Sunday, December 21, 2014

Statcounter Google Maps Game (Part 3)

I decided I'm going to play the game again.

I have fun doing it. I like seeing all the places, and learning a bit about them.  Well, I'm not learning a huge amount, but at least yesterday I learned that the war in Croatia has been over for several years. The game is making some of my horrible ignorance lessen a bit.

It's not that I thought there was a major war happening in Croatia.  I guess I didn't much think of it at all. But the first thing I think of, when I see Croatia mentioned, is war and ethnic cleansing. I had no idea when the conflict ended.

Anyway, I guess I should briefly go over the game rules again.

What happens is I take the next seven entities who appear on my Statcounter. Then I look at the posted (maybe not accurate) location on Google Maps. I randomly pick a Street View from that location. Then I say whether I'd want to live there, visit there, or avoid it all together.  If I was strict with myself, I'd probably be more definitive about those three choices. But I'm often quite wishy-washy about the whole thing.

1. I just took a break from my episode of Elephant Princess, and found I had a visitor!  They're from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

To further illustrate my ignorance: I knew Montreal is in Canada, and I knew Quebec was in Canada. But I didn't know Montreal was in Quebec. I get all that confused.  I think Quebec is where they have a lot of French speakers. Maybe?

I also don't know where Montreal is in Canada. All I know is that Vancouver is on the west side.  I'm going to guess Montreal is more in the center. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's in the east?

Now I'm going to check Google Maps.

I did Street View. I landed on a Mill Street bridge. Unfortunately, there's some ugly graffiti.

There's a building with white stuff on it. It kind of looks like frosting. Maybe it's snow?

Well, no. I don't see snow anywhere else.

Besides, the graffiti, the place looks okay. I wouldn't want to live on that exact street. I wouldn't go out of my way to visit.  I'm just talking about this particular street. I'm sure there are many beautiful places in Montreal.

I'm seeing a lot of Rues on Google Maps.  I'm assuming that's their word for street.  In Street View, it said Mill Street. But when I got out of Street View, and searched for Mill Street, I got Rue Mill.

On the map, near the bridge, I see something called Seagulf Marine Industries. It's a ship supplying company. Does that mean they build ships? Or do they sell stuff that people would need on the ships they already own?

Well, their history page says they began in 1958, and their purpose was to provide Canadian vessels with quality marine products and spare parts.  So, that answers my question.

Now I'm zooming out on Google Maps, so I can see the location of Montreal.

It's NOT in the middle of Canada. It's on the east, above Vermont.  Google Maps says it's about a two hour drive from Vermont to Rue Mill.  And actually, that's to around the center of Vermont.  To get to the city Highgate, which is on the border, it would take only an hour.

Since we used to live in Manhattan, I was curious about the distance from there to Rue Mill.  It's 5.5 hours away.

Lord Wiki says I was right about the French stuff.  French is the official language of Montreal.   67.9% of the population speak French at home.  He also says that outside Paris, Montreal has the largest French-speaking population.

Well, I'm still waiting for another visitor. I finished watching The Elephant Princess.  I love the show, but sometimes there are things that make no sense to me.  In today's episode, a jewel is stolen from Anala the elephant's headdress thing. They say the jewel is needed for Anala to have the power to take people with her as she travels between worlds. Yet at the end of the episode, the Australians are returned to Australia from the magical kingdom of Mangipoor.  How was that done without the jewel?

2. I just watched an episode of Neighbours.  When I finished, I saw I had two more visitors.

The next one is from Columbus, Ohio in the United States.

Well, I landed on a photo rather than Street View.  I'm going to try again.

I've landed on Hull Alley. It's an alley between two restaurants.

One of the restaurants has a large amount of outdoor seating. It has Corona beer umbrellas.  I wonder how that works. Does Corona provide the umbrellas to the restaurant, and in return they get free advertising?

I've gotten out of Street View, and now I can see the names of the two restaurants.  The one with the Corona umbrellas is La Fogata Grill.  The one across the way is Union Cafe.

La Forgata Grill, in Columbus, doesn't have its own website. But here is its Yelp page.

It has only 2.5 stars. That's not very good.  But I do see some positive things here. Some people say they like their margaritas.  And they have something called a dessert pear that a few people like.

Wait. I found the website. There's a link on Yelp. I saw the website before, but it was for a different location. I wasn't sure if it was the same restaurant, or not. But it turns out it is.

Here's the website for Union Cafe. It looks fun.  On Sunday they have a showtunes sing-a-long thing.

Tonight at 8 pm, they're having a Christmas showtunes event.

Now I'm looking at their menu. They have an all day menu which includes salty caramel French toast.  I've been really bad about my plan of staying away from eggs. Just wanted to confess that.

The menu indicates which food is vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten-free. And there are a lot of those items. So I definitely give the menu a thumbs-up.

I'd probably be interested in visiting Hull Alley in Columbus Ohio, just so I could visit the Union Cafe.

3. The next place is Concord, New South Wales. I don't think I've ever heard of Concord.  Is it a suburb of Sydney, or not a suburb of Sydney?

I see that it's a suburb of Sydney.  It's near the Parramatta River.

I landed on Rose Ave.  Like Rose Tyler!  It's a beautiful name for a beautiful street.

I would definitely be happy to visit there. It's hard for me to answer the question of whether I'd want to live there. I think I'd be happy living anywhere in Australia.  But though the street is beautiful, it's not calling me there. Or I can't picture myself living there.

It seems to be a nice neighborhood though. It's a six minute walk to Rothwell park.  That's a strange name. It makes me feel like I'm trying to say Roswell, but with a lisp.

If you walk in the other direction, eight minutes later you'd find yourself at Henley park.

I wonder if those parks are nice.

Lord Wiki says Concord, New South Wales is named after Concord, Massachusetts. He also says yes, there are a lot of parks in Concord; and not just the two that I mentioned.

Oh! Here's some fun trivia. A hospital in Concord was used for the hospital exterior shots for All Saints.  Some of Packed to the Rafters was filmed there as well....along with some other shows.

I'm looking at a real estate page for a house on Rose Ave. It's a pretty small house, and it's $795,000. It's not easy to afford living in Sydney. The website says the medium house price is 1.3 million. Ouch.

I'm pretty sure Sydney homes weren't always this expensive. There're probably many Sydneysiders who bought their homes at a much lower price, and if they wanted to, they could sell their home and end up very wealthy.  Then if they move to a place like Texas, which has much lower prices for houses, they could probably buy a mansion.

Or they could probably move elsewhere in Australia. It's probably less about Australia vs. America, and more about city vs. regional.

4. While I was looking at Ohio and Concord, I got some more visitors. The next is from Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

There's no Street View in that area; though there is Street View in the surrounding area.

I zoomed out on Google Maps.  Oberhausen is in the eastern part of Germany. It's near the border to the Netherlands.  So, back in the Berlin Wall days, Oberhausen would be part of East Germany, and therefore Communist. Right?

In Lord Wiki's first paragraph about Oberhausen, he says Oberhausen was the home of Paul the octopus. Paul lived at the Sea Life Centre which is owned by Merlin entertainments, the same people who own the Sydney Aquarium, and the Aquarium in Dallas.

Lord Wiki says Paul the Octopus was thought to be an oracle, because he made accurate predictions about the World Cup.  That's pretty awesome.

I like octopus, whether they can predict things or not.  Though I do kind of prefer the ones that don't cause your heart to stop beating.

5.  The next place is Nashville, Tennessee. I actually DID live there for a few years. It was nice. I attended Hillsboro High School for my senior year. I dreaded leaving my old school, but ended up liking Hillsboro so much more.  I was really into writing novels back then, and the teachers were so supportive and encouraging. I really appreciated that.

I just did Street View, and I've landed on a Street called Beddington Park.  It looks really beautiful...and expensive.  Though the huge houses are probably cheap compared to the tiny one I saw in Concord, Sydney.

I actually don't really see the houses. I see lots of trees, and glimpses of buildings. I get the sense though that there are big houses beyond the trees.

You know, I'm going to cut out the part of the game where I say whether I want to live, visit, or avoid a place. There are too many factors, and it's not making much sense. I prefer just reading about a place, and looking at it.

I thought I saw an elephant in the picture, but I got closer. It's just a bush. It's not Anala.

I wanted to find out how far Beddington Park is from our old house. But I can't remember our address.   Wait! I do remember our first address.  We had to wait for our house to be built, so we stayed at a rental house on Harding Place.

 It's sixteen minutes away from Beddington Park.

Here's a real estate page for a house on Beddington Park.  It's about 1.4 million. But that's for 6,400 square feet. You get four bedrooms, and five bathrooms. Plus, you get something called a mother-in-law.  That's one of its listed features. I'm guessing that's an extra room for someone?

Here it says that a mother-in-law is a suite that has its own bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.  It sounds like something you could rent out.

6. The next visitor is from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where is that in Canada?

I'm going to guess it's on the far east.

I've landed on 21 Street East.

If I woke up and found myself on the street, I would never guess I had left the United States.  I might not even guess I left Fort Worth.

I've zoomed out to find that I was incredibly wrong. Prince Albert is not on the east. It's more towards the west.  It's above Montana.  To get to Vancouver, you'd have to drive 19 hours west. To get to Montreal, you'd have to drive 35 hours east.  Canada is a big country!

Google Maps shows that to drive from Prince Albert to Montreal, you have to drive through the United States.

Why is that?

I'm going to see if I can get through Canada.

Well, I added Ontario, because that's between Prince Albert and Montreal. Google says the area is out of their current coverage area.  Maybe you can drive through Canada to get to Montreal, but Google doesn't have it in their map system.

Lord Wiki says there's a Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan. It has a wealth of wildlife.

Prince Albert has a small population.  In 2011, it had 35,000 people.  It has one of the highest ratios, in Canada, of Aboriginal people (41.5%).

There's a maybe-supernatural thing in the Prince Albert area called the St. Louis Light.  I guess it's sort of like the Min Min lights in Australia.  The St. Louis light are lights that change colors and change in brightness.

Here's a video about the St. Louis Light.

Some people believe the light is a ghost train.

The video is a bit long.

A writer named Phil Campagna has a theory about the light.  He hints towards what it is, but won't share his theory on the website, because he doesn't want to ruin it for people.  If you email him, he'll tell you.  From what I understand, he knows, but he's not 100% sure. And he seems to feel bad that he might have an answer that could ruin the magic.

I think unsolved mysteries make the world more exciting. On the other hand, I think there's a strong temptation to find out what's causing the mystery.  I think then people can be divided between those who want the mystery to be replaced by reasonable scientific explanations, and those who want the mystery to endure.

I'm definitely in the latter group. I like believing in psychic octopus and magical lights.

7.  The last place for today is Midvale, Utah. From what I've heard, Utah is a beautiful place. And I've seen a few nice photos.

I've landed on 7815 Street. And yeah. It's beautiful. I can see mountains.  The houses look to be about the same size as the houses on Rose Street in Concord, Sydney.  I wonder how the prices compare.

I'm not finding any real estate information.

I'm going to try the cross street instead...Roosevelt Street.

There's a 2,268 square foot house for $198,000.  It's much cheaper than the Concord house.  Though I'm not being very scientific, because I never got the square footage for the Concord house.  I'm going by looks alone.

As for Midvale, Lord Wiki says it's part of Salt Lake City.

Some parts of the miniseries The Stand were filmed in Midvale. That's pretty cool.

Well, that's it for today.

I shall probably play again soon.




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