Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bangkok, Thailand

Today marks my first week in Bangkok and so far my experience has been phenomenal. I came here on Monday May 24th and today is Monday May 31st. So much craziness and excitement has transpired during this week; I don't even know where to start. I have been scammed by tuk tuk drivers, enjoyed ridiculously cheap street food, spent too much money, met insanely cool people from around the world, melted under the blistering hot Bangkok temperatures and the list goes on. It's been a whirlwind.



Visited central bangkok on Tuesday.



I checked out the building (central world) burnt down during the protests and it was truly devastating. What I found so remarkable is how the city had bounced back. The streets were completely clean and everyone had returned back to normal.



Visited a lot of cool places like the Bangkok art and culture centre and



ate food, too much food.



This spicy coconut soup served with fish is a WINNER. So goooood. Exploring the city has been an adventure. I made an amazing friend at my hostel. He's Korean but he spent the last 6 months in Australia. He is very good with directions and had thoroughly researched all the hot spots in Bangkok. Traveling with him is extremely easy because he pretty much has everything figured out.



We went out some night to this shady outside bar and



we got drunk on these cheap drinks which were suppose to be cocktails but tasted like vodka sprinkled with pineapple coloring. The drinks were crazy cheap though. 80 baht is 2 US dollars. We also met this amazing girl from France who explored with us. Not only was it amazing to hang out with her, I was able to practice my conversational French with her. My French has suffered gravely over the last 3 years because living in America, I don't get a chance to speak it. I also get too lazy to make an effort to improve my vocabulary. *sigh*



and...



We saw the Grand Palace, which is one of the most extraordinary places I have ever been to in my life. Simply breathtaking. We also took the boat ride around the city.



Saw some more cool sites



Too many amazing places but this post is getting too long and I am getting tired of writing it so I should stop lol But before I stop, I should mention that I went to Patpong 2 nights ago.



Patpong is like one of the skankiest nightlife spots in Bangkok. You'll find hookers, ping pong shows, strip clubs, aggressive sellers trying to sell you touristy products, loud music, and random people pursuing sex everywhere. A couple of people pursued us but that's another story for another day. It's like a scene from a movie I tell you, incredibly surreal. My friend ordered a shit load of beer at one of the outside bars and we had no choice but to finish it



good lord. I'm not a quitter so I vowed to complete the task at hand



Yeah. After a couple, we were half way there. And then, we finished it. Yes! we finished it.



Suffice to say, I paid the price the next day. My friends left Bangkok on Friday to continue their travels so the weekend has been somewhat quiet. The best part of traveling for me is not even the thrill of experiencing a new culture. It's meeting new people from different parts of the world and sharing your adventures with them. I might never see them again but I'm grateful for the travel experiences we had. Ok folks, this post has gone on for too long. I will end here. My journey in Bangkok ends in 2 days and then I'm going to the next country. I'll come back to thailand again sometime within the next month though, not just Bangkok. I hope everyone is fine and living their lives to the fullest...and oh, I started new tumblr blog again. I closed the last one ages ago because it didn't have a focus. This time I thought it will be cool to start a travel blog focusing on the places I've been, places I would like to go and travel tips. So yeah, you can check it out here if you want. It's fairly new. I'm done now.

Best regards,
...a boy from another planet

Monday, May 24, 2010

...and summer begins

Howdy folks. I'm going to keep this one short. Je te promais. So the second I posted the last post, my ride to the airport arrived. I had to quickly scramble for my stuff and ended up forgetting my phone charger. I boarded a flight to Chicago and then from Chicago to Los Angeles and then from Los Angeles to Taipei, Taiwan. I was probably on the plane for over 24 hours. I had one day to spend to in Taiwan and I made the best of it.



After gettinng information about my transfer flight the next day...



I boarded the shuttle. The first thing I did was find the internet and then find something to eat.







Taipei city lights



This delicious mushroom pasta swathed in some mouth-watering sauce cost me 3 dollars. Probably the cheapest and most delicious plate of pasta I have ever had.



I was going to sleep in a hotel but I ended up coming back to the airport. The airport had very comfortable lounges to sleep on and affordable restaurants. A lot of transfer passengers were staying at the airport so I figured I might as well. Besides, by not booking a hotel I would be saving some money. The next day, boarded a flight to Hong Kong for an 1 hour layover. After that, I caught my flight to Bangkok, Thailand. Passing through immigration was smooth, except for this one lady who was a tad bit rude. My friend picked me up from the airport in his posh car and we drove around the city a bit. He showed me all the protest sites ( if you've been following the news, you probably already know that Bangkok has been rocked by violent protests over the past few months. The city is just returning to normalcy). My friend dropped me off at my hostel (which is amazing btw) sometime later than afternoon. The first thing I did was take a shower of course.My room has multiple beds but as of right now, I am the only one sleeping in it.



My favorite pair of sneakers making himself at home.



My locker. If you look closely you can see a blow dryer. Yes! I traveled with a blow dryer for my crazy afro which has been growing a lot lol. Don't laugh. I had no choice.



My balcony. Simply amazing.



...and this is the street where I live. It's Tani road, which is pretty close to the infamous Khao San Road. I did walk around Khao San Road last night and it is insanely out of this world. It's like a bohemian, backpacker, Thai/Bob Marley-esque touristy culture. I had to call it a night early because I was too jet-lagged. I'm well rested today and ready to tackle the city...by the way, Bangkok is HOT AS HELL OH MY GOD. I'm from West/central Africa (the equator) which is pretty hot but man, Bangkok is on another level when it comes to heat, ON ANOTHER LEVEL!!!! I'll end here for now. Take care of yourselves and I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The end of the beginning

Hey guys, I hope life is good. Boy oh boy, this past week has been indescribably stressful for me. I'm just glad it's all over and summer is finally here. School's out and the first thing I had to do was clear/organize my office at the Graduate students' building.



This was the final result. I know what you are thinking. "It's still messy" You should have seen this office the day before I took this picture, then you would appreciate the vast improvement. Yes! I have Scooby doo and the gang as my laptop screen saver. Don't laugh. If you look at the wall, you will see a Noisettes poster. You want to hear something really cool? that poster is actually signed by Noisettes' guitarist Dan Smith. I went to a Noisettes concert in the summer of 2008, during their mini-American tour, and Dan was gracious enough to sign it for me. He was such a down-to-earth and cool guy. He chatted with my friends and I for about 10 minutes or more. So yeah, that's my office space and it's going to stay like that for the rest of the SUM-MAH!! The next thing I had to do was clean my apartment and pack my clothes. I am going on a summer trip for the entire summer so I had to keep everything clean and in order before my departure.



My apartment does not normally look like this lol. I flung everything on the carpet so that I could sort out what would go where. While rummaging through my things, I found this beautiful hand-made Japanese card.



I remember buying this about 2 years ago right before valentine's day. I was going to give it someone but I changed my mind at the last minute and did not give it to her. Pretty huh? I will be traveling to an extremely humid region of the world so I need a lot of shorts. I was going to buy some but the prices were ridiculously expensive. Then I thought to myself, I have a lot of long pants which I don't wear. Why don't I just make them into shorts?



So that's exactly what I did...and I was satisfied with of the results.



"Muahahaha.I have the POWER," the scissors devilishly screamed.

With regard to my summer trip, I'm going to be backpacking in various countries and traveling back and forth between cities. If I travel with luggages and heavey bags, it's going to be impossible for me to move freely. Thus, I am only traveling with a 70L internal frame backpack.



Here's the bad boy. I believe the brand is cuscus. He's going to be my home for 2 and a half months.



Bare essentials



Packing some more. Of course my favorite Jimmy Hendrix T-shirt is gonna come with me. There's no adventure without this shirt. I have amazing stories to tell about this shirt but we'll save that for later.



Cleaning the kitchen. A girl is subleasing my apartment for one month while I'm away so I have to make sure the kitchen is immaculate for her.



Was finally able to squeeze everything into my backpack. I am ready to go. My ride to the airport comes in like 20 minutes or less. I fly into Los Angeles and then board a 2 day flight to the other end of the world. I'll spend the entire weekend flying which sucks but what can you do? I just realized that this is a long ass post lol...probably the longest I have written on this blog. Ok! I also want to give a big THANK YOU to all my new followers. I promise to make this blog better ( when I have the time lol). I believe I am also following all of your blogs. If I am not, please shoot me an e-mail with the url of your blog. I would love to hear about your adventures too. Ok! I need to quickly pack up everything before my ride comes. It's like 2:57am in the morning. Take care everyone and I'll see you on the other side.

Best regards,
Afrika

Monday, May 10, 2010

R.I.P Lena Horne



I had the biggest crush on Lena Horne when I was in high school so my heart sank this morning when I found out she died yesterday at the age of 92. Her life story is incredibly inspiring and she was very elegant in every endeavor she undertook. R.I.P



I've included a clip of her performing "Stormy weather"



My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else. "

- Lena Horne ( NY Times)