Burkina Faso. The drummers

There’s not much I can add to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iecVcVsmrnY or these images of Burundi drummers. The drumming, singing, dancing and jumping (!) is featured in all kinds of celebrations in the tiny Central African nation and is a joy to behold!

Drummers Burundi (http://www.jblog.fr)

Drummers Burundi (http://www.walldesk.net)

I love the joyful faces in the last photo. Have you seen these drummers? Let know what it was like!

 

Burkina Faso. Painted houses of Tiébéle.

In the south of Burkina Faso, close to the Ghanaian border lies the small village of Tiébéle, home to the Kassena people.

The village has been assembled over hundreds of years out of natural building materials and decorated with elaborate paintings on the exterior walls.

Burkina Faso (http://ashui.com)

 

Here is some info from http://www.amusingplanet.com/2013/01/decorated-mud-houses-of-tiebele-burkina.html

“The Kassena people build their houses entirely of local materials: earth, wood and straw. Soil mixed with straw and cow dung is moistened to a state of perfect plasticity, to shape almost vertical surfaces. Today this technique is replaced by the use of mud brick moulding walls with foundations resting on large stone. Tiébélé’s houses are built with defence in mind, whether that be against the climate or potential enemies. Walls are over a foot thick and the homes are designed without windows except for a small opening or two to let just enough light in to see. Front doors are only about two feet tall, which keeps the sun out and makes enemies difficult to strike. Roofs are protected with wood ladders that are easily retracted and the local beer (dolo) is brewed at home.

 After construction, the woman makes murals on the walls using coloured mud and white chalk. The motifs and symbols are either taken from everyday life, or from religion and belief. The finished wall is then carefully burnished with stones, each colour burnished separately so that the colours don’t blur together. Finally, the entire surface is coated with a natural varnish made by boiling pods of néré, the African locust bean tree.

 The designs also serve to protect the walls themselves. The decorating is usually done just before the rainy season and protects the outside walls from the rain. Adding cow dung, compacting layers of mud, burnishing the final layer, and varnishing with néré all make the designs withstand wet weather, enabling the structures to last longer.”

Burkina Faso (http://superbpix.com)

 

For more info visit  http://www.designboom.com/architecture/gurunsi-earth-houses-of-burkina-faso/

Have you visited this incredible village? I’d love to hear all about it!

Bulgaria. Easter traditions

Bulgarian Easter eggs (http://www.travelfreak.com)

Bulgarian Easter eggs are decorated with beautiful colours and patterns each year on the Thursday or Saturday before Easter.  Red, the predominant colour of the artwork, is a symbol of the pagan mysticism that permeates Bulgarian culture. Red eggs are used to make Easter loaves or blessed at church.

Bulgarian Easter eggs (http://www.nypost.com)

Bulgaria Easter traditions (http://i.usatoday.net)

Bulgarian Easter traditions (http://www.novinite.com)

Bulgarian Easter eggs (http://club.handmade-bg.com)

Bulgarian Easter eggs (http://www.worldrecordacademy.com)

Bulgarians also enjoy egg fights during Easter! Eggs are cracked together by 2 opponents and the egg that remains intact signifies the winner, determining who will be the most successful, healthy, or happy during the following year!

Bulgarian Easter bread (http://farm1.static.flickr.com)

Bulgarian Easter bread (http://farm6.staticflickr.com)

Are you from Bulgaria? Do you decorate your Easter eggs this way? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Brunei. Handcrafted.

Brunei has a rich culture of handicrafts, producing beautiful and practical things across a wide variety of styles.

Some of the most common handmade objects and products include silverwork, several types of weaving, Kris (a unique and ancient weapon) and Songkok, the cap that became a national symbol.

Songket fabric (http://images.detik.com)

Brunei hand crafted baskets (http://farm9.staticflickr.com)

An impressive variety of beautiful and distinctive things.

How you visited Brunei and seen some of these things? Are you from Brunei? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Brazil. Paulo Coelho

“Remember that where your heart is, there you will find your treasure”. Paulo Coelho

I have a special spot in my heart for this book by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho. I read it in 2002 when it was relatively new in Australia after a friend recommended it. I was living in a small country town with an even smaller bookshop but there it was…

The Alchemist (http://img2.imagesbn.com)

The Alchemist (http://img2.imagesbn.com)

I loved it, having never read anything like it before. In that same week I met my husband, who was halfway through his great around the world backpacking adventure. On our first date, we discovered we were both reading The Alchemist and spent most of the afternoon discussing and dissecting it.

The Alchemist (http://thehotness.com)

A few months later I joined him on the second half of his adventure and we travelled together for a long time, happy and free! Thank you Mr Coelho!

The quote above has always been my favourite and I love all these different covers!

For more cover artwork visit http://allthecovers.tumblr.com/search/the+alchemist

Have you read it? What did you think?

Botswana. Roller girl

The beautiful Lilac Breasted Roller Bird is one of hundreds of beautiful bird species native to Botswana. Both male and female birds are marked with these stunning colours and their presence is thought to bring rain to a dry, desert nation.

Roller bird in flight (http://www.ervinskalameraphotos.com)

Wow! Tough little bird! (http://ircimg.net)

 

For more information on these beautiful creatures check out these sites

http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_lilac_breasted_roller.html

http://birds-lifestyle.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/lilac-breasted-roller-national-bird-of.html

 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo’s gem

Baščaršija is Sarajevo’s oldest bazaar, largest tourist attraction and the historical and cultural center of the city.

In 1462, the Ottoman governor of Bosnia, Isa-beg Ishakovic, built a caravanserai and this was the beginning of the modern day Baščaršija. It thrived in the 17th century comprising more than 1000 merchants, offering over 80 different varieties of hand crafted goods such as copperware, carpets and leatherwork.

Baščaršija bazaar (http://s3.amazonaws.com)

Sadly, in 1878, the bazaar suffered a devastating fire which cut its area roughly in half. Tourists today will find it to be more of a souvenir market although some of the beautiful copperware is still available.

Caravanserai in the bazaar (http://solointhebalkans.files.wordpress.com)

Have you visited the gorgeous Baščaršija bazaar?

Are you from Sarajevo? I’d love to hear from you!

Bolivia. The amazing and adaptable Pink Flamingo

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat stretching across a staggering 10,582 square kms! It’s located near the crest of the Andes, 3,656 meters above sea level. The huge salt flat was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. The flat is covered by a thick salt crust and  is extremely flat (the average altitude variation is within one meter over the entire area).

Salar de Uyuni (http://3.bp.blogspot.com)

Bolivian salt flats (http://i.telegraph.co.uk)

The brine underneath the crust is exceptionally rich in lithium, providing 50 to 70% of the world’s reserves.

Each November the Salar de Uyuni provides a suitable breeding ground for several species of pink flamingo – incredible given the hot, salty water and harsh conditions. Flamingos have adapted to excrete the excess salt through special glands next to their beaks. When they do seek fresh water for drinking, it is often only available from extremely hot springs: a condition they have also adapted for.

Flamingos in flight (http://farm1.static.flickr.com)

Young Flamingos (http://worldalldetails.com)

Are you from Bolivia?

Have you experienced the salt flat and the Flamingos? I’d love to hear all about it!

Bhutan. A real cliff hanger

Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://nature-wallpapers.co.uk)

The Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest is a sacred site of pilgrimage for the people of Bhutan. The monastery hangs precariously on a cliff of the upper Paro valley and appears to hang precariously from a cliff at 3,120 m, approx. 900m from the valley floor!

Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://thomaslkelly.smugmug.com)

Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://i.imgur.com)

Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://www.travelweekly.com)

Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://www.asiatranspacific.com)

The rock slopes are very steep (almost vertical) and the monastery buildings are built into the rock face.

The original sections of the temple date back to the 1600s . Sadly, in 1998, a fire broke out in the main hall, causing the death of one monk and damaging paintings, textiles and other artefacts.

A child at the Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://images.kuoni.co.uk)

Young monks at the Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://farm3.staticflickr.com)

Paro Taktsang Monastery (http://24.media.tumblr.com)

For more info on the monastery visit http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/paro-taktsang-tigers-nest-monestary

Stunning photos and info on Bhutan http://www.tourism.gov.bt/

Bermuda.Tropical comfort food

Bermuda Fish Chowder from http://suite101.com/article/authentic-recipe-for-bermuda-fish-chowder-a130035

Ingredients:

4 cups fish broth (see below)
2 x 400g can  peeled tomatoes, seeded, chopped, with their juice
300ml beef consommé
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
6 ribs celery, diced
6 carrots, diced
4 tbsp. Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers Sauce
120 mls Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
8 lemon wedges
Chopped parsley for garnish
Freshly ground pepper

Fish Broth:

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 medium onions, (preferably Bermuda) chopped
3
 garlic cloves, minced
2 green peppers, chopped
5 cups water
Approx. 1 kg  fish fillets (bluefish, rockfish, snapper or whitefish)
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns
1/4 tsp. ground cloves or 6 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

 Directions:

1.Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and green peppers. Cook 10 minutes. Add water, fish fillets and remaining herbs and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

2.Add tomatoes, consommé, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, potatoes, celery, carrots, sherry peppers sauce, dark rum and bring to a boil. Simmer partially covered for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

3. Before serving, garnish the fish chowder with chopped fresh parsley. At the table, offer additional Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers Sauce, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, lemon wedges and salt and pepper. Makes 8 generous portions of Bermuda fish chowder.

The famous Sherry Pepper Sauce! (https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net)

The famous Black Seal Rum (http://imbibe.com)

Beautiful Bermuda (http://beauty-places.com)

I’d like my Dark and Stormy cocktail just here please. (http://img4-3.coastalliving.timeinc.net)