South America

We happened on this graphic of South America during our recent visit to Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina. It figuratively turned our heads upside down. We had been so accustomed to maps of the world having north oriented up and south down. This graphic shows that there are other ways of seeing our world.

This idea of (dis)orientation manifested itself in another way on our first day in Córdoba, as we walked around the historic center with map in hand. I am usually pretty good at reading maps and orienting myself in new environments but something was amiss. It took a while but I finally realized this was because I had assumed that the sun was in the southern sky. But here in Córdoba, the sun was actually illuminating the northern sides of buildings and so what I had thought was south was actually north on the street map. And even knowing this, it remained difficult to overcome a lifetime of assumptions.