Have you had your recommended daily dose of maps yet? No? Well then, today I may save your life.
Map 11 shows the countries where I would go to hide from the United States government if I were an ex-spy or something. I am not a spy or a criminal or anything, nor am I planning to be, but it is always good to have a back up plan in case shit hits the fan. Some explanation may be required. The key at the bottom shows which countries I would consider the best and worst for hiding out. Each country is rated based on living conditions, hiding potential, and language barrier. If I had to leave the U.S, some countries would make excellent choices as my new home but would probably get me caught almost immediately (Canada, United Kingdom, Australia). Others would be a good fit but may offer some difficulties in terms of language (China, Sweden, Italy). Of course, if I am being chased by the CIA (like Jason Bourne), I would probably have to go somewhere I could easily hide over a place where I’d be more comfortable (Sudan, Oman, Congo). Let me be clear, when I say “Poor Living Conditions” in the key, I don’t mean the entire country nor do I think it would be impossible to live there. This is all about relative living conditions and let’s face it, some places are just better in general even if there are positives and negatives everywhere. Overall, I think I would fare much better at living in a new country with all the obstacles and changes in environment than I would be at hiding from the US government. Jason Bourne was the best at hiding and his German wife still died at the beginning of the sequel (it came out in 2004, sorry if I ruined it for you). Life on the run would be really difficult. I don’t think I would enjoy it. I can only imagine how long it would take to get used to living in a place like India or Thailand especially with a nervous/paranoid/traveler’s stomach.
Who am I kidding? I’d be caught and thrown in a cell for whatever I did within a month!
It has occurred to me that I may have come across as a really judgmental American in the making of this map. I have only traveled in North America so far so I could not fault that argument much. I don’t have a ton of experience traveling the world (yet) but I have created this map based on a lot of movies, television shows and internet articles (really scientific, obviously). It may appear harsh how I judge Africa and the Middle East, for example, but I do so based on political turmoil, war, racial tensions, terrorism/piracy/warlords, religious extremism, and the hot desert sun (I burn easily). Like I said, each place has positives and negatives. I might love it in a city in Saudi Arabia and completely despise a city in New Zealand. Crazier things have happened, just ask Matt Damon.
Map 12 shows all of the Olympic Host Countries. If you’re familiar with me, at all, you know I love the Olympics (Winter and Summer)! My love of the Olympics started when I was twelve, watching the Sydney Games with our cat who was stuck in a kennel for a month with a broken leg in a cast. I would watch all day long because I was a kid and it was Summer. I would even stay up until 3am to watch the Sailing events live. Since then, every two years I have been entranced by the biggest international sporting competition in the Universe (I assume). There isn’t a sport I won’t watch. In fact, I try hard to watch at least some of each and every event during the Games, even the relatively boring ones like Speed Walking. I watch all the prime-time coverage (to the chagrin of my wife), binge-watch the online coverage, read articles, sneak-watch at work, fill up any DVR I have access to, and actually collect the news sports sections for the two weeks during the Olympiad. Any friend of mine on Facebook or Twitter will also testify to my loyalty which starts with #OlympicsNerd. When I can I watch multiple events simultaneously using my TV, my iPad, and my computer. I really am obsessed.
In the map below you will see all the countries that have had the honor of hosting the Olympics. The nations in green have had the privilege to host both the Winter and Summer Games. The Games in 1980 and 1984 were held in countries that no longer exist, the USSR and Yugoslavia, so I have given credit for hosting to the countries that are home to the host cities (Moscow in 1980, Sarajevo in 1984). You will also notice I have identified three of the countries as the announced upcoming hosts of the next three Olympics (lucky bastards).
I have yet to attend the Olympics in person because of geography and finances. Since I turned 18, most of the Games have occurred far from home, the exception being the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Vancouver is definitely part of a few of my future trip itineraries (of those that I’ve mapped out for my own enjoyment) and I credit the coverage for that desire. The rest of the host countries since 2006 have been quite far including Italy, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom (and soon Brazil, South Korea, and Japan). I would love to go to all the Olympics but at this point in my life I cannot pull that goal off financially. Travel costs alone are very high not to mention having to miss two weeks of work. The next time the Games are hosted in the United States or Canada I will try to go if I can afford it at the time. If I win the lottery some day you can bet your ass I will go to as many Olympics as possible (just don’t bet your ass on the United States in Doubles Badminton because you will probably lose).
Of course if I do attend the Olympics it will be a lot harder to watch as much coverage as I currently do. Maybe I could set up sixteen DVRs to record everything while I attend live events and watch it when I get home. I watch at least a little of every event, something that would be nearly impossible in person. If attending I would have to choose my favorites to actually get tickets for. My all time favorite events are probably Beach Volleyball and Snowboarding. Some people dislike the influence the X-Games have had on the Olympics in the past decade but I believe Snowboarding and other extreme sports have been excellent additions. At the same time, it is hard to argue against the classics like Athletics (the Track events like the 100m and discus) and hugely popular team sports like Basketball, Soccer, and Hockey.
Bonus Olympics Fact: The Olympics were cancelled in 1916, 1940, 1944 because of World Wars. Coincidentally, the cities that were scheduled to host the Olympics during these years were highly involved in the wars taking place at the time – Berlin in 1916, Tokyo in 1940, and London in 1944. For the sake of the humankind and my love of the Olympics, may they never be cancelled again!!
I have to stop writing about the Olympics now or I may never stop and this edition of Fun with Maps would be much longer. I will share more of my thoughts and memories of the Olympics in future posts (I won’t be able to not post them). Additionally, as I said last time, I am now accepting suggestions for future maps. I can fill in my trusty maps with whatever topic you want. Maybe I could do countries once owned by England. I don’t know, give me some ideas.