Costa Rica. The song of the Carreta.

From the mid 19th century, oxcarts or Carretas were used to transport the fine coffee beans of Costa Rica on a 15 day journey from the valleys to the coast. The ox led carts were traditionally painted with intricate colourful designs. Originally, each region of Costa Rica had its own particular design, which helped to identify the driver by the pattern on the wheels.

As the carts moved along, a metal ring made a chiming sound as it bumped against the spoke- less wheel hub. Each cart had it very own song.

Coffee in Costa Rica (

Coffee Costa Rice (



Have you been to Costa Rica? Did you see any of these gorgeous carts? Are you a Costa Rican coffee lover?




Cook Islands. Aitutaki Lagoon.

Aitutaki Lagoon (

Let’s take a collective mid week deep breath and pretend we’re here; snorkelling, swimming and lazing the day away.

Overwater bungalows (

Overwater bungalows (


Go on, make me jealous….tell  me all about your trip to the Cook Islands. Share some photos with us?

Republic of Congo. Extreme Fishing.

A young girl carries her catch in her mouth. (

Fishing in the fast flowing waters of the Congo River is no easy undertaking.

Brave local fishermen rig up wooden scaffolding that cross the rapids and attach long tubular fishing traps of various sizes. Larger ones require a very dangerous climb head-first into the roaring rapids to retrieve the catch of the day.

Fishing on the Congo River (

Fishing on the Congo River (

Fishing on the Congo River (

A fisherman on the Congo river (

Inside the bamboo trap (

Fishing on the Congo River (

In keeping with old traditions, young men and women dive into the smaller rapids, catch the fish with their hands and a small net, and then carry their catch out of the water in their mouths.

Carrying the smaller fish by mouth (

Word from the West. Freedom

Freedom - Newington swing

Freedom – Newington swing

This is the first post in my Word from the West category. To find out what it’s all about it visit

Let me know what you think, or join in! Do you have a favourite place in the Western suburbs of Sydney? Do you believe, like me, that we can create harmony by focusing on what makes society great!



Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire). Cubism and The Congo.

Congolese mask – inspiration for the work of Picasso. (

Here are a few paragraphs from the Friends of the Congo website on the impact of The Congo on the artwork of Picasso.

“The impact of Congolese Masks on Picasso
Picasso came in contact with the work of African artists at around 1905. This new form of art stimulated a great interest in him since it was different from what he was exposed to in the West. He was particularly fascinated with African Masks. After the great discovery he wrote:

“I have experienced my greatest artistic emotions, when I suddenly discovered the sublime beauty of sculptures executed by the anonymous artists from Africa. These passionate and rigorously logical religious works are what the human imagination has produced as most potent and most beautiful…” At that moment, I realized what painting was all about!

Picasso was above all taken by the elements and principles of design applied on the masks in addition to the emotions that they transmitted. Captured by the power of these new forms, he begins to apply them into the preliminary sketches for Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon, from which originated Modern Art and the Cubist Movement.”

Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon with evidence of the Congolese mask influence. (

Picasso and Congolese mask (

Mask from the Congo (


For some more info and here


Comoros and Mayotte. The Perfume Islands.

Ylang-Ylang on Comoros (

Comoros is the largest producer of ylang-ylang in the world and a major producer of vanilla. The islands also grow fields of jasmine, cassis and orange flower. Some of the world’s most famous beauty companies source their essential oils and raw product from this tiny, little known island nation.

Ylang-ylang harvest (

Vanilla at various stages of drying. (


Perfume from Mayotte (

Comoros and Mayotte (


In case you can’t place the islands on the map (I couldn’t!) (

Here’s a fantastic account of life and travels on Comoros and Mayotte.

Have you been?  I would love to hear about it!