Alabaster Box…Musical Gentlemen

 

Alabaster Box,  sing what they call ‘Afroppella’, uniquely African sounds mingled with their perfect acappella repertoire. They are an all-male, gospel acappella music quartet whose sound is reminiscent of South Africa’s very own LadySmith Black Mambazo. They are fantastic! For a group that has played to audiences all over the world and toured with world-famous musicians, they were pleasant, extremely humble and positively charming.

Books: THE MADONNA OF EXCELSIOR by Zakes Mda

41a92-img_3410

Title: The Madonna of Excelsior

Author: Zakes Mda

Published: 2002

Genre: Fiction

I read this again right after I finished Chicago, and had just started on The Immigrant by Manju Kapur –  which I have yet to finish. I often find myself in a reading rut where I tend to read books with similar themes and in the same genre at intervals that are too close together. After Chicago, The Immigrant started off feeling similar, which is the reason I have put it down for  a while.

Champagne brunch?

I am loving the changing dining landscape in Accra. Three years ago, the dining scene was completely different from what it is today. Bella Roma, Pazzo, Red Chilli, The Lounge to name a few are recent additions to this constantly evolving scene.
The newest addition is the newly-built Mövenpick  Hotel in Accra – next to the Novotel, at the old Ambassador Hotel site. So new in fact that the official launch is only scheduled for October this year. The hotel has however been having a series of soft launches since last month…breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I had breakfast there last week and was fairly impressed. Today we decided on a Sunday brunch with the family and all I can say is…it has been a long time coming.

In Numbers

Maternal mortality remains one of the biggest killers in sub-saharan Africa. In 2000, the United Nations estimated the number of women who died during pregnancy or shortly after birth at 529,000 (almost one maternal death per minute), of which less than 1% occurred in industrialised countries. These statistics are often bandied around especially as relates to health care but with no real connection as to what they really mean. I’ll be the first to admit that they are often just numbers until you break it down for me. Simply – maternal mortality kills 500,000 women annually around the world, next only to cancer or HIV-AIDS or similar.

Books: CHICAGO by Alaa Al Aswany

Title: Chicago

Author: Alaa Al Aswany

Published: 2008

Genre: Fiction

In the aftermath of the recent uprisings in the Arab world, this was an informative read. One of the members of my Book Club made a comment recently about Egypt that I found to be accurate- especially regarding the World’s perception of the Arab states that have just experienced the ‘Arab Spring’. 

“I feel like we have been lied to.” She was referring to Egypt and I could not have agreed more. No, I do not  live under a rock, and yes,  I was aware of the fragility of Egypt’s democracy before the uprisings, but in relation to seemingly more despotic states, Egypt was at the periphery of wider political discussion. Or so I thought until the uprisings and subsequent resignation of Hosni Mubarak in February. 

Mexican on Parisian streets

Candelaria was one other place that was on my list of places to visit while in Paris. I constantly trawl Hip Paris Blog to get the latest on what’s new and exciting in the city. Makes for a change from the usual – did not feel like having brasserie food another night.
I trudged the streets of the 3rd with a friend determined to find this place. We literally walked past it – it is one of those places that does not have a sign at the door – and you have to know where you’re going. Getting to it feels very clandestine.

The big cheese at Espace Dalí

Again all in the name of venturing to the less well known…Espace Dalí in Montmartre was by far a different experience. I love Montmartre – it’s lively, bustling and very artsy – bohemian all the way. Very different from the shiny Rue de Rivoli. Interesting exhibit – with the very hilarious commentaries and some of the quotations that have been attributed to this eccentric, Surrealist  artist.

Asked what he saw in the relation between time and cheese – the melting clock being a pervasive theme in much of his work and said to have been inspired by the sight of melting camembert – Salvador Dalí ‘s response is said to have been “like a melting cheese, time too flows.” Ok, fair enough – makes sense; when asked to elaborate further he explained that, “I am the cheese”. Definite quotable quotes from the man who declared, “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs”.

The sweetness of Miss Cupcake

Along the way to Espace Dalí…literally happened upon Miss Cupcake – and could not resist. Hey! It was a long walk getting there, we needed to get fueled, and we had taken a rather circuitous way. Read: We got lost.
It gave me the chance to test out my new wide angle lens – great, but it distorted the picture somewhat,  still managed to capture the goodies on display though. Nothing but cupcakes.  This was a real find – a cupcake store in a city renowned for its patisseries. Almost felt sacrilegious indulging in such a simple treat.

Miss Cupcake
22 rue la Vieuville
75018
Paris