The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #16


A reader writes:

Could it be Northern India?  Or Central America?  Or the Pacific Northwest?  The modern stadium lights, lush green vegetation, and (possible) geothermal hotspot in the background make me think it's the latter.  Or is it Iceland?  Nah, too many trees.  And that awning would be destroyed in the wind. I'll go with La Fortuna, Costa Rica.  (Actual Google searches included "powerlines Costa Rica", "stadiums near powerlines",  and "plants".  Nothing was fruitful.)

Another writes:

Unless I'm missing something here, this is a tough one. The rounded mountains, high ground, low clouds, and manicured fields all tell me South Africa, although I admit my image of the nation is being distorted by this summer's World Cup. If I'm right, though, it's pretty clear to me it's the Western Cape, and likely the Misty Mountains. I'm going to go with north of Worcester, South Africa.


Well I'm sure you have plenty of winners on this one (the mountains with the flatirons are a DEAD giveaway).  I know it's very close to Boulder, Colorado. The question really is, exactly where.  Slightly northeast?  Ah hell, it might even be Boulder, but my guess is Niwot.

Many guesses were in the Boulder area. Another:

This one doesn't seem too bad.  Probably Pacific, possibly an island (of volcanic origin).  Also, it appears to be somewhere a school and tree farm are adjacent.  I'm guessing they might be Macadamia nut trees, and while not indigenous to the island, would point to Hawaii.  I glanced quickly at the islands for Macadamia/School co-existence and will go with the Honaunau School in Captain Cook, Hawaii.


Waipio, HI? Couldn't get an address for this one, which makes me uncertain as to whether I'm even on the right continent. If forced to give a place (for proximity's sake), I'd say somewhere near Ka Uka Boulevard. The baseball diamond with the floodlights is one of very few on the island of Oahu.  I've scoured private schools in Hawaii, floodlight manufacturers, power line grids, and still can't find the buildings (hoping Google Maps satellite is out of date), so I'm not sure this isn't Kyoto or something.


I'm a purist on these things - no Google satellite for this Van Winkle. Somewhere in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan?  The baseball field, the Japanese-style roof beams, and what look like a couple Japanese schoolgirls. Plus some ugly houses and a Quonset hut in the background - maybe a U.S. base?

Several readers guessed military installations. Another:

I'm gonna guess Daegu, South Korea. The picture has an Asian feel, especially the fog-shrouded green mountains. There are two school girls in uniform. That, plus the volleyball net, suggest Japan or Korea. The building in the foreground (assuming it's a school) is not nice enough for Japan, so I'm going with Korea. Daegu is the biggest city in South Korea that sits in or near mountains. So Daegu it is.


Hondurasguess This one has tropical vegetation, the construction is simple and does not reflect great wealth.  The mountains appear to have a wet climate. My pulled-out-of-my-ass guess is Honduras.  Since the picture was taken a plain looking to the mountains, and looking at a topographical map of Honduras on wikipedia, the candidates are in the region of Choluteca or Gracias a Dios.  Since I'm guessing anyway I'll say:  Honduras:  Choluteca:  El Triunfo  (I've attached what I believe is a picture from the Choluteca region)

Oh, and I deserve a few points for spotting Andrew at the Dina Martina show on Saturday in Provincetown.  My husband passed him in the men's room.


I look forward to this contest every Saturday morning, and more often than not, by 2:00pm, I find myself hopelessly frustrated. And here we are again ...

I think this photo was taken either in the Caribbean (probably Jamaica), or somewhere in the Pacific (French Polynesia seems most likely). The trouble is, these two locations are on opposite ends of the earth! So if my guess is wrong, it's going to be really, really wrong. Last week, I ignored my instincts and fixated on the American-type vehicles. I guessed Florida (which much to my chagrin, was even farther off in miles than the person who guessed Germany!). So I'm sticking with my gut this time, and my gut says Kingston, Jamaica.


As soon as I saw this image, I was swept back to writing part of my dissertation while housesitting in the south of Switzerland one summer.  From a window not unlike this, I looked out on the Alps and wrote at a level - in terms of quantity and quality - that I hadn't done before or since.  My late partner would cross the train tracks (parallel to the space between the bushes and the klieg lights in this photo?), and go for a mountain hike most mornings. In the afternoon, I'd shop for groceries, we'd cook, and read.  Occasionally we'd go exploring the Val Verzasca.  Best.  Summer.  Ever.

So I'm going to guess Roveredo, Switzerland.  I'm sure I'm at least a continent off, but the pleasure of the memory, and the expected pleasure of reading the other entries that are wrong but brimming with life, is worth it.


First time VFYW contest entrant here *deep breath*  My guess, trying to narrow down to the neighborhood at least: Punavai Plaine, Punaauia, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia, looking out towards the island Moorea. I'm guessing Papeete purely because I was there two weeks ago for an international badminton competition, of all things (I'm a USA hopeful for the London 2012 Olympics and we're at the beginning of a grueling two-year qualification process). So this is probably a classic seeing-what-I-recently-saw guess, but here goes.

The island in the background looks suspiciously similar to the view from my host

family's home. However, they live up in an area called Punavai Nui, which is on a hill, so it's the wrong angle to be there exactly, which is why I changed it to 'Punavai Plaine', which is the same area at sea level. Attached is the view from my host family's balcony, the view that I was spoiled with for a week while I was there. If I'm wrong about Papeete for this window contest you're welcome to use this photo for a regular VFYW, I think it would be too easy for a contest.

Assuming I'm right that this is Papeete, cheeky of you to finally choose a place where there aren't Google-able street addresses everywhere. I'm leaving a tournament in Bogotá, Colombia to go back to home to San Francisco for two days before flying to Copenhagen, so I really don't have time to get more specific. So if there's a local university student or a recent honeymooner who also correctly IDed Papeete, I'm out of luck. So I'm crossing my fingers that the students aren't aware of this contest and the honeymooners were all whisked off to other islands (which is probably true) and didn't see any of Papeete, so I can win the book and gift it to my parents - my biggest fans and supporters.

I'll also have you know that I saw the contest right before going to sleep and was apparently so wound up at the thought that I might know this view that I ended up dreaming that I was on a hike in Serbia (which I only know because someone in the dream said it) that had a view of this island or whatever ... I'm so wrong about Papeete, aren't I?

Yes, but you should've looked around a little more before catching that flight. Another:

I know exactly where this is: San Simon University playing flields in Cochabamba, Bolivia, South America. Yahoo!


This contest is seriously hard. I'm going to hazard a guess here, because it looks familiar. It reminds me of the wine growing areas just southeast of Mendoza, Argentina. Although the stadium lights at second glance make me almost 100% certain that I'm wrong.

This contest really is fascinating though. It reminds me of the "smart cow problem" that folks talk about with Digital Rights Management software. To stretch the analogy: To identify the location of any picture in the world, you don't need every Dish reader to be a globe-trotting botano-anthropologist; it just takes one smart cow to unlock the gate.


My first impression was that this was the plateau north of Bogota, Colombia - because of the mountains, the type of construction, the bricks and roof, the vegetation, and what looks to be a greenhouse to the left. This area is known for the cultivation of flowers. The mountains in the background are the Andes mountains; this is on the plateau (or 'sabana') of the eastern chain of the Andes (of the three mountain chains - all part of the Andes chain - that cut through Colombia), just north of Bogota, in the department of Cundinamarca. The photo is taken from west to east.

The problem is knowing exactly where along the plateau it is. I think it somewhere close/between Chia and Cajica, as two reference points. Assuming others will get close, I'll go with coordinates: 4'53'35.26"N 74'02'08.79"W

Am always a little afraid to guess because of how far off I'll be, but I am feel confident enough this time to try. Even if I don't win, I hope I am right about location - this is a lovely area of a most beautiful and incredible country, which I am glad to see as part of VFYW.

So close. Another:

No need for maps or coordinates. I am a passive participant of this contest, but this time the picture gave me the twitters. That is in Bogotá, Colombia.  The mountains with the low clouds, the brick structures, slanted tin roofs, the 'grass-stands' and the uniformed girls. Extra points if I guess that this is a teacher? Taking a picture from his office or classroom at school? The more I look at the picture the more convinced I become. Amazing how one picture can capture the mood of an entire way of life. This better be right.

Moo. The reader who submitted the photo wrote:

I am a social studies teacher at a bilingual school here, and took the picture from my classroom window. It is on the edge of the city, and faces the mountains of the nearby town of Cota. Not sure if I have ever seen a view from Colombia before.

They have been few and far between: this one from Bogotá was posted shortly after the window feature launched in 2006; this one from Medellin was posted in 2007; and this one from Bogotá in 2008 made it into our book.

A total of five 'smart cows' correctly guessed Bogotá, out of about 100 entries. The rest of the guesses are forthcoming (more snafus with Google Maps caused the first map to be lost again).

-- C.B.