The Crazy Coincidences Of Our Contest


A general reflection from a reader:

I'm digging the mix of difficult and easy window guesses.  The hard ones show a level of ingenuity and persistence that should scare the NSA (or lead to a job interview there).  The easier ones allow you to post a wealth of knowledge about an area that I wouldn't otherwise seek out or even run across.  So in five minutes, I learned about penguins hiding under cars, apartheid, the fact that Capetown's landscape looks fantastically like Arizona's landscape, a beach destination and plummeting viral transmission in a place I may never visit, but feel like I should know better.  And now I do.  Thanks.

The reader who submitted this week's photo five years ago follows up with another remarkable email:

I'm now here at 3 Brunswick.

Tonight my hosts and I enjoyed reading all the guesses and comments about your contest photo. It was especially interesting to read all the different perspectives that people brought to the discussion.  One thing I have to confess, which I didn't realize today until I tried to replicate the photo for you [seen above], and which one your readers correctly guessed, was that I took the photo from the balcony rather than from indoors. Sorry for cheating. But look how much the bushes have grown up in the last five years. The pickup truck is owned by my hosts. They still have it. And they're gay married, which is something South Africans can do now. AND. AND. AND … as it happens, today was their third anniversary. Will the coincidences never end?

We swear we had no knowledge of any of this; the photo was randomly selected from the Dish archives last week. Here is the reader's email from yesterday, re-posted for convenience:

Alright, alright … I'm kind of freaking out. First of all, I know exactly where that picture was taken, because I'm the guy who took it. I was an American visiting Cape Town, with my partner, who at the time lived in India. It was our first trip abroad together. We were (and still are) a same-sex bi-national couple, and I remember you included part of my letter when you published the photo, which you didn't normally do.

The second reason that I'm freaking out is that I haven't been back there since I took that photo more than five years ago, but today (Sunday), I'm going back there, back to that very same apartment. I'm writing to you from LAX. My partner's not coming along this time because he's going to India next week to visit family. But that's good news in a way, because he lives in Canada now after I moved there and sponsored his immigration.

So five years down the road, and … things do get better. Sort of. Life is complicated, and the recession sent me back to America. But we're only a few hours apart now and see each other all the time. We're not always under the same roof, but at least we're in the same time zone.

PS: The address where the photo was taken from is 3 Brunswick Ave, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, South Africa. You can see a 3 or 4 level apartment building on the east side of the street. That's the place.

Another crazy coincidence, from the winner of contest #33, here.