Black and white photo of a statue of two figures, one with a gun
Pick a Word,  Themed galleries

Gallery: pick a word (December)

Out of us all
That make rhymes,
Will you choose
Sometimes –
As the winds use
A crack in the wall
Or a drain,
Their joy or their pain
To whistle through –
Choose me,
You English words?

Edward Thomas

One of my favourite poems, by one of my favourite poets, is about words. Some may say that’s not so surprising, when I like to use so many of them! Maybe too that is why I admire anyone who uses them as perfectly as Thomas did.

And now again I am facing the task posed by Paula in her monthly Pick a Word challenge. Five words, five photos inspired by those words. I may not stick only to her five words, but I do try to be succinct while also giving a bit of context to my choices.

In this month’s selection I’m aiming to take you on a whistlestop tour of the world, taking in:

  • An old fishing port in Italy
  • The Atacama Desert in northern Chile
  • A park in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
  • And one from our recent visit to Nepal, taken in a hotel garden

TRIBUTE

Statue of two figures, one with a gun

Mau Mau memorial, Nairobi

This is a memorial to the ‘victims of torture and ill-treatment during the colonial period’ in Uhuru Park, Nairobi. The sculpture represents a young woman, a Mau Mau sympathiser, passing food to one of the freedom fighters in order to give her support to the cause. A sign explains that it was the custom among the Mau Mau never to look at each other during such interactions, so that they couldn’t later identify and thus give away any of their fellow fighters, even if tortured. Another sign carries messages of reconciliation from Great Britain and the Mau Mau veterans.


WADING

Group of flamingos in a landscape of water and stony ground with distant mountains

Flamingos in the Salar de Atacama

The Atacama is the driest non-polar desert in the world, with no significant rainfall for 400 years. It is surprising then to arrive at the Laguna Chaxa and see so much water! Heavily salinated, and shallow, the lagoon is fed by the snow run-off from the surrounding Andes Mountains, which absorbs the natural salts of the land and then evaporates in the hot dry desert sun leaving the salt crust and crystalline formations that surround it. Chaxa is a breeding site for flamingos and many other water birds. They are drawn here by the many microscopic organisms such as algae and invertebrates which thrive in this brackish environment.

There are many more photos of these beautiful birds in my Flamingos of the Atacama post


TOWNSCAPE

Aerial view of crowded small apartment blocks and houses

Coming into land at Ho Chi Minh City

The guide who met us at the airport surprised us by welcoming us not to Ho Chi Minh City, the official name, but to Saigon, its previous name. The city was renamed after it was liberated/captured (depending on your perspective) by the Viet Cong in April 1975, bringing about an end to the Vietnam War. We had assumed that locals would be keen that we use its correct name, but it seems that because it is quite a mouthful and because old habits die hard, many still refer to it as Saigon.


HARBOUR

Colourful boats moored in front of an old stone building

Porto Antico, Monopoli

Monopoli’s old port is even today a hive of boat-related activity. Even during the post-lunch siesta time when we visited, when much of the town was somnambulant, there were some boats moving around on the water. Most are painted a bright shade of blue, making for a cheerful scene. The backdrop is the beautiful loggia of the Palazzo Martinelli Meo-Evoli. This 18th century palazzo was home to a succession of wealthy trading families of which the last was the Martinelli whose name it bears, who lived here from around the start of the 19th century.


BOKEH

Dramatic blue and yellow flower against a blurred green background

A bird of paradise flower

Photographed in the garden of the Temple Tree Resort where we stayed in Pokhara, Nepal.

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