Tag Archives: geography

Fourteen Fresh Foreign Tourism Slogans

Iceland – “Very similar to level 6 on Super Mario 3.”

Bolivia – “Come for the salt flats, stay for the iguana meat salteñas!”

China – “What’s a few more people?”

Croatia – “Do not be intimidated by the crazy spellings.”

England – “Come see yer ol’ mum an’ colonial master guvna.”

Zambia – “So much copper!

Faroe Islands – “We’re Torshavn a ball!”

Papua New Guinea – “We’ll let you name a mountain.”

Indonesia – “Hurry, before the Komodo dragons turn on us.”

Romania – “The bloody lore of Transylvania has been greatly exaggerated.”

Malawi – “Anyone besides Madonna please.”

San Marino – “The leading travel destination for those who were initially just trying to google ‘Dan Marino.’

Greenland – “In life, there are precious few opportunities to see a narwhal!”

Germany – “Bygones?”

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Flag Facts

We haven’t talked flags in a while, so let’s jump back into some vexillogical discussion.

In our previous flag post we established that the St. Pierre & Miquelon flag reigned supreme as the fairest of them all, and we pointed out some other beauties as well.

The magnifieent flag of St. Pierre & Miquelon.

The magnificent flag of St. Pierre & Miquelon.

Today we’re talking more about decoding flag imagery. While some of the world’s flags are pretty straightforward, many are a bit more coy and need some deciphering.

Pretty straightforward: "We're Guam, we have a beach."

Pretty straightforward: “We’re Guam, we have a beach.”

Bhutan flag featuring Druk the Thunder Dragon.

Bhutan flag featuring Druk the Thunder Dragon.

Bhutan – With absolutely no offense toward the majestic bald eagle, I’m not sure any country has a cooler national representative than the ‘Thunder Dragon.’ Here, we see the mighty Druk, as Thunder Dragon is called, on a yellow and orange background. The orange represents Buddhism while yellow is a nod to the country’s monarchy.

Look a bit closer and you can see that Druk is also clutching some things in his talons here. I thought they were bowling balls or maybe large cherries at first glance, but it turns out they are gems, which represent the country’s wealth. This seems a bit incongruous with Bhutan’s “gross national happiness” policy, but Druk does what Druk wants I suppose.

I also just noticed that the gems could be construed as wheels. In which case Druk looks like a super-aggressive tricycle for the baddest kids on the block. Continue reading

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Ferdinand Magellan Fires Up Modern-Day Portugal

Caramba.

Portugal, it’s time for a chat. I’ve just been kind of hanging out, forlornly navigating the nether realms the last 500 years, but enough is enough. Clearly you need a pep talk.

There was a time when Portugal was great. I mean truly big-time. Harlem Shake? Are you kidding me? At one point in the 16th century, a quarter of the earth’s inhabitants were doing the Lisbon Shimmy – provided they had finished their 15-hour shift of brutal forced labor and yielded sufficient production for the day.

It’s time we recapture our glorious heritage. Do you remember what that even entails? Do you remember what I did? Or to a much lesser extent what Vasco da Gama or Henry the Navigator did?

I’ll tell you what I did. I navigated the crap out of planet earth – not so much for myself or my Spanish paymasters – but for you. I captained a ship that circumnavigated the world so future generations of Portuguese meninos e meninas could have what I never got to enjoy.

I didn’t intrepidly sail around the world with a crew of rough men, eating penguin flippers, dodo bird legs and shoe leather; enduring storms, loneliness and unbelievable hardship for my own benefit. I sailed for you.

My parents died by the time I was 10, so I had to grow up fast. I spent what little time I had exploring, risking it all, advancing, and fighting; until I got speared to death on a remote Philippine island. Do you have any idea what that was like? It was awful. Yet I died a horrific death 8,000 miles from home not for my own gain, but to ensure a glorious future for mother Portugal. The last few hundred years I can’t help but question this decision.

Look at you now: a debt-ridden country bereft of overseas possessions that has had to legalize drugs because everyone is so sad. Clearly this sadness is due to a lack of maritime glory.

I feel we have lost our noble Portuguese identity. We are a land that is smaller than those bobos North Korea, or even the U.S. state of Indiana, yet we have given the world so much. The delight of sardines, the faux hawk – that was totally Cristiano Ronaldo – and Fogo de Chao? You may think of that as more of a Brazil thing, but the way I see it, the riches of Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Goa are yours, Portuguese people.

The spoils of these savage lands are your birthright. In fact, a fellow apparition just informed me that Angola now has better job prospects than our beloved motherland. So there you go. It’s all out there, you need only tap your inner navigator and set sail for a new Portuguese Golden Age.

I exhort you, Portuguese homens e mulheres, recommission the caravels and raise your masts. Plunge your padrões into foreign lands and stake new claims.

Reclaim your birthrate. Rediscover your heritage. Reclaim greatness. For Portugal, for God, for future glory.

– F. Magellan

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Face Off! Fergusson vs. Fraser

Welcome to our new Face Off! series, where we pit various F-things against one another and pick a winner through circumstantial evidence, biased preference or other arbitrary means.

This week we’re reigniting a good old-fashioned clan feud between Scottish surnames. Today’s battle pits two of the real Tartan titans: the Fergussons vs. the Frasers.

Which clan is better? Which has contributed more to society? Who has committed less hooliganism?

We’ll settle this Highland haver-fest once and for all today!

First let me begin by saying how much I respect the good people of Scotland. So hardy, independent, red-haired and good humored… That said, let the drinking jokes and Groundskeeper Willie references commence.

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Five Disappointing Countries

The world is an unforgiving place. One day, you’re on top: you got the power, the land, abundant resources, strategic advantages over neighboring countries, compliant subjects, and vanquished foes far and wide. It seems like the good times will last forever. But they never do.

All empires wax and wane, but let’s be honest; some declines have been more disappointing than others…

1. Portugal – To be fair, for such a tiny, sardine-powered nation to have ever accomplished the level of world domination they did is quite impressive. There was a time in the 15-16th centuries when they ruled the seas like none other – they navigated the crap out of planet earth, plundering untold riches and carving out territories in India, Brazil and throughout Africa along the way.

But let’s face it, what a free-fall it’s been for them the past several centuries. Today’s Portugal is mostly famous for its debt problems, the legalization of drugs, and a soccer team that can never quite win the big one. Vasco de Gama must be forlornly navigating around in his grave. Continue reading

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Fantastic Flaggery

Flags have long been a passion of mine. First it was the flag cards, then it was patches + pins, and then shirts. And then it was shirts with slogans, which led to the activism phase (Free Trans-Dniester!), and the equally annoying snarky phase (Icelander – I barely know her!) etc.

With all that behind us, I’ve now come to a place where I just enjoy flags and flaggery in general (or vexillology if you wanna be fancy about it). “What do the colors mean? Why is that bird there? Is that a crustacean on your flag? That sun with a face is weird.”

It’s all so interesting how nations choose to portray themselves. A flag says what you want the rest of the world to know about you.

They don’t make em like they used to. Thank you ancient Kingdom of Benin.

Here is a list of a few all-time favorites. Let’s just make this a list of best currently-used flags, as a list of best all-time flags would open Pandora’s Box for every eccentric country/nation-state to ever use the flag medium to make known their most charming attributes.

8. Zambia – I’m sure this flag is rich with symbolism, but it mainly just reminds me of Contra.

7. Turks + Caicos – Fantastic stuff here – you’ve got a mangled looking conch shell, with what appears to be a trilobite and shuttlecock.

There’s a great sub-genre of former colonial possession-flags where the Union Jack hogs like 20% of the flag, so they just fill the rest with a bunch of random indigenous stuff. Continue reading

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Football Nicknames

For a brief moment in time, it seemed that learning world capitals was going to be the next big thing. People were all like “Podgorica this” and “Funafuti that.”

That fizzled faster than the idea of paying more than $1 for a cupcake, but you can’t hold good trivia down.

With that in mind we’re here to start a new, hot trivia trend – national football team nicknames. Keep in mind in this case we mean football as in “soccer.”

We’ve found through painstaking research that national nicknames tend be filed under one of a few distinct categories:

1.) animals

2.) unimaginative/lazy/nondescript (this includes all teams that refer to themselves as a color, or use a generic adjective to describe their performance)

3.)  _____ Boys(z), [Caribbean squads especially like this formula]

4.) funny natural resource boast/well thought out/generally awesome team name

5.) And last but not least, the ‘maybe this means something different in your native tongue?’ category.

Let’s look at some highlights from around the world. Continue reading

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