Kite flying on Easter Sunday

When my friend invited me to go kite flying with her and her family, I was totally up for it. It reminded of when I was younger and kite season came. Then, we would make our own kites and fly them in our neighbourhood. The sky was often a beautiful backdrop for a heated drama, as some kites danced side by side in elegance, while others ducked up and down with stealth and speed. Those carried with them tails covered in blades or crushed glass, intent on cutting the threads of rival kite flyers, usually from another street or neighbourhood. We would watch in excitement and anticipation. As the losing kite floated away, it signaled the climax of our daily soap opera.

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There was no kite making this time around, although I did want to see if I still held that skill. Instead, we bought a few kites from some vendors. The morning was overcast and spells of rain came and went. As we made our way to the Queen’s Park Savannah, it started to rain again. We pressed on. Luckily we kept the faith, because shortly after our arrival, the rain stopped and didn’t come back until the late evening. The sky over the savannah was filled with kites. Different sizes, colours and shapes decorated the clouds and their blue canvas.

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We took turns between getting the kites in the sky and sitting and relaxing under the shade of nearby trees. My kite flying skills were definitely rusty, but it was lots of fun giving it a go anyway. Later, some of the guys and kids played football followed by throwing a frisbee around. It was a lovely stroll down memory lane and I’m hoping it won’t be years before I visit it again.

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Having Nando’s in South Africa

This experience was surprisingly and sorely disappointing. For all who know and love Nando’s, you may know what it’s like to go without it for a while. Alternatively, you maybe be able to relate to when one of those Nando’s pangs hits you.

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I am for sure a Nando’s lover. When my ticket to South Africa was booked, it was one of the first things that came to mind, no lie. The Mecca, the motherland, the birthplace. So when my mum and I stopped in there on that faithful day, I felt nothing but delight. Until the food came.

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The side dishes were of course different from what we have in England, which was fine. There were also less options on the menu, for example no halloumi cheese, red pepper dip or sweet potato mash, among others. With a heavy sigh, I was also willing to accept that. I knew it would be different. I chose wedges with my set meal, since we don’t have it in England and I ordered sides of spinach and coleslaw.

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The entire meal was mediocre at best. Unfortunately matching what a couple friends had said, though I had refused to believe it. The chicken lacked that flame grilled taste you expect from Nando’s. The reason you’d choose going to Nando’s over some other chicken joint. To be fair, I could stop my little review right there. In fact, I will. Drops mic.

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I’ve recently learned that Nando’s has finally reached the states. Rejoice, American peoples! I’m heading to the US next and if I’m anywhere near one I’ll be all over it like some Wild Herb sauce. Not counting South Africa, January was my last fix. Not sure how much longer I can go on. Nando’s lover problems.

A Korean Wedding

First and foremost, please note that I am referring to a Korean version of a western wedding and not a traditional Korean wedding. The traditional Korean wedding was done in private.

When my friend Andrew invited me to this wedding, I was pleased since I’d never been to one. One of my New Years resolutions for last year (and I’ve kept it) was to do at least one new thing every month. In the run up to the wedding, I got introduced to Kate and she was lovely. We hung out a few times and just before the wedding, her then hubby to be had returned from Australia and we had dinner together.

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Fast forward to the wedding day. Andrew and I got our glad rags on and made our way to the hotel lobby. As we entered, there were some beautiful floral displays greeting us. People were elegantly dressed in traditional Korean Hanbok clothing, but most were in western attire. We signed a guestbook and then made a contribution. It’s customary to give money.

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There was a small room in which Kate sat and guests filed in and out for photo opps. She looked absolutely gorgeous. After that was the ceremony. As the music began to play and their family and friends made their way down the aisle. Then came the part that stood out most to me. I was straining to hear everything going on at the alter, albeit in Korean, because there were pockets of conversations dotted all around. As my attention shifted from the alter to my surrounding area, I noted that lots of people weren’t even paying attention! Many weren’t looking at the couple, others were talking with each other and lots were on their phone. Even one of her best friends who sat with us was tapping away on her phone and giggling to herself.

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It was all too much for me. I looked at Andrew with surprise and annoyance. He smiled knowingly. This was his third Korean wedding and the previous two had also been like this, he explained. He filled me in on his first experience and how shocked he was, but he quickly adjusted. After his recounting, I tried to follow suit. Reluctantly.

The lack of sincere gazes and misty eyes. The photographer constantly darting in and out of their faces. Some lady who’s job was to make sure Kate looked perfect at every moment, from every angle… who at the alter in the middle of it all would run in to shift a stray hair, then move the train of her dress this way, then come back and move it that way… who I must share, was wearing a bright pink top, jeans and trainers….yes, that bothered me greatly. All those, along with the constant murmur of voices meant there was a severe lack of the vibration of love in the room for me.

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That took away a lot from the experience. Some of it was redeemed by the heartfelt performance of a song by some of her childhood friends. Her sister also did a little dance routine with her school friends. I’m still not sure it was appropriate for a wedding, but it was really sweet nonetheless.

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Then came a lengthy photography session, which we were invited to be part of. After that came the reception. The food was buffet style and it was fantastic. Korean, Japanese and western dishes graced our plates. During this time the private Korean ceremony took place. Following that, the couple came out to the dining room to individually thank guests for attending. Kate looked stunning in her Hanbok. Seeing the couple dressed in their Hanbok was one of my highlights. We got a few pictures with the newlyweds and said our goodbyes.

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We decided to walk home due to our overindulgence. Then, we had a proper chance to talk and I reflected on the whole experience. It really felt like the part of the wedding we experienced was done just because the western style wedding is the thing to do. It’s like the shell of the idea has been adopted, but the yolk got left behind. That’s not meant to cause offense and of course this is just one experience. Perhaps if people would put down their phones, stop talking to each other and turn their attention to the stars of the day, sincerity and happiness for the couple would resonate more in the atmosphere.

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The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival 2014 (UWI, St. Augustine showing)

My friend shared a link on Facebook about the festival and I knew straight away that I wanted to check it out.

After spending the day celebrating Phagwa and the evening trying to scrub off the colourful abir staining our bodies, we arrived late.

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I had already seen the first movie Doubles with Slight Pepper. I enjoyed it when I had watched it. We put down a blanket and sat under a tree. There was complimentary fresh popcorn available, so we munched on that while watching the second film Papilio Buddha.

It was an interesting film, but we unanimously thought that it was dragging on. Maybe the fact that half of the subtitles were not visible because of whatever format used cut them off or that the sound wasn’t always clear because we were sitting at the back, contributed to our growing restlessness. The actors were great and the plot was also good. But it just seemed to draw on much longer than need be. Maybe we were missing the point.

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Anyway, by the time it was over we were more than ready to leave. In all I think was a good way to spend a different night out, it was free and pretty well organised. There were just the minor gripes with the subtitles and the lack of sound in the back, that I think could have been easily avoided and in future would be easy to fix. If you’ve never been to a viewing, get yourself out to one of them during the next festival. Show some support to the TTFF and hopefully see a great film too.