VFYW: Insta-Stalking The Window
For contest #397, we dodge a bunch of cacti and lurk in the comment's section of a photographer.
(For the View From Your Window contest, the results below exceed the content limit for Substack’s email service, so to ensure that you see the full results, click the headline above.)
From the winner of last week’s contest:
OMFG! Totally amazing! I’m very happy to just be able to get close to one of these after many years of wondering how on earth people DO it. To actually WIN is beyond imagining!
Great to hear that you too were a Wave Rider in the OBX as a kid! As a postscript on the Ocean, I was incredibly lucky to get a job in Santa Barbara 40 years ago, and I’ve been blessed to be living within a mile of the Ocean ever since. Still magical (though I don’t go into the mostly cold water quite as enthusiastically as I did at age five).
This week: somewhere in AZ? My newfound technique does not work very well if there’s no specific architectural/geographic detail to crop down to. Oh well! Someone else’s turn to get a happy email!
And let me add that you’ve really turned the VFYW into quite an intensive and very fun feature. I’m sure it’s close to a full-time job to produce these every week. Keep up the great work!
It’s often a 12-hour job each week, but always well worth it. If you all spend a ton of time and care to write in with such fascinating details, the least I can do is closely consider each entry for inclusion. I do my best to incorporate at least a part of every sleuth’s novel entry, especially the newcomers’.
By the way, I forgot to mention last week that there was a serendipitous parallel between the hotel in Nags Head (Surf Side Hotel) and the hotel I stayed at last week in Provincetown (Surfside Hotel & Suites). It wasn’t intentional on my part, just a coincidence of the cheapest available hotel in Ptown during a week-long visit to deliver a friend’s car from DC and catch up with Andrew, who’s still marooned up there because of the prolonged renovation of his DC apartment. Below is a view from my window at Surfside, Andrew’s cottage, and the bus I took to the Boston airport — all from Friday afternoon working on the contest:
From the runner-up of last week’s contest:
Hahahahahaha! We’ve been missing the mark for how long now? I don’t recall the first contest we tried — though I recall contest #61 from Nancy, France and the one pic that still had meta info in it before you caught wind and started scraping it. Someday I’ll win that book :)
Another sleuth is “somewhat disappointed no one worked out what the sign with the (blurry) dolphin was in last week’s view, since it was haunting my sleep for a couple of nights! I need closure.” The Berkeley champ has him covered:
Sorry to slip in such a super late note about the Nags Head reveal, but I was revisiting it just now and recalled how everyone had gone off on a wild dolphin chase, trying to turn the strange image that looked like a dolphin jumping over a setting (or rising) sun into a useful clue. (Me included, although I didn’t include that in my submission.) Well, it wasn’t the seal of a prominent beach town or a signboard painted on a hut, or a trash company’s logo on a dumpster, or a logo with a dolphin jumping over a ship’s steering wheel. I finally recognized the tell-tale black bumps on either side of the dolphin picture for what they were: rear-view mirrors on an RV. Which made the dolphin an image on a windshield sun shade:
Here’s one more followup, from our super-sleuth in Augusta, GA:
I was reading the Wikipedia entry for Nags Head and noticed that it actually contains the View photo! More or less:
I’m surprised no one mentioned it — or perhaps EVERYONE else other than me DID mention it, rendering it unremarkable. I know I’ve seen Wikipedia entries that contained parts of the VFYW photos (buildings, etc.), but I don’t think I’ve seen a town’s entry that basically replicated the View photo itself. That certainly would make them all easier to find ... so long, of course, as you still knew exactly where to look!
This next sleuth segues from last week’s contest to this week’s:
Oof. I keep not entering! Last week I looked and thought “definitely the Outer Banks, will look later.” The week before I had similar thoughts: “I think I can find this, will get to it … ” But then I get lost in other things and never come back. It’s been like this for many weeks. I’ve become a lurker. A creepy VFYW voyeur … which I guess technically describes everyone doing this thing.
Anyhoooo, to get myself re-engaged I’m submitting a first guess immediately, in case I don’t get back for a deeper look. The Camaro screams US, the cactus says Arizona. Best I can do right now. I will come back later with more.
(Narrator: he did not in fact come back later.)
Oh fuck off, Narrator, what do you know??!
A lurker and a schizophrenic. Another Arizona entry comes from a previous winner in Alexandria:
I saw this obviously desert city and thought immediately of Palm Springs, CA, with the tortured green lawns, Spanish-style newish architecture, cacti and cars … but I noticed that one car had no back license plate. I googled the states that don’t require two license plates and California isn’t one of them.
The only desert states that only require one plate are New Mexico and Arizona. I then googled cities in those states with palm trees and hit on a bunch. The cities in NM had more rugged looking mountains and I couldn’t find any painted curbs anywhere. The only hit I got with the palm-tree painted curb / not rugged mountain combo was Tucson, AZ. Best wishes to my superior sleuths!
The most superior sleuth of them all:
Chini adds, “By this point I suppose it’s a prerequisite for me to give a clue. But this week is a bit different; it’s not my success that will help you, but rather a Chini failure; one without which this view might not have been possible … ” Even I don’t understand what he’s alluding to this week, so your guess is as good as min. And there was no window failure; he nailed it as usual.
At first I thought it was Palm Desert, CA, but saguaro cactus are rare there. So, off to the Sonoran Desert, where saguaros grow wild. But looking for hotels led inevitably to Scottsdale, AZ. No actual fitting places found. In keeping with my lazy approach, I’ll pick a place mostly at random: the Civana Wellness Resort, because they have both palms and saguaros in their pix.
Another town in Arizona:
Thank you so much for the wise and wonderful Weekly Dish, as ever. For the contest I normally do everyone a favor and keep my mouth shut, because I usually can’t even get it narrowed down to the right continent, but upon seeing this particular photo I sat straight up in my chair. (For me that’s a hugely dramatic gesture, believe me.) Because the thing is, I’m the president (by nepotism, alas) of the lovely old Arizona Inn here in Tucson, and I just feel sure this is somewhere in the foothills around our city. The mountains look small to be the beautiful Catalinas to the north or the Rincons to the east, so I’ll say they’re a slice of the Tucson Mountains on the west side.
I’m just going with my gut here, same as I used to do in math class back in the day. Didn’t work in math class, but whatever. “Proximity counts”! Maybe I have the right continent, at least?
Yep. Another switches states:
Palm Springs, CA, USA? Looking north. Maybe on the western edge of town.
Another for that town:
Those mountains in the back remind me of Palm Springs, one of my favorite spots on earth. This could be one of the bougier country clubs or golf spots there, towards the northeast end of the city, maybe around the Cimarron Golf Resort.
I wish I had entered last week, because that photo screamed NC to me. So, this week: saguaro cacti, but it does not feel like Arizona — the mountains and grass are all wrong. That suggests Palms Springs, CA. I don’t have the patience of your other competitors, so won’t go looking for the room, but the La Quinta Resort and Club has the right architecture. I’ll look forward to finding out that it is actually Belgium.
Not Belgium. Another sleuth goes farther afield: “The Massey University campus in the Albany neighbourhood in Auckland, NZ.” Another that’s wildly off the mark: “Marrakesh, Morocco? Looks like the hotel I stayed in.”
Getting to the right country is our super-sleuth in Augusta, GA:
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