A reader writes:
Hmm, ten quey cranes narrows it down to the two hundred or so of the largest container terminals in the world. Palm trees indicate a tropical or subtropical climate. The other big hint is the word "fegic" on the building on the right. I googled that and got nothing of course, but I surmise that it is a Slavic name, possibly Serbo-Croatian or Polish. The buildings themselves appear to be a mix of early and late twentieth century construction. So … with all that, what do I have? I'd guess a large port in South America. Picture doesn't appear to be hilly enough to be Santos, so I'll go with Buenos Aires.
The architecture looks continental-inspired, almost French, and it is a commercial container-centric port, with the AT-ATs lurking in the background the way they do in Oakland. There is also the "fegic" brand on the building; Googling fegic yields lots of soccer-related results, but it's obvious it's a Slovenian surname. So we search for ports in Slovenia, and we get three major hits, of which only Koper looks commercial enough (the others look like yatch marinas). The palms had me worried, but several photos of Koper turn up palm trees. So we dig through photos via Google Maps, and we hit this one:
Sure enough, we have our cranes. But do we have other things? The warehouses in the background (or something very similar) turn up across the inlet from the cranes (centered on this map). From the angle of the photo, if those are cranes and warehouses, the roundabout is southwest from them, at an angle. And there's a couple roundabouts southwest from the warehouses that look like candidates map-wise, but there are no photos. So that's as close as I got.
I once read that 25% of the world's cranes are in Dubai, so it seems like a good guess.
Channeling the inner George W. Bush inside all of us, I'm going to go with my gut. I dont need no stinkin' research to know that this is Oakland, California. I know immediately because I recognize those giant cranes in the East Bay every time I drive home from Los Angeles to Marin County. I ran lots of internet searches on "Tegic", and apparently it's a now a subsidiary of Nuance, Inc. I searched all Nuance locations, and none of them looked like this, nor could I find one in Oakland. But in the words of George W. Bush (ok, every single Republican candidate for President), no use letting facts get in the way of a good gut feeling. And since there just was a general strike to close the port of Oakland by Occupy Oakland, it is certainly topical and would make sense that you would put it up.
I don't remember a whole lot of palm trees in Seattle, the architecture doesn't remind me of the more brick Bostonian feel of the downtown port area and I wouldn't bet on a whole lot of roundabouts popping up in the Northwest either. However, the container cranes look like the famed AT-AT Star Wars Walker inspirations found in Seattle and Oakland, CA, and I'm pretty sure this isn't Oakland. A quick Google search also revealed Seattle as the headquarters of Tegic, a predictive text company and the name on the building to the right. (If it ends up being Oakland, I will not be a happy camper.)
Before it was bought by Nuance, Tegic had sites in Seattle, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New Delhi, Singapore, London, Beijing, Seoul, and Sao Paulo. Of those places, right-hand traffic (RHT) nixed out the U.K., Singapore, India, Japan, and Hong Kong. The palm trees seemed to cancel out Paris and Seattle (in Seattle's case, the car on the sidewalk did as well). This left Sao Paulo, Seoul, and Beijing. Of these, a lack of over-urbanization seemed to cross out Seoul & Beijing, leaving Sao Paulo. Nuance Communications lists the Sao Paulo address as the following: Av. Majo. Sylvio Magalhaes Padilha, 5200, Ed. Quebec, Sala 109 Sao Paulo, SP 05703-010. This is my final guess. In conclusion, thanks to the contest, I learned about Tegic inventing T9, the Arecaceae family being a symbol of victory, and how many countries still use LHT thanks to former British colonization.
The previous readers guessed the wrong Tegic company. The correct one:
This view overlooks the stunning La Place Zallaga in Casablanca, Morocco and the dead giveaway clue: the world renowned architectural marvel of the headquarters of Tegic Logistique, recipients in 2007 of the prestigious ISO 9001 (version 2000) certification by the German agency TUV. Leaders of the logistics revolution in shipping, transport, customs, and storage, Tegic Logistique began with the creation of the innovative Tegic Forwarding system. Tegic's influence grew exponentially with founding of L’Ecole de Déclarants en Douane, ushering in a new philosophy of Customs and Declarations that has come to guide the logistics industry to this day. Tegic Logistique – the last word (well, the last two words) in French speaking, North African, moving of huge containers.
Another makes the inevitable reference:
Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world … you had to pick one with a very unhelpful Google Map, and no Street View! But, thanks to the very helpful Tegic Logisitique sign on the building at 119 Avenue des Forces Armées Royales (FAR), I can at least guess that this view was taken from the Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers across the street.
Nearly correct. This reader nails the right hotel:
This picture was taken from the Golden Tulip Farah Hotel in Casablanca. (When it comes to hotels, your readers sure can pick ‘em!) The obvious clue was the Tegic Logistique building, which matched perfectly with the picture on the company’s website. Google Earth couldn’t find the company’s address right away, but a straightforward Google search found a Sheraton hotel nearby. That was easy enough to find in Google Earth. From there, it was simply pinpointing the exact building of the window. This window was easy and fun!
Above photo from another reader. Another:
Lovely hotel – there's a virtual tour available here. I wish the Dish had enough financial muscle to award the VFYW contest winners with a short trip to the location in the photo – perhaps occasionally a hotel such as this one would spring for it in return for the superb advertising practically donated by the Dish for this weekly contest …
We get all our best ideas from readers. Another:
I lived in Morocco for a year on a Fulbright scholarship and I often came to Casa for work and for fun. The train station is a few blocks from the hotel so I immediately recognized the neighborhood by the port. Once, I went into the Golden Tulip to use their bathroom, and I'm happy to report their lobby has been more than fully restored after the 2003 bombing there.
Above image from another reader. Another notes:
The circle, Place Zallaga, refers to an important battle site at which Islamic forces soundly defeated the Christian army.
The architecture of the building on the left suggests a former French controlled region, and the foliage North Africa. There are not that many large ports in the region. The two cabs on the right side of the picture (one red, one cream coloured) are typical of the city (I'm surprised there are not more of them). Different cities in Morocco have cabs of different colours.
Morocco will have general elections next week. All indications are that the new elections will not make a difference, as the new constitution adopted in June still concentrates all powers in unelected hands.
I had an instant, visceral reaction upon viewing the photograph. I spent a miserable two nights in Casablanca in the midst of an otherwise incredible backpacking trip through Morocco about five years ago. Two of my travel partners fell ill to a terrible stomach malady and couldn't leave the hotel. They were up all night fighting over the toilet. During the day, I had to wander about this city alone, fetching food and water. On the one sightseeing stroll I took for pleasure (to the Hassan II Mosque), I took a couple of wrong turns around the Medina and ended up on a side street where local youths threw stones at me. We only went there as a tribute to the movie – embarrassing mistake.
If there is a tie, I hope you'll make an exception for me, since winning this contest would be the only good thing that came out of those days in Casablanca. I would give the book to my travel partner who lost the fight for the toilet and had to use the sink.
There was an indeed a tie – among the 100+ readers who answered Casablanca, the dozens who got the right hotel, and the half-dozen who guessed the sixth floor. From the submitter of the photo:
I am in Casablanca on a business trip (teaching genomics lectures at Hassan university), and they put me up in a 4-5 star hotel. This is from room 608 at the Golden Tulip Farah hotel. The view though is anything but 5 star. Casablanca has some nice areas but is not the nicest cities in the world. Luckily, my family moments me tomorrow to take a trip to Marrakech, Fes and the Sahara.
The winner this week is the only sixth floor guesser who has previously gotten a difficult window (two, in fact) without winning:
Probably North African, given the continental architecture and the palm trees. The port is notably big. And then there is the TEGIC lettering on the building across the way (turns out it's an importer/exporter, with the motto "to say what one does and to do what one says" – a little ethical Easter egg for us?). A couple of searches led me to Casablanca. I thought at first that this photo was taken from the Sheraton, which is a few doors down, but in fact it's from the Golden Tulip Hotel. I don't know precisely which window, and won't pretend, but my guess is sixth floor, given the height of the building across the street.
Congrats on winning the VFYW book. One final email:
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Every Saturday, my almost two-year-old daughter takes her afternoon nap at 12:30, and my wife and I then settle in for our own nap, conveniently just after the VFYW contest is posted. And every Saturday, just before she nods off, I indelicately shove the laptop into my wife-with-the-international-travel-job's face, who then mutters something along the lines of "I should know this but I don't," shrugs, and rolls over. After a google search or two I quickly give up and take my nap, not to worry about it again until the answers on Tuesday.
But not this Saturday. She still shrugged and rolled over, but this time a google search of "Tegic" quickly got me where I need to be: The Golden Tulip Farah Hotel, I'm guessing around the 4th Floor, facing Place Zallaga in Casablanca. I know I'm far from the only one who followed the easy clue and got this one, but I got this one. And that's all that matters to me right now. So thank you! And now for that nap …