The title above does not refer to a an expedition to collect specimens for the local zoo. It’s about capturing them in art; on mosaics and stamps, and in photographs. There’s an African thread which runs through the post too.
Sunday Stamps, which this week has the theme of Africa. I have been admiring some of my fellow-bloggers' posts on there for a while, and itching for a chance to play along.
In the card my mother writes that the hotel enjoys a peaceful location; this was obviously long before the recent unrest of the Arab Spring. My parents were booked for an excursion to the camel market and my mother wondered if she would be able to pluck up courage to have a ride on one! She was looking forward to visiting Tunis, Sidi Bou Said and Carthage.
It would be another four years before I visited Tunisia myself, and the ruins of Carthage were high on my list of sights to see. The museum there is one of the richest in the world and a good place to see some outstanding mosaics.
Carthage is steeped in history and recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre; their website describes it as:
“ An exceptional place of mixing, diffusion and blossoming of several cultures that succeeded one another’”
These included Greek, Roman, Vandal and Arab. It was the place which sheltered the mythical love of Dido and Aeneas.The navigator-explorer Hannon and the Roman general Hannibal (whose own history is also inextricably linked with riding enormous wild animals) are also part of its past. It was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenician traders from Tyre, who dominated the seas for centuries trading in gold, silver, fruit, nuts, jewellery and wild animals. The animals would play a huge part in the amphitheatres during the Roman occupation too. This is probably why the splendid prowling wild cat was chosen as one of the stamps designs.
I’ve never been back to that part of Africa, but I do live on Lanzarote, which is about 70 miles from the African coast. We have camels here too, and they were the favoured beasts of burden in the past. These days they are mostly ridden by tourists, and also have a starring role in our Three Kings Festival on 6th January, for obvious reasons. They are well cared for and contented animals and recently a new baby arrived at our local Riding Centre. My three year-old twin grandchildren, who were visiting us, were delighted, and my grandson borrowed his Mum’s iPhone to take a souvenir picture. He also captured a shot of a Hoopoe who had flown down to investigate; however, I’m told by my son that this is not the picture taken by my grandson as I first thought, but was captured by his Daddy using a more sophisticated camera than an iPhone! My grandson will happily pick up his father’s camera and shoot away too - I’m NOT sharing the one he took of me...oh no!
|Contented Camels, taking a well-earned rest.|