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Autor: anton 01 December 2010
Words: 1203 | Pages: 5
In this paper we will see the map activity I have done from just reading the front page of my local paper and the front page of a foreign paper. I do have personal perceptions and images in my mind of these nations. I will show how those perceptions stand to comparison with the facts that I found about the respective countries.
The local newspaper I chose is the Miami Herald. In it, you primarily find news from Miami- Fort Lauderdale area, in the front section there were a few articles mentioning Cuba. The regional news which are found in the Nations News sections is all from Washington and in the International Section there were mainly news articles about Cuba.
I would say that my favorite foreign newspaper by far is the International Herald Tribune, which "is the premier international newspaper for opinion leaders and decision makers around the world. In an era of information overload, those who both make and track decisions on the global level depend upon the IHT as the most complete, credible and concise daily newspaper in the world." (International Herald Tribune [IHT], 2005) In Today's Current Events France and China were the main stories China with its torture in Chinese law enforcement, while in France a doctor made the first face transplant.
Therefore, the countries that I was looking at more closely after examining those newspapers are Cuba, France and China.
I do have personal perceptions and images in my mind of these nations. I will show how those perceptions stand to comparison with the facts that I found about the respective countries.
When I think of Cuba I see a landscape similar to my country Puerto Rico, containing beautiful beaches, palm trees and also mountains in the central region of the island. Since I come from that area, the Caribbean, the perception that I have of Cuba is obviously quite accurate, as was proven to me when doing my research of a geographical map of Cuba. Indeed, Cuba compares very similarly to my home country of Puerto Rico. It has a wide range of beautiful landscapes, ranging from sandy beaches and rain forests all the way to quite remarkable mountain ranges. This large variety is of course also a main reason why Cuba is really a hot spot for worldwide tourism Ð’â€“ another would be the many historical buildings and colonial traditions all across this interesting island nation and its cities.
Since Cuba is an island nation, its political boundaries are of course set by the ocean on all sides. The population centers seem to be rather widely spread throughout the country, with the exception perhaps of the actual mountains. I see this as a consequence of initial settling, as in most regions of the world, on the actual coastline, but then also settling the interior of the island. The whole of Cuba is very fertile ground, which I believe explains the broad distribution of population centers. In Cuba's case, the population clusters seem to be mainly connected by road; I could not find evidence of a railroad network worth mentioning.
A country as famous and much-mentioned as France has of course given me a broad range of mental images that I associate with it. Adding to that is what I learned about France in school. I know France has many mountains with some world class ski resorts. I would furthermore think of the different coastlines, having the more rugged and rough Atlantic coast, compared to the more serene Mediterranean with some of its world-renowned beach resorts, many of them known as playgrounds for the rich and famous. I also have a rather vivid perception of Paris, a city with its enormous history, the historical buildings and its deep culture. Most of this was absolutely confirmed by my study of a map of France. Indeed, France has two large mountain ranges, the Alps and the Pyrenees. Both of these ranges have very high elevations. For example in the Alps the Mt. Blanc is 4807 meters - which makes it also the highest mountain in Western Europe. My mental picture of the two different coastlines is also proven to be accurate. I did find out that France has some very noticeable rivers, too.
When looking at France's map, one notices that the majority of the country is settled. There are no real centers of population, just many cities, huge, big and small. The settlements exist along the coast, inside the country, and up in the mountainous regions. I would think that the original settlement happened foremost on the coastlines and along the rivers, but it seems by now that has spread out. The political boundaries of France follow, at least in a large part, natural boundaries such as mountains and rivers. France has extensive transportation networks connecting the cities, ranging from country roads to highways, a dense railroad network and of course its high-speed train network. There is also sizeable domestic air traffic (Michler & Hahn, 1988, 140-141).
When thinking of China, I picture a giant country with a vast range of landscapes, from tropical to mountainous, from hot climates to icy conditions, a country containing some of the largest rivers in the world. I perceive it as also, despite its huge population, to still having large unpopulated areas.
A look at the map shows that the various climates are easily explained by the enormous size of China. The more tropical areas are to the south, for example in the region of the island of Hainan, or very well known, Hong Kong.
China has gigantic unpopulated areas such as the Gobi desert. Towards the north one gets into colder climate, as one approaches the borders of Russia and Mongolia. There are many areas that have impressive mountain ranges all over China, most famously of course the Himalayan Mountains in the occupied territory of Tibet. Of the many huge rivers, in my opinion the best known is the Yangtze.
In China's case, its political boundaries are on one side of course set by the ocean. Some parts of the frontier seem to follow mountain ranges, while large parts of China's border appears a bit coincidental. The lion's share of China's population seems to be concentrated in the lower lying areas between the mountains and the ocean, an area gigantic in itself. As one moves into the mountains and the large deserts, settlement fades. Once again, it appears that the original settlement happened along the coast and following the rivers inland, from where it then spread out. Transportation networks in China are still being built and improved; there are road connections, however the automobile is still not as wide-spread in China. Many parts of the nation are rather hard to reach; in most cases trains would be used. There is a fast-growing market for air travel all throughout China (Michler & Hahn, 1988, 155-155).
To sum up, even in such different areas of the world, the factors for the development of settlements for instance have followed similar guidelines.
International Herald Tribune (2005). About the IHT. International Herald Tribune, Retrieved Dec 1st, 2005, from http://www.iht.com/info/about.html
Michler, G., & Hahn, G. (1988). Grosser Atlas Der Erde (5th ed.). Zurich: Silva V
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