Wednesday, April 26, 2017

exuL Voyage Tours in West Africa

Bonjour!!! I haven't been doing much writing but I have been doing a lot of traveling! Check out my video playlist from Cote D' Ivoire (Ivory Coast) West Africa!!! From fabric making in the village of Bomizambo in Yamossoukro to the process of making the Ivorian dish Attieke in Blockhauss! Enjoy!!! Interested in touring West Africa? Contact exuL Voyage online at!!! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Abidjan travel tips

My travels have taken me to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast  (Cote D'Ivoire) of West Africa! I am on a tour with Exul Voyage travel company! I ran into a few stumbling blocks along the way. I hope your experience will be seamless so here are some tips to help you along the way!
For US citizens  make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months pass your date of entry. A visa is required! Try to do your Visa application at least three to four weeks in advance. Click here for passport requirements!  (Non US  passport holders please check requirements for your country online.) I did it one week in advance and ran into some minor issues. That cost me a day of my vacation. Making changes to your flight reservation can be very costly! You can save time and possibly money to get your visa upon arrival but you will need to do the application process online before arriving. Click here to learn more about visas upon arrival! Exul Voyage is more than happy to set up the visa and yellow fever vaccination on arrival. 
Get Yellow fever vaccination one month in advance. Your primary care provider, travel medicine clinic or local urgent care may be able to administer it. Also check with your medical insurance to find out if they will cover yellow fever vaccine. Mine did and that saved me from $125 -$350 dollars.
You must bring your yellow vaccine card to prove you have received it or you will be forced to take one in the airport upon arrival.
Learn a few French words, it will help tremendously because most Ivorians don't speak English. No matter where in the world you go a Hello, goodbye or thank you shows respect and goes a long way!
The currency is CFA; $100 USD = about 60,000 CFA ( yes, when you exchange money you'll feel rich!) It's best to exchange money in Cote D'Ivoire. Your host would be able to help with getting the best exchange rate!
When shopping Negotiate!!! You can get a better price if you try. Never settle for the first price you are given.
What to Pack
Tissue, it always comes in handy! (I like the small packaged ones that are normally sold in a bundle of six)
Washcloths (Like many other places in the world they don't use them)
Insect repellent
Hand Sanitizer
Luggage lock (pilferage is common in France and Africa)
Lightweight clothes (it's always hot in Africa)
Have suitable shoes, sneakers for walking, flip flops for the beach, dress shoes for dancing, etc. Africans are some of the most fashionable people I know and you will have a couple nights out on the town!
Don't bring your brand new sneakers many places you walk will be in the dirt.
A pouch or purse that goes around your waist or over your head so you can keep your valuables close when shopping in the market place.
Bathing suit and beach towel.
Be prepared to wash your clothes out by hand if you want to wear them again. There are very few options for public laundry. Most clothes are washed by hand and laid on ground or hung on clothing lines to dry.
Let me mention that part of the tour will include a visit to a small school at Brahimakro Villiage. They operate without electricity or running water. As a donation please bring school supplies for the children there each classroom holds 30 - 40 students. Any donation is greatly appreciated!
I hope these tips will put your mind at ease as you prepare for your trip!
Happy Travels!!!
Psst...Take an all inclusive tour of West Africa with Exul Voyage! Click the link to book your vacation!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Kenny's Kitchen

Good food is hard to find! Sometimes you just have to know where to look; other times you may just stumble upon it. I have found really good food in places where it was least expected and it's normally off the beaten path! During my latest weekend getaway to Bermuda; I was on a hunt to find the best Traditional Bermudian Style Sunday breakfast on the island! I stumbled upon Kenny's Kitchen which was noted as the best place for Codfish and Potatoes according to the locals! The interesting part is Kenny's Kitchen is actually a catering company that only serves restaurant style meals on Sunday mornings at the Ex-Artilleryman's Club. It is located at 72 Victoria Street in Hamilton, Bermuda. I had a large plate of salted codfish and potatoes sauteed in butter onion sauce and topped with onions (and I add hot sauce). 
This traditional dish is served with a hard boiled egg, and avocado pear, cornbread and a banana. They also serve the codfish and potatoes covered in tomato sauce; which is the true traditional way to eat it!  A small plate is $15 and a large $17 dollars. The amount of food piled in my to go plate was enough for two people to share. There are a few table to sit and eat at the Ex-Artilleryman's club but I would suggest you take it to go! The rest of the week Kenny's Kitchen caters for groups of 5 to 500. The catering menu is very extensive and covers breakfast, lunch dinner and desserts. Let them cater your next business meeting, wedding or event in Bermuda! Contact information and menus can be found on their website at Bon Appetit!

Anjera Mari

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sunset Paradise Bermuda Vacation Rental

I love Bermuda but it is a very expensive place to visit or live! I have been there so many times I can't count them to give you an accurate number. In all of those visits I've only stayed in two hotels and mostly with friends. This last trip I turned to Airbnb for vacation rentals. To my surprise there are many reasonably priced vacation homes and rooms compared to hotel rates in Bermuda. I chose to stay at Sunset Paradise Bermuda Vacation Rental! The host V.G. Charlatta was very informative. She responded promptly to my questions and was always prepared to help! Her Airbnb page was very detailed and answered most of my questions. She offers a one bedroom apartment with a full size futon in the living room. Four people could sleep there comfortably. The decor is bright, happy and clean just like the Bermudian vibe.
It is located in Hamilton Parish close to the bus stop, gas station, grocery store post office and a couple restaurants.
You could walk to Shelly Bay Beach in about 10 minutes! The bus can take you east to the caves, Swizzle Inn, Grotto Bay Resort, the airport and St George's area. Or you can take the bus to the west to the Aquarium,  Shelly Bay Beach, more resturants or Downtown Hamilton.  There is a bus transfer center in Hamilton or you can utilize the ferry to see other parts of the Island! Ms. Charlatta provided information about all these things at the Apartment. She also provided a rules and information book! She also allowed us privacy. I only saw her once and she lives upstairs. She came by the night we arrived to make sure we were settled and every was ok! I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Paradise Bermuda Vacation Rental! I look forward to spending my next Bermuda vacation there!
The apartment faces the ocean which offered an awesome view!  Free WiFi and phone service for local and USA calls is included. Linens and towels are provided. There is a full kitchen furnished with coffee maker, kettle, blender, toaster oven, full stove with oven, dishes and utensils. The place was also furnished with washer, dryer and detergent! In the living room is a flat screen TV (probably about 40"), Apple TV box, movies and magazines. There is also a guest book where you can read about other guests stay and leave your own thoughts. The place is stocked with necessities in case you forgot something. She even had my favorite dark Starbucks Coffee in the cupboard...I really felt right at home! Click the link to download Airbnb with my referral you earn $40 off your first booking!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Birth of a Nation

Really? Why another slave movie? These were my first thoughts as I sat in the screening room at Magno screening in Manhattan to watch "The Birth of A Nation". This story is not one learned about in that one month dedicated black history. Nor would you ever read about it in your America history book. I applaud the cast for their performance in this production. They did a great job of depicting life in that era. The movie evoked a lot of emotion for me. It showed rape, beatings and hangings; things that we would rather forget about. Some scenes truly brought tears to my eyes. While other scenes made me almost angry enough to fight. I also question the silencing and exploitation of women in this movie. Let's also remember women played a huge role in the fight for freedom. The story line unveiled love, oppression, dehumanization, despair, and rebellion.

The Birth of A Nation was written and directed by Nate Parker. Parker was also the Star as the character Nat Turner an enslaved, African American preacher who lead the slave revolution of 1831. I was prompted to read about Nat Turner because I saw this movie. I can not attest to the accuracy of the actual historical events verses those in the movie. We all know nothing is ever 100% accurate. However the movie was well put together.

The Birth of A Nation tells the life story of Nat Turner who as a slave child learned to read. His gift of reading led him to being taught the bible by the slave masters wife. Turner's slave master took him on the road preaching to slaves throughout Virginia to discourage a revolt. During that time Nat witnessed the unjust and inhumane treatment of slaves at other plantations. It saddened and ignited anger in him. Then his wife was brutally attacked. He began to have visions and felt he was called by God to fight. What he did next changed history! I will not spoil the ending for you. I would suggest you go see the movie if you can stand a little violence. Take your children. Have open discussion about how far America has come, where we need to go and the sacrifices made for the freedom of Black America! 

(Photo credits: