• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Geographical Ignorance is FUN!

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
The title speaks for itself... Post here any stories (that are true please) related to people's ignorance in the field of geography which ends up in a comical conversation or act.

My examples:
Once a European citizen (I think he was from the Chech Republic or something like that) asked my aunt if there where any crocodiles in the river (Valdivia River). Of course our beloved ignorant friend here, did not know that South America isn't all just like Brazil... We do not have crocodiles.. nowhere in Chile! (at least not naturally.. obviously we do have some in zoos)
Another example of Geopolitical ignorance:
A group of european geographers came here to do some reserch, and they came more prepared and stocked like they where going to be in a jungle .One had a baby and brought a huge cargo of diapers, I mean... HELLO! we do have diapers too you know! It's not like we lived in the trees and stuff like that!

BTW does anybody know how can I make a faster coconut computer? mine is so slow that I can go jump a few trees and visit some other neighbors on other trees before it finishes to load the cyburbia page ;)
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I went down to Citywalk at Universal Studios this bizarre little faux downtown on the studio lot geared toward getting tourists liquored up. So I went into this bar about a year ago and they carded me. I showed them my Alberta drivers license. The guy at the door said to me, "oh, Alberta... that's in the province of Calgary huh?" I was just happy that he knew that Canada had provinces.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Last time I was in London I was talking to an Aussie bartender at acorner pub. When he didnt know where Milwaukee was, I told him it was "just north of Chicago". His eyes lit up, and he replied " Oooh Chicago! Do you know Michael Jordan? "
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
A couple years ago I was in LA for a week, and one day at the pool I met a very attractive blond in a very small bikini. We began to talk, and eventually came around to where we were from. "Wisconsin? Wait... Is that east of here?... Isn't it, like, next to Ohio or something?" I don't like to stereotype, but she was a true blond. Yes, Prudence, the carpet did match the drapes. ;)
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
My (now-ex)stepson was in a really stupid-ass, hick school district in FL (yes, there are GOOD ones and BAD ones). As a high school senior, he could not identify the Midwest, New England, or the Miss River. He did get Texas and California.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
I was in high school and in Northern California on a cross-country family vacation when I met four really cute girls in the lobby of the hotel we were staying in (a God-send when you're 16 and just spent two weeks in a van with your parents). I starting speaking with them and after hearing my thick southern accent one of the girls got all excited and said "OMG! are you from Australia?!" I responded sarcastically "Yeah, South Carolina, not too far." She then said "It must be so cool being from another country!"

I left it at that and had one of my best evenings while on that trip.
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,690
Points
27
As a second year grad student in Clemson, I was working in the computer lab, sitting behind two other first year planning grad students. The South Carolinian guy turns to the Pennsylvanian girl and says, in all seriousness "You don't act at all like a Yankee is supposed to." When she asked him what a Yankee is supposed to act like, he responded "You know, bossy and loud and like a Know it All" I almost started hyperventilating and was so tempted to jump in with "Oh yeah? if we seem like know it alls, its because more than 50% of our population graduated from high school!" You know, I never really thought about the fact that I lived in "The North", until I moved down South, where lots of people cared about the distinction.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
lol funny the most racist rednecks i have ever met were from upstate NY and lower NJ

My family thinks i have "traded sides" and become a yankee becouse i live in NORTHERN Va.

i dont get it but hey-the whole world cant be blessed with having GEOGRAPHY degree *bows*

hehe ok i feel better
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
PlannerGirl said:
lol funny the most racist rednecks i have ever met were from upstate NY and lower NJ
True. And if you live in South Carolina that is where most of the resettled snowbirds are from and some have not adapted well to the slower pace of life, although that doen't excuse that Clemson grads poor manners. I just returned from being in a wedding this weekend at the Poinsett in Greenville (beautiful hotel. A really nice example of historic renovation). My fiance, a Pennsylvaia girl, went along and got a few light hearted remarks about being a yankee but she was a good sport about it.

As far as geographic ignorance goes, I was asked by more than one person over the weekend how I liked Philly (I live on the other side of the State) which could have been an honest mistake. I've meet several persons here in PA that do not recognize that North and South Carolina are two seperate states...

"Where did you move from?"

"Upstate of South Carolina."

"Really, well I've got a sister living in Raleigh" or "We just love going to the the Outer Banks."
 
Last edited:

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
When I used to work for the county, it was amazing how many people did not know what township they lived in. They know the name of their post office or their development, but would have no idea what municipal govt they paid their taxes too.....

The best example is the famous Levittown. Levittown spans across 4 municipalities....

"So sir, where do you live?"

"Levittown"

"OK but what township?"

"Levittown"

"OK how about you just show me your street on a map?"
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Along the lines of Danie's thread - some of my co-workers in SC just could not fathom that there was "country" and "country folk" in NY. No one ever believed me when I would try to explain that there were bigger rednecks in my family than in some parts of rural upstate S.C.,
 

seannelson

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
city boy

I went to a small college in central Kansas and there was a guy from New Jersey that was worried about the town being attacked by indians. This lasted through the first couple weeks of school.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
He had reasons; the Indians and the Bagladeshis are very fierce and respected at Bethany College! They don't take to being dis'ed. ;)
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
KMateja:

I understand, I know people down there who think that if someone says they're from L.A. they mean lower-Anderson county.

I think you'd get a kick out of this...
I was one of only two people in the wedding I was in over the weekend who aren't Clemson grads. During the middle of the reception the DJ stopped the music and began blaring the "Tiger Rag." 200 drunks then started screaming the words, "WhooHooHooHoo!"'s and all. To make it even better Bob Jones University was having a spring formal in the ballroom next door. Needless to say, they were not a happy bunch of fundamentalists.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
biscuit said:
Bob Jones University was having a spring formal in the ballroom next door. Needless to say, they were not a happy bunch of fundamentalists.
Having that place named BJU is just so ironic...
 

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,119
Points
28
I once went out with this airhead, whom, when I asked her if she had ever been out of the country, replied "Yes, Kentucky"

I kid you not.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
Duh...

I've met many people who didn't know that Los Angeles was in California, that Chicago is in Illinois, or that Detroit is in Michigan, for example. It seems they think cities are free-standing entities apart from states.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
AFAIK only the 20% or less of the US citizens have a passaport...
So that means that the 80% has only a local mind, they don't get out and see the world. they just belive in what the news say... And if CNN would like to put Germany and Tuvalu in a war for limit conflict, many would fall for that trick...
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
SkeLeton said:
AFAIK only the 20% or less of the US citizens have a passaport...
So that means that the 80% has only a local mind, they don't get out and see the world. they just belive in what the news say... And if CNN would like to put Germany and Tuvalu in a war for limit conflict, many would fall for that trick...

I think the low percentage of Americans with passports is due to the fact that we're such a big, physically isolated country. This isn't Europe where there's a new country every 300 miles linked by rail. I think if we did travel more people would complain that Americans are everywhere as they overcharge us. (The travelling American is boorish and imposing; the travelling European is broadening his mind)

As far as news coverage, I don't think that most people do their own international investigative reporting. Other countries' news organizations have their own slants as well.

As far as geographical ignorance, I've heard stories about people being amazed that there is a state called Rhode Island, but I haven't travelled far enough in the US to hear them myself.
 

ajacks13

Cyburbian
Messages
20
Points
2
I'd just be happy if people stop pronouncing the "s" in Illinois (and I've heard that from a few Chicagoans) -it's like fingernails on the chalkboard to me.

I was also disappointed and annoyed that when I showed people pictures from a recent trip to Cape Town, SA they were "surprised" to find that they had....*gasp* REFRIGERATORS?!!!
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
So few Americans have a passport because it is simply not necessary. We can travel the entire North American continent and a handful of other locations without one.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
any good chicawgoian....

ajacks13 said:
I'd just be happy if people stop pronouncing the "s" in Illinois (and I've heard that from a few Chicagoans) -it's like fingernails on the chalkboard to me.

I was also disappointed and annoyed that when I showed people pictures from a recent trip to Cape Town, SA they were "surprised" to find that they had....*gasp* REFRIGERATORS?!!!
it doesn't bother me when i hear Illinois, i just deal with it, laff it off.

I was just in Evanstan the other day, btw. I had to do research on different type of walgreen's architecture.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Re: any good chicawgoian....

boiker said:
it doesn't bother me when i hear Illinois, i just deal with it, laff it off.
[ot] Boiker - I just saw Rockford advertising for a Planner II. Doesnt that just kinda piss you off? [/ot]
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
What I hate most is that people don't understand the importance of being geographically compentent.... In a globalized world like today's being self-centered and geographically incompetent would bring you a lot of problems...
How can you trade or write a political column(refering to foreign affairs) if you don't know a damn thing about geography!
A few weeks ago there was a european journalist covering the UN Security Council dispute over Irak, and when mentioning Chile, he gladly moved us to AFRICA!!!! Great work dumbass!
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
biscuit said:
KMateja:

I understand, I know people down there who think that if someone says they're from L.A. they mean lower-Anderson county.

I think you'd get a kick out of this...
I was one of only two people in the wedding I was in over the weekend who aren't Clemson grads. During the middle of the reception the DJ stopped the music and began blaring the "Tiger Rag." 200 drunks then started screaming the words, "WhooHooHooHoo!"'s and all. To make it even better Bob Jones University was having a spring formal in the ballroom next door. Needless to say, they were not a happy bunch of fundamentalists.
hee! one of the WORST weddings I ever went to was in Greenville, with a bunch of Clemson Alum during a football game. The reception was a ghost town since everyone was in the hotel lobby watching the game. Except for when the dj played Tiger Rag. good lord.

biscuit - you're making me miss the Jockey Lot! :)
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
SkeLeton said:
What I hate most is that people don't understand the importance of being geographically compentent....
For us Americans, I think our lack of geographical knowledge is mostly because of our isolation. As a nation we didn't become really involved in any foreign affairs outside of our own narrow interests (i.e., Mexico, the Caribbean) until World War I. America was the place people came to get away from everyone else.

Even still, I can't stand it when elitist people from the East or West Coasts refer to the 30+ states in between as "fly-over" land, holding no interest in their minds whatsoever. To them, Indiana might as well be Colorado.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
Ignorance is bliss? I don't think that Geographical ignorance is very cool at all... but mabye that's just because I want to be a Geographer :p
Proper geographical knowlegde is as important as math. If you don't know where the hell you're standing, everything else loses it's coherence( of course not to the point of 2+2=3, and such things)
Having proper knowlegde of the world allows you to escape hoaxes and such things. Ignorance is slavery.

Let's see if this thread gets a 2nd shot ;) :D
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Today, CNN.com stated the following in an article:

Canada has reported 306 suspected or probable cases with 14 deaths, including 136 cases in Ottawa province.
Bonus points to the first non-canadian cyburbanite to spot the error!
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
Ottawa is the provincial and national capital, not a province. Ontario is the province.

I lived just 1.5 hours south of there in northern NY state for 8 years (including college), so perhaps I have an unfair advantage!

Tranplanner said:
Today, CNN.com stated the following in an article:

Canada has reported 306 suspected or probable cases with 14 deaths, including 136 cases in Ottawa province.

Bonus points to the first non-canadian cyburbanite to spot the error!
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
SGB said:
Ottawa is the provincial and national capital, not a province. Ontario is the province.

I lived just 1.5 hours south of there in northern NY state for 8 years (including college), so perhaps I have an unfair advantage!
You get part marks, SGB. Ottawa is the national capital, and Ontario is the province, but Toronto is the capital of Ontario.

I'll just keep the prize for myself. Mmmmmm....donut.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
Rats! I though Toronto was only the financial capital.....

I can practically smell the TH's donut from here....... [drool]
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
Canada

OK, list the Canadian provinces that border the Great Lakes.
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
geo

One of my pet peeves (having been born and raised in W. Pa.) is the reference to Pittsburgh being at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Re: Re: Re: Canada

Tom R said:
Give SGB a cigar!
Make it a Cuban.

Speaking of Tobacco products, who hear knows the small Canadian city that bills itself as the heart of Canada's tobacco country?
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
smoke

My guess is that it is on the St. Lawrence somewhere.
No bites on the Pittsburgh thing yet?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
I guess I am ignorant. I though Pittsburgh WAS at this confluence . I'm too lazy to look up Mapquest, so. . .
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Re: Re: Re: Re: Canada

Michael Stumpf said:
Make it a Cuban.

Speaking of Tobacco products, who hear knows the small Canadian city that bills itself as the heart of Canada's tobacco country?
Would that be Tillsonburg (how my back aches when I hear that word)?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
There is no confluence of three rivers. Where would the water go if there was?
Downtown Pittsburgh is located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, which marks the formation of the Ohio River.

Signed
The Pittsburgh Minister of Information
 
Last edited:

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
100% baby. Yeah, those middle schoolers have got nothing on me!

Oh God. I'm such a nerd
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
huh. mesopotamia is in Asia. And bushman are in Africa. Those were my second guesses. I'm a dumbass.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,889
Points
38
Suprisingly, I got them all too. Geography is not one of my favorites....
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,841
Points
59
Here's one for you ...

Identify the part of North America (excluding Central America and the Caribbean) that is NOT in Mexico, Canada or the United States.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
For dan - would that be greenland?

For michael would that be chatham ?
 
Top