There are certain people that come into your life for a reason…
And I’m not saying that Bev came into my life just for our Portugal trip together… Though it has been a highlight of our friendship (along with many, MANY others of course!)
Every time I think about this trip to Lisbon, a smile magically comes to my face (usually followed by ‘laughing out loud!’)
I couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion than my friend and neighbour (very handy for sharing early morning breakfast together- just stroll down in my PJ’s)!
Having a disability should never get in the way of accomplishing your dreams! I’ve learnt so much from this strong woman and her ABILITY to not only be a loyal friend, but also a fantastic mother, mentor, activist, advocate… and a darn good listener!
Lisbon didn’t know what hit it when us two Londoners painted the town red LOL! Thanks to all our Lisbon family that showed us a great time… (Fernando we miss you!!)
Most of all, thanks Bev for being you!
Happy Birthday my friend!!
A few pics I gathered up… A little rough around the edges in a film-strip frame… That was our trip!!
I was so excited to receive the news that the African Cup of Nations underdogs Dreamweavers of Cape Verde Islands have made it to the quarter-finals of the football tournament taking place in South Africa, after a 2-1 victory against Angola on sunday.
We all love an underdog victory!
In their first ever appearance in Africa’s main international football association competition, the Dreamweavers have shown they’ve earned their rightful place in the competition which dates back to 1957, showcasing Africa’s finest football talents and nations.
“We want to compare ourselves against the best in Africa and Ghana are among the best,” Coach Lucio Antunes told reporters (bbc.co.uk).
In a steady climb to the top, their victory is no doubt a cause for celebration for the nation composed of 10 main islands off the coast of west Africa, home to 500,000 people.
Here’s a collection of some of my highlights of the beautiful islands of Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) when I visited a few years ago…
To get a better understanding of who the Tabom returnees were, I’m looking into the social context of society in Bahia at the time, and what would become perhaps the most significant slave rebellion in Brazil; The Malê Revolt.
And perhaps it is destiny, rather than a coincidence, that I, a descendant of an Afro-Brazilian, am in Salvador Bahia reading about a group of African Muslim Slaves who were conducting an important meeting not so far from where I sit, on this day- 24th January, in 1835.
Gathered together in a ‘loge’, the slaves put together the final touches of a rebellion that would contribute to Brazil’s history, and determine the fate of the returnees to Accra, to be known as the Tabom. The rebellion would beginning prematurely, at 1am on the 25th January… A few hours time will mark the 178th anniversary of the The Malê Revolt.
Please join my facebook group Kai Li’s TABOM project and join me on my journey through history to discover my Afro-Brazilian heritage and gain a deeper understanding of who the Tabom returnees were before they arrived in Accra.
“Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia” by João José Reis can be bought on Amazon
A collection of pictures from my first ever visit to Salvador, Bahia in 2009. Little did I know about my ancestral (TABOM) connection with this city. Salvador still managed to leave a profound impact on me with all its glory; from history and culture to the people and food!
It’s no wonder I claimed to have left my heart in Salvador…
Now, 2013… And I’m back for it!
I spotted her sat under a tree as I stood at the traffic lights waiting to cross.
At first I thought the exaggerated gesture of her head tilted back and her mouth spread wide resembling a ‘joker’s smile’, was one an expression of jubilation. But her head quickly tilted her body caved in.
I’m not one to voluntarily make other people’s problems my own, but I found myself walking towards her…
“Are you OK?…”
She looked up at me puzzled, as though I’d invaded her space and questioned her human right to express her sorrow.
“Yes I’m OK,”
she repeated unconvincingly, returning her gaze to her phone; the culprit to deliver bad news to her, caught between her hands. I left her as I found her, crying.
In a strange way, crying is good for the soul. It cleanses the body getting ride of toxins. The stream of water running from here eyes washed everything in its path including her mascara, turning her tears black.
There was something beautiful about her crying so openly, so publically. Expressing her emotions as they arrived, not holding back until she reached the comfort of her safety four walls… This honesty to herself was refreshing.
She’ll feel better soon. If not in a few hours, or tomorrow, or the day after, she will eventually…
“Endurecerse sin perder la ternura jamás”
This was Jerry’s response to the experience of my first day Buenos Aires. I opened up to him as we ate branch in the calming environment of ‘Tea Connection‘ in Rocoleta, an up market neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Jerry listened patiently as I retold my story again from the evening before.
In less than a day in a new city I was so excited about visiting, I’d already put a guard up dissociating myself from people (particularly men that passed me on the street) after being made to feel ‘different’. And it wasn’t just about ‘feeling different’, it was the sexual aggression; almost primitive ‘animal-like’ that I didn’t expect to experience in such a ‘European-like’ advanced city. Advancement isn’t just about technology and fancy buildings. It’s about peoples mentality towards accepting people who are ‘different’, I explained.
“Get tough without ever losing your tenderness…”
These words coming from my friend Jerry were comforting. The words he quoted from his hero Argentine revolutionary, Che Guevara, couldn’t have been more appropriate. And wise words can relate to any context.
So with those words in mind, I gave exploring the city another chance, despite Jerry’s concern about ‘leaving me alone.’ I asked the universe to bring positivity my way and in return I too will exude positivity. Connecting with people is why I love to travel. If I refuse to smile, worried about what a gesture so natural to me could suggest to a passer by- then why am I here?
It took took a lot of man-power to stay positive and keep my guard down. How do you do so when the guy at the market stall shouts to you;
“water, coke… A boyfriend?”
I continued to ignore these luring taunts and repeatedly to ask the unknown for my fair share of positivity.
And then I found myself in Nuesta Senora del Pilar Chapel, almost as though stopping by for a chat with my mate; God. Quite convenient considering it a sunday.
Along with being thankful and praying for those in need, I asked to be a better traveller. I asked not to not be so sensitive, yet still be human enough so I can feel the goodness and pleasures that travelling brings by interacting with people. I asked to walk out of the Chapel a different person than I walked in.
I waited for it to happen. Then I left of the chapel expecting to be a new person!
And still when I didn’t notice much change in me after a long stroll, I walked into a nearby Starbucks. And sat waiting for change to take place within me… While I used the free wifi (thank you starbucks).
Again, I walked out the same person as I walked in.
I get it! Change will take longer than just snapping my fingers!
So I put up a temporary guard as I took the same street to the apartment as I had the previous day I had experienced the ‘unexpected incident‘.
My guard was up. I couldn’t help it.
Then not far from my street to turn into, I noticed a little girl holding her mothers hand. She tapped her mother in excitement and pointed at me;
she said with her eyes lit!
My Spanish isn’t very good but what this little girl said touched my heart! She did what an adult failed do. She broke down my guard to allow me to feel tenderness. I wanted to hug her! In fact why didn’t I hug this sweet little girl?
She’s the positivity I asked for from God.
God really works in mysterious ways…
This famous creation by Oscar Niemeyer completed in 1996, can be found across the Rio-Niteroi bridge from Rio de Janeiro City. The futuristic building is beyond its time, resembling a floating flying saucer over Niteroi bay.
It’s circular interior exposes stunning panoramic views across Guanabara Bay, along side a range of Contemporary art. The the basement is home to BistroMAC, the museum’s chic restaurant and Cafeteria.
An elegant setting to conduct an exclusive interview with Italian architect Sergio Giorgini during his trip to Rio de Janeiro.
Mirante da Boa Viagem, Niteroi, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tel./Fax – (21) 2620-2400 / 2620-2481 website
“This is not architecture – this is a sculpture…”
(All photos are ©Kai Lutterodt)
What is your opinion on Niemeyer’s influence on architecture, both in Brazil and around the world?
Oscar Niemeyer is one of the maestros of modern and contemporary art. He was one of the pioneer explorers of expressive techniques and construction of reinforced concrete.
His works, often considered ‘architectural sculptures‘; enhanced by the curved line- free and sensual, have become a symbol of visionary architecture. The curved lines, in fact, seem to offer an alternative to the poetic straight lines and right angles of rationalist architecture. A key figure of contemporary architecture, his work has greatly influenced both the architecture of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century.
How long have you been an architect and what led you to participate in this profession?
I’ve been an architect for over ten years. I always wanted to do this job, from an early age. Architecture is my passion, a passion that I always carry with me. I attended the University of Florence, graduating in architecture, specialising in architectural design.
What does architecture mean to you?
Architecture is the love of my life! And as he said, the great master Niemeyer; “architecture is life!”
When you observe the work of Niemeyer what emotions do you feel?
In Italy I had the good fortune to study and visit two of the most important architectural works of the master; the Palace Mondadori in Segrate and the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer, Ravello. As in all his works, the monumental character and ingenious solutions convey strong emotions and are the light to my eyes.
What is your opinion on the MAC during this visit to Niterio (Rio de Janeiro)?
Confirmation that it is an architectural work of great aesthetic and functional quality. The MAC, even more than the other works of the master, is a fully integrated architectural sculpture and in harmony with the place where it stands: it is one with the rock, the sea and the beautiful bay overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
Has Niemeyer influenced you in any particular way?
Niemeyer has not only influenced me, but generations of architects and sculptors! Niemyer is the sculptor of architecture. He transformed the normal architect into the sculptural architect. This is the difference.