This is a spot on the Quebec Province- New York State border line in which apparently you can no longer cross. Funny, the European borders are fully visible on google street view, but the large border facilities on the I-87 (Montreal- New York City) less than a mile to the west can not be seen (there can be many reasons, let me just believe google’s car just had an accident). It must be a quiet border, as they seem to believe that just a fence and a few roadsigns can disuade any eventual tresspaser, or else there are hidden surveillance systems… looking at the enourmous border facilities on the interstate, you can get a clearer measure of what the end of internal borders has been in Europe.
You probably have heard about Copacabana beach, in Rio (Brazil). Well, this spot is just some thousands of km to the west. There is indeed also a Copacabana beach here, but it is on the shores of Titicaca Lake. For Spanish observers, a border between south american countries that speak on both sides Spanish seems intuitively like an oddity, but this only comes from the fact that a country is much more than a language, especially when you have different cultural roots on each side of the line (and creating a different culture is just a matter of time, just take a look at north and south Koreans, or east and west Germans, just to name a few countries that indeed had a common cultural basis).
This is just one of these moments in which zooming out on the google maps window can be of interest…
A mid-sized european metropolitan area, in which there are some blurred lines: Alsacians are seen as half French- half German; language changes (but not for everyone), and currency stays the same.
The Géneve- Annemasse border, south of Geneva. Well, here what changes at the border is not language (as french is spoken on both sides) but the fact that you are entering an inland island with its own currency. This is Switzerland, and French, mighty as they could seem in other situations, are here the ones to commute to the neighboring country. Is Switzerland the future or the past of Europe? hard to say, but it is quite related to the present and future of a big bunch of euros… Thank god, a river makes for a natural border.
The motorway through higher grounds has allowed turning the old national road that is the main street into a retail strip that is a permanent traffic jam. On the Spanish side, on lower grounds, all kinds of business happen.
European borders are no longer what they were. No more cops, the same currency, and slight differences between both sides. But tobacco, or gas, or whatever you can name, is always a bit cheaper on the other side… so why not go for a walk. Fortresses are not what they were, now tourists flock to any kind of market, and there are no more soldiers.