While watching the clouds being whisked towards the east like sailing ships before a west wind, your mind may wander and imagine the places they will go after they pass over New Jersey and cross the sea. Do you want to guess where they would make landfall? Most people don’t know the answer, and they are quite surprised to find out what is across the Atlantic Ocean due east of Frenchtown.
The answer is Praia da Vagueira, Portugal, a popular bathing and surfing spot on the west coast of Europe where traditional fishermen still use small boats to haul their nets out into the surf, surround schools of fish, and then pull them on to shorewith tractors. In the old days, the nets would have been hauled in using oxen, but, then again, there was a time visitors to Frenchtown all rode horses or walked.
Right now, it is five hours later in Portugal than along the Delaware River. Think about it – while you are eating lunch, surfers straight off to the east (3,397 miles) are paddling out for the last rides of the day, and fishermen are preparing their boats and nets to go after tomorrow morning's catch..
Another geographic concept we don’t often think about is the fact that we are closer to the rainforests at the equator than we are to the frozen lands near the North Pole (although it doesn’t feel that way during winter). The halfway point is right around the New York/Vermont boundary with Quebec, Canada – about 370 miles north of the Sunbeam General Store.
But the very farthest place away from Frenchtown: the place you would come out if you could dig straight through to the other side of our planet is the hardest to pinpoint. That is because it is far out in the Indian Ocean, about 700 miles off the town of Augusta on the southwestern tip of Australia – a place where thousands of whales pass between June and August. However, anyone who is at the exact opposite point on the globe from the Sunbeam General Store is also likely to be passing through on their way to somewhere else.
Think about these things and everything else that is going on in the rest of the world during those moments when you find yourself drifting off into a riverside daydream, and, suddenly, you may have a whole different feeling about where you are right now.