In a (very) short story called "The Antipodes and the Century," author Ignacio Padilla describes "a great Scottish engineer, left to die in the middle of the desert, [who] is rescued by a tribe of nomads." Upon recovery, the engineer soon "inspires" his saviors "to build an exact replica of the city of Edinburgh in the dunes."

edinburgh[Image: Edinburgh, as photographed by Jim Webb in 2002].

There, "amidst the rocks of the Gobi," Padilla writes, Kirghiz nomads are taught "the exact height that Edinburgh Castle must attain, the precise length of the bridge that connects the High Street with Waverly Station, the correct calculations necessary to establish the perimeter of Canongate Cemetery, [and] the true distance between the two spires of St. Giles' Cathedral."
With that knowledge – and with lots of rocks – they construct "an elephantine fortress of streets, bridges, and windows." It is "a shimmering haze of towers" that blends in architecturally with the inferior mirages of the desert horizon.
Until it is buried by a sandstorm, then, this new, replicant Edinburgh functions as "a kind of global map in the very heart of the Gobi Desert," we read, "a vague though tangible diorama of the cosmos, its center a replica of the Scottish capital."

(See also Huangyangtan: or, Tactical geoannexation, Part II, at Pruned).

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Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

PS: As of two hours ago and a dinner at Whole Foods, I now live in Los Angeles.

September 23, 2006 12:18 AM  
Blogger e-tat said...

In that case, welcome home!

Also, from this bit of information, I can that that your priorities are
1: eat
2: blog
3: everything else

Live to blog, blog to live.
I hope LA is suitably mirage-like among the rocks.

September 23, 2006 2:21 AM  
Blogger joeyjoseph said...

Awesome to have you here! Welcome to California!

September 23, 2006 3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I bet the first thing I would do when I moved to a new city is eat at a Whole Foods!

September 23, 2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Well, in that case, maybe you'd be exhausted from 10 days on the road, with a car full of shit you just unpacked into a hotel room, and with more than enough to think about already charged onto your credit card, and so eating cheaply at a Whole Foods might sound like a good idea.

Meanwhile, thanks for the welcomes - and the links - and there'll be more to come soon. Off apartment-hunting today...

September 23, 2006 1:15 PM  
Blogger javier arbona said...

welcome to Califas. Think of this... Someday I might have a degree signed by Governor Arnold. Long live LA.

September 23, 2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Hey Jav - Better get that degree soon then, 'cause Arnie might not be around for much longer. Meanwhile, give me a shout next time you're in LA.

And Nathan, love the Shibam link. Thanks again.

Also, e-tat, I might reverse that list...

September 24, 2006 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you hike in Zion? Anything blow your mind out there?

September 24, 2006 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the thing about that scale-model terrain out in China (outside of Huangyangtan). The guy who "discovered" it in Google Earth has been monitoring news reports about it and compiles them in at foundinchina.blogspot.com. Lots of discussion, but no concrete answers yet.

September 25, 2006 12:22 AM  
Blogger Juke said...

"The City of the Pharaohs"
"lost city of Cecil B. DeMille"

September 25, 2006 3:48 AM  
Blogger Octopus Grigori said...

Welcome to L.A.!

As you may have heard, the weather's great! And the buses have TV!

Good luck with the apartment hunt.

Please let me know if you'd ever like a tour of scenic and charming Eagle Rock, including a viewing of the Rock itself.

September 25, 2006 1:15 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Hey Octo - I'd love a tour. I'll be in touch. I think we found an apartment, too, so things are moving apace. Meanwhile, we looked for the green flash over the Pacific yesterday and missed it. Or it missed us.

And Juke, great story, thanks for that! I'll write something up about it soon - thanks again.

And anon, I did indeed hike in Zion Nat'l Park - I'll write about that soon, too. Amazing place eroding itself slowly into arches. Abrasion, ice, and earthquakes.

Off for more L.A. - then I'll be posting again...

September 25, 2006 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing !!
Tras el Muro de Planck

October 04, 2006 10:46 PM  

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