More than half of the world’s emeralds come from Colombia!
An ancient Colombian legend exists of two immortal beings; a man, Tena and woman named Fura who were created by the god Ares in order to populate the earth. Ares gave the couple 1 rule to secure their eternal youth; they must remain faithful to one another.
Fura, did not remain faithful, their immortality was taken away and they soon passed away. Ares later took pity on the couple and turned them into two mountains protected from storms and serpents and in whose depths Fura’s tears of remorse became emeralds.
Today, the Fura and Tena Crags, rising approximately 840 and 500 meters, respectively above the valley of the Minero River, are the official guardians of Colombia’s emerald zone.
I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I challenge anyone to nominate a part of the world more beautiful than this…
For reasons I can’t explain, I jumped ahead to China leaving Chad and Chile behind! So let’s play catch up! Here’s Chad!
A Guelta is a specific type of desert wetland formed when underground water in lowland depressions spills to the surface and creates permanent pools and reservoirs.
Guelta d’Archei is one of the most well known and is populated by several species of animal including camels, fish and Nile crocodiles! To reach the wetland, you need a spare 4 days and a well equipped 4×4!
For a fantastic look at Guelta d’Archei check out this 2 min video from the National Geographic. http://video.nationalgeographic.com.au/video/places/parks-and-nature-places/cave-canyon-desert/chad_gueltaarchei/
After a long trek up to the peak of Moon Rock
A few years ago we took a fantastic Intrepid tour of South East Asia. Here are a few photos from our way too short trip through China. The Yao women were an incredible highlight with their beautiful long hair and vibrant traditional dress. We loved everything about our Intrepid adventure: the food, cultural experiences, the accommodation but most of all the wonderful friends we made along the way! For more info on Intrepid Travel visit http://www.intrepidtravel.com/
Bridge, Yang Shou
Yoa minority group with beautiful traditional dress and long hair.
Yoa women washing their long hair in the river
Cheng Yung bridge with not metal nails – completely assembled with wooden pegs
A building once used by the communist party – now accommodation!
Woɗaaɓe or Bororo are a small group within the Fulani people. They are nomadic cattlemen with migrations stretching from southern Niger, northern Nigeria, parts of Cameroon, and the western region of the Central African Republic. The Wodaabe are well known for their physical beauty, elaborate traditional dress and rich cultural ceremonies.
See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jCmEJ64bOU for a fantastic 12 min doco by Sandrine Loncke demonstrating several aspects of daily life and the preparations for the ceremonial event Gerawol. The film has been made in Niger with travelling Wodaabe from several African nations including the Central African Republic.
A 2.7m tall, 270kg bronze mermaid statue was recently installed on the Sunset Reef off Grand Cayman.
The sculpture, created by 42-year-old Canadian artist Simon Morris, is officially named Amphitrite, Siren of Sunset Reef. This beauty of the sea is visited by thousands of divers each year.
Have you seen her? What was your experience?
- Owen Island: secluded beaches Caribbean (secludedbeachescaribbean.wordpress.com)
- West Bay Grand Cayman… (jetsetduodotme.wordpress.com)
- Cayman Kai Beach, Grand Cayman… 8/6/2013 (jetsetduodotme.wordpress.com)
Cesária Évora was an extremely talented and much loved singer from Cape Verde. Nicknamed the “Barefoot Diva” for performing without shoes, she was also known as the “Queen of Morna
There’s not much more I can add to this…Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLsg_Lk819s&list=RD02ERYY8GJ-i0I
For more information on the lovely Cesária Évora http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ces%C3%A1ria_%C3%89vora
It’s not difficult to see why Canada’s Thousand Island region attracts so many visitors each year. Highlights include lighthouses, historic castles, maritime museums, fishing, diving and gorgeous cottages along its many, many shorelines! Perhaps one of the best known cottages is the tiny house on the equally tiny Just Enough Room Island.
The house and land are considered an island because they remain above the water year round and include a living tree!
For more information on the Thousand Island region http://www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/?page_id=4
For more on this amazing house http://www.house-crazy.com/just-room-enough/
Have you visited this region and seen this gorgeous little cottage?
The Beyond the Map feature of this blog is here to explore people, places and customs that cross borders, mix cultures and tell stories. What could be more fitting than international postage stamps? I’ve always loved the ever changing designs, shapes and colours of stamps and the way they give the receiver a small glimpse of the sender’s national identity, iconic people, customs or celebrations.
Here are a few interesting details about postage stamps and some of the incredible artworks that carry our correspondence around the world.
- The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was introduced in the UK in 1840. Being the only country with a postage stamp at the time, there was no need to include the United Kingdom wording anywhere on the stamp. To this day, the UK is the only nation not to identify itself by name on its stamps.
- The first person other than a head of state to appear on a stamp was Benjamin Franklin, whose portrait featured on the 10 cent stamp in the United States in 1847.
- Switzerland once produced a stamp made with lace and another of wood. The United States fashioned a plastic stamp and East Germany issued a stamp of synthetic chemicals. In the Netherlands a stamp was made of silver foil and Bhutan issued one with its national anthem on a playable record.
- A 1993 stamp featuring Elvis Presley from the US postal service was the most popular stamp ever sold – over 120 million!
- The Australian government produced stamps to look like gems using 3D technology. The impressive designs feature diamonds, opals and pearls. Australia was also the first country to issue regular Christmas stamps each year, from 1957.
- The world’s longest pictorial set of stamps (134 stamps) came from Turkey between 1958-1960.
Do you have a stamp collection? Feel free to share any amazing stamps you have found!