Wednesday, October 19, 2005


"So what is the capital of Canada?" intoned my serious and intimidating health care administration professor as the opening to his lecture. Sitting in my level 200 class surrounded by classmates, bright and intelligent ladies of Mary Baldwin Women's college (university as they call it in England), I thought this was a rather easy question.

"Montreal" shouted out someone.

'pff,' I thought silently, 'no way Montreal, I know it.'

"Toronto," I said confidently. He shook his head no.

"Vancover," someone else said.

"Calary," another piped in.

"Quebec City," yet another girl chimed in. No, no, no he shook his head to all these answers.

With a deadly pause he looked at all 12 of us straight in the face, an expression of utter disappointment and shame etched across it and said, "Ottawa." I couldn't believe it. How could we get it so wrong? It was beyond humiliating. This was suppose to be a gimme, Canada is our neighbor to the north, second largest country in the world, the least we should know about it is it's capital, no?

As an international traveler from the age of two (went to India for a visit), I always prided myself on my knowledge of the world and yet this one moment in class brought home to me how lacking my education in basic geography and world history was. Since than I have strived to learn more about the world around me. In my on-going effort to improve these skills, I like to take the daily PRI radio show, The World's, Geoquiz. Sometimes I send the quiz to a few of my co-workers, also international travelers who want to sharpen their skills. I even went out and purchased a National Geographic world map and have it up in my Dilbert-esque cube to help with the questions. Below is yesterday's geoquiz, give it a try, it makes you well do you really know the world you live in?

Ojoche is a rainforest nut that was harvested by the Mayans in what's now Central America. It grows abundantly in the largest country in Central America...and that's the country we want you to name.
Columbus sailed this way in 1502. He spied the coastline that extends along the Caribbean Sea. This country also has ocean front property on the Pacific. Now back to the nut. We can tell you that Ojoche, once popular with the Mayans, is making a comeback. In fact some chefs in this country's capital, Managua, say ojoche is a health food:

"Ojoche was a main source of nutrients for indigenous people and it's an excellent source of nutrients. It provides a lot of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, amino acid. It has good fiber, not very many calories. So from a human nutrition perspective it provides us with components of protein."

So where can this healthy rainforest snack be found?
ps - I got this one right!


Blogger Merci said...

Sadly, did not know the answer! I, too, must work on my geography. I think ojoche might be an ingredient in a pricy hair product line called Ojon.

11:11 AM  
Blogger PissedOffPencil said...

Well, since the capital is Managua the country has to be the one where Reagan had a liason with that military. The country starts with an "N". :)

1:30 PM  
Blogger Random Kath said...

My knowledge of things international is just horrible . . . But I freely admit it and do want to get better at it. Mr. Random, on the other hand, is on top of all the world news and geography, but has no idea what's going on in our state, or much less, even down the street. We balance each other out nicely, but he is trying to catch me up in my lacking education . . .

2:53 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Embarrassingly, I would have guessed "Regina" first for Canada's capitol. Oh, my Canadian friends would be soooo disappointed!

5:28 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Merci - you're funny, let me know how that shampoo works out :-)
POP - you are correct!
Random Kath - Once you get your passport and start traveling, you'll be a whiz at knowing geography
Belinda - Don't be embarrassed, at least you didn't blurt out the wrong answer like I did, in front of this college professor you were trying to impress, to prove you were not stupid. :-)

7:35 AM  
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