Archive for the ‘Geography’ Category

Where to Go to Get What You Want

March 26, 2010

The United States has its regional flavors: maple syrup from Vermont, cheese from Wisconsin, bourbon from Kentucky, tobacco from North Carolina, peaches from Georgia, apples from Washington, wine from California. But because the country is so vast it’s unrealistic for Americans to peruse the regional aisles to buy stocks from every state. Those Americans finicky about the provenance of their food spend the money to pay retailers to bring it to them.

Uganda is exponentially smaller, about the size of a midwestern rectangle, but it too encompasses a remarkable ecological diversity, the reason that it is one of the few countries in the world where over a thousand species of birds can be seen or, more likely, heard. The variety of climates and environments affords not only a multiplicity of birdlife but also a range of regional foods.

Many families in Uganda have mobile constituents regularly crisscrossing the relatively small country, and they are acutely aware of the bargains to be got buying food where it’s raised. A traveller to any corner of the country returns home with a bulk quantity of the local staple, making Uganda a giant supermarket where shoppers fill cars instead of carts. The country map is the grocery floorplan; the regions are the numbered aisles.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

What Border Is It?

January 17, 2010

What two countries share the border that runs along the crest of the two peaks in the picture? It’s hard to believe there’s snow – and even glaciers – in these countries typically thought of as jungles.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

De Nile

August 12, 2009

The Rive Nile, currently being stretched inch by inch by its advocates in a competition with the Amazon and its advocates for the title of the longest river in the world, is famously comprised of two principal tributaries, the While Nile and the Blue Nile, which converge in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

De NileThe White Nile is the better known of the two, largely because when it comes to rivers it is the longest which has always captured our imaginations.  It pours north out of Lake Victoria, which itself is fed by smaller rivers and streams from all over the region.  It is one of these, emanating from a spring in Burundi, which is currently considered to be the source of the Nile, the most distant source of the water which flows into the Mediterranean north of Alexandria, Egypt.

Though shorter, the Blue Nile actually contributes far more water to the river’s annual flow.  It crashes down from the highlands of Ethiopia in a gigantic flush of rich, organic silt once every year.  When the Bible speaks of the annual flood that nourishes Egypt, it is describing the waters of the Blue Nile.  When it speaks of drought, it is because the rains failed that year in Ethiopia.

In the case of the River Nile, it is wrong to think of the most distant point as the source.  From the perspective of anyone downstream of Khartoum, the source of all that water and the river’s true genesis, is the Blue Nile of Ethiopia.

Graph taken from The Africa Report.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine