The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #229


If you’re already sick of the midterms, perhaps you’d rather be in …

Cocoli, Panama. That’s the best I can do. Google Earth is not my friend today, so I can’t pinpoint it. I thought I’d guess on the off chance no one else gets it. You can’t win if you don’t play!

Another glares through the in-tray:

Jesus H. Christ on a taco, that could be just about anywhere.

Like the Middle East?

VFYWC_229_leadI think it’s Beirut. The Lead construction crane is a clue. There is a Lead construction firm that operates in Lebanon. And Princess Cruise Lines do feature Beirut as port of call on Mediterranean cruises.

That sign led another reader astray at first:

The big billboard with LEAD printed on it led me down the path, of all things, of Bishop Eddie Long.

And according to other readers, the view might be Galvaston, Texas or Bustan, South Korea or Bayonne, New Jersey or Brazil:

Well, at first I got a bit turned around, and ended up in Taipei, thanks to the LEAD crane, and the fact that Royal Carribean does sale there. But, not the ship that was in the port, which is either the Legend of the Seas or the Splendour of the Seas, both of which had itineraries that included Rio. Where there’s a lot of construction going on near the port. The photo was taken, I believe, from the recently renovated Hotel Sao Francisco, 95 Rue Visconde de Inhauma. Apparently, a renovation that did not go over well with at least one traveler, who has dubbed it “the worst hotel in the last 7 years of travel.

This reader hits the right country:

I’ve gone through every possible port city, thinking Norfolk or Baltimore seemed worth digging into. Boston, Portland? Even stabbed at the Southern Hemisphere. The Legend of the Seas cruise ship would have been on the Canada, New England schedule the week of this VFYW but I can’t match Quebec City, Saguenay, Sydney, Halifax, Charlottetown or towns of any size between. So for a guess, unless I can waste more time before the deadline instead of voting:

Let’s guess Quebec City, which would offer a view east across water while the ship sails south … never mind that there don’t appear to be any buildings in the right places.

I think I’ll go vote.

Meanwhile, the old satellite-dish-direction trick helps this reader nail the right city:

Well, it’s a port of call for Royal Carribean cruise, and based on the satellite dish angles, it’s pretty far north. Alaska’s port cities are  too dinky, but RC also goes up the Canadian coast. So, I’m guessing Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Another more labored but still correct guess:

This week is a woeful tale of a red herring. That giant crane with the word “LEAD.” I found a manufacturer of cranes and hoists based out of Tiawan. Combine that with a list of Royal Carribean ports of call in Asia Pacific, easy to spot oil and gas tanks in the distance for reference and this should be a slam dunk. Several hours later, and very cold coffee, I gave up for the day. Fast forward to Sunday morning and the extra hour of sleep and I came at it with fresh eyes. The house whose roof we can see amidst the otherwise commercial buildings looks distinctly North American in style. And the leaves on the nearby tree are beginning to blush, suggesting a Northern Hemisphere locale. So I combine these tidbits of information with said list of Royal Caribbean ports of call and came to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There are oil tanks in the proper orientation to the city, and an airport further on behind them, indicated in the view by the red and white water tower just visible above the crane.

This reader nails the hotel and floor:

Thank goodness for the extra hour of sleep. I started with the numbers in the top right and had no luck. The only other clue for me was the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, which I actually narrowed down to one of two vessels in their fleet and began mapping out their (extensive) ports of call before nodding off. I dreamed I had found the right city and felt when I woke up I’d just need to do some sightseeing on Google Earth to pinpoint it. Instead I felt the need to start over, and glad I did.

Retrying the numbers as 5670 (initially I thought the last digit was 6 or 8) easily brought up the distinctive concrete facade – and a Canadian flag flying out front! The view is from the 9th floor of the Lord Nelson Hotel, looking east-ish down the hill towards the waterfront. I’ll guess and say room 902.

Other clues kept this reader on target:

The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites - Google Maps 2014-11-04 00-05-20There are a lot of clues in this photo. The cruise ship seemed like an easy starting point, but Royal Caribbean has dozens of departure points and even more ports of call. The oil refinery in the background seemed like the next easiest thing, but the Wikipedia list of oil refineries has 100s of entries. Even cross referencing the refineries with the ship wasn’t worthwhile.

The biggest takeaway from this week’s puzzle is how freakin’ huge those cruise ships are. This photo was taken about a mile from the ship and yet it blends right into the line of buildings. After spending some time on their website, I think that’s one of Royal Carribean’s vision-class ships known as “Grandeur of the Seas“. It’s got 11 decks, a casino, 8 themed bars, a great dining hall that spans 2 decks, and (my favorite) a “piano area”. At capacity, the ship holds 2,446 passengers and 760 crew who are all off to spend 8 or 9 nights looking at Canada & New England.

Thanks for a fun challenge!

A Canadian Dishhead gets sentimental:

After years of bitter VFYW failures, I finally find a piece of Halloween candy left in the Dish… It’s Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.

In the distance (in front of the cruise ship) is the grey roof of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (Canada’s “Ellis Island”); my wife and I visited the museum a few years ago, and found the arrival records of our families. Not many dry eyes that day, and not just because of the omnipresent Haligonian fog! Thanks for picking a view that I know. Win or lose it’s a sweet memory.

Another adds:

File-Halifax_Explosion_blast_cloudThere is an incredible piece of history associated with Halifax.  At 9:04 am on December 6, 1917, the “Mont Blanc”, a cargo ship chock full of explosives headed for the western front, caught fire and exploded in Halifax harbor.  It was the largest man-made explosion in history to that time.  The ship’s 1000 lb anchor landed two miles away, and the resulting cloud rose 11,800 feet into the air.  Laura MacDonald’s excellent book, Curse of the Narrows, tells the story in all of its stunning detail.  Highly recommended.

A more modern take on the city:

The largest city in the maritime provinces, Halifax is a beautiful little city.  Some people would associate the city with the Citadel, the establishment of responsible government in British North America, the Halifax Explosion, the naval base, or maybe the “Halifax Pop Explosion” from the mid-90’s (which gave rise to such bands as Sloan, the Superfrienz, Hardship Post and Jale – although maybe I am just tipping my hat to both my age and my CanCon-ness) – or maybe even our favourite band of petty criminals, the Trailer Park Boys.

But for me, I most associate Halifax with Pizza Corner, at the corner of Grafton and Blowers. It’s in an area chock-a-block full of bars and late on a Friday or Saturday night, kids from Dal or Saint Mary’s spill out of the streets and head to Pizza Corner for some nosh.  Three pizzerias front Pizza Corner, but the place is actually less known for its pizza and more for its donairs, for this is where the Halifax donair was born.  The Halifax donair is a beautiful thing – pretty much the same as doner kebabs found worldwide, but lean ground beaf and a distinctive sweet sauce of condensed milk, sugar, vinegar and garlic.  It also appears to be quite regionally-specific, although places have popped up across Canada where you can find it.  But since the doner kebab is pretty much a global phenomenon at this point, I was just hoping to maybe expound on the wonderfulness of that tangy garlic sauce and maybe we’ll see it on the streets of Ankara or Berlin someday…

Another place to visit:

If you find yourself in HFX with some time, I recommend checking out the greatest self-generated museum ever — the Happy Face museum across the harbour in Dartmouth. It’s a labour of love created by Debbie Power, whose pet grooming shop is next door; and while you might at first deem it pure kitsch, you will get more out of it if you check your irony at the curb. It is a place that is full of genuine compassion. A photo from my visit there:


Chini nods off:

BOOOORRRRINNNG. We want Botswana, we want Botswana…or Benin…or Borneo. Seriously, anything but this. Not only was it dead simple, but if you tried a hundred times I don’t think you could come up with a more depressing shot of this town. The leaden skies, the sea of gas tanks on the far shore, that modernist mess at right, yuck.

VFYW Halifax Overhead Marked - Copy

This week’s view comes from the normally lovely city of Halifax, Canada. The picture was taken from a room on roughly the seventh floor of the Lord Nelson Hotel and looks almost due east along a heading of 96.6 degrees. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go stare at that tree-house view from Costa Rica until the depression wears off.

Well this pair of former winners did something more productive with their boredom, like a GIF:


Or a poem!

Yes, I’m a past winner, it feels like a curse,
So I’ll just have fun by submitting in verse:

The secret to this, if you don’t want to lose?
Just take a Royal Carribean Cruise,
Or Google cruise logos, they’re proudly displayed,
And research their ports, you’ll soon have it made!

Those trees of Autumn …. it must be up north,
It feels like the New World, so I’ll chart that course.

RCC ports and 5-6-7-0,
When Googled, will lead you to Spring Garden Road.

(Charlottetown, Charleston, others I’d tried,
But Halifax! that was the end of my ride.)

What view to the harbour shows eight windowed floors?
The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites ……. What a score!

Ol’ Nelson ain’t tall, so floor nine is my guess,
And no doubt I’m missing some surefire test.

So now for the final room window assignment,
I’ll try my luck with some landmark alignment.
Cross Halifax Harbour: white, brown and tan tanks,
Align with roof features atop Scotiabank.

It’s no corner window, it’s two or three in,
I’m pegging the second, it damn well should win!
And as for room numbers, I shan’t chase that scoop,
It’s all yers, more Chini-esque internet snoops.

Another contest veteran zooms in on the window specifics:


I am guessing the contest photograph was taken from the upper, easternmost window on the southern face of The Lord Nelson Hotel although I could not rule out windows immediately to the west and below this window (see above). There are eight large windows on this side of the 1966 addition to the hotel. Each has nine panes of glass with the central pane being the largest. I was initially concerned that the contest photograph could not have been taken from one of these windows because the window frame visible to the left in contest photograph appeared flush with the wall. The side panes of the nine-pane windows appeared too narrow for the contest photograph. This discrepancy was rectified by a hotel guest’s YouTube video which showed that the framing of the large central pane was identical to that in the contest photograph. My choice of the upper and easternmost window relied on it being relatively at the same height as the 5670 building (hotel said to be 9 stories, the insurance building 10) and the end widow allowing a wider view of the harbor than those farther west. Street views near the lone quaint house in the contest view, however, demonstrate that it could be others..

I will now remember Halifax as the city with a model of the Titanic in the pond of its lovely public garden across from The Lord Nelson Hotel.

No one guessed the right room number this week, and we weren’t able to pinpoint the exact window, as there wasn’t even a consensus among our best players as to which one it was. Thus we’re awarding this week’s prize to a player who guessed one of the only four windows it could be, and he’s on top of the pile because he’s been racking up correct guesses since 2011:

My initial thought was to check out ports of call for Royal Caribbean, since that’s one of their ships in the harbor. However, after looking around Bayonne, New Jersey for a while, I realized that scoping out all those port cities would be too onerous. Scouring the photo for clues again, I decided to search for “5670 building” and found a picture of the distinctive windows on the building on the right at 5670 Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Confirming this was easy enough by identifying the distinctive, globe-like fuel tanks across the way and finding the little frame house proudly standing among all those tall buildings, which stands at 1465 Birmingham Street. A view looking back to the northwest gives us another view of 5670 Spring Garden Road and what may be that odd roof in the middle of the picture.


From there it was fairly easy to determine that the photo was taken from the southwest corner of the Lord Nelson Hotel and Suites, also on Spring Garden Road.

hal street

The hard part, as always, is finding the right window. I’m just going to guess this one, top floor, second from left, because it’s close to the middle and seems about the right height compared to the window level over at 5670 and all.


Congrats! For the record, the reader who submitted this week’s view said it was room 915, and added that “apparently the Lord Nelson was one of the Rolling Stones’ favorite hotels, or at least it was where they preferred to stay in Halifax.”

And thanks to all of you for preferring the Dish for all your maddening Google Map puzzle needs. Here’s this week’s guess collage:


(Archive: Text|Gallery)