Thursday, July 26, 2012

Expanding My Knowledge of Geography and Cool Places to Visit

Yesterday at work I was chatting with a couple of co-workers about the fact that I had no idea about Turkey not being a landlocked country and how apparently ignorant I am of geography outside of North America.  I mean, I know where the major continents are and where some of the major countries are - like Great Britain and Germany and France and Spain - but when it comes to other parts of the world, I'm downright clueless and I find that to be a bit dismaying as I like to consider myself to be a fairly well-educated person even though I don't hold a college degree. Granted, that's not to say that everyone who holds a college degree is good at geography either but you know what I mean!

So then we got to talking about land formations and the different types like atolls and archipelagos and barrier islands and things like that and it was a bit comforting to know that my co-workers were just as stumped as I was about their differences or really even what they were to begin with!  For example, I was checking out holidays in Lanzarote on-line the other day and the place looked pretty interesting but first I had to find out where Lanzarote even is because honestly, I had no clue!  A little research and ah-ha! Lanzarote is part of the Canary Islands which is off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.  But what exactly are the Canary Islands? More research and now I know that they are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa. Ok, but what's an archipelago? More research and I'm now armed with the knowledge that they are a chain or cluster of islands which are often volcanic but not always so.

Of course all of this just makes me have even more questions like - if the Canary Islands are off the coast of Africa, why do they belong to Spain when geographically, they're part of Africa?  And if they're volcanic islands, why would anyone want to go visit them?  Then it dawned on me that ... duh, idiot, the Hawaiian Islands are volcanic islands, they're an archipelago (along with an atoll or two!), and they're nowhere near America and yet we laid claim to them and thousands and thousands of tourists flock there every year because of the climate and the natural beauty.  Obviously I haven't been one of those tourists or I'm sure that I would have known all this beforehand and I could have easily compared the Canary Islands with the Hawaiian Islands - they're just in the Atlantic Ocean and not the Pacific.

After looking at a few more maps, it turns out from where I live that I'd be better off visiting the Canary Islands should I wish to visit an archipelago as with a distance between Connecticut and Honolulu of about 5,108 miles and a distance of 3,318 miles to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands - Las Palmas is a lot closer!  Who knew?  Well obviously not me until the other day!

I really need to expand my knowledge of geography - and cool places to visit for when I win the lottery and can leave dispatching behind and travel the world!  

2 comments:

  1. Another very cool fact - or very scary fact, depending on how you look at it - is that one of the islands in the archipelago is a volcano that is splitting right down a fracture in its structure. That means that one day in the future, part of the island will slide into the ocean in a massive landslide. That event will cause a huge tsunami that will likely devastate the east coast of the United States.

    Neat, eh?

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    Replies
    1. Cool and yet scary at the same time I think, especially for those of us who live on the East Coast!

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