It’s no news that some of fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. With economic growth on the rise, my last visit to Lagos, Nigeria in November 2012 was very interesting. I had heard that Lagos had become an entertaining, dining and overall ‘everyone likes to have a good time’ city. I had to see this for myself. With new hang-outs and art galleries popping up all over the city, it made for an interesting couple of days of discovery in the traffic induced, colourful and vibrant city of Lagos. Here is a list of interesting places to discover while in Lagos:
Bogobiri House is a bar/restaurant/art gallery/ boutique hotel on Victoria Island. The vibe here is Afrocentric and the crowd is Afropolitan. It’s a great place to have lunch, spend the evening with some live music or view some art. The art gallery is part of the Nimbus Gallery which holds some very interesting work by artists like Akin Onipede. Bogobiri is great place to chill out and meet Lagos' creatives.
This arts and culture centre has been around for quite some time and just keeps getting better. The centre holds events and exhibitions throughout the year. If you’re interested in what’s happening on the art scene in Lagos this is the place to get clued in. It’s also a great place to sample some Nigerian cuisine.
Lisa Folawiyo is one of my favourite Nigerian designers. Her designs are a reflection of the true Nigerian spirit. Using Ankara, the popular West African fabric, the pieces are intricately created with a contemporary style in mind. Her Lagos store is the first of its kind and a great place to grab some gorgeous Nigerian design pieces.
It is indeed a hotel, but don’t let that put you off. The roof top bar has got an amazing cocktail menu and a chill atmosphere. After a long day in the Lagos traffic, this is a great place to unwind and relax. They also have live musicians most nights.
National Museum Lagos, Awolowo Rd Lagos Island
The preservation of history still needs a lot of work in Nigeria but the museum has an impressive collection of artifacts. The Nok Terracotta’s showcasing the rich Nok culture is just one of the highlights.
The Badgary Slave Museum
Badgary is widely known as the port of exit for many African slaves to the Americas. The museum is in bad shape and the presentation quite poor. However, I think it’s still worth the visit if you can make it. It’s one of those places that should be a world heritage site but is often overlooked.
To get the feel and vibe of an African market you have to visit one. There are so many markets around Lagos to choose from. Stalls will sell you anything from fabrics like Ankara, to arts and crafts made by local artists. Be sure to wander around to get a taste of Lagos. Tejusoho is my top pick because it's more organized and easier to walk around in. There’s also an indoor market which can be a relief from the overwhelming Lagos heat.
Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos
When leaving Lagos after you’ve gone through immigration, stop by the amazing stall-like shops (not the duty free shops) in the departure area. They sell leather goods, beautiful handmade jewelry and crafts. I’ve bought some amazing one-of-a-kind statement necklaces and people always ask where I purchased them from. No one would guess it was at the airport. You may need to negotiate the price a bit as they tend to gas the prices but if you don’t back down, you can end up with the perfect last minute gift.
Paris. Full glamour & romance, there is a lot more to this infamous destination then the clichés we are brought up to believe. Paris happens to be one of the most diverse cities in the world with thousands of immigrants from Asia, South America & Africa. I had always been taught to perceive Paris as an untouchable, conservative, white-only society. When I arrived, I was surprised to find a large population of African descent with an indelible sense of style and grace.
During my month long stay in Paris, I was surprised by a few thought-provoking cultural differences. Unlike America, France isn't allowed to collect information pertaining race, only information regarding an individual's birth country. As a result, there is no accurate count of African immigrants living in France. When I met other young blacks, they referred to themselves as French first, as there is no such term as Afro American or African French. When walking down the streets of Paris, I would always receive a warm smile, nod or conversation, something starkly different from where I came from. In Los Angeles, in the same scenario, eyes of African Americans I'd cross paths with would be diverted in other directions. These black Parisians never made me feel like I was alone.[gallery ids="652,663,665,653,664"]
Along with the difference in culture, I discovered some amazing things to do (other than visit the Eiffel Tower). Follow this list for an amazing way to view of the city of love!
1. Versailles. Here you will find an incredibly glamorous palace filled with art, parisian pool sized ponds and magical gardens. If you've seen the movie Marie Antoinette, you should definitely visit. For those who haven't seen the movie, watch it and then go visit (ha!). This palace is located right out of Paris and with just a hop on the metro you can get there in just under an hour.
Derby is a splendid place to stay when you are on the doorstep to the magnificent Peak District, which is the most central city in the UK. There are so many excellent reasons that you should make Derby your next place to visit and stay at one of the many Derby hotels in the county for an amazing getaway. Of course, you may keep coming back again and again since there is so much to do and see in Derby. So below is a roundup of top 5 of attractions in Derby that you must go and see if you ever end up staying at one of the hotels in the county.
The world’s largest collection of paintings by Joseph Wright is housed inside the Derby Museum & Art Gallery, along with a huge collection of interesting treasures, such as an Egyptian Mummy. No doubt that Joseph Wright is amongst the most exciting and innovative 18th century artist. Some of the best-kept artefacts and treasures of Derby also housed in the museum, such as a huge display of a variety of porcelain, including the Royal Crown Derby. A temporary exhibition space is also available there.
Cathedral Quarter is probably the most unique quality destination for shopping in Derby. The historical streets, with the entire area dotted with arcades and hidden entrances, provide a pleasurable environment. This makes it an exciting and truly unique place to shop. There are also plenty of market traders and stores in Cathedral Quarter that specialise in a very wide range of produce, both fresh and local, which makes it a chef’s paradise. It is also a really friendly destination for families looking for Derby restaurants to fill their stomachs.