Jovial Jaunt: Jaunt Through the Soul

Jaunt Three:

jaunt2Have you ever experienced an initial pain or illness that seemed to open the door to all types of other issues? Kind of like a gateway situation so to speak, which puts you right where you thought you couldn’t go.

Recently, I experienced that and to say the very least it put me in a really good place but first I had to go through growing pains from my past.

Leaving Kandahar, ending one journey to begin a new one...

Though this journey was not a planned trip it happened nonetheless, I had extenuating circumstances that required me to travel to Guyana. While in the air leaving Afghanistan the words of a close relative hit me “You cannot continue to run. You have to face everything eventually, stop running and come back.” And though I was more than ready to simple get this trip over, I experienced this familiar yet distant calming of my soul. Something pulled at me, beaconing me to be the man I have grown into, no extra… just Taz.

While on my four day excursion to the beautiful Caribbean and coastal country of Guyana, I pondered a lot. I hopped on one plane to the next from Kandahar, Afghanistan to Qatar, then France, making a quick pit stop in Portugal to have dinner and gather some items from home. Then off again to meet up with family during my layover just to arrive at destination location Georgetown, Guyana. During this trip I not only crossed multiple time zones but I saw the most amazing views from the skies since —I could not sleep which also left me with a lot of time to think.

A good drink is needed when continent hopping & thinking  :)
A good drink is needed when continent hopping & thinking 🙂

When I was younger and as a teenager, there were many decisions made for me which is normal amongst many, if not all. But somewhere along the path to manhood, I came of age mentally before anyone in my family knew it. I chose to practice a different religion and accepted an alternative lifestyle, and even worse I voiced it adamantly. I reacted to the disdain of my family and the judgments of these individuals like they owed me something, like they had to accept me. And for this I was wrong.  There was no tact in how I did it; I was a teenager who acted rashly. While I could go on and point the blame at other individuals for my actions or reactions, that is not the purpose of this Jaunt.

This Jaunt is about me.

My self-acceptance that I had to develop, and the respect I feel I owe my family and the world in which I live.  As years had gone by and I remained estranged, it was all running back to me while I was in transit. I knew I would now have to practice what I preach to the utmost during this trip. I know there are certain things about my life that folks will never like, but the acceptance I used to seek was no longer needed. I had to remember the same way I wanted to be respected and treated, was what I would have to give first because after all to many I was still the child, although a grown man— I was still the son and nephew.

Upon arrival it was great to see familiar faces. Among them were friends and relatives that I had not seen in eons and we picked up like we hadn’t spent more than two weeks apart. But the best was just being able to be me; I didn’t speak of things not needed and I ignored what I didn’t like. I kept most opinions to myself unless I excused myself first, though I am sure my facial expressions gave me away. I received quite a few “I dare you looks” which could only mean I gave a look first. 🙂

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This journey was a bitter sweet one, but I do not for one second regret it. I enjoyed every bit of it and I even said to my Auntie, “It’s funny we (my siblings and cousins) all grew up and now we are doing the things we used to see you all do, this is life, our life.” To which my Auntie said “You are very insightful, that it is boi, that it is…” as she looked over her sunglasses and placed her hand over mine. See the solid foundation I have is the family unit in which I was brought up on and in is what allows me to just chuck the deuces and disappear when I want; so that I may travel, explore, and live freely.

 

There are many days as the years progress where we ponder over complicated situations, or maybe question the person we have become. I don’t normally like to think that another person can dictate who we become, but this trip has changed my mind. For better or worse the elders and adults of our youth mold us into the people we have become. If one is lucky you are surrounded by those who teach you the world is yours. Mine taught me that, if I didn’t like it there was always the door, a door to use to escape or explore more possibilities. But little did I know that this door would allow me to return. And for that I am grateful.

As I replay images over and over again in my head about this trip, most of them reaffirm what I thought —or more accurately what I have come to believe about myself. I am nomadic, nothing truly defines me; no name, no lineage, no country can truly engage much less envelop me. But what does engage me is my sense of humanity, a sense of respect that I have to afford everyone even if I do not agree or like their opinions. And if I do not respect them enough to be peaceful at least respect myself enough to not bring reproach upon myself due to misguided behavior.

 

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Jovial Jaunts is a personal blogger series hosted by Tazeem Rumal. Taz will document his travels, share his experiences living abroad, offer his opinions on topics and venture out to ask thought provoking questions.

 

 

 

Jovial Jaunt: The Portuguese Club Scene

Jaunt Two:

I have decided to take you all on a little trip down memory lane and discuss a typical night of weekend clubbing in Lisboa, Portugal and the surrounding cities. The night life there is amazing; everyone should experience it and come this time next month I will be packing up and headed back.

Photo Credit: reikal.com

Typically, I start my evening around 8pm in Cascais at one of my favorite places Restaurante Paradigma, they have a nice wine selection and an even better assortment of cocktails. This venue is what my close group of friends (The Plastics) considers “our spot” because every Tuesday and Wednesday you can find us here after work cutting up. With a modern appeal, warm an easy lighting, accompanied with great music the ambiance is just right. Though the selection of music is not always a playlist of well-known or popular artists there is a good mix of indie, acoustic, and European house music; all played at a reasonable decibel that is pleasing to the ear. Resturante Paradigma is a great place to relax and have easy conversations. There is no wonder why I prepare for what can be anywhere from a 9 to 13 hour night, all right there.

Next up is the place you really want to start your drinking festivities: Bairro Alto. This district of the city is as rich in history as it is with the money of tourists looking to enjoy a good night of drinking, haha.  With a diverse and vibrant assortment of clubs, bars, restaurants, and coffee houses you are sure to find something good to drink, eat or listen to.  As soon as we arrive in Bairro Alto, I prefer to hit up my favorite bar Majong  because they make the best Gin & Tonic (I can’t tell you why, just ask for a Hendrick’s & Tonic) and you won’t be disappointed. Not only is this a popular destination for new and returning visitors to Portugal but it is also a favorite among the locals and a great place to network and meet new associates.  Here you can sit and watch the silent cartoons that play on the wall and drift away as you tune out the many conversations that vary from Portuguese; to French, Deutsch, English, and even Flemish (which I love to hear).  After a few drinks, it’s on to more bars where you can have your choice of any drink however I prefer to scout out the first bar with good Sangria (which on the Iberian Peninsula can be difficult since everyone claims to have the best).  After two or three hours of enjoying everything from samba to main stream pop hits at different venues, it’s time for a change of scenery [This is where it gets good].

By any account you can call me a Club Hopper because this is exactly how I measure my night, I hop from one club to the next.  For some reason or another I seem to attract a group of people who are more than happy to invite me along for a good time. Now don’t get it twisted, I tend to have a group with me already but somehow my care free “I just want to dance” persona gets the best of me and I tend to end up partying with total strangers.
By any account you can call me a Club Hopper because this is exactly how I measure my night, I hop from one club to the next. For some reason or another I seem to attract a group of people who are more than happy to invite me along for a good time. Now don’t get it twisted, I tend to have a group with me already but somehow my care free “I just want to dance” persona gets the best of me and I tend to end up partying with total strangers.

Like a true club nomad I carry myself to the first place I can think of right off the Marginal because at 2am the bars are just closing and it’s time to get it in.  Main and/or Music Box are normally my first choices to kick off my night of dancing.  Both play an eclectic assortment of music and are culturally diverse enough to where I can let loose.  I normally cannot go in these spots sober because the amount of life surging through the place requires you to already be on that level, if you catch my drift.  Heavy with Techno and House Music these places are where I imagine my European Experience to truly have started. I envision when I am close to death the flashing lights and crazy memories  of these places will play in my head like a movie reel  with “One day we’ll be old” or “We are Young” as the soundtrack playing in the background.

After an hour or so I am off to find my final destination just on the other side of the bridge in Amora. If I have had too much to drink I stay on the Lisboa side of the bridge and go to Docks which is hands down (if I plan my night right) the best spot for me.  Nevertheless, across the bridge is a whole street dedicated to discotecas. My top pick is Discoteca Ondeando which is solely an Africana Discoteca…  I get every bit of my multicultural life in there.  The enjoyment I get from the experience always feels like a new thrill, this is probably because at this point my learning curve is limited to grooving to a new song or learning a new dance. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy learning new words but my elementary Portuguese makes dancing the only form of communication that matters and this is a language I know all too well!

On the nights that I prefer to frequent the clubs in Lisboa there is an array of Angolan music and I enjoy every bit of it, the beats and rhythm are similar to music heard in the West Indies.  On Friday or Saturday I go to Docks and on Sundays I hit up BBC (but this is if I am up to it, because a brother has to work on Monday). At Docks rich vibes blare from the speakers with the sounds of Kudoro, Sembas, and Kizomba music along with a few Hip-Hop tunes remixed to fit the style of the local clientele.  I normally sweat like a hooker in church as I dance, but I get the best photos and after working up an appetite and releasing every bit of stress from the weeks prior; I like to take in one last look of the amazing view that Docks has to offer.  As I the “Americano” affectionately says “Ciao Ciao” giving the typical double kiss on the cheeks to the ladies and a solid hand shake/half hug to the fellas, I kiki one last time as we part ways and look to find jackets, bags, or our friends we came with.  The feeling of soberness settles in as the sunrises in the back drop over the mouth of the Tagus River and the Cristo Rei over looks us.  At this point I am tired and it is time to head to a café for a quick pastry and coffee before I go home to crash and burn.  Around 8 or 9AM the next day, I pour my favorite local red wine or vinho tinto and settle in.

A night full of culture and music is by my standard a good one.  Almost all of my Portuguese friends I have met randomly, through some concert or a night of clubbing.  Every time I leave the house for a night of clubbing I say to myself “Try something new, do something different” and this is why everyone says “If you go with Taz just be ready to come back in the afternoon” it has and does happen.  I play hard and work even harder. Look out for a few more exciting posts in April when I am back in full party mode.

Here is a link to some music, if you want to experience some of the more common sounds heard in the Portuguese clubs, I frequent.  There are multiple mixes so go through and see if you like it, I promise it’s so worth it. Drop a comment below and tell me your thoughts.

http://www.ondeando.com/mix/mp3_player.html

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Jovial Jaunts is a personal blogger series hosted by Tazeem Rumal. Taz will document his travels, share his experiences living abroad, offer his opinions on topics and venture out to ask thought provoking questions.

Jovial Jaunt: Flying high on Bigotry

This baby wants to come home and live with meJaunt One:

In February 2013, Joe Rickey Hundley [former  president of a division of AGC Aerospace & Defense] was onboard a Delta Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta when he smacked a 19 month old child in the face and blurted out a racial slur [“shut that n–word baby up,”]. The slur was directed at an innocent black child (Jonah) whose mother, Jessica Bennett  happens to be Caucasian (which makes… no never-mind).

This loss of decorum and down right ignorant ass action happened all because the toddler was crying as the plane began it’s descent. Which is commonly what most children do because guess what Sherlock?.. your damn ears pop due to the pressure change. So if it annoys adults how do you expect a child feels? Especially at such a tender age when they have not yet become accustomed to such things and cannot fully express themselves verbally.

I don’t know about you all but I was disturbed on multiple levels.  First and foremost in what society is it acceptable to smack a child in the face? Secondly, why would he feel it  is okay to revert to such a sub-standard human belief such as racism when speaking to or referencing a child? And most importantly when will the world start to extend some sort of respect or common courtesy to black children and even better when will they value black lives?

In the court hearings, not only did Hundley’s defense attorney argued the point that her client was emotionally distraught over the removal of his son off of life support; she further added insult to injury by trying to excuse his actions by blaming them on his alcoholism. What exactly excuses that?  Not a thing, not a god damn thing! Yes we have all had irrational moments but this situation in a whole is irrational. None of those are valid excuses for any grown man to attack a helpless toddler.

Hundley admitted to using the racial slur when pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge of “assault” back in October of last year. But would you believe Hundley only received 8mothns in federal prison?  Honestly this man argued the fact that he was about to loose his child so because of that he asked to be pardoned for smacking someone else’s child? I don’t think so. We all know had Hundley been black and assaulted anyone [much less one of America’s most precious and prized white children] they would have had him buried under the first penitentiary available. He also probably would have been deemed a ‘Menace to Society”.

My point of view may seem jarring and some of you will argue that this is not true but check the great track record of the good ol’ US of A. Have we forgotten the oh so popular George Zimmerman case? Which proved to be one of  the worst travesties in the American justice system to date. People cry out in outrage at stories like James Byrd Jr. [a man that was dragged to death by white supremacists in a pick up truck], but now a toddler that could be anyone of ours sons is slapped in the face and we hear close to nothing about it.

If I ever experience such racism in the skies, you would pray that while that high up the offender would meet their heavenly maker. My mission to ruin their lively hood and have society peg them as the racist menace that they are would just be the start of their demise. Had someone touched my child and made a derogatory statement, I would probably Taz that ass! I work hard to enjoy my travels and have certainly had my share of bad travel experiences but never does any of those bad experiences justify assaulting anyone; let alone a helpless toddler.

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Jovial Jaunts is a personal blogger series hosted by Tazeem Rumal. Taz will document his travels, share his experiences living abroad, offer his opinions on topics and venture out to ask thought provoking questions.

Welcome to Jovial Jaunts

TazeemWhether you have traveled or not, have no fear Taz is here! Dive into a different perspective as you explore the world through his eyes and enjoy adventures as though you are right there with him. The Jaunts won’t always be literal outings or trips, though there are plenty in store; from camping on the Iberian Peninsula and a summer escape in Paris. 

Coastline

 

There will be  Jaunts that are discussions on everyday social climate topics among his friends and close associates. Many jaunts may simply be light-hearted trips through the mind of Tazeem that will leave you curiously anticipating more.

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We welcome you to come back to see who his new friends are along the way. He has been known to run into some amazingly random yet interesting people. You may even return only to read his view on something you already have an interest in. He encourages you to chime in and share your opinions as well as ask questions. This series is here to make you feel good, laugh out loud and think a little deeper by taking another look at the world we live in.  Get to knoewTaz a little better and follow him as he journeys through this game called life on his Jovial Jaunts.