You say Bangkok, I say Krung Thep

In English, the capital of Thailand is known as Bangkok, but in Thai, it’s referred to as Krung Thep Maka Nakhon which is often shortened to Krung Thep.

However, it has a much fuller name: “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.”

The translation of that mouthful is “The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (unlike Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.”

Try fitting that on a luggage tag!

No countries for old rivers

Believe it or not, but there are countries in the world that don’t have a single river within their borders.  Some of them because they are very small, others because they are islands and some because they are mostly desert.

Some have temporary rivers during the rainy or wet season when torrential downpours fill wadis and valleys, but the rest of the time, they are bone dry.

The list of riverless nations includes Bahrain, Comoros, Kiribati, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Vatican City and Yemen.

On top of that, there are another 16 territories like Bermuda, Easter Island and Gibraltar without rivers.

Spain still controls parts of continental Africa

While most African nations have gained independence since the end of the colonial age, there are still parts of the continent under foreign control.

Most of these are small islands or archipelagos that are dependent territories of the U.K., France, Spain, Portugal and even Italy, but there are still two cities on the continent itself that are considered European territory.

Ceuta and Melilla are two port cities on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast which have been claimed by Spain for more than 400 years along with a handful of islands that are collectively known as the plazas de soberanía or places of sovereignty.

Ceuta is home to 82,000 people and is about eighteen square kilometers in size. While most people speak Spanish, there is still a sizable Moroccan population and the North African country continues to claim that the city is in its territory.

Melilla is the smaller of the two cities in land area at about 12 square kilometers which is the home to about 80,000 people.

Today, both outposts have become magnets for migrants trying to make their way to the European Union which is why giant fences have been erected around the territories which otherwise rely mostly on fishing and tourism to survive.

Walk the world’s longest beach

Enjoy long walks on the beach? You’re going to be hard-pressed to walk the length of the world’s longest beach. Depending on who’s measuring it, Brazil’s Praia do Cassino Beach runs anywhere from 212 kilometres (132 miles) to 254 kilometres (158 miles) in length from the Brazilian seaport of Rio Grande to the Uruguay border.

You might have more luck if you try to walk the length of the world’s longest freshwater beach, Wasaga Beach which runs a mere 14 kilometres along the southern shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada.

The origins of the world’s airport codes don’t always make sense

The world’s airports are identified by three-letter codes known as IATA station identifiers. You’ve no doubt seen them on your baggage tags when you were flying somewhere.

Some of them are abbreviations of the cities they are located in like MEX for Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez in Mexico City while others are derived from the airport’s name like JFK for John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

Some, however, seem to make no sense, but they are often references to historical names like ORD for O’Hare in Chicago. It’s former name was Orchard Field. And in the case of Canada, it gets complicated with which one has a weather station and which one does not.

It’s all explained on this Wikipedia page.