Where on Earth Are They?
In anticipation of Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 16-22), we asked Monitor writers to tell about where they live. Can you guess where they are by reading their descriptions and looking at these maps?
City on A Swamp
Gail Russell Chaddock
I am in a city built on a swamp. It was designed by a Frenchman and put on the map by a man with wooden teeth. Foreigners used to make fun of this city. Some were given hardship pay just to live here, because of the humid climate. Author Charles Dickens mocked its broad avenues that "begin in nothing and lead nowhere."
Today, it is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But watch out: If you don't keep a compass in mind, you can easily lose your way in this "City of Magnificent Distances."
The main square is named for a color, although for six months of the year this city is white. The country of which it is the capital shrank six years ago, but it is still the largest state in the world. At the heart of the city stands a walled fortress where the President works. A French army captured it once, but a German army failed to.
I live in a city where the neighborhoods have numbers, not names. A curvy river divides the city, and people describe where they live by saying what side of the river their house is on. A few fortunate people live on two small islands right in the middle of the city. The oldest bridge on the river was built about 400 years ago, but it's still called the "New Bridge."
The people here love art, so there are lots of museums. And they adore food, so there are cafes everywhere. Because people like to eat outside, even in the winter, restaurants put giant heaters out on their patios when it gets cold so that diners can stay outside.
The city is very old - it was a fishing village 2,000 years ago - and is full of very beautiful, very old buildings. It also has some famous newer ones, including a big glass pyramid.
Designed By the Gods
The longest wall in the world protects this city from most of the sand storms that each spring whirl southward from a nearby desert.
According to an ancient legend, the design of the city was handed down by the gods to an emperor more than 500 years ago.
For centuries, emperors ruled from the red-walled palace complex at the heart of the city. To the south lies the Temple of Heaven; to the north, the Temple of Earth. West of the palace is the Temple of the Moon, and the Temple of the Sun lies at the western tip of the city.
Although there are new shopping malls, skyscrapers, and construction sites throughout the city, the four temples are still standing, and the country's new leaders still rule from the palace complex at the heart of the city.
Life on a Lake
This city sits on a lake. A building here is the tallest in the United States. Your parents might have bought your refrigerator or your bicycle from the same people who built the tower. This city is a good place to go to see whales, sharks, dinosaurs, and famous paintings. If you've visited, you've probably eaten a special kind of pizza that was invented here. You may have also seen a baseball game in a stadium named after a man who made chewing gum. There's a basketball player here who can almost fly, and another one with really cool hair.
Sunny Every Day
Daniel B. Wood
I live in a giant valley next to the second-largest city in the United States. Because of the way the surrounding mountains block the winds, the air flow through my neighborhood is weak. That means that the exhaust from cars on the most congested freeways in the country leaves a thin, orange gauze that settles in like fog.
Ocean breezes keep the city cooler in summer and warmer in winter, while desert winds keep the humidity very low. That means sunny skies throughout the year and almost no rain.
(1) Washington, D.C.; (2) Moscow, Russia; (3) Paris, France; (4) Beijing, China; (5) Chicago, Ill.; (6) Los Angelesk, Calif. (Mr. Wood lives in the San Fernando Valley.)