"Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need." - Proverbs 21:13
Absolutely nothing I write, and no pictures you will see can accurately or adequately depict Dharavi. One can only truly experience Dharavi by visiting in person. We were fortunate to experience a tour given by Reality Tours and Travel and were told that 80% of their profits go back to the community.
Dharavi is the largest slum in Asia by population - 1,000,000 people live on about 760 acres. That’s about a third of the population of the state of CT that live in a space slightly smaller than New York’s Central Park.
Dharavi touched each and every one of my senses. Initially, our Professor was hesitant to bring us here because he wasn’t sure we could handle it and truthfully about 45 minutes into our two hour tour, I was an emotional wreck. The mood on our bus after the tour was somber, we were all silent (very unusual for my cohort) and when we returned to the hotel, I immediately went to my bible app and read bible verse after bible verse about the poor and alternated between Til Shiloh - Buju Banton’s CD and my Bob Marley playlist. It took me two days to process my emotions and to be honest, I’m still not done.
When our tour guides greeted us at our bus, I took everything in, the children who ran up to me with wide smiles and asked for chocolates, the garbage in the streets and all the people. We weren’t even in Dharavi yet and my senses were already overloaded. Our tour guide requested we not take pictures, this wasn’t the zoo after all (I detest zoos), but I managed to take these before we entered the slum.
We started our tour on the commercial side of Dharvi. Yes, the commercial side. On one hand there are the businesses that cater to the residents of the slum. So many that you don’t have to leave Dharavi if you don’t want to. As a matter of fact, there is even a natural healing doctor that has more non-Dharavi residents as patients as opposed to vice versa! On the other hand, there are over 5,000+ businesses that are run from these 10 - 25 sq meter rooms. These are definitely not apartments. Imagine a small, single room factory if you can. On the tour I saw baked goods being produced, numerous recycling facilities, pottery being made, leather goods - jackets, belts, wallets, and other businesses that still blow my mind.
Wherever you are from, picture the poorest area with the smallest rooms and separate, legitimate, functional businesses being operated from those spaces. I honestly think this component of commerce is one of the reasons I didn’t see anyone begging or looking downtrodden, Dharavi is vibrant with a high energy and a spirit of hope in these slums that at first sight, one would consider to be hopeless.
Although I was intrigued to see the businesses, I wondered who was behind some of these operations because these people were in no doubt working in unsafe working conditions and in my opinion, were being exploited. At the same time, I couldn’t help but think what my home country Jamaica, could learn from Dharavi. Even the US. I kept asking myself the same question over and over again, how can a sense of hope be instilled among low income residents of a community through job creation in the very communities in which they live - like Dharavi?
There is no drainage system to speak of so there is a lot of standing sludge (it hadn’t been water in a long time). The rooms in which people reside are too small for toilets so there are shared, public toilets and our tour guides said about 73% use these public toilets while the rest simply defecate in the open - mostly in the garbage piles. There is no garbage collection because there are no roads between the homes large enough for two people to walk side by side let alone a garbage truck. Combine these factors with some of the single room factories that are processing toxic chemicals and throughout Dharvi you experience smells that are varying degrees of pungent. In some places, unbearable. Our tour guide prepared us for the especially difficult areas by warning us to avoid facial reactions in order to be sensitive to the residents.
I heard squeals from games of cricket or other means the children found to entertain themselves. I heard girls counting backwards from 20 in English in the community center that our tour company built, operated and offered classes to teach girls of the community to be teachers in the community to combat truancy. I heard a lot of “hi’s, hello’s” and “chocolate?” - pleasant and polite requests from smiling children. I heard machinery being operated and people speaking in various languages about the tasks at hand. I heard laughter and of course I heard honking horns. I didn’t hear any arguing, no “pssssssst”, no begging, no wails of despair. Everything sounded… normal?
When I read Proverbs 21:13, I wondered what it meant if I heard no cries? However, I wasn’t sure if they weren’t crying because they didn’t know that they should be or if they simply had nothing to cry about.
My biggest disappointment about our tour was that we could not interact with the residents. Anyone who knows me, knows I adore children and would have loved to play with them, hug them or spend some time talking to them. I go to a church where we hug as a sign of affection and to wish someone God’s speed until we meet again. Every fiber of my being wanted to hug the women and the children I saw, selfishly to make myself feel better because what would my hug do for them?
When we passed one of the bakeries that was making puff pastry, our tour guide asked if we wanted to taste it. I emphatically said no. Workers weren’t wearing gloves and I already described conditions and the smell. Actually, this area smelled good thanks to the baking of the pastry. I honestly couldn’t imagine eating anywhere in Dharavi. If that makes me shallow or insensitive then so be it but that was my natural reaction.
My emotions ranged from shock and awe to outrage to anger to sorrow to helplessness in very short successions. Interestingly, I never felt guilty. At the end of the day, I was thankful that I wasn’t born into those conditions and I was deeply respectful of those who were yet still managed to wake up and face the world with a positive attitude and a smile.
I tweeted I hope I never forget Dharavi and I never have the audacity to complain. As life changing as this experience was, the truth is I will complain and on some days I may forget, but my greatest hope is that I take the invaluable lessons I learned in Dharavi and somehow use those lessons to benefit the lives of the poor elsewhere.
When I decided to leave the workforce to obtain my MBA, I opted to do it full time because I wanted “the experience.” I never in a million years imagined this would be a part of the experience. The International MBA Program at the Fox School of Business at Temple University has done an exceptional job in designing this India Immersion trip in a way that I have learned so much about business and more importantly myself that I could have never learned from a case study or in a classroom lecture. I hope I am a better person for this experience and I know that my class-mates and I, who I already consider family, are that much closer as a result.
You can read more about our tour company here http://www.realitytoursandtravel.com/ and I strongly encourage you to google images of Dharavi.
My initial reaction to the city of Mumbai was this is like Jamaica but about 7X worse. More traffic, more people, more chaos, more dirt, more garbage, more poverty, much, much more industry, and more honking. I’m convinced the horns are some kind or morse code that only Indian drivers understand. Long beeps, short beeps, one beep, two beeps, a rapid succession of beeps. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeep.
Despite the traffic, the people, the chaos, the garbage and the honking, I strangely feel a sense of peace here. I find this ironic because we’re staying at The Trident Hotel which was the Oberoi Trident Hotel, one of the sites of the terror attacks of 2008. Despite the attacks, since I arrived, I’ve never felt afraid or unsafe and it’s not just because security here is very tight. I’m not sure if it’s because we are being shuttled around the city in a coach bus or if it’s because India reminds me of Jamaica in many ways or if it’s because my paternal great grand father is Indian but I feel a connection to this country that I can’t quite explain. Maybe it’s Gandhi?
On our first full day in Mumbai, we took a tour of the city and since it is Monsoon season, it was raining which prevented me from taking many pics but here are a few I’ve taken since I’ve been here.
From my vantage point, there was nowhere for this cyclist to go, but somehow he found a way.
This was a sign I noticed in a rickshaw and I loved it. Love transcends race, color, creed, social status and poverty lines. We all need it.
This very much reminded me of Kingston… minus the skyscrapers
The skyline from a distance
The most expensive home in Mumbai, 27 floors and an overall grandiose display of opulence. It is not currently occupied. Allegedly the owner was told by a fortune teller of sorts that if he moves in, his business would experience a downturn. *blank stare*
The bay… Was told by our tour guide that Indians don’t go to the beach to tan or to swim because they don’t need to be any darker (much more on this later) and the water is dirty. Instead they go to the beach to take a walk, spend time with a family, get ice-cream, or just enjoy the day.
I loved this man cleaning his car. It’s old but it’s his and he’s taking care of it and doing a better job than I’ve ever done cleaning my car by hand.
I was surprised to learn that Mumbai had a very efficient public transportation system. The trains and busses are reliable and run on schedule. Not at all like the Jamaica I know.
I liked this green truck
More green in the middle of the city
Traffic, which actually wasn’t terrible
Best $10 I’ve ever spent. Thanks Aldo Outlet! Rain boots are essential for a visit to India during monsoon season.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end which means it’s time to transition from vacation mode back to school mode. The whole reason for my summer in Asia is to finish the last portion of my International MBA program at Temple University in Philadelphia. Since it’s a 1-year program, we also spend a summer semester in school but in our case, we have our semester in Asia - India, China and Japan. On August 9th, I will complete my MBA in Tokyo, spend a couple of weeks exploring Southeast Asia and then return to the states for graduation and the real world in early September.
Our first stop in India was Mumbai and while I’d heard mixed reviews about Mumbai and India as a whole, and I wasn’t thrilled to leave Dubai, I was open to absorbing everything and ready for a learning experience. I knew Mumbai would be nothing close to Dubai so I tried my best to keep an open mind.
Thankfully, the flight on Emirates was much better than the JFK - DXB leg. No Missa Swaaty first of all and secondly, it’s a quick 3 hour flight. Upon arrival in Mumbai, I was greeted by an extremely long line at Immigration and more chaos at Baggage Claim. I found myself irritated because I was already spoiled by the DXB’s airport efficiency. Why all airports can’t adopt their best practices (US airports included), I have no idea. I suppose the long line at Immigration was a blessing because my bags came off pretty quickly, I quickly exited the airport, spotted Britt (she had a different itinerary) who was already with our driver and we were off to The Trident Hotel.
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and although we never made a reservation to the top for what we’ve heard is a great view of the city, we did manage to make it to the 122nd floor on our last night in Dubai.
We took our hotel shuttle to the Dubai Mall and were dropped off here which provided a great view of the Burj.
To the right is the “Souk Mall”, a modern version of a traditional souk where you can find anything you could imagine - tapestry, carpets, rugs, gold, spices, etc.
Get your shot Britt Miller!
Britt discovered there was a club inside the Burj on one of the higher floors so we decided that’s where we wanted to spend our final evening. However, before we headed out, we had to take pictures with the glittery camel outside of our hotel.
When we first arrived at the Burj, we were directed to Club Armani Prive (or something like that). Either you were on the list or the extremely skinny woman at the door gave you the once over to determine whether or not you were worthy of entry. After no issues at the door, we made our way in and were greeted by this wall. Photo op!
However, that’s where what we liked about the club ended. It was downstairs and everyone was dressed very well but it felt very Jersey Shore-ish - lots of hair gel and extremely loud house music. While I love house music, it wasn’t really the scene we were looking for so Britt, in her infinite wisdom, simply asked about the other club at the Burj and was told it’s called Atmosphere, that we needed a reservation and there may be a minimum spend required.
We had no reservation but we tried our luck nonetheless. Entry is through the Burj residences and at the door, the doorman asked if we had a reservation for Atmosphere. Without skipping a beat, I responded emphatically, “yes” and proceeded to walk in although I had no clue where I was going (hey, I figure, act like you belong and well, you’ll belong). The doorman quickly escorted us to the first of 2 elevators that required badge access.
The first elevator took us down a few levels and then we were greeted by another doorman who took us to the designated elevator for the lounge. Once he badged us in, we were off to the 123rd floor.
At the 123rd floor, we had to take a flight of stairs down one level and then we were there.
We were such tourists… oh well.
Typically reservations are required but it was a very quiet evening so we had no issues. A waitress showed us to a table and took our orders. As the sign below depicts, there is a minimum spend for gentlemen but not for ladies (I love this city!).
There weren’t many people out but it was exactly what we were looking for. The views of the city were gorgeous and after some time, we called it a night and made our way back to our hotel to get ready to leave Dubai in the morning.
The thing about having a chef as a friend is you eat VERY well. Enroute to Jamaica (literally, they were on their way to the airport), my friend’s Kari and Lij stopped by our hotel for dinner at The RIb Room - Lij’s old restaurant. Time Out Dubai actually awarded it “Highly Commended” as one of the Best Steakhouses in Dubai.
Dinner actually took place on our first full day in Dubai - after the expansive lunch at Al Muntaha. However, I figured I’d break up the food posts and put this one closer to the end.
Dinner was pretty good and service was about the same. As much as I love steak, the overall meal was not on par with Al Muntaha but nothing to dare complain about.
All the breads were yummy
Rib Eye… Medium!
This Wagyu Steak was AMAZING.
Sides… Truffled mashed potatoes were DELICIOUS!!!
Mac and cheese was also good, different from mac and cheese traditionally found in the states, much creamier
Britt & I CRUSHED this cake a day later. Was so good!
Kari (Steward) and I… such a beauty, inside and out! Love her!
As a self-appointed mall connoisseur, I can safely say, I’ve never seen anything like either of the malls I visited in Dubai. All the luxury stores under one roof notwithstanding, the amenities available at the mall, coupled with the decor make it an experience. I completely understand why so much time is spent here by both locals and visitors.
The Dubai Mall
Yep, that would be a waterfall
A really big waterfall
And a skating rink
Still at the mall
And there’s an Aquarium which holds the Guinness book of world records for largest single acrylic panel in the world
There’s also the world’s largest candy store… which features Chicago’s Garret’s popcorn (of course I got the Cheddar/Caramel mix).
And then there’s Bloomies… *sigh* (must return when I’m not a student)
I love that it’s not just sale, but “part sale”
Ends on my birthday… hmmm.
Agreed… I need to visit again when this contemporary district opens…
Not a great pic, but this was beautiful in person
Not even a fraction of the designer stores…
They all wear cuff links with their kandura’s
These are 2 of the ugliest colors I’ve ever seen on automobiles. Interestingly enough, about 5 women exited the pink SUV.
Mall of the Emirates
I think the most unique thing about this mall was the indoor ski slope (where you can actually go skiing) complete with snow, and penguins… For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I preferred the Dubai Mall.
If you look at the bottom right of this picture, you see it says Philly Cheese Steak. I thought that was funny because I’m sure 95% of people in Dubai couldn’t find Philly on a map AND, the picture looked more like a burger as opposed to a cheese steak. Either way, Philly is being represented in Dubai so that made me smile.
Before we left the mall, Britt and I decided to find the high end stores just to compare both malls and unbeknownst to us, we photo crashed this photo shoot. They were all very nice and didn’t say a thing to us and laughed with us when we realized what we did.
I managed to leave the mall unscathed and made only a single purchase - perfume that smelled like heaven that after many online searches when I returned to the hotel, I couldn’t find in the states so I am satisfied with my purchase.
We decided to take the metro back to the hotel and like everything else, it’s extremely clean, very efficient and thankfully, connected to the mall and the stations are air conditioned so we never had to go outside.
I think a women and children only car has to be the best invention ever.
There are basically only 2 lines. Red and green. Impossible to get lost.
Off we go… It was very convenient to book our safari through our hotel concierge the night before. Our driver picked us up at our hotel right on schedule.
This was all my idea. Thanks Britt for being a great travel buddy!
Dubai skyline as we leave the city to head to the desert
Hard to believe that Dubai looked mostly like this (as opposed to the skyline), only 10 years ago. The Burj al Arab is only 12 years old, while the hotel where Britt and I are staying is only 10 years old and those are 2 of the oldest buildings in the city.
Pit stop… Jah know, this felt like Jamaica. Except the AC inside the shop was on full blast and quite effective… that wouldn’t happen in Jamaica.
Ice-cream was yummers
We’re definitely in the desert.
Once in the desert, we stopped for pictures and met up with the rest of the fleet and then headed out as a caravan.
Love my Britty! Quite possibly one of the easiest people to travel with. We were all about eating, sleeping, fabulosity-ing, and finding wifi…
Let the dune bashing begin!
Dune Bashing is where the tour company essentially turns the vehicle you’re traveling into a roller coaster with the desert as the track. It was all very safe but everyone still hung on for dear life…
After awhile we all relaxed and let go…
I’m sure they’ve all done this several times before but this is a little too close for comfort… back up! Please :-)
From where I was sitting, it looked like the SUV in front (different tour company) was going to roll but it didn’t
Of course a someone got stuck but in true male form, our tour guide said, we’d stop to take pictures, as opposed to, we need to stop because someone is stuck…
But in no time, they were ok
SInce my pictures don’t give the experience justice, here’s video (from you tube) of what dune bashing looks like from outside the vehicle.
On our tour, there were no female drivers, I asked to drive but no one else in our SUV thought that was a good idea… Whatevs.
More pics of the desert, Britt and me…the desert is absolutely breathtaking.
Letting the SUVs breathe… before we started the safari, they let most of the air out of the tires and our tour guide told us they change the air filters everyday.
Our safari concluded with dinner at the campsite below, belly dancing, henna, camel riding, hookahs (they call it shisha) and if you wanted to pay extra, you could also go out on ATVs. All else was included in the rate of AED 275 which is just under $80. Our driver picked us up at 4PM and we were back at the hotel at around 10PM.
Fresh bread off the grill… delicisoso
And then my camera died… No pics of belly dancer or dinner but it was all great. I’d highly recommend the experience and our tour company was great. Our hotel and other friends also recommend Arabian Adventures but they weren’t picking up when we tried to book (at the very last minute the night before) through our concierge and they’re a little bit more expensive.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers is a 5 star business hotel that is simply amazing. Service is phenomenal and there isn’t a single amenity I can think of that they don’t provide. Again, thanks to Lij for the great rate!
Two of the iconic buildings in the Dubai skyline - both part of the towers… hotel on the right, businesses (I think) on the left)
View from my room
More of the skyline from the room
Picture of Sheikh Zayed (founding father of the UAE) on the top of the building on the right (all from the window of my room)
Close up of Sheikh Zayed (my camera is legit)
Tap Access (on the left), no swipe necessary… can program do not disturb/make up room from inside the room
Burj Al Arab Including Lunch at Al Muntaha (Foodgasms Part 2)
Al Muntaha is located on the 27th floor of Burj Al Arab, the only 7 star hotel in the world and also where my friend, Lij is the Sioux chef. Although I touch base with my he and his wife, Kari about once a month or so, because they are both so humble and all around fantastic people, neither mentioned Lij was at this iconic restaurant.
We literally had the best table in the house and both the food and the service were impeccable.
The Burj Al Arab
Britt & I with the ladies of the Burj (I wanted to ask if they had a spare uniform I could take with me, I would absolutely wear this as a dress).
Burj Auto Fleet… All white everything!
Business Lunch Menu
Iced Green Apple & Cucumber Veloute… I would have never ordered this on my own and glad I did. It was a cold soup, very flavorful, extremely refreshing and delicious
Grilled Diver Scallops…delish
Waygu Beef Tartar. If I could only eat Waygu beef for the rest of my life, I would
Topped with mustard seeds and some other fanciness I can’t remember
Lemon Sorbet to cleanse the palate
Australian lamb loin with roasted and then breaded eggplant
The best darn dessert I have ever had in my life. Ever. Satisfying yet refreshing, not overly sweet and the perfect end to the meal.
Sorbet was so good, I had to have more
Apple Walnut Bread… yummers
This was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. I think Britt said this actually was the best meal of her life. If in Dubai, lunch or tea at Al Muntaha is a must. The quality of food and the experience are both well worth the price tag.
My amazing friends Kari and Lij - who are both Jamaicans living in Dubai run a blog http://chefandsteward.com/ and have been the most hospitable hosts so I’d like to publicly thank and acknowledge them here for everything from the amazing rate at the fabulous Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, to picking me up, to introducing me to Emirati street food on my first night in Dubai (additional foodgasms to come).
I apologize in advance because I forgot the names of everything I ate but it was all very delicious and the service was fantastic.
Salad with crispy bread on top, home-made dressing
Some sort of cheesy bread
Yummy delicious raw veggies…delicious and even more so dipped in their garlic mayonnaise
Lamb was delicious…also “delish” with their home-made garlic mayonnaise
Mixed grill with chicken and lamb and a sandwich/panini thingie with meat on the inside…yum-my!
We’re all tough critics. Lij (Chef) has been a chef for many years and Kari (Steward) is the wife of a chef who does much of the cooking at home. I am just a foodaholic and while my palate is certainly not as sophisticated, I know good food when I taste it and this was great! 2 thumbs up for my first meal in Dubai!
Whatever sophistication I expected during the check-in process at JFK (expectation FAIL) greeted me with open arms at the Dubai International Airport. The airport is beyond pristine. Including the bathrooms. I silently wished whoever kept it so clean could take a quick flight to Philly, and stop by my house say once every other week or so. I’m sure Sheikh Khalifah Bin Zayed (current President of the UAE) could let them use one of his private jets or something. Surely there’s some Dubai nonprofit that handles these sorts of things.
As I navigated my way through the airport, I couldn’t help but notice, and respect the signs to the prayer rooms. Once I got to passport control, I quickly noticed that it was staffed by all men and all dressed in the kandura - the white robe/cloak that male nationals wear. Much like the airport, their kanduras were all in pristine condition, not a speck of dirt anywhere (wondering if the Sheikh can send the person who does laundry with the cleaning person?) and they were all so young, and soooo handsome. I tried my best not to stare but I couldn’t help it. My ignorance (and experience with US Border Control Officers) made me assume I would have a mean, cold officer. NOT. He was very nice during our brief interaction and smiled widely when I told him I was from Jamaica but live in the US and visiting friends en route to India for school.
As I headed to baggage claim, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if men in the western world only wore pristine kanduras. As my mind wandered I heard a psssst and I knew it had to be my friend, Kari! I was so happy to see her. Once we got in the car with her husband Lij, it was off to drop my bags and the hotel and get some food!
In Jamaica we have a saying “fat an swaaty” - typically used to describe someone “petite-ly challenged” with seemingly either poor hygiene or some other unattractive trait that does nothing but infuriate those around them. I had the divine pleasure of being seated on a 13 hour flight next to Missa Swaaty himself.
Missa Swaaty had never been told to cover his mouth or cough into his elbow when he coughed. He was of the opinion that everyone should share in whatever was expelled from his mouth when he coughed and generously shared quite often.
Missa Swaaty made absolutely asinine noises with I’m still not sure what parts of his body.
Missa Swaaty bathed in some combination of brut or old spice. Given the alternative, not bathing at all, I actually would like to thank Missa Swaaty for opening up my sinuses.
Missa Swaaty didn’t know how to say please or thank you. His request for water to the stewardess was “I want water.”
Missa Swaaty didn’t understand choices. When given his choice of “lamb or fish” for dinner. He said rather obtusely grunted, “veg.”
Missa Swaaty thought it was appropriate to lift up his shirt and rub his belly (one Santa Claus would be envious of) several times during the flight.
I’m not quite sure if the travel Gods were preparing me for patience or tolerance, both traits I will need during this 2.5 month trip but needless to say I was more along the lines of repulsed, disgusted and irritated. Thankfully, I was exhausted and able to sleep for most of the 13 hour flight. Lesson learned is for this trip and throughout life, I must think of how my actions affect those in my immediate (and virtual) presence.
It’s hard to get excited for a 2.5 month trip across Asia when you have to deal with closing out a semester and the process of packing and making arrangements for your home life while you’re away all in a short period of time. So even as I spoke to a friend on the drive from Philadelphia to JFK airport, when she asked if I was excited about the trip, I honestly wasn’t yet. I was more focused on making it to the airport and on the plane on time with no luggage issues (I am NOTORIOUS for not only having too many bags but also for each and every one being overweight).
Although excitement wasn’t quite there yet, I didn’t expect the emotion that followed. When I finally entered the building to check in, I was amused and couldn’t help but chuckle internally. For some reason I was expecting check in from JFK to DXB (Dubai) to be an uber sophisticated experience with me feeling “economical” in my Old Navy maxi dress, Coach Outlet flip flops and Target purchased luggage. NOT. Well, not economy check in anyway.
What greeted me at check in was a scene that easily could have taken place at an Air Jamaica ticket counter (or an episode of Oliver - a Jamaican comedy) anywhere in the world. A maze of a line, each person with more luggage than the next, majority of which was clearly overweight and every other person at the check in counter frantically moving items from one piece of luggage to another to meet the weight requirement.
I was quite proud not to be one of those people because for the first time in recent memory of international travel, my luggage was underweight and I successfully packed 2.5 months of crap into 1.5 checked bags (0.5 of which was all toiletries to be used on the trip). Once my bags were tagged and deposited, I was off to security where I was greeted with another familiar scene. Loved ones headed home waving sad goodbyes to their loved ones staying behind in the states. These are mixed emotions only immigrants to the US truly comprehend.
Regardless of my travel mates final destination - on to India, some other connection or Dubai; my first lesson on this 2.5 month journey was that us Jamaicans (and I’m assuming most immigrants to the US) have much more in common with Middle Easterners than I’d originally anticipated.
I should have been blogging while I was living in Paris but I never got around to it. I leave for Asia in 3 weeks for the final semester of my MBA program (and some personal travel) so I figure better late than never. This will be my way of keeping friends and family updated on what’s going on as I travel from Dubai - Mumbai - Dehli - Beijing - Shanghai - Tokyo - Hong Kong - Kuala Lumpur - Singapore - Bangkok - Phuket and back to Philly. Until I leave, I’ll probably post random updates about whatever random thoughts I have.
After 10 years climbing the corporate ladder, I quit my job to return to school to work on my MBA and travel the world in the process. Some people thought I was insane to give up a great career in a bad economy. I thought it was a great time to get back in the classroom (I missed the learning process), make myself more marketable (I’ll always believe education is the best investment ever) and luckily I found a 1 year program that enabled me to live and study in Paris (Fall Semester), Philly (my current home - Spring Semester) and Asia (Summer semester in India, China and Japan). So to answer the question who am I? Right now, I’m student, but there’s so much more to me…
I work hard, play harder, love hardest
I’m a big sister - oldest of 4 and proud auntie of a beautiful 1 year old
I’m also God mother to 3 - not as great as a should be but hey
I’m a Cancer and possess all the stereotypical traits that come along with it
I’m Jamaican with a PA driver’s license and US passport
I’m an incurable shopaholic - shoes, bags, accessories, clothes, I love it all
I’m a speed demon who loves fast cars and the sound of a great engine
I’m a UCONN alumna (BS in Finance) and a die-hard Husky fan
I love basketball - prefer NCAA but this year’s NBA playoffs have been great
I’m loyal… sometimes to a fault
I love the Lord, I am a follower of Christ
I’m a great friend
I’m a foodie
I’m over bad boys and on to grown men. That phase was fun while it lasted
I’m beautifully broken (not ashamed that I love that song by Ashlee Simpson)
I can’t imagine my life without traveling. I hope to visit 40 countries and 40 states before my 40th birthday (I’ll post about that separately)
I adore my family. Including the friends I consider the family I got to choose
I can’t think of a genre of music I don’t like
I know how to party
I’m sure there’s more but that seems enough for now.
Lickle most mi almost crash di car when I heard the radio ad for Jamaican speed dating. I guess it wasn’t the most shocking thing I had ever heard in my life, but for a country as small as Jamaica, speed dating in the corporate area sounds like a, well, ‘fun’ after work activity. The cost? A mere…
I usually email my reaction to the show to friends who’ve all encouraged me to post… Here’s my reaction to the season 2 finale as was sent to them last night…
Shock and awe Juelz was arrested… and more shock, Kimbella doesn’t think he deserved to be
Yandy doesn’t understand why Juelz didn’t call her. CAUSE YOU’RE NOT FAMILY! He didn’t even call his “woman.” He called his BROTHER! I wish both these chicks would wake the heck up, realize they’re all the way out of their lanes and correct themselves
I really like that Chrissy & Nancy are getting along… Kid will happen soon. hmmmm. Nancy needs a baby? I need Nancy to get hooked on phonics and learn to spell psychotic.
Are there a plethora of onions on this set? Why the freak is everybody always crying?
Olivia, you’re right, no deal will be right… wait, you can do better? You’ve been at this for how long? Maybe the music you want to do is the problem.
Who else does Rich Dollaz manage? How does Olivia pay her bills? What does she mean she’ll go broke? Isn’t she… Lemme stop
Here goes Olivia… crocodile tear count = 2
Nancy, Jimmy & Chrissy in Jamaica… lawd GAWD
I really like Emily & Chrissy’s relationship
Not getting why Emily is even repeating what Winter had to say. Is she secretly hoping Chrissy will co-sign that nonsense?
I respect Chrissy’s perspective on these dudes. It’s real. How-eva. The ultimate symbol of respect would be if he didn’t cheat at all.
Why is Olivia on Hot 97? Has she been playing in Kimbella’s bronzer?
No deal… Next step is clear the air with Flex? On air? I need Olivia to stop the madness… Flex was right though, respond to all of us by giving us a hot record. Tick. Tock. *checks watch* Still waiting….
Kimbella doesn’t know what’s going on with Juelz? rut roh…I don’t know either of them and I have a hypothesis as to what’s going on. So now their relationship is dysfunctional? After that ish you were talking about Chrissy? And how long she waited for a ring? You smashed another rapper… you really think he’s all the way serious about you?
When is Yandy managing people? She stays eating and chilling with Kimbella’s arse
The kids…. how many dream deferrers do they have between them?
Crocodile tear count = 3
News flash: If your dude gets locked up and you’re getting updates from his brother, he’s not that committed to you
Does Kimbella expect Juelz to be there changing diapers and ish? Really?
Why is this chick talking to Yandy about this? I see why Yandy gets her roles confused. Who the freak goes to their man’s business partner/manager/associate to discuss their relationship?
O Yandy. We ALL know that you want to be in Jamaica with Jim. Whoever said Yandy is Jamaican lied cause she’d know that it’s 119 in Jamaica not 911. You miss Jim’s friendship? He’s not your freaking friend. You’re a non-mfing factor to him. And WTF do you mean what do you hope to accomplish with Chrissy? You can buy Chrissy a book on how to be a good daughter-in-law but you have to ask Nancy’s intentions? She wants to build a relationship with her daughter-in-law!
I actually like where this “song” Olivia wrote is going… let’s see
So Kimbella has 2 kids? Juelz is back in custody… sounds so fancy. Things aren’t where they need to be for the relationship but the fact that she’s pregnant is good news? Ok so all babies are blessings but a second ago you were crying that he wasn’t the one? Ok, so I think those tears are real. Bless Kimbella’s heart.
Why is Nancy still performing this song? And of course Yandy is jamming in the front row. Is she really wearing a superwoman cape? Did Yandy say it was a Beyonce transformation? Did she just utter Chaka or Tina in the reference to Nancy? Maybe Yandy is the psychotic bish.
Yandy sounds like she’s talking about a break up. You have no bad blood? You tried to fight this man’s woman. We know you love him to death Yandy. We know. I hope she listens to her mentor.
I need to go home. Now. Like I’m upset I’m here and it’s cold and it’s nice and warm in Jamaica.
I really love this trip for all 3 of them. Chrissy’s definitely winning. Jimmy is hilarious scared…