The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #72


Surprisingly-thin results in this week's contest, given that only a few dozen readers submitted entries (compared to a weekly average of 200-300). We can never really tell which windows will be the most difficult and which will be the easiest. A reader writes:

I am a bit concerned that the sun is in the wrong place. But I think this is looking east towards the Columbo harbour district of Columbo, Sri Langka. Looks tropical. Has the right sort of tile down on one of the buildings. There are a pair of the tall buildings in the center of the photo which shows only one building with the slightly smaller square top.

Another writes:

The reddish-brown smog obscuring the sun helps, but I'm almost certain that the building with the scaffolding/facade is a key part of the downtown skyline.  It's the actual Cairo side of the city, not Giza, as well.  Technically, it might be the "Balad al Wasit" neighborhood – basically 'Downtown.'


This is probably just because I'm in the middle of "REAMDE" by Neal Stephenson, but this looks like how I'm picturing Xiamen while reading. (Given my total lack of skill at VFYW, this means it's probably in Peru.)


Hanoi, Vietnam? Of course somebody else will tell you the exact window of the correct building, but my wife and I get really excited when we're even in the right hemisphere!

Right continent even. Another:

I am fairly certain this is a photo of Bangkok, where I live. The pointy pyramid poking out from the buildings on the left, plus some of the middle distance structures look very familiar, though because of BKK's layout and numerous nearly identical buildings, I cannot tell exactly from where this was taken, though my guess is from Sukhumvit facing towards Silom.


You have to stop this contest.

My husband for the bulk of my time as a faithful reader listened to the interesting bits and looked at the pictures and liked the fact that I like your blog. But he's discovered the VFYW contest. He darned near won it last week. And he's obsessed.

You want to know how I spend Saturday through Tuesday now? It involves him taking over my computer, clicking obsessively, and finally looking at me with glassy eyes muttering things about "the plant growth on the walls indicates humidity so it can't be the Middle East. I'm thinking Malaysia. Or a flood zone in an abandoned area of Wisconsin."…."I think that object we can't focus on with little the Windows Picture and Facts Viewer  because they so cleverly obscured it is a royal seal that you see commonly displayed in (fill in the blank)…."That looks like a crest and the other things looks like a mosque under construction. It might also be a satellite dish". And then it goes downhill from there.

I beg you, either just end the contest or just write him a note that he won (I'll pay for the book!) and make it stop.

We all have our addictions. Another reader:

I think this is taken in Karnataka, India. That seems to be the old Krone Communications building right of center, which has merged with ADC to form ADC Krone Communications. There is also an Indian-style structure in the background to the right. The palm trees suggest a warm, arid climate, and that must be ivy on the terraces to the right.

Another almost gets it:

Couldn't find this place. Might be Hong Kong, might be Jakarta. Pretty sure it's in Southeast Asia somewhere. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?


Jakarta, Indonesia? That's my guess and I'm sticking to it.

Great guess! Three other readers correctly answered the Indonesian capital:

View of MNC Tower, Jakarta next to Djakarta Theater taken from Saripan Pacific Hotel 9th floor (at sunrise :)

This was fun. Spent an hour investigating types of hanging moss that might appear on balconies. Survey says: X.  Then mixed and matched roofing styles and colors from Asia and got what seemed like a match.  Found the MNC building on the outskirts of the city (and what might be an Alfamidi Market – the building with the red decor in the photo) and then matched it up with views from Djarkata Theater.


This week's fortuitous clue turned out to be the red roofs. The meaningless clue, that I searched for in vain, is that strange beige concrete pole sticking up with what look like two scoops on the end. I thought for sure that would be common in the place the photo was taken from, but I can't find anything else like it, even in the area.

VFYW 10-15-2011 Earth View

The photo was taken from the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel in Jakarta, looking due East, at sunrise. A search for red roofs fortuitously matched a roof in Bali, and that led to Jakarta, but the search in a place as gigantic as Jakarta isn't for red roofs – it's for a skyscraper that matches one of those in the photo. For that, Google Earth with the geotag-linked photos is indispensable. There's a panoramio photo, possibly also taken from the same hotel, here. The tall skyscraper off in the distance is the Bamantara tower, home to MNC TV (whose logo is not quite visible at the top).

The only street view I can find is taken from the street that isn't quite visible in the photo, and the reverse is also true: the window isn't quite visible from the street:

VFYW 10-15-2011 Street View

What we can say is that the window is at the same level as the fourth row of planters from the top of the parking structure next door. As the street view picture shows, the window is one floor below the lowest visible rows of windows. Checking the hotel web page, they have 18 floors, but the top floor is a small number of suites, probably the rooftop penthouse we can see from the street. The other rooms occupy floors 5 through 17, and without a 13th floor, we can count down from the top to the floor where the photo was taken from – the tenth.

So, that's my guess: 10th floor, Sari Pan Pacific Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia, looking due East at sunrise.

That reader actually won the contest last week, so he's ineligible for the prize despite the excellent entry. But the following reader nailed the correct floor regardless:

It's always a joy when you're right at first guess, and, after having settled for Jakarta, Indonesia, it was surprising how quickly I bumped into the roof of the bright red building. From there it was easy to establish that the photo was taken from the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel at Jalan M H Thamrin 6. Do I really have to guess the floor? Well, let's say the 8th.

From the submitter of the photo:

Jakarta, 8th floor window, room 805, in the back of the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel (one of the big international ones, across from the UN offices), sunrise, 26 September.

Update from a reader:

I like to consider myself a pretty big fan of your blog and of the VFYW contest; I've submitted five or so entries and have had three of them posted by you. (Only came close once, in Malacca.) It really is a small joy to have this mystery photo running through my head every weekend and to see the answer every Tuesday; it's become a rather happy personal tradition to me.

So why did it have to be THE ONE WEEK that I didn't follow up on the contest that the Dish chooses Jakarta?!? Not only have I been there 10 times and know the place fairly well, but my wife is from there! Sigh … I know I could have got it …

Moral of the story: Never keep your eyes off of the Dish for too long, as you may regret it big time!