountains surrounding the cities. I feel like this is somewhere in Peru.
I dunno, Ayacucho? The city sits in a narrow valley, unlike some other highland cities. Cuzco probably has too much tourism money flowing in to look this poor, and Ayacucho was the birthplace of the Sendero Luminoso terrorist group, so I imagine there was enough poverty to stir up Marxist revolutionary sentiment. Yeah, I'm going with Ayacucho, Peru.
My guess is Huancavelica, Peru. Such majestic, mystical, and haunting mountains can only be in South America. I can hear the enchanting flutes of the indigenous people now, ancestors of the Incas.
This is my first attempt at one of these as it usually seems rather futile to attempt to compete with your more well-traveled (or Google-persistant) readers. One place I have been, however, is Rio de Janero where I saw a lot of the favelas that are a such a(n) (in)famous part of that city. It was these favelas stretching up the hill-sides of Rio that immediately came to mind when I saw this photo.
But the mountains didn’t look quite right. This thought led me on a photographic tour of other mountainous metropolitan areas in South America. I started by heading just south to Sao Paulo and then Buenos Aires neither of which had the geography I was looking for at all. So I headed west to the Andes and made my way through Santiago, Chile; La Paz, Bolivia, and finally came upon some pictures that looked pretty close in Lima, Peru. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get much more exact than that. So, my guess, for what it’s worth is Lima or one of its surrounding villages (Collique perhaps?).
I love reading the responses to this contest, right and wrong, and am a huge fan of the blog in general. Congratulations on 10 years.
The corrugated steel roofs and the bare walls made me think of South America. The mountains look like the city is located at the juncture of two valleys. Assuming it is evening, the sun comes from the West, so the houses would be East of the river. Huanaco is located like this.
An image search provided at least two pictures that fit: One showing just these antenna thingies. One has a mountain line in the background that could be the one in the pic from a slightly different angle. What puzzles me still is that there must be a steep drop behind the houses, and I can't find this on the maps. Who knows.
Very characteristic of Peruvian Andes. I can't find a comparable photo online, but I am going with La Rinconada, Peru, the highest permanent city in the world at a height of 5,100m.
We have a winner! While La Rinconada isn't the right answer, it is the closest to the actual location. From the reader who sent the photo:
Here's a view from my hotel in Cabanaconde, Peru, just at the edge of the Colca Canyon, taken around 5.09pm on Aug 30th. The canyon is absolutely stunning: Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, home of the Andean Condor (3-4m wingspan!) and untouched by the crowds of tourists that we had seen around Machu Picchu. Absolutely amazing!
And in case you use it for the contest, the exact location is Room 15, Hotel Kuntur Wassi, Cabanaconde, Peru. I was going to leave out the room number, but given how brilliant some of your readers have been in some of the contests, I wouldn't be surprised if someone got it ...
Not this round, but congrats to the La Rinconada reader - we'll get a Blurb book out to you shortly.