The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #161


A reader writes:

Ok, more red-roofed buildings. What is this, like the fourth one in the last two months? I was thinking of the combo of more modern buildings with tin shacks to be China, again, but the area is more a feeling of somewhere else in Southeast Asia. I’m going out on a limb to think it’s in the Philippines, but I can’t find a single visual clue to pinpoint a city, so I’m just going with Manila. (It’s probably Burma, or Thailand, huh?)


The tropics somewhere, but there is something about the cream-colored walls and the red tin roofs that make me think of San Jose, Costa Rica!


Pretty sure that’s one of the favelas outside of Sao Paulo. Might be one outside of Rio.

Another gets on the right continent:

Kampala, Uganda? The hills, trees and architecture are consistent. As a guess I’d put the photo on the east side of the city near the Jinja/Kampala road, near Mbuya.


Kampala? This is an easy one for me simply because I am looking out on a very similar view from my window as I write this. Wonderful place by the way, despite all the negative press it receives back in the states. The weather is about as perfect as you could ask for and the people are very friendly.


I’d say that this is surely le pays de mille collines. In a big city, so we’ll say Kigali. From there, it’s hard to say.  The Serena Hotel has metal railings on the exterior-facing windows, so it’s a possible match. So: 3rd floor from the Serena Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda. I don’t have any stories from there, never having been, but I have taught English to many Rwandan immigrants here in Brussels.

Another nails the right city:

This picture reminds of the city I grew up in … Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Although I left the Ethiopia about 10 years ago, my best guess is the picture is taken from the Top View restaurant.

Our grand champion strikes again:

Normally when you find a view, you also find where the picture was taken from, such as a specific hotel or apartment building. But this week’s view is so far off the map that I’m left hoping the viewer will provide us details about their location. In any case, here goes:

This week’s view comes from Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia. The view was taken from a modest high rise building and looks south by southwest along a heading of 212 degrees. As I couldn’t find your viewer’s address, the best I can do is provide the approximate coordinates which are 8°59’7.74″N and 38°43’11.87″E. The neighborhood does contain quite a few orphanages, NGOs and Christian groups with links to the U.S., so if I had to guess I’d say your viewer might be involved with one of them. A marked bird’s eye view is attached.

VFYW Addis Ababa Marked - Copy

(When I opened the original file’s metadata [the original file was subsequently swapped out] I saw an “8” for the longitude or latitude before looking away, so this response is partially a cheat, but I figured I’d send it in if you need the copy. Ironically, I thought the 8 was for longitude, which initially led me to exclude Addis Ababa when I found it using clues in the image.)

Thus, only one reader – the native Ethiopian – correctly guessed the window this week without any hidden help. From the reader who submitted the photo:

Here is a view from the top floor of our house in the Old Airport neighborhood as we pack up and leave this beautiful, if exasperating at times, country after three years.

The reader follows up:

Excited to see my VFYW submission as your contest this week. I’m not particularly tech savvy (and I moved two weeks ago, so I can’t snap any additional angles), but here is a Google Map to pinpoint the location:

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 12.54.28 PM

I’m expecting that this will be one of the harder contests, since we lived in one of the outer neighborhoods without any noticeable landmarks looking south. And to be honest, there aren’t a whole lot of landmarks beyond obvious monuments and government buildings in all of Addis, so this should be a stiff test for even the diehards.

One of the interesting characteristics of Addis that sets it apart from other African capitals is the mix of classes in all neighborhoods. Although there are certainly rougher areas to avoid, there is no one place that serves as a rich or privileged enclave. Old Airport (the area where this picture was taken) tends to have a lot of ferenji (foreigners) due to close proximity of the African Union and the largest international school. Even so, there are a lot of simple homes and shanties mixed in as well. Houses tend to be on walled compounds that are a bit of overkill, since Addis has a low crime rate and violent crime is rare. We enjoyed walking to shops and the school although every time I went out for a jog I got a lot of bemused looks and cat calls of “Haile Gebreselassie”.

Ethiopia is a fascinatingly idiosyncratic country with its fair share of problems. Hopefully more of the benefits of its recent economic growth will start to flow down to the masses.