Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. -Maya Angelou

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Broome and Beyond

Monument to women pearl divers

            If diamonds are a girl's best friend,
                                                      then pearls must be her sister...............

I had my birthday in Broome. "The town built on buttons" Once the pearling capital of the world. until the mother of pearl industry was almost wiped out by the invention of the plastic button .The red pindan soil, white beaches and turquoise sea are as famous as the pearl divers themselves that came from Japan and China, Malaysia and Makassar, as well as  local Aboriginals. The Aboriginal  men and women were sometimes lured onto pearl luggers with the promise of grog and then forced to dive. If you didn't come up with a shell you had to produce a handful of sand to show that  you had reached the bottom.The pearl beds were deep, often more than 27 meters and hundreds of divers died either from the bends or drowning. Broome has the largest Japanese cemetery in Australia, with rough headstones carved from local beach stone. A silent tribute to the men who dived for "the tears of heaven"

Japanese Graveyard
  The corrugated road out to Willie Creek Pearl Farm was teeth rattling but the tour was fascinating.The poor oyster "pinctada maxima" has a tiny piece of Mississippi mussel shell inserted  into its gonads.......ouch!   Over the course of  a couple of years it secretes enough nacre (mucous) to ease the irritation and produce that highly desirable pearl. Each oyster also has its own home help, a tiny pea crab. In exchange for protection it keeps everything neat and tidy. Apparently the skilled operators, mainly Japanese that do this delicate seeding operation earn in excess of $100,000 for three months work, not too shabby but a mere bagatelle when you consider the industry turns over $200 million a year. I got to hold a couple of prize beauties for a few minutes.............but alas too dear for my budget to take home.

Pearls of great price!


I managed a swim at the fabled Cable beach, so named for the first international telegraph line that linked Australia to Java and the rest of the world. Walked through Chinatown to covet the pearls and finally watched the sun set whilst feasting on crispy Barrumundi wings under a star studded sky. A time for reflection as I celebrated my journey of 58 years.I've come a long way.My travels have taken me to five continents,and more exotic places than I could ever have imagined. It has been a privilege to explore new horizons, meet fascinating people and discover myself in the process. The internal journey has been  far longer than the external one and I still have a fair way to go............I read somewhere "that memories are a cushion for our old age" I have managed to stuff a few duvets so far.......God grant me travelling mercies and a soft landing!

Soul Food Kitchen

Fresh Lime Cordial.
This has been the best thirst quencher on our travels. We pop some bottles of the diluted juice in the freezer overnight and have ice cold drinks for the road.

60 g citric acid
30 g tartaric acid
30 g Epsom salts
Juice and rind of 12 limes or lemons
2 kg sugar
2 litres of boiling water

Pour the boiling water over all the other ingredients.Allow to stand overnight, so that the dry ingredients are dissolved. in the morning strain and bottle. Dilute to taste. Mmmmm.................... could be good with a G&T too ?

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