Independence days and elephants

I’ve whipped out my International Calendar to see what might be left to tell about November before it slips away from Eastern Standard Time in a few hours. What I see is a whole lot of independence days and a slew of other politically geared occasions.

  • Nov. 1–Antigua-Barbuda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1980.
  • Nov. 3–Dominica gained independence from the UK in 1978. Panama gained Independence from Colombia in 1903 and Micronesia gained independence from the U.S. in 1980.
  • Nov. 9–Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953.
  • Nov. 11–Poland gained independence in 1918; Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
  • Nov. 18–Latvia gained independence from Russia in 1918; Morocco from France in 1956.
  • Nov. 25–Suriname gained independence
  • Nov. 28–Mauritania gained Independence from France in 1968 and Albania gained Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, Panama gained independence from Spain in 1821 and East Timor gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
  • Nov. 30-Barbados gained independence from the U.K. in 1966

Other than these, Tonga has had Constitution Day (Nov. 4); Russia, Revolution Day (Nov. 7); Brazil, Republic Day (Nov. 15); and Vanuatu has had National Unity Day, (Nov. 29)

My favorite happening of the bunch of events that occurred this month, though, is the Surin Elephant Round-Up in Thailand.

Lonely Planet Founder Anything But Lonely

Lonely Planet co-founder and current head Tony Wheeler definitely gets his fair amount of press. We’ve already mentioned one interview he had a while back, and here is a more recent one with the Associated Press. In this interview, we quickly learn Wheeler travels first class these days. This is a far cry from the budget travel grassroots of a company which now has “annual revenues of $58 million”. The story continues to focus on Lonely Planet, examining how they have spread to become a large resource in the travel world for all sorts of travellers, rich and poor alike.

Wheeler, it turns out, still gets out quite a lot. He just recently, according to the article, finished a guide on East Timor.

The Maps They are a Changin’

The more things change…well, the more they change. Like the globe. It’s funny, I still have a bunch of old maps that have the Soviet Union on them. I have no idea whether they’ll be worth something some day, but I marvel at how much they’ve changed over the last 15 years or so. I mean, it’s AMAZING. Lots of name changes, lots of splitting countries in two. And so we have this article that says that the National Geographic Society’s newest edition of its “Atlas of the World”, being released this month, has a record 17,000 updates and editorial changes from its edition five years ago. Consider that number: 17,000. How much is that? In the words of Brian from Monty Python’s Life of Brian when he was asked how much he hated the Romans: “A lot!”

East Timor, our first new nation this century, is mapped for the first time in the latest atlas . Some of the changes reveal how much technology has affected our lives, while actually NOT affecting hordes of our globemates. For example, a map of undersea fibre-optic cables shows a complciated network of cables between Europe and the United States but (alas) a single snaking cable that weaves around the west coast of Africa. A map on Internet hosts paints a similar picture, with Europe, parts of Asia and North America dominating the scene. Analyzing the changes could make up an entire semester of a new Western Civ class.