Sunday, 24 January 2016

Paris Photo Story

I visited Paris in summer 2014 with my mom after my MA programme in Bournemouth, Dorset. I had always  wanted to travel to Paris and used the summer holiday as well as my mum's visit as an opportunity to go on the trip with her. 
Working on your dissertation while on holiday isn't the most ideal situation. We had a whole itinerary of events planned (I had a bucket load of planned museum visits; mom had a shopping list for both of us) however school work made us modify our plans. We still visited prominent sites and went shopping, we also discovered new adventures that we probably would have missed had we stuck to our initial plan: Food and community

We stayed in Arty Paris, a budget hotel/hostel in a beautiful neighbourhood. Opposite the hostel was a Mexican restaurant which we frequented in the evenings after our daily outings. I had been introduced to Mexican food in school through a restaurant called Mambo, safe to say most of my Friday night food deliveries were either papa johns or Mambo. So when I found out that there was a Mexican restaurant just opposite us, I was happy. My mum also enjoyed the food so we made the place our evening spot.
A few minutes walk away, was a park called George Brassens (we discovered this place a day before we left). It was quite close to a restaurant called Cent Kilos where we ate regularly and great for relaxing/people watching. There was also a bakery/gelato place down the road that had an assortment of baked goods so we stocked up before heading out. The baker didn't speak english though so most of our orders involved me pointing at things and saying "Je voudrais acheter" a lot.
Getting around Paris wasn't too difficult after the first day. We were given a map at the hostel reception with directions to the train station. By the time we got lost a few times on the first day (with mom speaking Yoruba about why I brought her to a non-English speaking country to get lost!), we found our way and became quite knowledgeable with the routes, and buying tickets at the station (which was another drama because the everything was in French: not the French we learnt in secondary school/Allianz Francais oh). We eventually alternated between taxis and trains.
Everyone we met was quite kind and helpful, from the hostel staff to restaurant owners. I also tried practicing my french whenever we went out and even though I probably sounded horrible, they'd simply smile and patiently correct me. I now understand why people travel to learn languages in the actual places where they are being spoken; my beginner's French was better within a week.
Our Paris Pass was also very useful in getting us access to a lot of places. We were unable to use it extensively but its a great purchase for anyone going to Paris. 
My mom and I enjoyed the city immensely and were glad we had the opportunity to visit. 

I learnt a few things about travel (and ultimately life) on this trip:
  • God has a way of making things work even when things seem to go wrong.
  • Its easy to see things in a negative light, if you do not have a habit of being thankful.
  • Appreciate your moments, embrace them and don't compare them to the moments of others. Your life is not an Instagram feed. 
  • Be patient and accommodating when travelling with others especially older people. If you're open to their interests, you might discover and enjoy something new (even if you don't enjoy the activity, at least you know someone else is? LOL).

You know how sometimes people tell you about places and when you go there, it doesn't meet your expectations? Not Paris. Paris was better than we imagined and well worth the visit. I hope to go there again, relive some experiences and have some new adventures.
Thank God for life.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Reflections: ELSEWHERE in Art Twenty One

 As I begin  the new year, I've been reflecting on past moments that really stood out for me as I navigated the cultural space in the city. One of such moments was my first visit to Art 21 last year to view "Elsewhere".

Art 21 is an art space located at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos. They are known within the Lagos art circuit for promoting mostly African and African born artists in their exhibitions. In August, I went to view their exhibition titled "Elsewhere" which was a group exhibition featuring 7 artists/art duos. The artists are:
  • Joseph Eze (Nigeria)
  •  Namsa Leuba (Switzerland)
  • Vincent Michea (France)
  • Abraham Oghobase (Nigeria)
  • Demola Ogunajo (Nigeria)
  • Paa Joe and  Jacob Tetteh-Ashong (Ghana)
  • Yarisal and Kublitz (Switzerland/Denmark)



Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Abraham Oghobase's works (bummer because I really enjoyed viewing his works). However, a few weeks later I attended a photography exhibition at the Goethe Institut, Lagos which he did a great job of curating. You can view some of his works here

© T. FOR TOPE. All rights reserved.