"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The blog at 140 countries and landlocked!

A reader in the African nation of Zambia clicked on this blog this month, marking the 140th country and territory to have read Coffee with Clark.
That followed two readers in two other first time countries in December--Kyrgyzstan and Botswana. That means there have been readers in 22 African Countries and 24 Asian counties.  All three of these are land-locked.

Why and how, I don't know. I've added a translation button to the blog so visitors can read it in their own languages, but the story behind those readers remains a tantalizing mystery to me. 
The flag counter on this page is also not quite accurate--having been added this last year, and sometimes it's slow to update.  But as the blog reaches its seventh birthday May 3, it's come a long way, and reached people and done things I never dreamed back them.
Now, for the record, he's a little about each of those "newcomers" which makes them even more interesting. I'm thankful for my readers--you help keep me going.

Zambia--Formerly British Northern Rhodesia, it gained independence in 1964. It holds regular elections and has a population of 14.5 million, and is the location of the spectacular 354 foot Zambezi falls in the  Victoria falls, the world's largest.
In 2010 the World Bank named the country one of the fastest economically  reformed countries.  

The flag is notable in that its design is not focused on the middle: colors represent green for the flora, red for the struggle for freedom, black for the people and orange for the natural resources. That's a Zambia fish eagle.
Botswana--Formerly the British protectorate  Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent  in 1966. Since then, it has maintained a stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.
Botswana is  flat, with up to 70 percent  being the Kalahari Desert.  Its border with Zambia to the north is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred yards,
With just over 2 million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world. Formerly one of the poorest countries, it is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The flag was designed to contrast with the flag of South Africa, since the latter country was ruled under an apartheid regime. The black stripe with the white frame symbolized the peace and harmony between the people of African and European descent. 
Kyrgyzstan is farther from the sea than any other individual country, and all its rivers flow into closed drainage systems which do not reach the sea. The mountainous region covers over 80 percent  of the country (Kyrgyzstan is occasionally referred to as "the Switzerland of Central Asia.")
It gained independence from the USSR in 1991. Most of the 5.7 million residents are Turkic, non-denominational Muslims. Thirty four percent are under age 16. It is a parliamentary republic but with lots of political and economic instability.
The 40-rayed yellow sun in the center of the flag represent the 40 tribes that once made up the entirety of Kyrgyz culture before the intervention of Russia. The lines inside the sun represent the crown or tündük of a yurt. The red portion of the flag represents peace and openness of Kyrgyzstan. National sports reflect the ancient culture of horse riding.

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