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web beats - Category: Freedom

Unpopular Ride in the Google Car

September 24th, 2010 View Comments

I know: I should hate the Google car; the car that disturbs peace and privacy and causes torment in small neighborhoods; the car that’s objected to by many local governments; the car that pans our streets to extreme scrutiny, and now thanks to the new high resolution technology shows every single dying landscape shrub and paint chips on the front door.

Unfortunately Google knows me. I’m a modern human, a couch potato, a voyeur. As a hobby, I like rolling the yellow man onto the “street view” map and seeing what ever people are seeing in that specific location. As for my defense, on top of just scouting local real estate listings, I use the map service simply to explore nice spots on the globe.

My yellow man has been a very active travel partner. We’ve discovered many breath-taking locations and of course I’ve made plans to move to each one of them. With the limitation (or benefit) that Google Road View continues to be geographically/regionally limited and blocked from many areas of the globe, here are my favorite Google moments (I’ll post USA listings when Google updates images to higher resolution…):

1) West coast of France

“Je ne parle pas fran├žais”, but I do think the west coast of France is stunningly beautiful and often looked over by the traditional choices of Paris, Provence, Chamonix and so forth. The roads don’t snug the coast line in the same way as say in California (hurray), so the car and it is not able to capture all of the beauty, but I am getting enough hints for wanting to make a trip very soon.

2) North tip of Scotland

Like many, when I think of Scotland, I think of dark green, gloomy, rain, clouds. At least in between the rain and the clouds, the light in Scotland is stunning. The landscape at the northern coast of Scotland is light and airy, so pretty that I definitely want to become a sheep farmer and a folk dancer – anything that can keep me outside, when it’s not raining.

2) Kaivopuisto, Helsinki

Well, so much for the discovery: Timeless summer Helsinki. Too bad Google Car doesn’t deliver ice cream for home nostalgia. (Yes, I’m from Finland.)

New Mexico

August 2nd, 2010 View Comments

Driving from Dallas, Texas to California, and visiting several states on a row, I’ve especially become fond of the soft light of New Mexico. My favorite parts are the endless uncultivated fields of muted green grass with gentle mountains on the background against the soft smoky blue sky. The transition between each element is so seamless, elegant and effortless. At the early hours of the evening, just before the sun is about to set, it is impossible to say if the sky is bright or dark. The blue color is slightly sad, yet so strong, timeless and promising. When the sun finally sets, on the highway there are no lights, and only few reflectors. If I was to design a blanket, it would be New Mexico.

Palm Springs –

August 2nd, 2010 View Comments

I visited Palm Springs, CA, at its hottest month of the year, July. Arriving from Dallas, Texas, the transition was not that bad. Warm bath, both in the water and in the air. Desert city between the mountains, modern architecture, dated looking condos, usual retail sights of Target and Starbucks. There are lot of angles. I cannot quite capture in words why my defense mechanisms went down the drain, and all the sudden I felt incredible ease swimming in the substandard hotel pool, looking at the arid mountains and following a little rabbit jumping on a cemented road. So corny, so nice. If I was to stay and live in Palm Springs I would of course live in a modern house with a rounded corner pool just a small hop from the back door. Maybe no hop at all, just a tiny lean forward, and I would stay in the warm bath forever and ever.

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