Last year I embarked on a silly project – to go around the world with just eighty word changes to my what3word geolocation code. It is the kind of thing you do when you are lucky enough to have nothing better to do. I am accompanied by my faithful, but argumentative, dog, Lucy, and with her choice of word number 13 – WHISKER – we found ourselves in ///washing.whisker.shirt, otherwise known as a rice field near Fuyang in China. It was my choice for word number 14, and my decision to exchange “shirt” for “winter” was perhaps an unfortunate one in retrospect, as we finished up at ///washing.whisker.winter (aka the middle of the desert in Qatar). And so the story continues….
“There’s a lot of sand”, said Lucy. To an innocent bystander, it might have seemed like a passing comment, but I could clearly recognise that it came served with tablespoon or two of righteous accusation. It was me, after all, that had chosen word number 14, and I was expecting “winter” to deliver pretty snow-capped mountains, ski chalets, and Gluhwein. Alas, all I got was sand, sand and more sand: but that is the wonderful illogicality of positioning yourself with random words.
We had ended up in the northern province of the Emirate of Qatar. Somewhere to the south-east was the capital city of Doha, with its futuristic skyline of international financial institutions, posh hotels, museums and galleries. Between where Lucy and I were standing and this ultra-modern metropolis was a little too much sand, and we were reluctant to end up ///sand.zones.gone (which, incidentally, is in South Hackensack, New Jersey), so we headed north to Madinat Ash Shamal, which was slightly closer.
It was all very pleasant – it had a McDonalds where we got our dinner and a Sea Shell cafe where we got a glass of orange juice – but it had none of the bright lights of Doha.
“Just think, in a few months time, this tiny country is going to be full of football fans coming to watch the 2022 World Cup”, I said to Lucy as she hoovered up the last of the chicken nuggets.
“Time to move on”, said Lucy (OK, she didn’t actually say it, but when you are on a fictitious trip around the world using random words you are allowed a little creative licence). She had never been a big fan of football, preferring tennis and Crown Green Bowling.
“I chose “winter”, so choice number 15 is yours”, I said. “Spring” is what I think she replied, but I can’t be certain. Nevertheless, ///spring.whisker.winter is where we are off to. See you there.