The city at the end of the earth

Many nights ago when this thought came, I was nearly asleep. I dream a lot, even when I’m sleeping, and probably had started dreaming when my eyes popped open with the thought— what is the farthest place on earth one could go to?

If this sounds like a metaphorical question about life, the universe and everything,  then let me explain.

It is a purely geographical question. There must be a finite distance one can travel to from Point A (say where I live) to Point B somewhere on the other end of the globe, which is the maximum distance one can travel considering the earth is round, or spherical or spheroid or whatever.

And so I woke up, booted my laptop and invoked Google Baba, who has the answer to every question. If Google was around when Douglas Adams was writing Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he could have easily found the answer “to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything”!

Not expecting a particularly brilliant answer, I keyed in the phrase “what is the farthest place on earth” and bingo Google threw up a few probable answers.

Lima is the absolute farthest point on earth from New Delhi. (Top) Plaza Mayor (Middle) Skyline of Lima (Bottom left) Palace of Justice (Bottom right) Plaza San Martin.

Reading through the second entry in the search result, it turned out that an American expat named Brandon Hoover, living in Jakarta, Indonesia, was visited by the same question even before me. I don’t know if he too woke up in the middle of the night to ponder over the question.

Nevertheless, his blog entry made my life easy. He had it all figured out. In fact, he spelt out in five easy steps how to use Google Earth’s ruler tool to arrive at the point on the globe that is the farthest from where you live.

I’m assuming Brandon must have been missing his home state Michigan when he set out to find if his adopted city Jakarta is the farthest point on earth from home, but to his amusement he found out that it was barely 9,856 miles!

His blog entry reads: “I previously thought my home state of Michigan was pretty far from here. I was wrong: it’s only 9,856 miles from Jakarta. It turns out Bogota, Colombia is close to being the absolute farthest place from Jakarta at 12,436 miles. (The opposite side of the globe from Michigan is a place 1,300 miles off the west coast of Australia).”

Armed with the knowledge, I set about finding the place farthest from where I live  (though I didn’t even dare tell myself that some day I would like visit the place). The steps are easy in case you would like to find out for yourself the place farthest from where you stay.

  • Open Google Earth
  • Click on the “ruler” tool (or measure tool)
  • Left click on your starting point
  • Drag the ruler around the world until the ruler swivels around (therefore finding a shorter route)
  • Left click again to mark the place. Voila. Somewhere around 12,400 miles is the farthest place from your starting point. (Courtesy: Brandon Hoover)

After several failed attempts at manoeuvering the ruler, I arrived at the place that is the absolute farthest point on the globe from my city. Can you guess the country?

I was stunned to see the name of the place Google Earth was pointing at—Lima, the capital of Peru, which is a little less than 12,400 miles from my city. (Technically the exact point was Hormigas de Afuera, an uninhabited island off the coast of Peru, but I approximated it to the nearest city.)

I interpreted Google Earth pointing at Lima as a divine indication that  my life-long dream — Project Machhu Pichuu — is on!