The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #128


A reader writes:

Manila, Philippines, on the Pasig River? That's my guess, based on the concrete borders, corrugated tin roofs, and palm tree combo. I'm wondering if that's a shot from a train window.


Concrete embankment, cinderblock wall, palm, flotsam … looks a lot like my commute everyday here in Manila!  But probably further afield in Luzon, given the ring of hills, less density along the riverfront, a quieter street and river.  I'd guess the outskirts of a town large enough to afford solar-powered streetlights. Angeles?

By the way, it might seem incongruous to have a garbage-filled river and solar-power streetlights. But the streetlights aren't signs of environmentalism; it's pure economics. The Philippines has the most expensive electricity in Asia, ahead even of Japan.

Another Manila entry:

I can't tell you the exact location, but I went there a couple decades ago on behalf of a Filipina friend to "convince" her gang-affiliated husband to allow her to see her children. Actually, I pretended to be her American husband. It was a reckless thing to do, but all went well in the end. This photo seems entirely like the poor districts along the various estuaries in Manila, although I suppose it could be somewhere elsewhere in the Philippines.


In honor of a devastating week for Republicans, I am going with my gut, my intuition, my feelings, rather than doing any research and using those silly Google maps. Thus, it's some bridge that I cross from the airport in Sint Maarten to Marigot Bay in St. Martin, whereupon a ferry whisks me away to St. Barthelemy – a rich man's paradise if there ever was one. Amirite, amirite? I can just feel it.


Whoa – I'm totally going with my gut on this one.  In October 2001, I took a trip to Burma (Myanmar) to visit a friend who was working in Yangon and we went up to Inle Lake for some sightseeing. I recall thinking that this had to be the real Shangri-La; it was SO beautiful and rich in culture and history. By happenstance, we were there during the Phaung Daw U Festival. It was a fascinating experience and it's one place where I hope to return with my family before I die.  I've traveled around the globe and to this day, it's still my favorite destination ever.

So, where on Inle Lake? I can't say because it's been over 11 years since I've seen the villages, and I really don't have the tools at work to scour the region from satellite images, so I'll have to stop there. But it sure looks like every photo I took and have plastered on my walls at home – that sure looks like a leg rower on one of those boats. As a parting gift, I'll leave you with my favorite quote:  "You may know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me." – J. Peterman.


Looks like a shot of,
Obama's upcoming trip,
To Yangon, Burma

(Bonus points for answering in haiku?)


The first thing that popped into my head seeing this picture was a rainy bus ride I had through Phnom Penh, Cambodia a few years ago. I remember crossing a bridge over a body of water of about the same width, with some small homes dotting a dirty riverside. We didn't do anything but change busses in this drab capital, but to anyone planning a trip to SE Asia, do not skip Cambodia! The sprawling temple sites of Angkor Wat were probably the coolest thing I saw in Asia. If it's not Phnom Penh, it's got to be SE Asia, right?

Nope. Another:

This is obviously the Cedar River in Renton, Washington, South of Seattle.  The library sits directly over the river as it meanders through the once thriving Boeing building town of Renton, in the year 2100.  Global warming has altered the flora and fauna and the natives, long ago deprived of building airplanes by the worsening economic situation of the 21st century.  American ingenuity has found a way to continue, however, as witnessed by the gleaming metallic rail of the library building balcony, from which this photo will be taken, looking towards the northwest and the Olympic mountains in the background.

Heh. Another reader nails the right country:

I am a geography teacher, and a colleague of mine mentioned this contest to me. I decided to challenge my students with it every week and they love it! For the last several weeks, my students and I begin our week on Monday morning by trying to figure out the view.

Needless to say, we haven’t been successful the last couple of weeks. But we felt we had more to go on this week – obviously this is a tropical or sub-tropical zone, with mountains as well, and clearly this is a less developed country. But that doesn’t narrow it down very much. The smoke suggests something, but we weren’t sure what, and we tried to zoom in to get a closer look at the ethnicity of the people in the photo. We also thought that might be a flag on the left side. Our brainstorming produced Brazil, Panama, Argentina, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. We also considered the Caribbean.

I promised my students that I would make a guess, so here goes. I originally thought somewhere outside of Rio or Sao Paolo, but without a lot of high-rise buildings in the background I wasn’t confident about that choice. Plus, in those areas, the poor often occupy the high ground. So I am going with somewhere in Haiti – specifically, Hinche. The colors of the flags of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic are blue and red rather than the green of Brazil, so I thought if it is a flag on the left, those are the closer colors. Plus, whatever that structure is spanning the river/canal, it’s painted red and blue.

Haiti it is. Another:

Good morning!  I have been following the VFYW contest for a long while, but this is the first time I have responded.  I am fairly certain that this is Cap Haitien, Haiti, crossing the Pont Neuf (I think its called Pont Neuf…) bridge crossing Riviere Mapou.  See the attached map:


Correct!  But another reader also got Cap Haitien:

The picture was taken from the window of a car/van crossing the HT-3 highway bridge, a bridge I always thought of as linking old and new Cap Haitien.  The picture was taken on the south side of the bridge, looking roughly south/southeast, toward Grand Riviere, Milot, and the Citadel, which I believe is perched atop the rightmost of the twin peaks on the left side of the picture.  I've crossed that bridge several times, and remember the pollution in that estuary river/inlet in the foreground.  It looks like they've shored up the eastern side of the inlet bank near the bridge.  That's nice. 

Both readers were first-time contestants, so there was no way to break the tie. Thus we have to award two book prizes this week.