I Heart Indies

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Me versus Geography

One thing I wish I knew more about, without any inclination to go to the trouble of actually learning about it, is geography.  I write this on the balcony of our hotel in Aruba.  In the distance I can see shimmering water and white sand, a steady breeze is blowing through the palm trees.  Below I can see a shuffleboard court and the pavilion where they serve alcoholic milkshakes.

And I have absolutely no idea where I am.

I know Aruba is in the Caribbean, but that's really no good to me.  Where exactly is the Caribbean?  I am not being the least ironic; I honestly do not know.  Is the Caribbean different from the Gulf of Mexico?  I know we're not near Honolulu, and I know this isn't the Mediterranean, but other than that I'm in a fog.  I didn't even realize Caribbean has one "r" and two "b"s until I started typing this.

If the Arubans speak Dutch - which I believe they do - are they still considered part of Latin America?  I know we're not far from Haiti because the pilot pointed it out on the way over.  I know they speak French in Haiti because I read it in a book by Graham Greene.  I know they also speak French in France.  I have a pretty good idea where France is, and I can also do England, Spain, and Italy.  Everything else in Europe is just a mishmash until you get over to Russia and then China.  I have no idea where Holland is, the people who originally settled Aruba.  At least I know that they speak Dutch in Holland.  I don't think they speak Hollandaise.

I'm not much better when I get to the states.  Georgia and Florida I can find in a heartbeat, and the states bordering those I'm pretty clear on, but once I get past Tennessee, I'm bewildered.  Where is Arkansas?  And those big square states where they grow all that corn, what are those?  My sister lives in Iowa.  I have been there.  I would not be able to find Iowa on a map.  I don't know the difference between Iowa and Idaho.  Is there a difference?

As sad as my ignorance is, I have no ambition to amend it.  I know we are in the Caribbean.  I know Idaho is not in the Caribbean.  They do not speak Hollandaise in Holland, but Dutch.  The ocean is to my left, and the shuffleboard court and alcoholic-milkshake vender are directly below me.  I know everything I really need to know about geography/

Happy Father's Day.

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