Travel

Seeing the World - Bali Edition II

Greetings! I hope you’ve been well. When I left off the last time Vee and I had gone beach hopping, checked out various cultural dances and performances, visited some amazing temples and of course the rice fields, among other things. As a photographer, I am always conscious of light and up until we visited Mount Batur, I was kind of shooting in whatever light we found our self in. On the day we visited Mount Batur, I wanted to get there by sunrise. This meant that we had to get up super early to start the mission, as it was quite some distance from where we were staying. It was well worth it! Mount Batur is an active volcano and is believed to be quite sacred. People usually hike up the mountain but Vee’s injury wouldn’t let us be great!

 Mount Batur at sunrise.

Mount Batur at sunrise.

 Mount Batur at sunrise.

Mount Batur at sunrise.

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As we were taking in the sunrise, partly in a meditative state, a whole wedding shoot was taking place nearby. What a location for a wedding shoot, you can’t beat that backdrop and the light!!!

 Wedding shoot at Mount Batur!

Wedding shoot at Mount Batur!

 Village around Mount Batur

Village around Mount Batur

 Kids headed to school in the back of the pick up

Kids headed to school in the back of the pick up

Since we were already in the Batur area, we decided to visit the Batur natural hot spring for a nice relaxing dip, and breakfast. Also, being that it was super early meant this was the first time in Bali that we could actually enjoy the scenery in peace without the throng of tourists everywhere. Let me tell y’all, it felt as good as it looks!

 I was in heaven…basically!

I was in heaven…basically!

 Elephant fountain at the hot springs

Elephant fountain at the hot springs

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 Fishing village around Mt. Batur

Fishing village around Mt. Batur

The next day we headed to the sacred water temple, Tirta Empul. The temple is often filled with Balinese Hindu worshipers who come for ritual purification believing that the springs have curative properties. Apart from worshipers, there were plenty of tourists also bathing in the blessed water. Sooooo…. I am super germophobic and didn’t get in, but Vee got enough blessings for both of us!

 A man lets the water from the springs wash over him.

A man lets the water from the springs wash over him.

 Vee about to get her soul purification on.

Vee about to get her soul purification on.

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 A man with an intricate tattoo bathes in the springs.

A man with an intricate tattoo bathes in the springs.

 Offerings left in and around the temple.

Offerings left in and around the temple.

 Lil dude throwing up the peace sign, I see you!

Lil dude throwing up the peace sign, I see you!

We went back and forth about whether to visit the Gili Islands and decided we had come too far not to. We decided on Gili Air because it seemed to fit what we were looking for. Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno are apparently much more quiet and secluded, like lover’s honeymoon destinations. We took a ferry to get there and we were not disappointed with the life of the island and the beauty of the beach there.

 There are no cars on the island, and it reminded me of Lamu. Lots of pretty horses!

There are no cars on the island, and it reminded me of Lamu. Lots of pretty horses!

 The lobby of the little hotel we stayed in!

The lobby of the little hotel we stayed in!

 A man sits watching the festivities on the path.

A man sits watching the festivities on the path.

 Mode of transportation on the island

Mode of transportation on the island

 How you doing….?

How you doing….?

 Sunrise on the island.

Sunrise on the island.

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 Definitely utopia!

Definitely utopia!

 This is literally what it felt like to ride on them wagons!

This is literally what it felt like to ride on them wagons!

 Local relaxing by his store front.

Local relaxing by his store front.

 Yo! I love corn/maize, this reminded me of mahindi choma, but with sweet corn!

Yo! I love corn/maize, this reminded me of mahindi choma, but with sweet corn!

 Gili swag!

Gili swag!

The ride back on the ferry was ROUGH! We didn’t think we were going to make it! We spent our last day visiting a few more temples, and hit up the Ubud Art Market. There were so many beautiful things you guys, I only realized later that I didn’t take any pictures, because I was busy shopping!

 When you ask people to take photos of you!

When you ask people to take photos of you!

 Homie for life!

Homie for life!

Bali was so beautiful, so much to see and too little time. I really wish we would have had the time and resources to explore more outside Bali. If you are planning a trip there, brace yourself for the multitudes of tourists EVERYWHERE. The days I enjoyed the most were when we got up earlier and beat the crowds. We give thanks still, and continue to travel and soul search!

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Peace and blessings until the next time!

Seeing the World - Bali Edition I

This blog post has been a long time coming. I am over here looking at all the photos trying to remember all the names of the places we visited! Note to self and others, if you’re going to blog about a trip, you might want to do it soon after the trip, so you’re not over here struggling like me! Last year one of my bestest friends Veronica and I vowed to take a trip together every year to somewhere we have never been. We went back and forth on destinations, and finally settled on Bali! After an almost 11 hour layover in Doha, we finally made it to Bali! I have to say even though the layover was long AF, Qatar Airways hooked your girl up with lounge access, so it was free food and drinks for all 11 hours!

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This was literally our first stop. A cute little cafe close to our air bnb.

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We were jet lagged as hell, but wanted to hit the beach, so we decided to do the 30 minute walk to Seminyak beach instead of taking a taxi. It is always cool to walk in a new place, because you get to see things and interact with people on the way. We walked past this cool installation at the Dash Hotel in Seminyak.

 Interesting art installation at Dash Hotel

Interesting art installation at Dash Hotel

We finally made it to Seminyak beach which was just magical. On the way there I was almost conned out of money by a street side money changer dude. As he was counting the money, he was letting some of the bills drop, he really thought he was slick! Stick to the formal money changing shops if you want to change money, they are much more trust worthy.

 Seminyak Beach at Sunset

Seminyak Beach at Sunset

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 More sunset views from Seminyak.

More sunset views from Seminyak.

We got to see quite a bit of dance and performance in Bali. One of the first performances we got to experience was the Barong dance, which is probably one of the most well known dances in Bali. It is a story telling dance, which narrates the fight between good and evil. It was super colourful and graceful!

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The next day we headed to Ubud, to the Tegenungan Waterfall. There were SO many people there, it was a little difficult to really enjoy it. Also, there were about 2000 steps to get down to the waterfall, our cardio workout was taken care of for the day!

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Let me tell you guys, Veronica has the most sensitive stomach in the world (she also clumsy as hell but thats another story haha!) We pretty much stayed away from the street food, but we did however try the local delicacy Babi Guling. Listen… it was unlike anything I have ever had, like ever. As such, I am unable to describe it.

 Babi Guling.

Babi Guling.

We then hit up the Tegallalang rice terraces which are located just north of Ubud. I mean you can’t go to Bali and not hit up the rice fields. It was a spectacular experience, but again there were so many people!

 Tegallalang rice terraces.

Tegallalang rice terraces.

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 Women working in the rice fields.

Women working in the rice fields.

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There were so many cute little cafe’s and restaurants everywhere, we picked places based off cool factor and of course the menu.

 Vee being a good model.

Vee being a good model.

 Potato Head Beach club

Potato Head Beach club

There are literally a thousand beaches in Bali, slight exaggeration, but for real there’s like a beach on every block! We spent one day just beach hopping and I believe this is the day Veronica went body surfing in the ocean and fractured her knee! I told y’all she was clumsy, we ended up in the emergency room this day, which was an experience in itself. Poor girl braved the rest of the trip limping, with a big ol’ bandage on her knee. Also, this made me consider having travel insurance, as it seemed like it could come in handy even for the not so accident prone of us!

 Pandawa Beach vibes.

Pandawa Beach vibes.

 Man at Pandawa beach.

Man at Pandawa beach.

One of my favourite parts about the trip was visiting the Uluwatu Temple, which is a Balinese Hindu sea temple located in Uluwatu South Kuta. It is one of six key temples believed to be Bali's spiritual pillars and is positioned on top of a steep cliff about 70 metres above sea level.

 View from the temple

View from the temple

 Surfer with his board

Surfer with his board

The temple is where the famous Kekac dance happens right at sunset. The dance actually originated from a Balinese ancient ritual called 'sanghyang' in which dancers fall into a trance. With all the humming and slow movements, it is easy to fall into a trance yourself, just watching them.

 Kecak dance in motion at sunset.

Kecak dance in motion at sunset.

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After the dance was over, I took a photo of the temple right after the sun had set during the blue hour.

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That concludes part one of this blog folks, in part two we visit the Batur hot spring, crash a wedding shoot, visit Gili Island and take a dip in the Tirta Empul temple holy bath.

Seeing Africa - Egypt Edition II

I know what you are thinking, we had to wait almost a month to get part two of this edition?!! I told y'all I was inconsistent, but I am trying! Life be happening!

Anywho, after leaving Aswan the next stop was Cairo. I couldn't wait to explore Cairo, the food, the people and the places. Mohammed and I stayed with one of our friends in the city, so it was fairly easy to get around. But the traffic!! What is it about African cities and traffic?! 

Of course our first stop was the pyramids! I had always dreamed about the pyramids, and seeing them up close was quite an experience. We decided to get there super early to see if we could catch the sun rising over the pyramids, but the joke was on us the sun rose in the opposite direction from where we were positioned. Still, the light was amazing and the experience was as magical as I had expected it to be. 

 When I look at the pyramids, I feel that they exist in the past, present and future simultaneously.

When I look at the pyramids, I feel that they exist in the past, present and future simultaneously.

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We met up with some local photographers in Cairo, who showed us around and told us where it was okay to shoot. Finding a local photographer to shoot with is super important for traveling photographers, because it is easy to get carried away and you don't want to get in trouble for shooting somewhere you are not supposed to in a foreign country. 

 Mostafa Bassim was kind enough to show us around. He is a great photographer and super cool guy!

Mostafa Bassim was kind enough to show us around. He is a great photographer and super cool guy!

 This is the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the oldest mosque in the city.

This is the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the oldest mosque in the city.

 The view from the Ibn Tulun.

The view from the Ibn Tulun.

 I loved this guy's cotton candy tower!

I loved this guy's cotton candy tower!

 She looked like a female mafia boss!

She looked like a female mafia boss!

 Night time at Khan El Khalili market.

Night time at Khan El Khalili market.

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As is the case around these parts, a sunset picture seems like a great way to end a post. There is so much more of Egypt I would like to see still, so I am pretty sure I will go back. 

 Shot from Al Azhar Park.

Shot from Al Azhar Park.

Remember, wander as often as you can. Your spirit will thank you!

Seeing Africa - Egypt Edition I

I'm back, but this time to share my adventures in the land of Tut! In 2016, I attended the Nile Seed Forum in Aswan, Egypt that was constituted to discuss the potential collaboration among civil society organisations in the Nile Basin countries. Egypt was always on my bucket list and I was super excited to be going, especially since my friend Mohamed was also attending the Forum. Aswan is in the south of Egypt, and about 850 km from Cairo. 

I flew directly into Aswan and had to take a boat across the Nile to get to the Island where the Forum was taking place. I wasn't ready for the level of dopeness of the modern hutlike structures carved out of the rocks, that ended up being our home for the four days we were there! 

 The boats that carried us from island to island.

The boats that carried us from island to island.

 Those colourful hut looking thingis were the rooms.

Those colourful hut looking thingis were the rooms.

 This was the room situation where we had all our meetings and meals.

This was the room situation where we had all our meetings and meals.

 Our tour guide on the island.

Our tour guide on the island.

 The controversial Aswan Dam.

The controversial Aswan Dam.

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 Sunrise expedition with Mohammed.

Sunrise expedition with Mohammed.

One of the highlights of being in Aswan was getting to visit the Temple of Isis in Philae. The temple was primarily dedicated to Isis the goddess of fertility, but the mens in her life Osiris and her son Horus were also worshipped there. 

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 The Temple of Isis

The Temple of Isis

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 Portrait of a fruit seller

Portrait of a fruit seller

Another highlight of being Aswan was taking a walk in the market and visiting the Nubian quarters there. There was so much colour everywhere and the people were so welcoming and hospitable. The Nubians have been resettled in large numbers away from southern Egypt and Aswan since the 60s, when the Aswan Dam was built on the Nile, causing the flooding of their ancestral lands. This is a big part of the controversy that surrounds the dam. 

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 No there is no image of me holding the baby croc, however I present you with a picture of Mohamed holding one.

No there is no image of me holding the baby croc, however I present you with a picture of Mohamed holding one.

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 This guy was the definition of cool!

This guy was the definition of cool!

 Nubian woman outside her home.

Nubian woman outside her home.

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 Mohammed poses outside one of the Nubian houses. The wall art was so fresh and colourful.

Mohammed poses outside one of the Nubian houses. The wall art was so fresh and colourful.

Aswan was amazingly beautiful, so full of history and culture! In part two of this blog post, I will share the Cairo experience with you! 

Until then, wander as often as you can. Your spirit will thank you!

Seeing Africa - Capetown Edition

Sooooo... this is my first blog post! No not ever, I had an African art blog eons ago, but life took over. Actually my fear about starting a blog has always been that I won't be consistent enough to maintain it. But hey, life is short and I have MANY photos that need to be put somewhere, lest they die a slow death on my computer. 

I digress, let me get on with this thing, before I get distracted with something else! So I was invited to Capetown last year for a VR Workshop, super cool stuff it was I tell you! The workshop took place on a vineyard in Stellenbosch, and the landscape and wine were just surreal!

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Any time I get invited to somewhere I have never been, I always ask to stay a couple of days after to explore. I decided to take some time do a little sight seeing in the city. The first stop was Lion's Head mountain. My friend Zunaid took me on a hike on the mountain with his wife and daughter. His daughter is like six and hiked up that mountain without even stopping to catch her breath! Meanwhile I was barely alive by the end of it all in my jeans and converse, but the views were all worth it. Who the hell goes on a hike in jeans and converse?! To be fair I didn't think we were going to hike hike.

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I took a moment to take in the view. But can I just say that vertigo is real! After a few moments of sitting there on the ledge, I started to feel like I was going to jump/fall... point is, this moment didn't last too long. 

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This was the view from my air bnb, in the heart of the city. The view was amazeballs, but the accommodation itself was the worst I have ever experienced! It was dirty AF, and the room was built on the roof of the building, so when that Cape Town wind started blowing, it literally sounded like there was an earthquake outside. ALL NIGHT!

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I also got to check out my spirit place, Bo-kaap! If you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE colour. I literally felt like I was in colour heaven. I wanted to live there, in a yellow house, with my pink car parked outside....a girl can dream right?! 

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My air bnb host offered to drive me around, probably because he knew that accommodation was sub standard. Anyway, I took him up on the offer and came across some more colourful spaces that I loved!

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All good things must come to an end I suppose. Capetown is SO beautiful! I kind of understand why the colonisers took hold and didn't want to let go! 

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