It may not come as a surprise to most of you that Google Maps is one of favourite sites and has a pinned position in my Top Sites. When I upgraded to iOS 6 a few months ago, my biggest fear (and eventual loss) was having Apple Maps instead of Google Maps. Of course, Google released their independent app soon after, but it does not help, that the default Maps in iOS is still Apple Maps, which is far from a usable product.
But of course, this post is not about that.
Google Maps is my favourite site (and app). I’ve helped the map become better with many edits after I’ve been misled by it. (I’d be happy to do the same for Apple Maps, but apparently you cannot.)
So, I was a bit surprised to see that the National Highway markers, on Google Maps, usually seen as NH17 or NH3 etc, were now labelled as AH47 or AH-some other number. First, I thought this was new nomenclature for the Golden Quadrilateral. On closer inspection, I noticed, many of the roads labelled AH were not a part of the Golden Quadrilateral.
The cat started dying with curiosity, and searching AH in Google, for some reason kept showing Ahmedabad. As the dying and curious cat was breathing its almost last, the answer revealed itself and the cat was saved!
AH stands for Asian Highway. Surprise, surprise! (Well, at least for me, some of you may know about it). Wikipedia has a full article about the Asian Highway Project, also known as the Great Asian Highway – a cooperative effort between 32 countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, Japan, South Korea and Bangladesh. Reading the article made me feel worse, knowing that this project has been going on (and off) since 1959, though for practical reasons, it really started in 2003. I still feel bad, that I wasn’t aware of this project for almost ten years!
After reading the article, there was newfound excitement. There exists a definite possibility of a “very” long drive.
I’m thinking Mumbai – Tashkent – Istanbul – Ulaanbaatar – Tokyo – Bangkok – Dhaka – Mumbai should be a good drive. Exotic places, all of them, and I haven’t been to any of the places, except Tokyo, (where I’ve seen only the inside of Narita International). So I proceeded to map the itinerary on Google Maps, but it was unable to do that; I guess, some roads are yet to be built (huge JPG; display patience); so that gives me time to prepare.
And no, you do not have to remind me that I still have to complete the Golden Quadrilateral. It’s not that I have not tried; there have been quite a few false starts, but I’ll do it – soon – on my own terms. Folks who can contribute a month or so, are rare.
But a drive is always wonderful whether it is a couple of hundred kms to Alibag or six-thousand-odd kms around the country, or (soon) many more kms around the continent.
Because traveling is like writing; and writing is like traveling – and I love them both. That’s what dreams are made of!