Which country is this from?
June 24, 2011 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Which country is this photo from?

Which country is this photo from? A very small web community was asked today and we don't know why. It's probably to do with some competition but I'm not personally involved. Just intrigued and can't go to sleep with no answer after a million guesses.
posted by keijo to Society & Culture (87 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have the original version (or a more original version)? You could try looking at the EXIF data.
posted by ixohoxi at 1:29 PM on June 24, 2011

Since there appears to be a cow comfortably bedded down on the median, I'm guessing India.
posted by Chrischris at 1:30 PM on June 24, 2011

K. Passi has the same name as a Vascular Surgeon who was educated in India.
Also, there's the cow.
posted by the Real Dan at 1:31 PM on June 24, 2011

Not India, as the country drives on the left hand side.
posted by Jehan at 1:32 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

India is a drive on the left side of the road country, so I'm guessing no.
posted by Tsuga at 1:33 PM on June 24, 2011

Yeah—for what it's worth (possibly not much), "Passi" is a Punjabi surname.
posted by ixohoxi at 1:34 PM on June 24, 2011

India's not it, driving on the wrong side of the road. It really looks like somewhere in North America. It has the US/Canada/Mexico size license plate on the car driving by, Holstein cow, typical road markings of North America.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:35 PM on June 24, 2011

That looks like a Holstein dairy cow, so I'm going to guess it's a bit of a trick question and the the pic was taken somewhere in the U.S.
posted by amyms at 1:37 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Without a bigger size (to identify the license plate or the vegetation) I don't see this can be worked out on visual alone unless somebody specifically knows the location.
posted by Jehan at 1:37 PM on June 24, 2011

Maybe the cow escaped from the pasture.
posted by mareli at 1:38 PM on June 24, 2011

It's possible that that car could be on the left hand side, but those are two parallel roads rather than a dual carriage way with a central reservation.
posted by pmcp at 1:38 PM on June 24, 2011

Yeah, but for the more-tropical-looking trees in the median, that could easily be Austin. I would guess the picture was taken because the cow was remarkable, not commonplace - anywhere within wandering range of a Holstein could easily be the location. Fences break, cows get out.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2011


"K Passi" is not Indian. It's Finnish. Do roads in Finland look like that?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2011

I don't believe its the US--The license plate looks too narrow to be a standard one. Also, I've never seen lane markers that long on any US street. They tend to be shorter and usually are painted either bright white or yellow.

Maybe Canada?
posted by Chrischris at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2011

You know, you could probably just send kpassi a message on PhotoBucket and ask her.
posted by ixohoxi at 1:42 PM on June 24, 2011

If you have a Photobucket account, you can log in, see K Passi's album and read the profile. Finland. Not to be a stalker.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:43 PM on June 24, 2011

Response by poster: Kpassi asked the question from me, she's Finnish, the photo is not.
posted by keijo at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2011

I don't think it's finland - they don't seem to have those over arching street signs.
posted by pmcp at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2011

well, that was redundant
posted by pmcp at 1:45 PM on June 24, 2011

Maybe Canada?

Those trees don't seem very Canadian. Can anyone identify them?
posted by burnmp3s at 1:45 PM on June 24, 2011

Maybe Branchburg, New Jersey?
posted by amyms at 1:47 PM on June 24, 2011

Canadian plates are more or less the same as U.S. plates.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:47 PM on June 24, 2011

The trees might be crepe myrtle? The license plate might be South Carolina (dark shape in the middle of the plate is a palm?)? Or somewhere in California based on the pattern of the cracks in the road?
posted by hydrobatidae at 1:47 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

A very small web community was asked today and we don't know why.

Which community? I think that might be key here.
posted by misha at 1:48 PM on June 24, 2011

Also the SC plate has a dark navy strip at the bottom (beach) so that would make it look narrower.
posted by hydrobatidae at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2011

I'm guessing US too. The road markings and license plate definitely aren't European, and there's a Holstein cow (as others have said). For info, zooming in on the license plate, it's pretty clear that it's only shadows on the top and a gradated-to-dark bottom that make it appear narrower than it actually is.

Also, those lanes are MEGA-wide. Dayumn. I haven't seen a lane take up so much real estate since leaving the US. That there would be three lanes here in France. (Seriously. They're not much wider than a 4x4 that size.) But it could feasibly be Canada as well, this is true.
posted by fraula at 1:55 PM on June 24, 2011

The file name includes "streetview", so it may be one of the countries where Google has taken streetview images.

And I agree about the North American style plates.
posted by Tsuga at 1:56 PM on June 24, 2011

The plate on that car looks like Vermont to me, unless it's a design not currently in production...
posted by schmod at 1:57 PM on June 24, 2011

I see a white Caddy and a green Ford. The cars are too old and large to be anywhere but North America. Doesn't look like Mexico to me, so it's the US or Canada.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:57 PM on June 24, 2011

Narrowing it down again: It's a state/province that requires front license plates, there's a car with a white-ish plate in the parking lot.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:58 PM on June 24, 2011

(Problem is that the streetscape and foliage do not look like Vermont...)
posted by schmod at 1:59 PM on June 24, 2011

It looks like the bottom foot or two of the trees is painted white. I'm not sure where that sort of thing would be more or less common, though.
posted by Tsuga at 2:00 PM on June 24, 2011

This might be a stretch, but the high angle of the sun really stinks of being closer to the equator
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:02 PM on June 24, 2011

The red and blue things on the far street...could one of them be a possible postal box?
posted by samsara at 2:05 PM on June 24, 2011

Is there a chance this is a US islands territory?
posted by Jehan at 2:07 PM on June 24, 2011

I do agree that it is probably North America, even specifically the U.S. The roads are wide, the vehicles are big, the license plate looks blue with white letters so it might even be Michigan.
posted by misha at 2:07 PM on June 24, 2011

I don't think it's a Google Streetview screenshot, as the HD ones tend to have a distinctively saturated color palette. South Carolina is a good guess - the foliage/infrastructure seems right and that license plate could very well be one of these.
posted by theodolite at 2:08 PM on June 24, 2011

The cow appears to be tied to a tree, but that might just be something in the background.

My first instinct was Australia, but the car's on the wrong side. Of course, the photo may have been flipped.

I'm pretty sure it's not Canada, since the curb on the median is painted yellow, whereas up here the yellow line would be on the road. And I don't recall ever seeing trees like that anywhere in the country.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:08 PM on June 24, 2011

The trees look like sumac more than crepe myrtle to me, and yeah, it looks like the States to me too.

There aren't Holsteins in India, btw.
posted by Specklet at 2:19 PM on June 24, 2011

I thought the trees looked like mimosa.
posted by amyms at 2:31 PM on June 24, 2011

Just to add to the license plate discussion... It is important that we do not forget that most states have dozens of license plates available to their driving population. Thus, that could very well be any of a number of specialized plates - a sports team, a charitable cause, a personalized plate, a university, a military branch, etc.
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:33 PM on June 24, 2011

The trees look somewhat fern-ish like powerpuff trees. The red box on the other side of the street looks oddly similar to a royal mail box (or one modeled after the royal mail...with a registration below the slot). Still haven't found any image matches on that yet...but I'm thinking if it is a mailbox, matching the style will match the country.
posted by samsara at 2:34 PM on June 24, 2011

Or, for that matter, don't forget that a plate of a given state may not actually belong to that state - it could be a traveler/visitor. So even if the plate is magnified somehow and clearly identified, it could be a red herring.
posted by Stormfeather at 2:38 PM on June 24, 2011

Everything about this picture just "seems" American. The wide lanes, the right-side driving, the abundant power lines, the street lights, the cars - I almost get a university campus feel from it. That red box is throwing me off. I immediately thought Royal Mail postbox. Maybe that building is a library, and the red box is a book drop???
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:42 PM on June 24, 2011

I vote for California, the coastal flats somewhere from the Peninsula down south, or maybe the Central Valley. It sure looks like the bland generic business-park architecture in the less swanky parts of Silicon Valley. The trees look about right too, especially the short (mimosa?) trees on the median and the large evergreen behind. Mountain View in particular has very diverse trees like this, although no cows that I know of.

The white paint on the tree trunks is pretty common in parts of Central America and the Caribbean (supposedly it helps prevent sun damage), and I sometimes see it around here. Presumably the landowner or groundskeepers are from there, or have had trouble with sun scald, or just wanted a cheap precaution.

I don't think that red thing is a mailbox. It looks to me like a plinth with a company logo, just like you see at the entrance to a lot of business parks here.
posted by Quietgal at 2:44 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

kinda thought the leaf structures and the leggy look of the foreground trees look like young/stunted/poorly pruned jacarandas (1, 2), along with those tree suckers.

from wiki page:
In the United States, it grows in parts of Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.,[2][3] and has been reported to grow in Lafayette, southern Louisiana,[4] the Mediterranean coast of Spain, in southern Portugal (very noticeably in Lisbon), southern Italy (in Naples and Cagliari it's quite easy to come across beautiful specimens). It is regarded as an invasive species in parts of South Africa and Queensland, Australia, the latter of which has had problems with the Blue Jacaranda preventing growth of native species. Lusaka, the capital of Zambia also sees the growth of many Jacarandas.
posted by ilk at 2:49 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking California also and white tree trunks are very common in agricultural groves/orchards and the surrounding areas. The white coating is used for nematode protection on citrus trees as well as decorative purposes (not to mention making roadside trees more visible).
posted by buggzzee23 at 2:53 PM on June 24, 2011

I get a California Central Valley feel as well. Or Sacramento. Possibly next to a school.

Not hardcore rural- there are no pickup trucks at all. Pretty much small-medium size cars.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:56 PM on June 24, 2011

FWIW...UC Davis is a cow-loving campus.
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:57 PM on June 24, 2011

By the way... damn you keijo!! I have to go to work, and I can't let this go!!! Is this a good excuse for a sick day?
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:59 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's nothing in the EXIF data.

Nothing on the Google Advanced Image Search

Ditto nothing on TinEye.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:59 PM on June 24, 2011

If someone can identify the model of car or species of tree, it should make it easier to limit it to certain countries.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:02 PM on June 24, 2011

Honestly, this could be anywhere. You need a bigger image or its just people throwing out random guesses.
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on June 24, 2011

It looks Australian to me.

I suspect the brick building is a school which explains the extra little road. The pedestrian crossing is right, we have plates front and back on those cars, and yes, I agree, summer jacarandas when the trees lose their flowers and come back in to full leaf. The red thing looks like things we have around here, I've always suspected that they had something to do with utilities, but never really examined them. I would put this town on the coast of Australia, anywhere from Grafton (known for it's mature jacaranda trees) up.

And as for the cow, Griffith University (which has nothing to do with cows) used to have them break through the fence and come in peer in the window or set the automatic doors off because Griffith is beside a paddock. So cows in strange places not too unusual.
posted by b33j at 3:07 PM on June 24, 2011

Could the white on the trees be creosote? It's used in Central America for bug prevention. It does seem like it's only on the one tree, though. Maybe it's just a wrap of some sort for a spindly tree.

I'm pretty sure the car is a 90s model Toyota Rav-4 or a 1990s Honda CR-V.

The license plate is the size/shape of an American/Mexican/Canadian/Central American plate. The small nature of the letters suggests it is a vanity plate or a special plate of some sort. Apparently low numbered (2 digits) plates are common in Washington, Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, Illinois, and the District of Columbia.
posted by mrfuga0 at 3:24 PM on June 24, 2011

That looks like a brick building, which seems out-of-place for California (especially southern California).
posted by muddgirl at 3:24 PM on June 24, 2011

The car looks like a second generation Isuzu Rodeo (based on placement of the spare tire relative to the body and the rear fender/bumper). It can't be Australia, again, driving on the right.

I tried spying UC Davis, but the pedestrian markings don't match the Davis, CA.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:29 PM on June 24, 2011

If someone can identify the model of car or species of tree, it should make it easier to limit it to certain countries.

There's no way to positively identify those trees on blurry shape alone. I would guess something in the Anacardaceae family, which includes Rhus, Cotinus, Pistacia, and Schinus. They grow in many places, leaning toward hot. The big dark tree looks like a conifer of some sort. The tree in front of the school or office building might be a Schinus that has been poorly trimmed due to electric lines. I could identify any of these plants with a good photo, but not this one.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:47 PM on June 24, 2011

That's not in Davis, but I think it is in the Sacramento area.

It looks very much like the area east of Sacramento, east of 99 and south of Highway 50. I thought maybe it was Folsom Blvd, but I drove down it in streetview and it's not. It also looks like the area just off of Bradshaw in Sacramento, again, south of 50.

We don't generally store our cows in the medians of busy roadways, but if one got loose, tying it to a tree until the owner arrived with a trailer would be a pretty sensible thing to do.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:53 PM on June 24, 2011

There's also a local courier or parcel service that has red drop boxes like that, but for the life of me I can't remember which company it is. I know I pass by one regularly, but can't remember exactly where it is. I'll keep my eye out on my bike home.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:02 PM on June 24, 2011

Australia was my first thought as well.

I magnified the photo and there seem to be three of something to the left of the cow. Maybe other small animals? Can anyone else see this?
posted by triggerfinger at 4:39 PM on June 24, 2011

This definitely isn't Canada. (The yellow median strip, the foliage.)

I also see the "three of something" but can't tell what they are. Do they have round ears, though?
posted by equivocator at 5:05 PM on June 24, 2011

The red box on the far side of the street doesn't look at all like a mailbox to me. It looks like one of those low-cost plastic dispensers used by free newspapers and circulars.

The mix of cars looks very American or Canadian. It's lacking any of the European imports and Japanese kei-cars I'd expect to see elsewhere in the world.

The architecture of the building looks like standard American suburbania. Not institutional, just boring. Like some random Midwest office building.

I also see the "three of something". I reckon they're either calves or goats. They're too big for dogs, and the one on the right appears to be spotted like the cow.

Also, as a (transplanted) Midwesterner, the overall gestalt of the photo is extremely familiar.

My vote is for the southern Midwest United States. Like, Arkansas or Oklahoma (which would account for the width of the road, too, given the cheap real estate). Either of those places would have towns with "suburban" buildings surrounded by dairy farms.
posted by Netzapper at 5:13 PM on June 24, 2011

Wherever it is, the land is FLAT.

I was about to say that the red object looks to me like a newspaper box but Netzapper beat me to it.

The trees in the median don't look like crape myrtle to me.
posted by Orinda at 5:19 PM on June 24, 2011

I've uploaded the picture to my Facebook account to ask my contacts to help identify location.
posted by b33j at 6:14 PM on June 24, 2011

You only need country; USA seems the safest bet. I disagree about thx license plate being SC, and SC def doesn't require front plates. But for what it's worth that could be any median around here (especially reminds me of Mount Pleasant, SC near Charleston, SC but way more adjacent to rural).

And those totally look like crepe myrtles to me.
posted by Kronur at 6:19 PM on June 24, 2011

OK, on reconsideration, those could be crape myrtles. Something about the way the light was falling on the leaves made them look "wrong" to me but I see it now.
posted by Orinda at 6:48 PM on June 24, 2011

What's interesting to me is the green pole in the median and the green pole to the far right. The one on the right looks like it has something hanging from it, like a banner telling you what neighborhood you're in.
posted by ifandonlyif at 7:19 PM on June 24, 2011

I also think the three objects next to the cow are turkeys.
posted by ifandonlyif at 7:20 PM on June 24, 2011

1. Notice the electrical lines -- they're overhead and not congested. Good way of narrowing down to country (U.S. or U.S. influenced countries, light population area).

2. Long street markings are not typical of U.S. mainland

3. Back all the way in the top right-hand corner, there is a triangle traffic sign - it's placed way too high for typical U.S. signs.

The cleanliness, decent road condition and sense of 'organization' all point towards the U.S.

Therefore, I pick: territory of the U.S., potentially in the Caribbean.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:26 PM on June 24, 2011

Everything I see in there from the cars to the vegetation to the curb and road styles, to the buildings is consistent with the US or Canada.

The cow is a Holstein, which are most popular in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, however all but Canada and the US drive on the left.

It could be another European country (the remaining places where Holstein cows are raised), however the cars, curbs, vegetation and building style would probably be different. (For example here are a few similar points of view from other European countries. [one] [two] [three] Notice how quickly they seem different because of signage, cars, architecture, etc.
posted by Ookseer at 7:48 PM on June 24, 2011

For those getting a California vibe, could it be that the cow decided to sit down and rest during the Folsom Cattle Drive?
posted by amyms at 8:12 PM on June 24, 2011

i was going to say ailanthus (tree of heaven) on the median trees. and i would say three dogs with the cow. i feel like i've seen the white-painted tree trunks more in the u.s. south, but i can't picture just where.
posted by miss patrish at 10:46 PM on June 24, 2011

oh, wait! the place i've seen white-painted tree trunks is our across-the-street neighbor's house; she's originally from chicago.
posted by miss patrish at 10:57 PM on June 24, 2011

The color scheme on the plate looks very much like Illinois to me. White on top, blue on the bottom, red letters.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:58 PM on June 24, 2011

I think it's Brazil. Tropical trees with white paint, white license plates, higher street signs and roaming cows are all in Brazil.
posted by southeastyetagain at 6:37 AM on June 25, 2011

Will we be given the actual answer?
posted by moiraine at 6:54 AM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

That screams southeast US to me. From the roads to the foliage to the streetlights to the sky. I don't think it's caribbean, everything looks a little too suburban and generic, my general impression of the caribbean is that nature always seems just about ready to take over everything given the smallest window of human absence.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:21 AM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Despite the cow, which is very very common to Wisconsin, I can say with 99.9999% certainty that it is not Wisconsin. Never seen a tree like that here, and the asphalt looks wrong.

California is the leading dairy producing state, but this looks too humid to me.
posted by desjardins at 10:30 AM on June 25, 2011

Looks a lot like Mexico to me, this could be any street in Mexico city, queretaro, guanajuato, etc. Other than the cow, which throws me off, the street and cars and even trees could surely be in Mexico. White tree bases are really common in a lot of public green areas.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:35 PM on June 26, 2011

I was really hoping this was solved by now. It looks very a very temperate-to-tropical climate to me. Are those sorts of cobrahead light fixtures common all over the world?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:41 AM on June 28, 2011

Aw, Metafilter.... you're disappointing me! I was hoping we'd have this solved by now!
posted by schmod at 9:38 AM on June 30, 2011

I want to say that it's somewhere near here (Google street view link), which is also very near Gateway computer's headquarters. You know, the company who's branding is the Holstein cow.

(Similar business park kind of vibe, lots of boulevards with similar looking trees. A reason for a cow.)

Maybe someone who has a faster internet connection can virtually drive around and find a better match.
posted by Ookseer at 9:21 AM on July 1, 2011

I don't think it's Irvine. I don't see a lot of overhead power lines in Irvine. Irvine's all just a little too polished to match the photo.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:55 AM on July 1, 2011

Well, coming back to this late in the game...decided to spend a few mins in street view and now I'm almost sure it is Mexico City (Streetview). It has all the characteristics of the mystery photo (the white plates, longer than US style dotted street lines, trees with trunks painted white, grassy medians).
posted by samsara at 11:20 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Guadalajara is another possibility, however the dotted lines don't seem as elongated as they are in Mexico City (trying to find the exact street)
posted by samsara at 2:55 PM on July 1, 2011

I was just made aware of this site, whose sole purpose is placing photos. Might as well be worth a try.
posted by Ookseer at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2011

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