Monday, July 19, 2010

Anthony Bourdain NEEDED Reservations in Liberia

I just finished watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the Travel Channel and I have to say I was impressed. After watching the Vice special where all the children were high and the war lords were plenty, it was nice to see someone go in and have a pleasant view at times. There were a few points I'd like to discuss.

Why did he have to eat everywhere? As a tourist in Liberia, no one would go to an off-the-radar village and climb the trees for oil. I've never eaten meat off the street either. Why didn't he enjoy meals at La Pointe? Or spend his evenings at the casinos? His experience was not at all what you or I would do if we took the trip to Liberia.

That was the most disorderly cultural dance I've ever seen.

He painted the perfect picture of Monrovia though. I cannot be mad at that. Hella churches, hella people, and tons of road work. That about covers it all. I wonder if he bought a scratch card off the street...

I've gotten super sick everytime I've been to Liberia. I completely understood and felt for him as he laid in agony on the surfboard. I was right at that lodge thinking yeah I can't be here right now. And that's home. I understand the realities of this fight your body will have with you as you dine in the smile of West Africa.

Hello Anthony, people swallow food when they need to eat to live, not eat to enjoy. In the immaculate words of Weezy F. Baby, "shut up bitch, swallow."

Did anyone see Jollof Rice during his stay? Tsk Tsk. He didn't really eat then did he?

Life is sweet when you're at Robertsport with a Club Beer right?!! I mean, try and name something better than that. Don't worry, I'll wait.

Again, why did he have to eat everywhere?
Say NO to "bush food!"

When I read Anthony Bourdain's blog about his trip in March, I wasn't sure what to expect from this episode. Once he edited the footage, he painted a better picture of Liberia than I anticipated. He made me miss home. Here's this stranger digging into our history AND our pots and ernestly swallowing both. Sure it sucks when he closes with thoughts of Liberia never coming back, but truly, when we say it will return to what it once was are we speaking from hope or with evidence?

There's a scene in the movie Their Eyes Were Watching God where Halle Berry is floating on her back looking at the sun. And all she says is that she's watching God. I had a similar moment at Robertsport in Liberia for Christmas. Well, that is, until the Atlantic wave washed me away. But when I regained sight and feeling, I felt like God had to be watching me right there at that second in my home country. All the people I met in those three weeks were waiting for me to be right there at that second, taking in all that I had missed of my culture and home due to unrest. That same sun shone as my peers fought under it years prior. And there I was swimming in new waters, looking out to a canvas full of space for me to create. That's the Liberia Anthony Bourdain couldn't see. My Liberia is the Liberia Anthony Bourdain did not understand. When he decides to make reservations next time, maybe he might catch a glimpse of these things. Until then, we sincerely thank you for opening up your mind and heart and trying.

Liberia to James the photographer. No Reservations.

Liberia to Emmalee the philanthropist and world educator. No Reservations.

Liberia to Alahna and Azara, young Liberian girls living in America. No Reservations.

Liberia to Aisha, world party-goer. Reservations at a bar =)

Liberia to me. Baby Archel, my godchild on the beach for Easter Sunday. No Reservations.

Had I known he was going there I would have had him stop by our house so Doris (the cook) could send some casava leaf to bring back. Nothing better than that huh? Ay yah, leave comments for me below please mah people.


  1. damn that was fast. People gave me the side eye when I would go to Clay Ashland, let alone the bush where he was. He spent too much time showing random tribal life and not enough showing the real bustling Monrovia. He ain't go to PA's C'monson! I'm glad he went but I want to see like a 6-hour special. And no Jollof Rice? #FAIL

  2. Yeeah wowwww I never went to ANY of the places he visited. And no bush needs 30 minute of airtime. #comeonson they've prob never watched TV before (stereotypes i know).

  3. Girl you are quick, but I could not have said that better myself. It serves him right for getting sick. I know some people are upset but I'm pretty sure something is up with all of the media attention these journalist are paying to Liberia. Before last year it was PBS's "Liberia: America's Stepchild" and a bunch of youtube videos. Maybe it's the elections, who knows. I'm glad you're back!

    @JKH I totally agree, one hour was kind of him but Liberia needs a miniseries... I think I see a reality show idea! (jk)

  4. this is Lahna!!!

    loll "PA's" i was wondering the same thing about the casinos and nice restaurants... someone was saying while we were watching it that he could have gotten that story anywhere in Africa. He missed some stuff thats forsure...

    i lovelovelove what you said about your moment at Robertsport in Liberia for Christmas. God IS watching over Liberia. And what you said about aisha is too funny. you're a trip. this is a great review Shebs!

  5. That was a great review Shelby, thank you for that. I have to say, I had mixed feelings about his representation of Liberia as well. I really wanted that show to be better than it was. There are so many positive things that he could have focused on, more so than what he did. And yes, I too was disappointed at the fact that there was no jollof rice! And what about some potato greens and cassava bread??? Missed the boat there. I'm hungry...

  6. Here's the thing though: Wea can't want a review to be better just because we LIVE better. Liberia as a whole is not better than that. He comes in to take in what it's really like. How many Liberians REALLY live like what we do? We cannot deny the very obvious, distinct class system and if you really look with your eyes and not your heart, he was accurate in his depiction of Liberia.

  7. No offense, but he showed what white america wanted to see.

    Us strugglin and actin crazy.

    DISLIKE to his documentary, LOVEEED you're entry.

    & heyyy, at least i gotta reservation!! woot

    xoxo Aisha Marie

    (I dont have any of the accounts below and if i do idk my info, so i prayed someone else was logged in and haaa, you were!!)

  8. HAHAHAA Aisha! Dime squad can share google accounts! Thanks for your comment my dear!

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