Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Tuesday, 3 July 2018


As we officially enter the second half of the year here are some things I suggest you do not miss out on this month! 

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives| Arcola Theatre London| until 21stJuly 

I saw this recently the week it came out, and it was phenomenal, we thoroughly enjoyed the play edition of Nigerian author Lola Shoneyin’s book. The play is performed in a box setting with the audience surrounding the performance. I won’t give too much away, however I will most definitely recommend seeing the play that has a 7 week run here in London.

Image from Arcola Theatre

The World Cup Final| Worldwide| 15thJuly

As we are all aware of the World Cup, the season will soon be coming to an end. Use the date to get together with family and friends, host a BBQ or go to your favourite pub. Make the post of the day as it only comes around every 4 years. May the best team win!

AfroPunk Paris | France | 14th-15thJuly

Afropunk Paris is just around the corner and artists such as SZA, WizKid, Davido and Damien Marley will grace the stage for the weekend extravaganza. Afro punk is an arts and music festival that celebrates and unifies a number of cultures from the African diaspora through multiple mediums. The festival originally started in Brooklyn, New York. I’m yet to attend an Afropunk event, its on my bucket list though! The London Afropunk will take place next month.

Image from Un-ruly.com
Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition | Southbank London | 17thJuly to 19th August

The exhibition explores the life and career of Mandela; the freedom fighter for equality and justice throughout South Africa, who was more than influential on the end of the nations apartheid. The exhibition is presented by Apartheid Museum and Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives. There will be an official Nelson Mandela exhibition opening early next year to mark his 100thbirthday and 5 years since his passing.

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018


I love the link between travel and food; one of the luxuries about the UK is the vast majority of cuisines and dining experiences to choose from. If you can’t afford a ticket to Japan it only makes sense to do the next closest thing and eat the cuisine! In Hackney, East London there is a Japanese restaurant by the name of UCHI, I recently went there for the first time for a friend’s birthday. Not only was the food great but also I loved the décor. From the calm pastel colours and windows to the natural finishes.  The food took a little while to arrive, therefore when it did arrive, I wanted to do nothing more than eat. Yes, I completely forgot to take the food galore snaps by the time everything arrived. Not to worry there are many here. The service could have been faster but I will give them the benefit of the doubt, as it was extremely busy for a Sunday.


From the menu I tried the following:

Robata  炉端- aubergine marinated in miso                        (£5)

Sarada サラダhijiki seaweed, carrot & deep fried tofu      (£5)

Kara-age 唐揚げ  - marinated and deep fried chicken        (£6)

Tempura 天ぷら – battered deep fried vegetables              (£6)

Ramune – Sparkling Soda (Lemon)                                    (£3)

TIP: I would suggest going in a group so you can make the most out of the experience with sharing dishes.


I love how the menu graphic design is in sync with the interior, using pink similar to the interior. This tone of pink on the stonewashed walls gave a calm and cosy ambiance to the restaurant despite the fact we were sitting on stools. (I thought I would let you know, as I know some people are particular about having that back support whilst they dine). What makes the interior authentic are the mix and match finishes from the steel workshop styled tables in contrast to the wooden stools, the brickwork partition between the kitchen and dining area, AND not to forget the intricately crafted ceramic objects we were eating from. The LED lights surrounded the recess ceiling in the centre of the restaurant and were only lit as it got dark in the evening, the wall sized windows do a great job in terms of natural lighting. At the far end of the restaurant, you must open an oversized sliding door if you are heading to the bathroom, however to my surprise what else lay behind this door was an area I wish we were seated in! No one was sitting there but it did look a bit VIP to me, but I was here for it, with the slippers and draping cloth hanging from the rail.

Overall Score:

Despite the fact I’ve explained this place to a T, I would recommend going to experience it for yourself especially if you are a fan of Japanese food. All in all I will give UCHI a four out of five, hope you enjoyed the review. Let me know if you would like more posts like this!

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Sunday, 3 June 2018


The opening Ceremony of The Dakart Biennale at The Grand Nationale Theatre 
Yesterday marked the end of the Dak’art Biennale 2018. The Biennale is an event that happens within Senegal’s capital Dakar throughout the month of May, every two years. Showcasing the craft, photography and artwork of both local and visiting artists. I was lucky enough to make my trip to Dakar from Banjul during the first week of May/the opening of the Biennale. Simon Njami was the artistic director for the second time in a row with seventy-five artists from thirty-three countries of the world taking part in the Biennale's thirteenth edition. However with seven days only I saw what I could of the Biennale and Dak’art OFF. It’s worth while visiting Senegal during this period of time to experience the Biennale and get an essence of Senegal’s art scene which is effortlessly integrated in their culture. The next one will be in the year 2020. One of my favourite shows was the Bridge exhibition showing  the work of various artists including Pierre Christophe Gam, Alun Be and more at La Villa Rouge which was curated by Salimata Diop. I love how she transformed the old family home into an immersive gallery space. Here are some images of a few of my favourite pieces of work and moments of Dak’art Biennale 2018.

Guards stand outside of the Grand Nationale Theatre for the opening ceremony.
‘Naanal rew mi/Hommage à Abdoul Aziz Sy Dabakh’
By Ndary Lo
Location: Ancien Palais du Justice

'Arrival 2018 ' Innate Future Blooms
By Djeneba Aduayom of Galerie Number 8
Location: La Villa Rouge
'Alienation 2018 ' Innate Future Blooms
By Djeneba Aduayom of Galerie Number 8
Location: La Villa Rouge
'Chin Up'
By Mupho
Location: La Villa Rouge
By Alun Be
Location: La villa Rouge

By Alun Be
Location: La villa Rouge
'I be lady o' Painting of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti
By Helene
Location: Heinrich Böll Foundation

'Democratic Classroom'
By Guy Wouete
Location: Ancient Palais de Justice

Photography: All images taken by Yasmin Metz-Johnson
Locations:The Grand National Theatre, La Villa Rouge & L'ancien Palais du Justice

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Sunday, 27 May 2018


There was no way I could make a trip so close to one of my favourite cities and not visit? In my last post ‘Made in West Africa: Kololi Beach’ I ended the post suggesting I was en route to another destination, which I was, only by a different mode of transport this time! After one week spent in Banjul I got on a coach from Banjul to make my way to The Gambia’s next-door neighbor, Senegal. I first went to Senegal in 2014 for a university placement; I then went back to work there for a year. After a year and a half I’m back for the third time but for my shortest stay yet – one week.
I will put all you need to know about travelling between these two cities via road with Gambia Transport Service Company (GTSC). The whole trip was plain sailing. I slept throughout the majority of the journey, if I am completely honest. Here is my break down of the day. I hope it inspires others to consider visiting neighboring countries via road, especially if you are looking to travel on a budget because as you can imagine the difference in price in comparison to the $400 flight price is huge! This was most definitely a bargain! Enjoy the post.

The breakdown: Travelling via road between two West African cities :

Banjul station: Kanifing Industrial Area GTSC Pick up point
Dakar station: Parcelle, Terminus Demm Dikk
Ticket Price: D850/ £14/$18
Luggage: One suitcase cost an additional D70
Passport: I used ECOWAS
Duration: 7 hours

The Gambia Currency: Gambian Dalasi
Senegal’s Currency: CFA

Morning: I woke up at 6am and got my suitcase ready before leaving Banjuling at 7am. The coach was scheduled to leave at 8am. I arrived at GTSC station in Kanifing Intustrial Area twenty minutes prior to load and pay for my suitcase, which was an addition 70 dalasi. I had pre bought my travel ticket. As we hit the road at 8 as planned the first stop was the Ferry Port, as we needed to cross over the border. This took no longer than 15 minutes.

Midday: By the time it was midday we had arrived at Port le Karang, where all passengers had to descend from the coach to go through the Senegalese security. This involved displaying either your national identity card or your passport. I travelled with my ECOWAS passport; therefore this was my proof of identity whilst travelling from Banjul to Dakar. With your passport you will have to pay a fee of 5000 cfa. I’m not sure why that is the case, perhaps for the ink press stamp in your passport who knows, but I did double check. If you are travelling on another nationality passport, I believe it’s the same policy alongside a valid visa. At the Port le Karang checkpoint, this is also the perfect opportunity for your bathroom and lunch break. There is also the option to change your phone SIM provider as you approach Senegal, with locals selling SIM cards and credit. In my case I used the same SIM I had whilst I was living there.

Afternoon: After leaving the port le Kerang, the journey continued through Tiadiay and Kaolack. I knew we were close as we approached Saly and I began to recognize landmarks like the Serigne Cheikh Saliou Mosque. We arrived at our final destination around 4:30pm at the Demm Dikk bus terminus in Parcelle, Dakar. I was relieved to finally arrive after nearly eight hours on the road; it felt even better to return to somewhere I was familiar too. I’d been away for a while but was fortunate enough not to leave it to long to visit again. After arriving I got a taxi to Ouakam where I would stay for the next 7 days.

Gambia Transport Service Company run this service on a daily basis, find out more here.

Photography: All images taken by Yasmin Metz-Johnson
Locations:, The Gambia and Senegal

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