Those of you who have stuck around here for a while will be fully aware that I find many concepts difficult to grasp. One that exercises me more than is healthy is the concept of Eastern Europe. This is a catch all term for countries such as Poland and the Baltic states, but it’s not really logical is it?

Warsaw is situated at a longitude of about 21 degrees East. Doesn’t sound too easterly, does it? Not given that Athens is set at about 23E. Nobody calls Greece Eastern European but there it is, ahead of the field. It may well be the economic basket case of the EU, but it definitely could qualify as Eastern Europe.

If I mention Tripoli, you’d probably go ‘Hmm. Libya. Middle Eastern.’ Well. Yes and no. Tripoli and Rome are at the same longitude give or take a minute or few. Turkey qualifies as a sort of honorary Europe, but Istanbul is only one degree further West than Cairo, which is generally regarded as being in the Middle East. Weird.

I’m never too sure where the Far East begins either. Let’s say it starts at Indonesia. Jakarta lies at about 106E. But look at a map or globe, and pretty much the whole of Australia is further east than Indonesia, and Canberra is a whopping 43 degrees further east than Jakarta. It’s further east than sodding Tokyo, for goodness sake. It’s further east than Manila, too, and everybody would say firmly that the Philippines are in the Far East.

Sometimes it depends on perspective too. I’m told that Ockers sometime refer to the Far East as the Near North. It’s not inaccurate, that one, and makes me smile when I think of it.

Across the Pond, things get even more confusing. The concept of the Midwest. As far as I can see this is everywhere between the Eastern seaboard states and the Rockies, at which point there’s a transmogrification into the West Coast.

Then there’s the concept of the South. Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, the Carolinas, yada yada, the gang’s all there. But San Diego in California is further south than Atlanta, and LA is level with Columbia in South Carolina. Both are in SoCal, but that seems to be an independent entity from the South.

While we’re on the subject, why is North Carolina regarded as being in the South?