Maputo

Maputo, Mozambique

On the Indian Ocean, Maputo is a large city of over a million people. The beaches are beautiful, but much of the city is a bit dilapidated and in need of renewal. Plans appear to be underway. Yet, as with all large cities, there are beautiful areas to be seen and enjoyed.

Queensland

Queensland

If this large state in Australia were a nation, it would rank as 16th largest in the world. Queensland is so big that its climate varies significantly from region to region. Though its industries include cattle-raising, a wide variety of fruit-and-vegetable growing, plus a significant mining industry, tourism still ranks at the top of its economy. Why? Lots of warm, tropical beaches to enjoy. Plus, this is where you will find the Great Barrier Reef. 

Jacaranda Trees

Jacaranda Trees

Having grown up in the coastal area of very Mediterranean-like Southern California, there were plenty of streets lined with Jacaranda Trees. What a treat it was to go down these streets when the trees were in bloom. The asphalt and sidewalks would be covered in all this gorgeous purple beauty. Though originating in Central and South America, jacaranda trees are now scattered throughout the world wherever the climate allows.

Galah Cockatoo

Galah Cockatoo

This week, we’re back in Australia for a bit, on the blog that is, with the Galah Cockatoo which is a familiar bird all over Australia. Galahs have lovely pink and gray feathers and what appears to be the sweetest temperament in the world. Though they can live in captivity for up to 80 years, they have powerful predators in the wild — the little eagle, the peregrine falcon and the black falcon — and don’t often survive past 20 years. 

Vietnam

Vietnam

The war in Vietnam had a difficult impact on the US for many, many reasons. Though our part in the war ended in 1973, the war within Vietnam didn’t end until 1975 when North Vietnam became the victor. Recovery has taken decades for this beautiful country on the eastern side of the Indochina peninsula. But since the year 2000, Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies and now enjoys healthy tourism with over 12 million annual visitors. 

Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnamese Cuisine

‘Fresh’ is the byword for Vietnamese Cuisine. The Vietnamese people, having endured a significant amount of war in the past century, have learned to survive on what they can grow and raise. The result is some of the freshest food in the world.

Water Buffalo

Water Buffalo

Some of the images below reflect real affection between farmers and their water buffalo, including the children. In the simple country life of Vietnam, for example, the water buffalo are considered members of the family and the children talk to them. 

Pakistan

Pakistan

Having been conquered over the millennia by a large number of empires and dynasties, it’s not surprising that Pakistan today is both a nuclear weapons power and in possession of the 6th largest standing army in the world. When we get past the politics, every country is made up of people like you and me who love family and friends, love to eat, hang out, meet new people, and enjoy life. The first video below was a joy to watch because it exemplifies my deeply held belief that at heart, we are all the same. If only some of the tough outer crust could just disappear at times, we would be freer to enjoy other cultures more.