A reader writes:
Ok, this was hard. I've given up after looking for over two hours today. I can't see any clues, but of course, someone will immediately recognize the middle round tower as being a medieval keep that only <fill in country> has. I think the view is somewhere in Eastern Europe. I searched Estonia, Poland, Latvia and the Czech Republic. Nada. East of London is my guess.
Well, I'm completely stumped. I've tried to work out what that white tower is – minaret, lighthouse, water tower – and failed. I'll go with Sarola, India, solely as that city is on a river of about the right size, and hope that this is one of those rare weeks it's decided by proximity.
This one is much harder than last week! Shah Alam, Malaysia? That's a slightly educated guess based on the extremely unlikely chance that those two fuzzy buildings way in the background are the KL tower and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Shah Alam has a lot of rivers and bridges, and it is far enough from the city to make the large towers seem not so big, so that is the guess. If this guess is on the wrong continent, I will not be surprised.
On a completely separate note, I did not mean to be a sore loser last week. I am madly in love with the VFYW contest, and I appreciate the weekend distraction. Please don't ever take it away. I may go through withdrawals.
I'll guess Dagupan City, Philippines and hope for proximity. It seems that the most important areas of knowledge to guess these contests (absent known landmarks) are 1) a knowledge of roof lines; 2) a knowledge of boat types; and 3) a knowledge of satellite dishes.
I'm not sure that river is wide enough to be the Mekong, but I'm guessing the photo was taken from Sri Chiang Mai, Thailand looking across to Vientiane, Laos.
That cargo boat places this in southeast Asia or China. I scoured Laos, mainly because it's smaller than China, so the search was possible at all, without success. That river's too small to be the Mekong or Yangtze, but I figure it's a tributary to one or the other of those, or any of about a trillion other minor waterways. A Vietnamese co-worker tells me he escaped Vietnam as a child, crouched down with his family, in one of these sorts of cargo boats. The water level's low, which could be tidal, but I think it's more likely the result of the drought they've been having around Wuhan, Hubei, China.
So that's my pick, even though I scoured the surrounding area for that bridge, and came up empty. The cement levee cylinders didn't help, but there are many cement factories around Wuhan. I take heart that it's unlikely any Dish readers had their honeymoon here.
Correct on China. Another:
The river is fairly wide, with no flood protection on the banks, this rules out a few provinces with flooding problems. The man in shorts shows that the weather is quite warm already. Therefore, my guess is Hubei Province in China.
I'm pretty sure this is just north of Wuchang, in Hubei Province, China. Although Google street view doesn't work there, I can at least focus on the exact area the window looks out on, and since the river is in front, and the window behind – it's pretty obvious where the shot was taken. See here for an aerial view.
My guess is the Jialing Hotel in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, China. The river and boats look like China and there is a distinctive pagoda sitting across the river. Short answer is that Google maps suggests that there's a hotel across and down the river from a small hill and pagoda in Yan'an, with a bridge splitting the two. And I'd guess that we're on the fourth floor. While I've never been to Yan'an and can't be certain, I'd like to think the Dish's sense of humor would enjoy basing the weekly contest on the home of Chinese Communism, a bastion of atheism, on the day of the "rapture." Of course, if I do get it right, it might make me wonder if some sort of cosmic shift didn't happen after all …
Heh. Another nails the correct Chinese city:
Bridges can be pretty distinctive. The construction of the one in the photo is similar to that used in the Luoxi Bridge in Guangzhou, a somewhat famous bridge. A search for similar bridges uncovered the bridge in Yuanling, Hunan, China over the Yuanshui River, completed in 1991. It looks like the photo was taken north of the bridge facing south.
It seems the photo was taken from a window, perhaps from the fourth floor, at the Golden Phoenix Hotel Yuanling (at least that is how Google translates the hotel name) at Chenzhou East Street No. 2. There appears to be an identical power line support pole as that in the photo next to this hotel. A photo from another window in that hotel has a similar view.
I do not have any software to manipulate photos except for Paint. I am attaching a few photos of the area along with a couple of the hotel.
The second of three readers to correctly guess Yuanling:
The window is in Yuanling, Huaihua, Hunan Province, PR China, on Chenzhou East St., near where it turns to the north, ???? Hotel ("Good Home") indicated in the photo above. Here's the bridge (yuanshui) and here's the pagoda (??? or "Singing Phoenix Tower").
The third correct guesser didn't send any images, but he was the only one of the three to have correctly guessed a difficult window in the past without winning. He writes:
Dr. Frankenstein, you might be pleased to know that you are not the only game in town this week. My daughter and new husband are playing View From Their Honeymoon and sending us mystery shots of their location. But they didn't account for the skills of the gang of VFYW veterans arrayed against them and we knocked them off pretty quickly. It didn't hurt that they happend to choose a place in the French West Indies, our stomping grounds from last week.
This week's photo is of the Yuanling Yuanshui Bridge in Yuanling, Hunan, China. I think it was taken from The People's Hospital of Yuanling, 6th floor, last patient room to the east, closest to the river, and facing south southeast.
Update: The above reader sent an image at the last minute:
We have yet to hear back from the submitter of the photo as to the exact vantage point of the photo, so we will update the results when we do. Update: Our submitter responds:
Sorry for the delay in my correspondence, I just returned to the East Coast from China at ~4am this morning after traveling over 30 hours, and promptly collapsed. I just checked the site and I am amazed at the accuracy of the winners, as there is a tie. Both readers who sent images of the hotel in Yuanling were correct (there could be a thread on the exact meaning alone of the hotel's name, believe me, as there was a discussion at the time). I'm also pretty sure that both of them circled the correct room (though there are still some cob webs in my head). Congrats to the winners! And thanks again for using my pic, made my whole month!
This is the first contest in which we'll have to award the prize to two contestants, as there isn't a clear way to break the tie.
One final email, from a reader who guesses "Miri, Malaysia, near the Baram River bridge" and seems to be vying for a Poseur Alert a la Colbert:
What is often unremarked about the phallic symbol in the tradition of the window view is that it so rarely comes in commensurate context. If it doesn't quite announce itself, its retinue – street signs, pavements, garbage bins – whisper its name like starstruck little girls. This week, that changes. This week, Your Window offers a masterpiece of content and composition – a glistening white tower, yes, but one subservient to the vaginal null spaces under the subtly tapered deck of a segmental precast concrete bridge. And framing it all, the brutal masterstroke of the segmented window itself: four openings in bold homage to the bridge bents, topped by a defiant mullion to parallel the timid tower on the distant verdant hill. A stark Modrianesque repetition of verticals and horizontals, structure and space, that resembles nothing so much as a middle digit protruding from a fist. The sexual affront is even accompanied by a visual pun — the impotent sail-less "junk" puttering feebly by. And yet, this vulgar gesture is both insult and invitation, as it hints at the experience of actually crossing that bridge, and being gestured at by the shaft on the approaching shore.
No, these are not the sinister, shadowy nether regions of Di Chirico's arcades, for through these six lights we see it all: the muddy river, the cloudless sky, the earthy flow of time, and boundless sunlit space. Your Window reveals the bridge and tower, even as the water reflects to us the invisible truth of the sky. Our helplessness has never been clearer. Your Window asks, Where am I? And our search, like the view itself, brings into relief the cosmic joke of our existence, the juxtaposition of sex and laughter, of river and sky, of teasing and screwing, of fooling around and fooling around. In this brilliant view, the divisive taunt and the inclusive joke become one.
We must ask, finally: Are you fucking kidding me? And Your Window replies: Yes, both.