Tag: Lifestyle

block 338

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook.

 

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Editing these pictures reminded me of the feeling I got walking from the parking lot into the squares of Block 338, Adliya in Bahrain. It truly is a treat for sore eyes, with colour, landscaping and art at every turn. The focus of the planning is on the pedestrian’s experience, with ample parking spaces at the edges and side roads of the district and continuous pedestrian space thereafter – loved it!

My cousin Seif was driving us somewhere I can’t remember now, but decided to take a detour for ‘a few minutes’ stating, ‘Fatma, you’ll love this place’. What was supposed to be a thirty minute walk-through turned into a one and a half hour excursion into sunset. I bet you my cousins wanted to drag me away, because if you know me and my animated mind even flowers and fallen leaves are a photogenic affair.

The walls are covered in art by local artists, not restricted to just paintings but sculptures of varying scales too. Not understanding much about the Bahrain culture and politics, a few pieces seemed to have a deeper meaning, a statement of sorts, which made me question what the artist’s message truly was. For example, these cute houses all falling into a blue bin by Ali Hussein Merza. Is this a message about the abundant social housing around Bahrain? I loved their housing! But probably it was a political message I need to look into a bit more to understand. And then the ethereal paintings against black walls by an unnamed artist. On a lighter note, cartoon looking characters and random positive messages in corners were a sweet surprise. Artistic freedom in its most evident form, in my opinion. Everyone’s style is so different, and each one has qualities that are admirable and for an artist to share their work it takes courage – I respect that. Makes me think that’s how life should be – we all have something unique to contribute and that’s one of the beauties of life – the variety.

Speaking of sweet surprises, the district seems to comprise mostly of the cutest restaurants – street after street. I wish I had time to pop by each and every one as each had its own distinct character. It’s always a great idea to see and try to understand new things we come across – to soak up how other creatives interpret space and interiors. The interesting thing is although each building had it’s own character, they all seem to marry well together, forming a balanced yet eclectic mix.

I’ve mentioned before how one of my favourite things is art galleries with integrated coffee-shop/  restaurants. Well, the Al Riwaq Gallery was a page out of my fantasy art gallery mood board. I had the pleasure of interviewing Wafa al Ghatam who is a research architect currently having an exhibition at the gallery titled, ‘The Village in the City’, while I was there which I’ll share in the next post on here. I got to interact with a few other creatives and lady architects in that short period. They recommended that I try the peach iced tea from the gallery’s cafè which seems to be a hit with the customers. Peach iced tea, need I say more? (I loved it).

Not too far from Block 338 are more ‘traditional’ stores selling Persian carpets, oriental scarves, dresses and basically the ‘old school’ Arab experience. Oh and the best darn shawarma/ malghoum shops too, at a great bargain. Cravings!

Also, I feel like I’ve said gallery too much. Need to dust off a few books and grow my writing skills further.

Favourite pilgrim spots at 338?

Al-Riwaq Art Space (pictures coming up in a separate post).
Florence de Mediteranee, which is the cutest French restaurant at the edge of the district (also coming up in a post. Need to get more hours in my day!)
And uhm, basically the whole place! Wish I had more time to explore 🙂

Google maps location pin here.

Useful links to check out when visiting Bahrain:

Bahrain Authority for Culture and Authenticity.

Visit Bahrain.

Time Out Bahrain.

Take me back already, yah? 🙂

a very pilgrim chic typa post

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”

― Julia Child.

Like good food and cute cafes, maybe? 🙂

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This is essentially a Saturday shenanigans post but it’s also a very pilgrim chic kind of post so guess which title won the battle (for the title)? *grin* I love good puns. Some of you may think it’s lame and I don’t blame you, you may be right. But this little space on the internet is where I get to share my lame jokes with some random nice people, and there is no harm in that. In fact, I find great joy in making lame jokes on the internet 😀

This past Saturday, I had brunch at Wasp and Sprout with my friend Idil and Sauti Sol. Well not exactly… Chimano of Sauti Sol walked into the restaurant just as we paid our bill and were about to leave. After a brief whispery-not-so-whispery debate between Idil and I as to whether it was Chimano from Sauti Sol, she seemed very sure and because she’s such a cool person I knew she must be right so naturally, I awkwardly walked over, with my characteristic half giggle and said, ‘Hello, are you Chimano from Sauti Sol’? To which he responded, that yes he was. ‘I’m a fan of your work, you guys are amazing’, I said. ‘Thanks’, with a huge grin on his face. It’s almost like he didn’t want to draw attention to himself, seated at a tiny corner table with both a hat and some quirky sunglasses on. I guess even Sauti Sol peeps need some alone time in cute little restaurants on Saturday mornings. I hope I haven’t disclosed his secret spot. But then again, other than my close friends and workmates that I pester to keep checking my new posts, who even reads my blog? 😀
He seemed friendly enough, so I high-fived him and then walked away. And that’s the end of that.

Idil and I decided to meet up after what seemed like months of exchanging texts on the lines of, ‘we have to meet up soon, it’s been too long’. She’s one of my people people, you know? My kind of person 🙂

We listened to Ed Sheeran’s new album, Divide, the whole drive to the restaurant, past the slightly intimidating Kangemi (I’ve heard of people getting carjacked and other horror stories) and into the more serene Loresho suburbs. I’m going to buy a house in a similar neighbourhood (Loresho) in the near future one day. I just need to have about 50 million Kenya shillings lying around somewhere first.

The entrance to the restaurant is quite discreet – Idil had been there before and we both seemed a little lost until we got out of the car and spotted the distinctly redone school chairs with tailored kitenge cushions through the plants, and we knew we’d finally found the place. I’m not even exaggerating when I say it’s the best darn breakfast I have ever had in any restaurant in Nairobi. I truly mean it, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. So good.

Idil ordered the American style French toast (am I the only one who finds this giggle-worthy? American style French toast 😀 ) with strawberries, black pepper pineapple, strawberries (yes, the menu states strawberries twice and with good reason), creme fraise and organic honey. I ordered the sprout omelette – which is two eggs, caramelised onions, baby spinach, mushrooms and quark – with their delicious cinnamon bagel on the side. Quick switch up to Kiswahili – mi sijui quark na creme fraise ni vitu gani lakini zilikuwa tamu. Mi najua quack ya Donald Duck na cream fresh. Ebu Google? Hizi hapa. Back to pilgrim chic 😀 We both had iced chocolate to drink, and, because both dishes were so good and served in great portions, decided to split half and half – omelette as both our savory dish, and the French toast for dessert. Tamu tu sana.

The prices were great too, 2600 Ksh. for two iced chocolates, three bagels, the sprout omelette and divine French toast *slurp* Time just seems to fly in such beautiful spaces, for us at least; chatting away, taking about a hundred pictures and Boomerang GIFS in three hours. No regrets people, non je ne regrette rien.

Wasp and Sprout Cafe.

Check out their website here.
Google maps link here 🙂

Chat more soon?

saturday shenanigans six

Some pairings just have the perfect balance. Peanut butter – jam, blue jeans – white shirt, and art galleries – coffee shops.

Nothing profound in today’s post, I just happened to have a lovely Saturday with my friend Magy last week.

 

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We started off the day searching for old film cameras, sauntered over to Sno Cream (where I had enough ice cream for three *burp*), then to Uhuru Park where we walked around and got on these tiny boats for fun.

It was my first time experiencing this characteristically Nairobian weekend activity, and it made me realize how unfit I’ve become since I finished Uni. I’d made it a habit to jog every evening after classes, and now thirty minutes of leisurely paddling seemed to be torturous for my knees! I loved how relaxed the park was, Magy mentioned we came on the right day because it is flocked by church-goers on Sundays and larger masses during public holidays. A cacophony of sound, smell and colour – vendors in white coats asking you to buy ice cream, photographers encroaching into your personal space with cameras and albums, horses and camels walking around with their handlers. In one corner, there was even an inflated pool for children to swim in.

We still had some time to kill so we decided to learn a few things about history and culture at the Nairobi Art Gallery, which is right opposite the park. It sits in the old PC’s office, a lovely colonial building complete with oval skylights and a coffee shop outside. Joseph Murumbi’s collection of African art forms a majority (if not all) of the exhibition, with a separate room for other artists to display their work for sale.

Magy had to leave for football practice after so naturally, I decided to stay behind, read some poetry and have some iced coffee *grin*. Anyone know similar places I could go participate in anti-social behaviour, have a coffee and read my book in peace? *covers face* I’ve got nothing interesting planned out for this weekend, I might get some new books though 🙂

PS. Art gallery ticket stubs make for perfect book marks.