Updated: Jan 10, 2019
In between booking meeting rooms for bullshit I discovered a really fun game.
Because sending emails to people who have received some post and answering two out of every five phone calls (a choice) doesn’t take up the entirety of my day I have been systematically going through the Foreign Office Travel Advice Website.
This allows me to assess the current level of stability in each of the places that are in the world. In addition to that I have been simultaneously checking out each country on Google Earth as I go, so I can see what each of the places of the world look like.
And now I’m ready to share with you some observations. Like a Travel Blog but where I don’t go anywhere. A Google Earth Travel Blog.
Think of me as a really lazy Bill Bryson.
The (Google Earth) Travel Blog of Benjamin Hardcastle.
9 Initial Observations of the World.
1. To begin with, some places are fucking HUGE! Have you looked at Iraq? My perception of the place is a few central war-torn streets, a handful of tower blocks and a pair of knackered palaces. But there’s a Birmingham. Not an actual place called Birmingham but taking Baghdad as the capital, i.e. London, you can travel North West for approx. 180 km and there you’ll find the city of Hit (AKA Birmingham, and give or take 20km).
2. Some of Jordan’s roads need work.
3. When you navigate from Google Earth satellite view to Street View, the image zooms in REALLY quickly as if you were falling to earth. It’s a little dizzying, though if you were a military enthusiast (and twisted fuck) you could imagine yourself in the position of a fighter pilot unloading his lethal payload on the ants below.
4. There is very little of Kazakhstan on street view. What do they have to hide? Actually I very much enjoy where there is unsurprisingly low evidence of access for street view, i.e. Google. China-from-space is basically a giant advert for not-Google. Although I have been to China and if it’s a choice between Google or China…
5. In Kulanak, in the Naryn Region of Kyrgyzstan there are two lads changing a bicycle tyre. They’ve probably finished by now. Further down the same road there’s a pretty awesome cow by the side of the road. Just sort of, standing. There are some SPECTAULAR mountain views on the A365. I’m actually quite taken with Kyrgyzstan.
6. Azerbaijan and Armenia are places that appear to be less fun than a BBQ at Kevin Spacey’s house. (Just imagine how awkward THAT that would be).
7. There is a splendidly well-stocked plumbing-supplies store on the Luang Prabang Road, in the Luang Prabang Province of Laos. Seriously, U-bends, S-bends and fasteners of all kinds. You have to choose from bright blue plastic or bright green plastic but then again, I can’t see what’s in the back.
8. Parts of Nairobi look like the Docklands. Other parts of Nairobi look like Leatherhead. Both of these surprised me.
9. I hadn’t heard of Kirbati. But there is no way of zooming in any closer than to a blur in the ocean and so I tried to book tickets from London Gatwick but to no avail. I tried ALL London airports but there were literally no flights to Kirbati, even with a stop-off at Addis Abbaba. So I GUESS I’m not going to Kirbati and Kirbati should really have a word with itself.
That was a considerable amount of travel for one day so I’m going to make a cup of Earl Grey tea using a tap that dispenses boiling water because that’s how cool people make tea.