Kyoto, famous for geisha like these, is one of the places Cherchez la Curl plans to visit next.
1. Tell us about the first holiday you remember taking.
The first holiday that I can recall purely from my own memory (and not from siblings’ and parents’ stories) would be a road trip to my mother’s village in Ondo state. I must have been about four or five years old. I remember patches of the drive quite vividly. I remember riding in the backseat and sleeping with my head on my mother’s lap, waking up intermittently to stare at a pale blue sky flecked with patches of white cloud, and at some white birds flying about the green tips of the tall bush that hugged both sides of the road. I remember waking up properly, and my mom teaching me a Yoruba folk song about the birds known as “lekeleke” (cattle egret). She told me a story about how singing the song and jangling my hands just so would produce little white flecks on my nails. I remember the wonder I felt when I looked down at my nails, noticing the white flecks (which had likely been there all along), and feeling privy to a special sort of magic. I remember arriving at my mother’s village and sitting on the front porch with my grandfather. He was quite old and didn’t speak much, not so much because of his age but because of his nature. I didn’t speak my mother’s dialect, and was equally dispossessed of the desire to chat. We both sat in silence and ate pieces of boiled corn. He loved cats and had several; they stalked the house and claimed various corners for their own. I had a slight fear of cats and became agitated whenever one came close. From the corner of my eye, I could see my grandpa watching me, slightly bemused by my “unnecessary” agitation, but remaining silent. I remember a masquerade (Egungun) came by while we sat on the front porch. He/it started engaging in what appeared, to my naive and easily frightened four-year old mind, to be all manner of wicked sorcery. He wore a shaggy costume and a grotesque mask, had weird bits poking out of his body, and what looked like a stalk of corn growing from his head. I was beyond frightened but remained seated. My grandpa noticed my unease and tried to comfort me. I didn’t understand the words he was saying, but I understood the sentiment, which did little to mollify me. I yelled at the masquerade, telling him/it to go away. Amused by my agitation the masquerade started to taunt me (a purely cosmetic effort as I didn’t understand a word of what he was saying). I became so agitated that I threw a piece of boiled corn at it, and yelled at him again. My grandpa, sensing the Egungun’s displeasure (and far more aware of his/its ability to respond disproportionately to my corn-throwing), stepped in and shooed him/it away. We then retreated to our respective silences and continued eating pieces of boiled corn.
2. What has been your most memorable holiday?
I feel fortunate to have had a few of memorable holidays – some with my family, some with my friends, and some on my own. One trip that stands out is a four-day period I spent in Shanghai during a broader trip around China. I met up with a friend who “didn’t believe in maps”. We wandered around the city with an aimlessness I wouldn’t have embraced if I were on my own. We ate “weird food”, bumbled around an aquarium, and went on an epic pub crawl that ended with us hanging out in an eerily empty club in Pudong until the wee hours of the morning. I also experienced the comedy of having strangers take my photo (with/without my permission), stare at me, point at me, and otherwise make it very obvious that I was definitely not “a local”.
3. What do you like most about vacations?
Now that I am out of school and a member of the workforce, the thing I like most about vacations is being lord and master of my time. And sleeping. And eating.
4. What do you hate most about vacations?
I hate when vacations come to an end because it means I have to go back to being a responsible(-ish) adult.
5. How would you spend your perfect day on holiday?
My perfect holiday-day would depend on the purpose of the holiday (quick city break, extended holiday, home with family for Christmas etc.). Fusing all the ideal bits from each scenario, I think that the perfect day would involve good food, good music, great conversation, laughter, maybe some nice views and definitely lots of sleep.
6. Where would you most like to go on holiday next? Why?
For my next holiday, I’m planning a mini Asian-tour. Some friends recently moved to Singapore, and I took it upon myself to invite myself over. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan so the idea is to somehow string the two places into one trip. There may be a quick trip to Malaysia somewhere in there too. I’m hoping I time my trip properly so that I get a chance to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto.
Read other Holidays with… posts here
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