06 April 2011

home sweet homes... the response....

i've been very bad at making posts lately. i don't know why; it's not like i have a job or anything. i just sit around commenting on other people's blogs, and also managing my properties. that's it.

but today i read a post that hit me so much that at first i had written a very long response to it in the "comments" section over there, and then realised that you know, it should be a post here.

this is the post that inspired me; below is my response.

i'm that very rare person who has lived everywhere on my lists.

but first, i'll talk about yours.

i lived in london and paris during times where it was somewhat difficult to be a young black male; the late 80s/early 90s. [i was 17 when i moved to paris to live, basically unsupervised, even tho i was nominally with an aunt, and 22 when i rocked up in london all on my lonesome for the first time.]

i've been back for visits on a fairly regular basis after having moved away, and i'm glad i'd lived there when i was young rather than when i was older.

the thing i liked most about new york is that i didn't have to speak english if i didn't want to; i was perfectly fine, getting everywhere i needed to be, speaking only spanish. but i couldn't live in new york these days because while i can *afford* to live in a 1,000 square foot apartment all by myself in new york if i wanted to, it's really effing expensive to do so. the expense of the life to which i've become accustomed outweighs the potential awesomeness of living there. to put it another way -- i live in a 1,000 sf apartment on a main artery in central cape town for USD1000 a month. i fast talked my way into such a great deal on this place that don't see myself giving it up anytime soon.

my lists:

i think i've just fibbed. i haven't lived everywhere on my lists -- i haven't lived in salvador da bahia, but i've been there so much that it practically seems that i have. and the main reason that i haven't lived there is because i'm not a very big fan of hills. at some point i will make it to fortaleza and get a house there, but i'm fairly sour on brazil as a whole.

it's a socioeconomic thing -- as a black person raised with a lot of upper middle class sensibilities, it can get trying when being in places with large black populations where black people are near the bottom of almost every social indicator. [this is another reason why i can barely tolerate the city where my mother lived at her death.] hearing "but *you're* not like that" by well-meaning non-black friends is just as nerve-wrangling at 40 as it is at 20, but at 40 you're even more aware of what happens if you were to pop them in the mouth for saying it. so you avoid the situation. it would also, of course, be easier if i only spoke english. but i've been reasonably fluent in at least one local language in every place i've lived at the very moment i got off the plane, so this adds a dimension that many "americans" who move abroad don't have.

other than that... i've lived in santo domingo, which is salvador-lite.

i've lived in dakar as well. i actually liked living in dakar. i lived in a part of town where the foreign population is from guinea and mali, not from the eu or the usa. it's a big difference. first of all, it meant that my 1000sf apartment cost USD500 a month instead of USD3000 a month; if i wanted to pay european prices for accommodation, i would live in europe. [this is also a reason i currently don't live in the parts of cape town known to house lots of first-worlders.]

interestingly enough, i also liked living in .... wait for it ... birmingham. [that's burr-ming-um and not bir-ming-hayum, even tho i have family living in the latter.] there was a vibe there that was just unexpected. now if only they could have a decent football team: villa and city are barely out of the drop zone, and if you go into the wider west midlands conurbation, it's very likely that both wolves and west brom are going back down.

a city that disappoints me greatly these days is abidjan. that was the party place of africa while south africa was under apartheid. after the rise of johannesburg, abidjan could have kept its party-spot status at least on a regional level, but the political situation there has sent everyone fleeing. the IADB moved to tunis [oops], many of the cool party places [and partiers] moved to paris, and those that wanted to stay in africa moved to dakar. i think the dakarois social scene was the only place that actually gained status out of the collapse of cote d'ivoire in general and abidjan in particular.

well, i think that's it for now. i need to get some things ready for my upcoming UK/US trip. i leave on wednesday. i pick up my son's report card at school and then i head straight to the airport. imagine that.


christa said...

very interesting read. ty for the link!

Last minute flights to Harare said...

very interesting read. ty for the link!

Anonymous said...

I see that you have run away, unwilling or unable to debate me. The funny thing is, I bet you think I'm the ignorant one!

kwerekwere said...

i finally have some free time to answer. and it looks like wolves, west brom and villa stayed up, and city went down. imagine that.

but city still gets to play in the europa league next year because they won the carling cup. imagine that. hopefully they'll get enough players to come back up.

okay, today i'll write a lot. i promise.