Well – the blog I just wrote dissappeared. This isn’t about Tanzania, but my trip to Tobago where I went with an artist friend of 26 years to paint. Painting is what I do and enables me to be able to go to Tanzania, so in a way, there are related. Castara, Tobago is a dream of a place to paint and relax. No internet, TV, radio, or newspapers! Just the sound of waves building up their lusty explosions of water, birdsong, birds visiting our balcony, eating the leftover papaya, mango and homemade bread we put out for them. A few even flew in to check out the kitchen – Banana Quits, Thrushes, incredibly beautiful birds. One was the softest blue,violet,dusty colour. Birders would love it here. There were parrots who had not learned English as their second language and squwaked in poor competition with the constant arias from the roosters. There was an abundance of birdlife and I don’t know the names of any of them – oh, hummingbirds.

Fishing boats, home made, not the fancy ones with flying bridges, passed down from father to son. We swam three times a day, many days the waves were quite big, with the red flag planted in the sand as warning. We would go in anyway being people raised on the sea. You dive deep beneath the curl of the wave which, if you miss, can feel like a wall, pull you under and stir you around as if you were in a washing machine! Years of happy sea memories flooded my mind as the water combed through my hair.

There was an “Ice Cream Truck”, complete with a jingle – only this one was a pick-up truck with a freezer strapped down to the back of the truck. He would plug it in at home, then for a few hours in the afternoon, unplug it and drive to the beach. Pretty clever. We ate fresh fish every day, we painted and sketched the fishermen. Shy at first – eventually they became friends and we had the privilege of learning about their lives, their worries (which are pretty universal worries, family, supporting family, women and cars). Towards the end, they were practically giving us fish for our supper. Now, as Rainer Maria Rilke says, “Work of sight is done. Now do heart work on the pictures within you”. Jessie