🖐🏾👋🏿✋🏼folks, this post is part 3 snapshots of my travel series, (click here to read part 1) and (click here to read part 2). Throughout this post I’ll showcase 5 countries I’ve visited and will provide a brief summary of the significant / memorable aspects of that place, it’s culture, food, etc.
Let’s get to it!
Seoul, Suwon South Korea
South Korea was pleasant, I really enjoyed how warm & hospitable some South Koreans were to me, I also liked the super tasty foods (click here to check the dishes I’ve eaten while traveling). I liked many of sites I saw there, like some of the art museums, and history museums. Similarly to Japan I wish I could speak more Korean so that I could have conversations with more of the locals.
I traveled to France several years ago, it was my final destination during a long international trip from North America, the Ukraine, and through England. I’m not complaining lol, I’m just saying, it was a TRIP!
Despite my brief stay in France I got to see a lot of the city quite quickly because it’s fast pace resembles that of New York and London; I enjoyed the huge doors and windows of France, the small streets and their petite cars. Many of the French people looked super thin lol, no diss, I’ve heard that many of them think “Americans are all obese or fat” so it is what it is lol.
I really liked how easily accessible the museums were there, my boy-friend at the time and I museum hopped from Le Louvre to various art and history museums throughout the city while not breaking the bank! Afterwards, we dashed to a cute restaurant/ cafe and ate some food, the food was fresh and French/ Italian (I can’t remember) I just know it was good 👅👅.
As for French people, I sensed similar coldness from them but also hints of curiosity in me that differed from the Ukrainians, the British, or the English, lol. My French speaking capability is poor so I just let my boy-friend do all the talking since his French was at a standard level.
Two museums that left deep impressions on me were: The Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and Palais De Tokyo.
Reasons why I really liked The Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, is because it mainly showcased African artifacts from all over the world from the 1600s or earlier to modern times. I saw artifacts from Haiti, various countries in the continent of Africa to African sculpting that were donated/ plundered to France.
Reasons why I really liked Palais De Tokyo, sis and bro this museum was out of this world! It’s a bit pricey but totally original. It housed contemporary art from all over, I saw mixed media of Solange, I saw art works from many Asian artists I had never heard of, it was also very political and bold at times which I liked due to the pieces challenging the status quo or forcing people to think consciously about some societal ills. If you’re in Paris and want to see things that’ll cause you to scratch your head or pick your brains a bit, check those museums out!
I’d like to revisit France for a longer period of time and also because many of the people I now know or have met from CouchSurfing were from there.
Despite what is currently happening in the Ukraine (aka Russia’s invasion), I did enjoy the discomfort I felt while there, it’s part of learning and maturing I suppose. Click here to read about my Kiev adventures and click here to read Kiev adventures part 2.
The food was fine but the options were limited for vegans/ vegetarians simply because there is a lot of meat dishes and many of which are also very carb heavy (i.e. potatoes, starchy white breads). I met a local Ukrainian guy while I was there, he worked as a Yoga instructor & he was also an extreme hiker；he spoke some English. He was interesting but we didn’t get to chat long enough but he left an impression of me. The Ukraine then was a country still in its infancy, I couldn’t sense things from there that was distinctly Ukrainian but also felt like the people were just trying to get by-humanely, like they just go to work, take care of their family and try to be at peace. I remember that quiet yet reassuring pride that many of the older Ukrainians had about them, this elegance even. Idk it’s a bit challenging to describe but I know what it looked like. I want to revisit Ukraine proper sometime soon. I’d like to learn and discover more about their culture + eat more of their foods.
I had a 4 hour long layover in Taiwan several years ago, I forgot where my final destination was maybe it was back to New York from Thailand. Yes, that’s it! Instead of staying inside of the bustling international airport in Taipei; being that I’m a huge museum- head (museum lover/ fanatic) I figured I’d go to the city center and check out a museum of two. Lol girl, I was dead wrong! …
Key memories from Taipei:
The city was scorching hot! Grant it, I was there during the summer time but yo, it was blazing hot!🌞🌞🌞 I ate some food there, the guy kept giving me more to eat which was blowing my mind. I also didn’t know how to say “no” or “stop” in Taiwanese or in Chinese Mandarin (ps this was before I visited China), lol! Taipei seemed super busy with life and energy, it seemed developed and very spacious too! I’d like to revisit Taiwan properly soon, especially now that I can speak Chinese Mandarin.
The Italians were warm and hospitable to me. A lot has changed since 12’ so I’m not sure if that’s still the case for other black folks. I’m aware of the growing cases of violent xenophobia attacks on foreigners by racist Italians, it’s disgusting and primitive. I don’t want to dive too deep in that directions but a quick Google search “Africans attacked in Italy by locals” “Italian Prime Minster Cécile Kyenge attacked…” can give you a more contemporary perspective on the current state of affairs in Italy.
So the way I see Italy is with layers of bitter sweetness because I guess I was there when it was a novelty to be a black American in Italy who was there by choice not out of necessity, you know? Before all of those Sub-Saharan and North African migrants migrated there to find better opportunities.
I enjoyed hearing “mama Africa” by strangers mainly by male Italians and “ciao Bella” “hey beautiful” the way we Americans say “what’s up”, “hey sis” in black enclaves throughout America or “Sak pase!” in Haiti to folks.
I really enjoyed the freedom of causally walking around Rome during all hours of the day and night when I was studying abroad there. I made friends with many locals and foreigners mainly with African due to our cultural similarities and mutual sense of respect for one another. I still do believe that most Italians are super attractive and beautiful- I like how golden their skin looked in the sun, how full their lips are, and how appealing many of them looked overall. I of course loved the food! I was a vegetarian at the time so I could eat almost everything, it’s also where I started my self cooking journey, starting off by cooking and burning pasta w/ mozzarella balls lol! My cooking skills has improved significantly since then btw! Ahaha! We all gotta start somewhere! I missed eating blocks of cheese, consuming fresh Italian wine, eating large square slices of Bufalina pizza and stuffing my face with huge jars of NUTELLA any day of the week all at a fair price!
It’s been 10 years since I’ve visited Rome so a trip back is desperately needed soon!
There you have it folks. Please comment, share and travel some mo!