The world’s #1 country in size is Russia. This is no surprise to most people. For those who needed prompting, I ask what is the only country in the world with 11 time zones? Number 2 in size is our neighbor Canada. Thanks to the addition of Alaska as a state, the United States is the 3rd largest country in the world according to worldatlas.com. Just barely. The USA is slightly bigger than 4th placed China, which surprises me. China seems bigger than it is due to its many-million-people cities, vast population, and attitude. Brazil ranks 5th. A country that is also a continent, Australia, ranks 6th, and complex India ranks 7th with huge Argentina in the 8th spot. The final 2 both surprise me. Despite their geographic size, I would never have thought that Kazakhstan and Algeria ranked 9th and 10th
Ruth & I have been to Russia, China, and Argentina. We consider Australia our 2nd home. We make it to Canada at least once a year. In 2019 we went to and fell in love with Canada’s Gulf Islands. We hope to go back to them in fall 2020, but that depends on the opening of the border and the course of the virus. Ruth was uncomfortable in Russia. Luckily, my first cousin’s son Tom spent 2 years in China on business and invited us to stay with him in Shanghai. What a memorable trip! We have been to Argentina twice. The first time we went south of Buenos Aires to Tierra del Fuego, to Southern Chile, and to the barren Valdez Peninsula. It took all day for the bus we were on to go from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas, Chile, so we got an idea of how big Argentina is. On the 2nd trip we went north to magical Iguazu Falls.
Kazakhstan extends from the Caspian Sea to the Altai Mountains, so I should have expected it to rank high among countries in size and it does. Its largest city Almaty, a city of about 2 million, used to be the capital and sounds interesting. It’s said to be a safe destination so we may make it there. My brother-in-law Don used to rave about the mass transit system in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest city in Central Asia. Uzbekistan is one of Kazakhstan’s neighbors. Kazakhstan recently renamed Astana, its capital for 2 years, Nur-Sultan. CNN once called Astana “the world’s weirdest capital city” because of its futuristic appearance. This all sounds rather intriguing. Algeria is considered safe to visit, but visitors are told to avoid political gatherings, demonstrations, and its borders. Coronavirus makes this a rather convenient time to avoid traveling there although Algeria currently sounds a bit like my state of Washington and it neighbor Oregon. We drove through parts of Portland yesterday and saw lots of burned out cars, trash, homeless shelters, and signs of recent troubles.