Escape to Santo Domingo

Originally posted March 2017

A few weeks ago, my mother came up to freezing Michigan to spend some time with me. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to take her on one of the vacations I had promised. Not being used to constant below freezing temperatures, I also needed a hot break. Thankfully, living in America provides easy access to the beautiful Caribbean islands. I’ve visited a few of the English speaking islands. But this time around, I wanted something different.

 I didn’t want the typical American tourist beach resort get away. I wanted to indulge myself into a foreign culture. So I booked a hotel in Ciudad Colonial, the oldest permanent European settlement in the Americas. This quaint historical neighborhood in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is the site of many “oldest” landmarks. 

The historical landmarks, although beautiful, weren’t the most intriguing parts of the city. The life of the city struck a chord with me. The weather was perfect! The people were incredibly welcoming from the second I walked off the aircraft. My mum and I were mistaken for locals on multiple occasions. Of course when they realized we struggled with our Spanish, they were all the more merrier with us. We ate and drank at local hot spots. I was even invited to a night out but being a foreign young woman I decided to stay in with my mama.

We concluded our vacation at a beach resort in Playa Juan Dolio. It was a nice quiet getaway from the city. The perfect way to end our trip before returning to the tundra that is Detroit in February.

Bahamian Paradise

Originally posted January 2017.

My family and I went on a Christmas cruise to a few Caribbean islands including Key West, Florida, and Coco Cay Bahamas. These islands are so extremely beautiful. They’re pieces of paradise just a boat ride away from the States. Besides relaxing on the beaches, I went snorkeling and jet skiing in the incredibly blue warm waters. I personally am not a fan of staying on the cruise ship and there are days where you have nowhere to go as the ship is en route. It’s like being stuck in a hotel. No doubt, a pretty awesome hotel with great food, cheesy yet entertaining shows, and dance clubs. But I seldom go on vacation to just relax in a hotel all day. I like to go out and explore.

And about 15 minutes after I took this picture, I crashed my scooter and injured my self pretty badly. Apparently, according to my brother who witnessed the accident, I miraculously survived with the scrapes. This is why my mum hates whenever my brother and I go off on our explorations.

Welcome To Miami

Originally posted January 2017.

Being in Miami is like being in a foreign country in which the primary language is Spanish. My mother, sister and I found ourselves in an unknown part of the city in search of Cuban food. The people barely spoke or even understood English as we were trying to order. I couldn’t help but think, ‘This is America’. As far as the food, it’s meat heavy with sides of either plantain or yuca, and of course, rice and beans.

One my favorite parts of Miami is the Art Deco District in South beach with the old historic hotels. When I walk by the buildings, I think about all the possible stories behind some of the guests in the hotels from past times. Stories involving illegal alcohol during the prohibition era, old Hollywood on vacation, the first Cuban immigrants, the cocaine push etc. ..clearly I watch too many movies, haha.

Toronto…First Experience

Originally posted December 2016.

So I visited Toronto over the weekend for the first time. And I have to say, I expected more. The skyscrapers are beautifully blue as they reflect the hues of the sky. The people are ridiculously charming and friendly. Most pedestrians obeyed traffic laws. I was, for the most part, in good company. But something was missing in the air. Maybe it’s because I fell ill and thus was rid of the energy to be excited. Maybe it’s because it’s winter and freezing cold. Maybe it’s because I had a lot on mind and too distracted to take in anything. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to hang out with Drizzy. A lot of maybes but I was not as enchanted as I expected to be. I wasn’t even as excited about the food. And if you know me, food is life!! I tried some of my friend’s poutine and it was delicious…for a brief moment. Then I got bored. Whatever the case may be, I’ll give Toronto another shot next year during summer.

The one thing that did keep my attention was the CN tower. That, I found mesmerizing.

Manhattan Pt 3

Originally posted November 2016.

Of course we checked out the bar scene and one thing we noticed was that none of the places we went to played current music. It was the oddest thing. It wasn’t like we researched these venues. It was all random and spur of the moment choices. And all played music from the 80s and 90s. 

Now unfortunately I didn’t take pictures in some of the bars because I was too engulfed in the “experience”. And if I did, a lot came out blurry…for obvious reasons.

Here’s the list:

Le Bain (rooftop lounge w/ amazing gin and tonics and crepes) – Meatpacking District

Mulberry Project (a hard to find speakeasy…duh) – Chinatown

Hudson Bar and Books (a cigar bar) – West Village

Sid Gold’s Request Room (Piano bar) – Chelsea

George & Jack’s Tap Room – Williamsburg, Brooklyn (I know, it’s not Manhattan, but we met incredibly nice people there). Did I mention New Yorkers are friendly?

Manhattan Pt 2

Originally posted November 2016.

I just want to put it out there that I met so many friendly people in New York. I honestly have yet to meet the mean New Yorkers people always talk about. Everyone was so nice and helpful, even when we asked the obnoxious “How do I get to there from here?” or “How does the subway work?”

Our main way of transportation was pretty much split between walking and riding the subway, in addition to the late night Uber rides back to our apartment. 

Manhattan Pt 1

This was originally posted November 2016.

So I recently went on a trip to NYC. I have visited the city a few times before, but had never experienced it as a full grown independent adult. I went with two other friends and decided to see New York the way the locals do. We stayed away from major tourist activities successfully! I think the most tourist thing we did was see Chicago on Broadway and maybe running into protesters in Times Square. 

We stayed in a Brooklyn apartment, spent a night in Williamsburg, spent most nights in Manhattan checking out piano bars, cigar bars, rooftop lounges, and speakeasies. I think we hit every district in lower and midtown in Manhattan.  

The first entry in this Manhattan series is about arguably the most important part of the trip; Fooooooood!! I ate so much and was so excited about the different cuisines that I only took pictures fifty percent of the time. From late night dinners at Chelsea Market to Brunch in Hell’s Kitchen, street food (hot dogs duh!!) to some grub from Chinatown. And of course, New York style pizza!!

List of Restaurants we tried:

Joe’s Pizza – Williamsburg, Brooklyn

44 ½ – Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

Doughnuttery – Chelsea, Manhattan

Los Tacos No. 1 – Chelsea, Manhattan

Bar Suzette – Chelsea, Manhattan

Two Boots Pizza – West Village, Manhattan

Xi’an Famous Food – Chinatown, Manhattan

Fraunces Tavern – Financial District

I Love Autumn

This was originally posted October 2016.

One of my favorite fall activities is going to an orchard to pick apples. I’ll be baking apple pie this season. A lot of cider mills also have corn mazes, hayrides, pumpkin patches and donuts (the number one reason I go to cider mills). Many of my Nigerian buddies make fun of me for doing these kind of activities because they are “white people activities”. I’m over it at this point and have stopped making excuses because while they might be “white people tinz”, I’m having a blast! I live in this country now, I might as well try out the things that are a cultural norm. You probably won’t find me hunting though. I don’t think I have the heart to shoot an animal. But I do enjoy a good venison burger!!