Word from the West. Zest.

Zest Awards 2014 (http://www.crn.org.au)

Last night was the 4th annual Zest Awards; an evening to celebrate all the wonderful community work that goes on in Western Sydney.

“The ZEST Awards are the annual celebration of the innovation and creativity of the Community Sector and its workers. ZEST, now in its 4th year, gives us the opportunity to recognise and honour the leadership, capacity building and partnerships which allow the Sector to support local communities.

The event raises awareness of the impact of the Community Sector in the region and promotes a positive image of Greater Western Sydney through highlighting our assets, our diversity and the creative and innovative work happening throughout the region.” (Zest Awards website)

Congratulations to all the nominees and winner for 2014!

For more information visit http://zestawards.com.au/



Dominican Republic. Blue skies, blue seas and blue amber.

Dominican Republic blue amber is ancient, rare and beautiful. It also behaves in a very strange way…

Under artificial light, it appears yellow or golden as expected but under sunlight it has an intense blue glow. When held under ultraviolet light it glows a bright milky-blue.

Blue amber is very rare with only 100 – 150 kg mined each year. Specimens of blue amber have also been found in Indonesia and Mexico.

Unlike the common golden amber, blue amber does not appear to contain fossilised material.

The finished product. (http://blueamberjewelry.com)

And let’s indulge in other blue beauties of the Dominican Republic….

Dominican Republic (http://vagabond3.com)


Dominican Republic artwork (http://www.santodomingovacationdelite.com)

Yes please. Dominican Republic (http://wedalerthoneymoons.com)

Have you been to the Dominican Republic? Have you seen the blue amber? I’d love to hear all about it!



Beyond the Map. The Big Picture.

The Big Picture finalist photographer R.William captured this image in the Thar desert between Jaislmer and Bikaner. (http://images.smh.com.au)

Check out the 25 finalists in the Sydney Morning Herald’s reader travel photo competition – The Big Picture. I’m glad I don’t have to judge! I love them all. Which one is your favourite?


Dominica. Pirates of the Caribbean

What a perfect place for a pirate adventure! The hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed all over the Caribbean with some of the more memorable scenes inspired by or filmed on the beautiful, pristine island of Dominica. Discover Dominica here in this short video, then see if you can recognise any of the film locations in the images below!

Underwater filming with Captain Jack! (http://www.danintranet.org/media/adimg/6125.jpg)


For more information on the film locations visit

Here is a great video showing some of the filming on Dominica


Djibouti. The Gentle Giant of Djibouti.

Between October and February each year large plankton blooms close to the coast of Djibouti draw these beautiful gentle giants close enough for tourist trips and driving adventures.  Although enormous (often growing to an incredible 12 m!) whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to hitch a ride!

Size comparison…(http://fc03.deviantart.net)





Word from the West. ICE (Information and Cultural Exchange)

 Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) is the actualisation of so much that is great in Western Sydney.  Described as a creative conduit between Western Sydney and the world, ICE brings to life the qualities of Appreciative Inquiry I wrote about here…..https://caravanserai230.wordpress.com/word-from-the-west/ and demonstrates the ways in which we can benefit from sharing our stories and experiences.

“Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) works at the intersection of arts, culture, technology and community. ICE projects engage diverse communities, build capacity in digital media and arts practice, and tell the stories of an extraordinary place, Western Sydney – the most diverse region in Australia.” (From the website) To learn more about ICE and read about the amazing projects and people visit http://ice.org.au/what-is-ice/

A video of the storytellers. http://vimeo.com/31870394#at=0

And Facebook if you want to be in touch https://www.facebook.com/ICEorgau?directed_target_id=0