The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #105


A reader writes:

I knew you would hit us with something hard after a couple of less challenging Views, and you didn’t disappoint.  I feel we are in East Africa, based on the vegetation, metal roof architecture, small cars, and what appears to be a motorcycle graveyard. The construction suggests we must be in a growing capital or larger city, but one with space to move out into its hinterlands.  Dar es Salaam might work – it's booming and might have a wasteland like this on its outskirts – but in my self-allotted 15 minutes of Googling I am positively and absolutely uncertain.

Another writes:

Cedar trees, arid climate, signs of both rubble and rebuilding in the background, person with a full-length blue gown in the second-floor balcony, lots of scooters and subcompacts in the junkyard, illegible sign on the building appears to use a non-Roman script, the only visible license plate is white, skinny, and long.  I'm thinking Lebanon.  Since the window appears to be located in mostly flat terrain on the outskirts of a city, my guess is Haret Hraik, Lebanon, in the coastal plain just to the south of Beirut.


It looks like Beirut (which I just moved to six days ago), but I can't check on Google Earth for sure because the Internet connection in Lebanon is absolutely horrendous and I'd end up spending a week just to scan a few square kilometers. I'll go out on a limb and say it's in the Fern el-Chabbak area of the city.


I know it's not Palm Coast (or "Calm Post" as some refer to it), Florida; it's likely somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean or North Africa. BUT! The scenery does evince Palm Coast – and many other Florida municipalities. Half-completed structures? Check. Abandoned automobiles in severe disrepair? Check. Trash? Check. Nobody around? Check. There's even a huge mountain of shit in the distance! (That'd be Daytona Beach.) And yes, I live in that area.

Another is correct:

I'm predicting this is one of the very few weeks where no readers are able to guess this!

I usually do my research by googling some key words that stand out about the place. Last week it was "historic wooden water towers" that brought me to Mendocino, but the only key words I can think of when I look at this is "craphole" and "sadness," which don't bring up the most helpful google image results.  I'm guessing Sombor, Serbia because the name just seems to fit the picture.

Another gets on the right track:

It is rare that I have ever looked at a VFYW and felt like I immediately recognized it. Today, I looked at the entry and thought THAT'S INDIA!

In the last few times I've visited India, I've been struck by how much open land exists and how rapidly it is being developed. The contrast between the buildings and the vast openness in this week's photo is similarly striking. The pink tint of the building on the right also struck me very Indian – the buildings are painted with such colorful hues of yellows, pinks and blues. But it feels like this picture could have been taken anywhere in the country. I've seen similar scenes in Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, and Haridwar, because development is just happening where across the country.


Well, straight off I am sure this is India.  The smaller cars, the water tanks both in the workshop and out on top of the pink building (called Sintex tanks I think), and the arid topography screams India to me.  The hard part is to identify which part of the country.

After trying for many hours without much success to sharpen the letters on the name of the pink painted building to identify the language, which would be the big key to the geographic location, I am leaning towards three places. If the letters are of Tamil language, we are talking the outskirts of Chennai. If the letters are of Telugu language, it would be the outskirts of Hyderabad. If those are of Hindi language, I am in trouble, since that could be a lot of places in North India. For the sake of picking one, I am choosing the outskirts of New Delhi as my final answer.

Another gets very close:

I got hooked on to your blog a few years back when I was doing my Masters in USA. I am back in India (at Chennai) now. I have been waiting eagerly for the day when you will have a VFYW from India. God, I sure hope I am right. There are so many clues. The multi-colored small residential building, the black water tank in the car shed, the haphazard way the cars and bikes are present in the shed, the TATA cars in the shed, etc. Most of all, it is the building construction in the background. Wherever one steps in India, there are so many new ones showing up. 

My choice of Mumbai is just a shot in the dark, as it is the most populated city in India. This VFYW can be a snapshot of pretty much any place in India right now.

No one this week guessed the correct location, which is the village of Hinjewadi, on the outskirts of Pune, a city in the Indian state of Maharashtra. But the following reader had both the most proximate guess and the most precise analysis, so she wins the prize this week:

The cars and scooters are definitely from India. The writing on the pink building looks like devnagari script, which is the script of the language marathi used in the state of Maharashtra. The vegetation also looks typical of the region. The area is developing and looks like the outskirts of a second tier city. My guess is it is Nashik, which is developing rather quickly.

Details from the photographer:

Marriott Courtyard, room 215, Hinjewadi/Pune, India.

I captured the view while I was in India on a business trip – software engineer gets training.  India, or at least Pune … remains the same, in a fervor of change – major construction in all directions, most of it upward – and right next door a Socialist-era apartment complex, dreary as can be, and a hundred yards on a brightly colored temple, but no sign of the formerly endemic small phone shops, where you could go in and call someone for a few bucks, as the cellphone industry has wiped them out. To me it's inspirational, bewildering, exhausting, and, looking at the roads, just terrifying.