The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #195


A confident reader writes:

Easy one. This is Kuala Lumpur. Looks to be near Chow Kit and very near where I used to live and work. Lovely city, shame it’s not a better photo.


Quezon City, Philippines. Just a guess, but the buildings look very familiar.

Another looks closer:

Neoclassical architecture in a somewhat rundown location … Havana? Given the new cars on the street, I’m probably way, way off but I can’t think of another location that fits the bill. A tough one this week! Kudos to the reader who figures it out …

This week our hats are off to the small handful of readers who even ventured a guess. In fact, this might have been our most difficult contest yet. Another reader noticed an architectural hint of Italy:

I saw this and I thought: Porticos! Bologna! But Bologna (at least the parts I was in) didn’t look this drab and industrial. And these porticos don’t look like Bologna’s … but I thought I’d give a shout-out to Bologna anyway for being so stupendously endowed with 23 miles of porticos. (Are porticos the feminine opposite of masculine towers and spires? I get big domes as the outward opposite … maybe porticos are the inner opposite? People do a lot of socializing in them … )

Another must be joking:

That’s Nahant as viewed from Kelly’s Roast Beef on Revere Beach, MA.

This one definitely is:

Hell on Earth, Hades.

Other readers went south of the border:

Tall cactus, Spanish-style roof, Spanish language sign on the wall (Prohibido Fumar?), Catholic-style church, DirectTv satellite dish all point to Mexico, but I can’t home in on anything closer than this. So let’s go with Oaxaca, because it’s fun to say.

Two others guessed Mexico:

For no particular reason, I’m guessing Mexico. And I would like to propose a new sub-category for your contest: The Ugliest Building. I nominate that monstrosity in the left foreground. I hope someone found a way to stop the designer before he or she had a chance to work on a second building.


Some churches get photographed a lot.  Take for example the little blue-domed jewel on the Isle of Santorini that shows up everywhere. The church in this week’s contest – not so much. While searching I did find this incredible mid-century monstrosity from Oklahoma City:


Now that’s a church I would have grooved to as a 10-year-old skeptic. As for this week, a semi-informed guess puts this somewhere in Latin America. A wild guess puts it in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Latin America is right, and Mexico was the closest incorrect guess. A frustrated reader at least gets the right continent:

Fuck this shit. Twenty hours I’ve been at it, including a laborious wiki-google tour of every cathedral in Brazil, and I’m still not even sure I have the right continent. I’m going with São Paulo because they get DirectTV there, they’re big into roof-mounted radio antennas, and I found one (1) streetlight on Street View that matches the one on that utility pole. But who knows. This morning’s failed waking brainwave – a search for “ugliest cathedral” – was my official last gasp.

Only two readers even guessed the correct country, city, or address. One of them, naturally, was Grand Champion Chini:

Now this is a bit more like it. Though it was pretty obvious that we were dealing with South America, I had to overcome a personal misconception to get to the right spot. See, my only previous encounter with this week’s city was in Vonnegut’s Galapagos, a book which gave me the unfortunate impression of a much smaller town. As a result, I spent far too much time down in Argentina, when I should have been looking far to the north.

This week’s view comes from Guayaquil, Ecuador. The view looks southeast along a heading of 147.87 degrees, probably from a room on the 4th floor of the Hotel Oro Verde, perhaps room 406. A view of the actual window and a marked bird’s eye shot:


Here’s the original shot with the Edificio Forum and the Iglesia de la Victoria inserted:

VFYW Guayaquil Inserts Marked - Copy

But Chini won long ago, so here’s the winning entry:

Searching all over Latin America for last week’s contest (Medellín) paid dividends this week. After identifying the top of a San Pedro or Peruvian Torch cactus at the bottom of the photo and seeing all the AC units and open air arcades on nearby buildings, South/Latin America seemed like a good place to start. The shape of license plates on the many visible cars confirmed South/Latin America instead of the US or Southeastern Europe. A satellite dish on the nearest building indicated cardinal direction and rough latitude.

The primary architectural clue is the domed church in the distance. Latin America is full of these. A few searches IDed this one as Iglesia La Victoria in Guayaquil, Ecuador:


From there it took some Google Maps surfing to identify the tall, beige highrise with the rooftop radio tower, and from there the location of the photo: Hotel Oro Verde, next door to the (former?) US Consulate:


Hotel Oro Verde has online reviews with photos that confirm it as the window’s location:


Judging the room number is once more an educated guessing game. Based on analysis of sight lines, the estimated height of neighboring buildings:


From a photo of the hotel’s hallway, and assuming that floor numbers start with 0 in Ecuador, I submit that the room number is 512 or 513, depending on whether even or odd numbers are on the east or west side of the building:


Impressive entry! From the photo’s submitter:

I’m a 51-year-old US citizen doing my culinary externship in Ecuador. Finally I’m somewhere with a VFYW! This was taken from room 416 of the Oro Verde hotel in Guayaquil, Ecuador. So glad to have your site to keep me up to date while I’m away. I’m a proud (founding, I believe) subscriber. You and your team rock!