Archive for the ‘Virtual Vacation’ category

Kerguelen Islands

June 4, 2010

The Kerguelen Islands are a part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, and are located in the southern Indian Ocean, approximately equidistant from Australia and Africa.  The equivalent northern latitude would be about the US-Canada border, and their climate is similar to that of the Aleutian Islands off of Alaska.

These islands have only a few human inhabitants, primarily a group of 50 to 100 French scientists (I’m sure there’s a joke there somewhere.)  Fauna include elephant seals, penguins and the odd feral sheep, which subsist on fish and indigenous mosses and lichens, respectively.

Another Virtual Vacation post, using the random coordinates feature.  They give me coordinates, and I give you a post about the nearest bit of land and its inhabitants.


Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam

April 18, 2010

With warmer weather, more sleep and more energy, I’m inspired to post more.  Good news!  The four of you who are still reading will have a few new things to enjoy.

To refresh your memory, Virtual Vacation is a little exercise in which I pick random coordinates (using the generator at and do a little report on the place.  (If it’s out at sea, I go for the closest named island/land mass/city.)

Therefore, today I bring you:

Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam

This city of 100K in southeastern Vietnam is the capital city of Ninh Thuan province.  It is famous for its white sand beaches and, if one travel site is to be believed, is known as the Hawaii of Vietnam.  It is best known for its 12th and 13th century picturesque towers, built by the

Cham people who remain the area’s largest ethnic minority.  Common crops are grapes, onions and hot peppers, and the local dragonfruit is said to be the best in Vietnam.

Benguela, Angola

November 27, 2009

Benguela was founded by the Portuguese in 1617, and is on the western coast of Angola.  (My coordinates were actually out in the ocean a bit, but this was the closest bit of land.  Who wants to read about the Atlantic Ocean?  I don’t.  If the coordinates are really far out to sea, I hit the button again for new ones.)



November 20, 2009

Standrod is a tiny town on the Utah/Idaho border (officially in Utah) which is only accessible by dirt roads and has only a handful of houses, no post office, school or church.


Palma de Mallorca

November 14, 2009

Our next destination with the feature (that I’m going to be calling Virtual Vacation.  v. original, I know) is Palma de Mallorca.  (a.k.a. Majorca, vacation spot for half of Europe.)  Located off of the eastern coast of Spain, Palma is the largest city on Majorca, and by all appearances a lovely place to visit.  Mediterranean vacation, where do I sign?


Reserva Nacional Pampa Galeras

November 6, 2009




This Peruvian national reserve is a sanctuary for vicuñas (camelids, like llamas and alpacas) which are apparently threatened in Peru, possibly due to over-hunting.  (My español is a bit lacking.)  It’s way up in the Andes, close to, um, nothing as far as I can tell.  About halfway as the crow flies between Lima and La Paz.

Gorgeous, huh?

I was hurting for a blog topic tonight and found the coolest feature on    It will give you random geographic coordinates, and show them on Google Maps.  So, what the heck, I thought, let’s find out what I’m going to blog about! This may become a regular feature, because it’s so damn cool.