The World Compared to What

The World Compared to What
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Peters Map and The Mercator Map
FIVE STAR look at this...

Our maps are deceptive, they do not allow us to compare correctly.

I need a map…
I now need the People Size Map.

If you had a conversation in person with me, I would say comments like,
- Why is everyone listening to a dinky country like France it only has 60 million people. -
- Holland or the Netherlands is amazing; they really make a big noise for 16 million people. -

Eric has clarified the mystery in my brain, and a reason I got hate mail about 7 years ago. I was in Europe and I commented that Europe was dinky, about the size of the Eastern half of the USA. Some European person, they have this myth, which is false, they believe Europeans know Geography better than American, just not true. Both are equally ignorant, however the man wrote a hate mail to me tell me how stupid I was, and I continue to try to measure distances across Europe and the USA.

Erics comments explaining map problems.

This link is EXCELLENT, I just cannot copy the maps because they are copyrighted differently.

NOT a good perception! This is our traditional map, and takes a ROUND world and put into a box, making adjustments that helps sailboats and planes and navigation.

This is a true size map, as I understand this, sort of in a hurry as I am riding the motorcycle from Lome to Kpalime, Togo today.

Whatever the case, you can see the sizes when shown compared to what correctly show the world in a different way.

Ironically, I was having a conversation yesterday about Togo, and was commenting that the many Volunteer Agencies are very naïve.

I hear comments from Volunteers, and I think,
- You are F -king nuts. -
I do not think, they could be wrong, I think 99 percent they are wrong, but to give notice to myself, it is hard to want to jump up and down when there is still the 1 percent chance they are right and I am wrong.

The world is a comparison, compared to what? Togo compared to the USA is poor, compared to Bolivia it is rich.

The roads in West Africa are excellent, I mean these roads are great, when I hear comments about the roads of West Africa I do come un-glued. There is a road from the bottom of Togo to the top of Togo that is outstanding, and then Benin has the same. Ghana has people in the way… hehehe

However, compare to what, compared to the USA, the road sucks. However, the roads in Europe are horrible compared to the USA. The USA is small, compared to the world because the road system is great.

I need a map of people. The people make cities, the cities get in the way of a bus, they slow the bus down and it takes longer to travel.

I keep trying to figure out a map of the planet according to travel time in a bus, this is the real map a traveler needs. If they have a helicopter they can ignore the bus, the trains are jokes, just some anal, I want to be European Colonial way of thinking that prevails, the world does not have trains, I will admit England did a great job for India and that country should be kissing the Butt of England and saying thank you forever for those trains. Nevertheless, Africa does not have Trains, South America and Central America does not have trains. Asia has trains, but the Buse are winning.

The bottom line, a bus is the way the world travels; you want to judge true what the size of the planet is then figure out how long to travel from coast to coast with a bus, this is the size of the country. If you want to know what a pothole looks like, then figure out the number of people. The travel pothole are the cities, the cities get in the way of transportation. This is Europe, every small city is in the way, nothing is just simple, and you need a train to get through the mess of people.

To quote a very astute observation of a fellow traveler,
- Buses enter places from the front door, while trains come in through the back.-

A good read, he is trapped in the USA, earning money to hit the road and leave the West behind.
The World Compared to What
To touch the planets surface, get into a bus, to know the people enter the front door, not the back door. The world is best measured by taking a bus from coast to coast.

I was speculating, the Volunteers in Africa make could get their heads of their A … ss faster, if they took the bus, car, truck on an overland trip from Europe to their Volunteer country. They need to learn about what they want to fix, before, not after the fact.

What they do now is they Volunteer, knowing nothing, and then after they are done, the go travel around Africa. After they think they fixed something they know nothing about. Better to go travel around before, so when they tell me about Togo, I do not want to say,
- Compared to what country? -

Thanks Eric, the world is making more sense today.

You want to fix the planet, I want to know the 20 plus countries you know, and Europe does not count, if you want to fix a poor country, I want to know the 20 similar countries you have visited. If you want to tell me about Geography, I want you to tell me where Indiana is, in the USA first, then I may listen. It is bigger than the Netherlands.

It is starting to rain, another travelers transportation pothole.

The World Compared to What


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Hi Andy. Interesting post. Peters' projetion is much more accurate than Mercator, but it distorts countries in a another way, making the equatorial countries look too tall and thin and the countries at the extremes of the latitudes, like Russia and New Zealand, too short and wide. But the big service to fairness that it performs is too show the true relative sizes of of countries, which suddenly makes Africa, particularly, look as huge as it really is.

I don't agree with all of your thoughts about buses. . . Yes, they are the way the world travels, mostly, and yes it would be interesting to come up with a world map based on journey times. But I think you're being unfair to trains. The problem with trains is they're too small, way too small, and still not fast enough. George Monbiot's book "Heat" about climate change, speculates on the possibility of a high-speed rail link from the UK to India. I thought that was extraordinary and let my imagination run with it for a bit:  imagine a 24-hour train journey at 300kph in a train 10 metres wide and 10 metres high, on tracks 6 metres across. . . carrying maybe 5000 or 10,000 passengers.

It does sound far-fetched, but so would today's cheap air travel have sounded extremely far-fetched when our grandparents were young. I think we need to get building those big new railway tracks. Or we can kiss goodbye to world travel for most people in the next few decades. Which seems very unfair on the Indians, the Chinese and everyone else who is going to want to explore the world as the sea levels rise.

Bon voyage,

Richard Trillo
Discount flights with profits to development:

Richard to quote you..
"true relative sizes"
To quote myself,
"The World Compared to What"?

I am saying relative or compared to what, I am saying if you want to know something in life, it is compared to what, or relative to what? This is the map that is correct, or more correct, and a guide.

Richard to quote you again.
Referenced to buses, you said,
"Yes, they are the way the world travels, mostly, and yes it would be interesting to come up with a world map based on journey times."

The traveler in a country need to accept what is the "Rough" truth, not what they want to be true, or hope to be true. I just purchased a motorcycle, because it is the "Rough" truth that people can drive in Africa better than public transport.

The roads are better and safer here in West Africa than in Asia, Central America and South America comparable places relative to HDI development. Therefore, the highest and best form of transport is a car, which in some ways compared to what says Africa is safer than the other places I have traveled.

Richard you said,
“The problem with trains is they're too small, way too small, and still not fast enough.”

The trouble with trains to me is not speed, it is expense, PUBLIC people want cheap, not fast, and therefore the train does not compete. I was in Ghent Belgium and asked the Eurolines Bus system why they did not have buses inside the country, the man said,
“It would put the trains out of business.”

Trains are great when going to and from an Airport, and for sure they save hours of travel time in Europe, in America the train is a joke, Amtrak is slower than Greyhound and would be out of business except I think the Government give them money. The bus is 10 times more convenient than the train in the USA can is failing mainly because it just does not work cheap and fast, the car is winning.

The world must be accepted on the world’s terms, not what we hope to see. I see zero problems with the future of man. This animal adapts to any situation.

I had the two American Volunteers say to me, they would not know what they would have done without my advice, I said,
“You would have done very well.”

They do not see it, but people adapt, rumors of doomsday are everywhere and for sure the opinions of Africa are not true.

I think most South American travelers would come to Africa and think, this is too expensive, however the rooms are great, compare to what, compared to South America.

Africa is over-prices in a Bourgeoisie Colonial way and I hope this attitude dies quick, I think we need to see the public for what it is, they buy price. Give them a good value and they will buy it. The bourgeoisie attitudes, that are also adopted by the Rich and controlling African people is the problem with Africa, we need some backpacker here, not four wheel drive colonialist, or bourgeoisie. Africa is Africa, it is not Europe, not America, it is Africa, and it needs to be African. What works in on one continent should not be forced to work on another. What works, works.

China will probably win in Africa because they are realist, not hampered by dreams; get down to basic and live with the people real.

I hear what you say Andy, but the world is a very small place and we are right on the edge of making it uninhabitable. We've just had floods in England from the heaviest rain in 200 years and there are tens of thousands of people with no safe drinking water. And in China the floods have killed hundreds and made millions homeless. Yet they are still building coal-fired power stations at the rate of, I think 100 a year. And they have every right to make their lives better. I don't know what the answer is, and for sure travel isn't the only source of the problem – mostly it's just the way we live, consuming and consuming and pumping more carbon into the atmosphere. But we can't go on just letting the market and the "current financial year" dictate everything. I would like my children and grandchildren to experience the joys of travel as I did when I first left home and I worry that the world we're creating won't allow that. Nothing lasts forever, progress and good times aren't guaranteed and at every stage in human history people have looked back on the past with the knowledge that they with living in modern times. I just think people need to use their imagination more.

Hence, my idea about trains!

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