One example: lay your $g$-holed torus $T$ out flat and draw a line the long way through each hole. It hits the torus in $2g + 2$ points. Consider the 180 degree rotation $w$ through that line. Now consider the space $T/w$ formed by identifying two points $P$ and $Q$ if $P = wQ$ (since $w^2 = 1$ we also have $Q = wP$). I claim that it's not too hard to see that $T/w$ is isomorphic to the projective line, and the $2g+2$ points which hit the line are the ramification points.
edit: This is of course more general than you were asking, but the picture is completely general when you're talking about topology.
edit 2: A picture of this (albeit approached from the perspective of starting on the projective line and cutting slits) can be found in section 20e of Fulton's Algebraic Topology book.