This post is a continuation of part 1 of my adventures from around the world. Throughout this post I will briefly summarize 5 countries I’ve visited plus detail the distinct things I remember or liked about their cultures. I usually travel to the popular city, the capital of the country due to resources, connections, and because it’s convenient. I travel alone and make friends/ acquaintances along the way.
Let’s get right into it!
I’ve traveled to Singapore twice, during my first trip to Singapore, I CouchSurfed and stayed with a kind, funny and hard working Chinese woman. During my second trip I was hosted by an Indian guy and his Chinese girlfriend.
My main takeaways from Singapore during both trips was that the country for me was too small, (small in mass), it’s congested but very diverse in terms of the various southeast Asian ethnicities that work or live there. But, I saw maybe one other black person during those 2 trips. :/ It’s diverse in its own ways but it’s still also quite homogeneous in other ways.
Having said that, the food was delicious & cheap, the country is super safe, there are CCTV cameras everywhere; I got to see lots of interesting art museums, learned about Singaporean History, and was fortunately able to speak with many locals because Singapore has about 5 official languages and English is one of them.
Many of the people there also seemed very confident and happy, especially the elders, many of them would initiate conversations with me which was quite the opposite experience from many of the other Asian countries I’ve visited.
Port au Prince, Haiti
I was born in Haiti but actually traveled there several years ago because I had the time and resources to visit. It was quite an adventure, I went there on a whim and out of a bit of boredom from life in the US. I also Couch-Surfed there for a few days so that I could explore my own way before I linked up with a family member. Click here to read more about my Haiti experience.
Key takeaways from Haiti: there is always this eclectic energy that I sensed whenever I read novels written by seasoned Haitian authors or whenever I speak with Haitian people; that I too sensed almost immediately after I arrived in Haiti plus throughout that entire trip.
I’m not sure if it’s the sense of “freedom” that differs from the freedoms we talk about from countries like the US, France, etc; it’s this unspoken freedom, that old school freedom —of simplicity mixed with those colorful tap tap trucks zooming past you on those busy roads blasting Kompa, AfroLakay, or Gospel music. It’s this energy of people who have earned their independence generations ago, so they are just moving in a way that works for them regardless of how it may seem to foreigners. It’s this relentless pride, the unfettering reassurance that they will be fine, even if politically things are not.
During my entire stay in Haiti I stuffed my face with all the street foods I could find, I visited a cemetery, talked about Voodoo culture with some locals, visited some NGO, and lastly got to visit my motherland.
I had fun, heard lots of stories, learned some valuable life lessons about being around certain types (ie class) of people but overall traveling to Haiti provided a lot of clarity and reassurance.
Hong Kong, HK
I visited Hong Kong for almost a week and even that seemed too long because it’s also a very small country in mass. If you’re as ambitious as me, you could explore most if not all of Hong Kong in a couple of hours just by walking, let alone if you use the subway, bus, or car. Key take away from Hong Kong is similar to Singapore, both countries are homogeneously diverse, they both are developed and clean but there is still plenty of space to improve in terms of diversity and multiculturalism, but maybe I’m being too American with this analysis. Lol! it just bums me out whenever I travel to places that seem to be ethnically diverse on paper but in reality are just the opposite.
While in Hong Kong I stayed in various hostels, they were cheap and modern.
I did not like many of the Hong Kong food I had eaten and distinctly remember how limited the options were for a vegetarian let alone for vegans. On a bright side, many of there art museums, touristy areas were interesting.
Benin was the first African country I ever visited, I went there seeking my ancestors. Click here to read more about my Benin adventures.
Key take away, the Beninoise seemed friendly, approachable, and hospitable people. The street food was tasty but also very cheese or carb heavy. In contrast to Rwanda, Benin seemed to have more things to do socially/ re-creationally, like their awesome artisan center, multiple art museum franchises, etc. I enjoyed my time there and had been hosted by a married Beninoise couple. I visited various cities throughout Benin through motorcycle and strangers cars lol. It wasn’t as scary as it may seem. Another one for the books for sure.
South London stand up! ! I CouchSurfed my entire London trip, two surfers turned friends who I hosted years ago (separately) returned the favor once I was in their home towns. Key take aways, London is SUPER expensive! I can’t emphasize that enough! I just remember everything having some crazy price tag on it except for air. :/
London seemed very diverse, I saw a lot of black folks from Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere. Interracial relationships seems to be a thing there; the food was ok, I prefer ethnic food(i.e. Jamaican, Arabian, Greek), I was grateful enough to meet a couple of intellectuals of Color (immigrants, 1st / 2nd generation migrants). One memorable memory I have with both surfers was how accessible a lot of London was by foot, it didn’t seem dull or dangerous. We walked around neighborhoods while they explained the history of the area to me. I really enjoyed those moments.
And that’s a wrap for part 2 of the 3 part series.