Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Fragments of the Mind: Travel in Ghana

Image taken by myself for Barima Photography with a Sony Alpha A7ii with an Olympus Zuiko 50mm legacy lens

   Four years mark the time between my visits to Accra, capital city of Ghana, which, as a British-born and based Ghanaian, gave me much to engage with and celebrate today. The speed with which life in Accra has continued to adapt Westernisms gathered pace over the second tenure of the previous governing administration, thumbing its nose at the infamous, attendant "Dumsor" period: four years of electrical load shedding that plunged the country into continual blackouts and challenged the normally irrepressible megawatt smiles of its people. Thankfully, Dumsor's effects were much less felt when I visited Accra at the end of 2016. Indeed, the city bore the hallmarks of the Christmas seasons I remember from my lifelong family visits - glamour to make the West End of London resemble a Tuesday night in Stoke; moreish banquets of jollof rice, grilled meats and peppery stews; parties commencing at midnight and genuinely all-ages dancefloors at 2am in clubs, streets or at home

   Still, I found constant reminders of Accra's new face, with most billboards (Ghana's primary mode of advertising) bearing rendered announcements of town house and apartment developments stretching all around the metropolis. The previously completed offerings impress to this day - the multifunctional Vilaggio development, situated minutes from Kotoka Airport, affords the best view of Accra for miles, which I took in from its alluring Sky Bar. This aspect, along with its live music programme made me something of a regular during my stay  - despite the appetite for Afrobeat that informs many travellers, Accra's live musical lifeblood remains jazz, which Sky Bar, +233 and Table Bay Bar deliver to local acclaim. However, though heartened to see my family's homeland galvanised (literal prayers to improve road quality and safety over the years have begun to be answered, for one), I couldn't help but sense an incoming loss of Tropical Modernism, the European-led architecture that met Ghana's heat and dust with airy and rational spatial solutions, in favour of anonymous neo-classical or exuberantly adventurous glass-and-steel designs that veered from overly busy to curiously unformed and, on occasion, aesthetically bland

   With the end of the working week came the expected opportunities for getaways and I chose to spend time with my pampering relatives in Kumasi, Ghana's second city and home of the resplendent King of the Ashanti people, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, every inch a traditional tribal institution in a modern world. Whilst the general mood was reflective due to the recent passing of the King's mother, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, the Queen Mother, Kumasi's homely, elegant atmosphere offered a calming antidote to Accra's mixture of business pace and unending traffic. So too did a later trip to Aburi, a mountainous region overlooking Accra, affording me another breathtaking view of a city that positively shines as the dusk sets in

Also captured for Barima Photography with a Sony Alpha A7ii with an SMC Takumar 28mm legacy lens

Friday, 25 February 2011

Mile High Confidential

Maestro? Some travelling music, please:

When they banned smoking and stopped opening the bar seconds after lift off it changed it for me. Drinks were free and it was expected that you needed a buzz ASAP if you were flying. A shorter flight, like SF-Seattle, they would come by 2-3 three times with drinks

There was glamour in taking people to the airport and seeing them off. Or waiting at their gate for them to arrive

The better airlines had a full roast beef on board that they carved for you to order. They used to pass out free playing cards and mini packs of smokes

TWA used to have an open bar and buffet on the SFO to St Louis route. You didn't really mind if the flight was delayed. They would just open the bar and let you eat and drink yourself silly

I recall sitting on the runway at JFK in route to St Louis in the late '70's. A electrical storm hit, so we just stayed on the runway for an hour and a half and had a frigging party in the back of the plane before taking off
-- PSG, 27/05/2010, The Forvm

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Post 200: Mode Parade HK

   At the time of writing, Mode Parade has been Hong Kong-based for seven days. I needed to relocate to a land where I am once again one of the tallest dominant lifeforms

   Actually, I have a plan and a purpose for being here. And all, as they say, will become clear within the coming weeks

   Needless to say, the preceding weeks teemed with activity as I placed a neat bow on my Accra life for the time being and ejected, leaving behind a trail of destroyed automobiles, puzzled cousins, supportive elder relatives and around 5 orders for solid gold signet rings. My acquisitiveness is nothing if not prolific

   Nice things happened to me in the run-up. My family confessed that I would be missed, primarily by the proprietors of the only club I regularly attended, and the city's car mechanics. On my connection from Dubai - which fills its airport with the sorts of travellers that actually make me look attractive by comparison - a kindly Arabian man told me that I looked "like a walking picture," which he eventually translated to "movie star." He'd evidently drawn the same comparison

   I've settled in well enough, though my temporary accommodation reminds me of my university days in a most disdainful fashion. Merely thinking of my 18 - 21 year old selves brings on the megrims quite forcefully. I also have not owned a laptop in a year, my book collection was not welcome on the flights and my phone's inaccurate GPS has led to some misunderstandings with taxi drivers. Usually when I'm crossing the road

   In my favour, there is a bar here that played this classic single by Strawberry Switchblade; karmic proof that whimsical, pretty things will not stray far from my world:

   By the way, Dubai's airport retails Guerlain's fragrance range in its duty free. Vetiver made my hand smell like unappealingly sharp citrus soap for the duration of my changeover (Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver, incidentally, was not much more suitable, though both experiences make me want to try them again in less long haul-centric scenarios), but the pretty sales assistant sold me on one of her two recommendations that she thought of as masculine scent perfection. The loser was the blandly designed, Justin Timberlake-endorsed Play by Givenchy, which dried down from its own citric assault into an unmemorable morass of powdery notes. Conversely, L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme Eau Extreme, her initial, immediate suggestion, stayed with me, figuratively and literally, throughout my browsing, and this compellingly mixed, (perhaps too) subtle, heady and strangely delicious EDP has proved pleasingly fortunate of late. Characterised by a number of candied, near-edible notes - patchouli and honey and cocoa, oh my - with a floral middle and a spicy, warm, woody, creamy base, the seduction, rare to say, was instant. To the right persons, I seem almost... edible. And I was seeking something odder, so there you go

   Two bottles, next time

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Covetous Post

   I'm feeling yearnful:


Holga D Digital Camera

Gaziano & Girling bespoke stingray wholecuts, made for a Forvm member

Junya Watanabe S/S10 Blouson (for my Dressed Down Days)

Taschen's Favourite Hotels

Ettinger Bridle Hide Billfold, via Unabashedly Prep

A boat cloak, opera cloak or Inverness cape

 The most aureate car I've ever ridden in: the Mercedes Benz 600 Grosser


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Peregrination, Or, By the Time I Get to Everywhere

   Peripatetics of the World Unite! Let's get on the Open Road

Globe Trotter photograph courtesy of AJ at The Forvm

   Men will always talk of escape but today, they omit to be escapist in practice. And yet we still nurture an ideal of a common language of travel: the donning of a mode that combined perambulatory-centric practicality with pure and polite gentility

   With no obviously rational reason in the world but for staunch refinement, my father yesterday left the 30 degrees+ environs of Accra on a flight to The World, clad in a double breasted, gilt buttoned blazer, a striped shirt, dark slacks and comfortable loafers and was easily the most dégagé and elegant human on board. And his self-possession remained steadfast in the face of a many hours-long check-in disarray, with its concomitant, envious griping of a ruffled economy class uncomprehending of, and unused to preferential dealings with this - or any other - airline, and a further confluence of errors that saw his arrival time gain an extra eight hours

   But travel has always had the capacity for metaphorical, as well as actual rectal distress; when arrangements disintegrate, it's a challenge to avoid bending, let alone breaking

   Good dress places some of the pleasure directly in the traveler's hands. Most Britishers' - amongst others - idea of comfortable journeywear is my idea of pyjamas, and if I'm to fall asleep on long haul transport, I'd rather not present as if I'd planned to do so since the night before embarkation

   In these post-jet set days, we have much to contend with where aesthetically unpleasant visuals are concerned - trashy "ass logo'd" casuals that overemphasise the "bottom" in "tracksuit;" nauseatingly displayed spray tans masquerading as the results of natural solar communing and jiggly flesh whose owners seem to wear it as proudly as one would a military medal or an attractive girlfriend. And that's only the staff

   It is its own reward to be a man for all locations; think of the leeway offered for mercuriality or for unexpected juxtapositions and the odd defining statement

Leavened with globetrotting aplomb, we have: Coward Leaving a Plane! Coward in Havana! Coward in Las Vegas!


'Sentimental Journey,' the 2009 Spring/Summer offering by Junya Watanabe Man, grounded the romantically chimerical notions of colonials and jet-setters past in the preoccupations of today's cropped clothes-donning, judiciously economising male, albeit of the kind suited to its pricing. Centered amidst the designs that spanned the gentlemen and farmhands of the 20th century, the enticing Tricker's collaborations and the ornamental, illustrative use of Globe Trotter cases was the collection's pivot: reversible jackets that sensibly doubled one's investment. Indeed, the craft was more revelatory in person; these doubled garments suffered no surfeit of bulk from inside-out transformation and the disparate fusions readily elicit protean usage and ensemble

And where Watanabe favoured the Western World Wise Vagabond, Kean Etro dreamed of Bottled Bohemia and Marrakesh:

An itinerant urge also emerged amongst Ralph Lauren's looks for the season in 2007; this was cultivated according to that Old World milieu that remains the stuff of bathtime fantasy for RL and his ardent adherents:
I'm uncertain as to how the sandals found themselves here

As for Bottega Veneta, leisurewear is functionally its Printemps-Été raison d'etre:

And to conclude; for boarding a plane, train or automobile, one could do worse than wear Hermés:

   Let's get out!

Runway photography: GQ