Bangkok, 7 June 2016

Yes, I did that. On our recent tour of the Kimberley in Australia. The ant in question was the Green Tree ant or Weaver ant.
As readers can see, the ant has a bright green bum. The driver-cum-guide of our tour was a passionate advocate of the country’s Aboriginal population, of which there are still many in this little corner of Australia (it was the last part of the continent to be penetrated by white settlers, back in the 1870s). Among other things, on our walks through the bush he would point out various bush tucker (for non-Australians, that’s wild food which can be harvested in the bush), which he always claimed were bursting with proteins, Vitamin C, and other goodies, and which he would then invite us to try. So apart from Green Tree ants, I dutifully ate the petals of Australia’s kapok tree

the “petals” of the rosella “flower”
and the inside of the “nut” of the Australian boab tree (on which hangs a fascinating tale, which I will write up in a later post).
His partner, who was our cook, also fed us camel burghers (camels can now be found in the wild in Australia by their millions)


and kangaroo stew (also to be found in their millions throughout Australia, but of which we saw surprisingly few on this trip).
My conclusion: I really hope I don’t need to be a vegetarian in the Australian bush.

But actually, further research on my part since we returned from Australia suggests that the range of bush tucker we tried on our tour was rather limited. One article in Wikipedia has quite a long list of bush tucker to be found in the top end of Australia where we found ourselves, only one of which – the boab nut – we tried. So I really shouldn’t give up on bush tucker just yet.

Green tree ant: http://www.alexanderwild.com/Ants/Making-a-Living/Arboreal-Ants/i-wpGjWZ8
Kapok tree flower: http://www.crystalchannelers.com/blog/plantology—aboriginal-healing-recipes—reduce-a-fever
Rosella: https://cnesgreen.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/roselle-flower-tea-hibiscus/
Open boab nut: https://outbackjoe.com/macho-divertissement/bush-tucker-plants-and-animals/boab-tree/
Wild camels in Australia: https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/pests-diseases/202-camels-in-western-australia?showall=1
Kangaroos: http://notallowedto.com/the-feral-child-a-boy-raised-by-kangaroos-discovered-in-australia/

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I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. http://ipaintingsforsale.com/UploadPic/Gustav Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

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