Thomas Lhomme is a self thaught photographer and filmmaker from France and based in Monrovia since a year now. Now, he is now working as a consultant for different organisations but also as a permanent media fellow for an NGO called More Than Me. Today he tell us about Monrovia his city.
- How would you describe Monrovia to someone who has never been before?
Monrovia is hard past history city with a huge motivation and determination from their people to let the past staying in the past. At this time (and it’s like that since several years). Locals share the city with NGOs and organisations. There is also a huge Lebanese community involved into business. Beaches are beautiful but polluted because of a lack of infrastructures such as toilets or trashes. You will have a drive a bit to find better water quality.
- What neighborhood do you live in?
I am living in Budget Bureau, the narrowed neighborhood between down town and Sinkor. It’s a very quiet Area. My house is near of a bar witch is cool to spend time with friends but very bad for finance.
- What do you love most about Monrovia?
I know, it will sounds clichey but I will say the people here. Despite an extreme poverty, we can see a lot of happiness and enthusiasm.
- The best times to discover Monrovia and why?
Well, the dry seasons is extremly hot and the rain one extremly humid. Monrovia is one of the wetteest capital in the world. I would say maybe november, december. This is the begining of the dry season and the bit of rain remaining will be a good opportunity to cool the climate!
- Three words which define best Monrovia?
Surprising, beautiful, somehow frustrating
What is your favorite place for
- A romantic date: I would say Libassa ecolodge with their very fancy (but expensives) rooms.
- A dinner with friends: If you have the budget, you can go on the roof of royal hotel where you can have some japanese and thai food. If you are more into local food and with a small budget, I will recommand you to walk randommely and stop at a small liberian restaurant. Everybody is making food (except on the sunday where it’s very hard to find something liberian) and you will enjoy the liberian experience.
- A work meeting: Everyplace with a good connexion is okay. I would recommend peace coffee in Sinkor where it look like they have the best connection in town.
- A dancing night: Sajje is a small nightclub in town but also the most popular. The DJ is on the top of a fountain and you can find a mix of liberian et expats dancing all the night over there. If you want something more authentics, I will recommend you two places: Block 146, the hip-co (hip-hop and coloqual – the liberian dialect which is a version of english) place where Takun-J, the most famous rapper of the country own a non pretentious bar and perform shows and openmic on evenings. Special mention for face2face and old fox, two crazy very authentic liberians bars, facing each others, where people hang out mostly on the street instead of inside. Loud music, cheap drinks, for me this is the place!
Where do you go if you want :
- to shop? Well… I would say waterside, just before West Point. A lot of very smalls shops near West Point where you will have to bargain to get the best price. This is a very animated place, full of colors and diversity.
- to get massages? Well, I know only one! Libassa ecolodge. Don’t know if it’s good tho
- What is one touristy spot you still love visiting?
I would say ducor hotel. A from the civil war destroyed hotel where people love to go in. The roof offer the best view of Monrovia.
- Recommended accommodation?
Depends of you budget, if you are rich, you can go to royal hotel or mamba point one. Otherwhise, you have to find more local place and sometime not in town it self.
- What are the best restaurants? (…And what should people order?)
Liberian or not? If liberian, you can go to Evelyn spot (or even some random locals restaurant, they all are good. You can try some fufu and soup: fermented casava with various spices and fishes with chiken, you can try the palm butter, the casava leaves, the dry rice with pepper sauce…actually, everything have to be tested because everything is good here! Other whise, you can have some nice ethiopian food at Bishofu, some sushies at Mamba Point hotel or some Pakistanis food at B-first.
- How do you get around the city?
During the day, you can use a kèkè (local tuktuk) a ride trough downtown from east to west will cost you a dollar. During the night, it’s better to have a driver number or a friend that will drive you safely from a place to another. Walking during the night is still dangerous in some places.
- Where do you go for a day or short-break trip outside of Monrovia?
I would definitely say Robertsport! Three hours driving from Monrovia but the most clean and relaxing place I have ever been here. This place is also a surf competition spot where people comme from different countries around to challenge themselves. Enjoy some fresh fish, some manguos and coconut just falled from the trees.
- The best place to watch the sunset?
Ducor hotel, again, we have a nice view from Budget Bureau too and take amazing pictures: The beach is quite of nice, I love West Point too for his very dynamic community.
- Any tips for getting the true local experience?
Sure, go in rasta beach, in front of Miami beach hanging out with Mamayay and share stories with locals. You can also have awalk in waterside and of course, getting in touch with the Monrovia Hiking Society to find a trek to do!
- Describe your ideal day in Monrovia…
I would say a sunday, waking up then going to waterside and walking a bit in West Point, then having some potatoes greens with rice at a local restaurant then meeting at the ministry of defence to play rugby or ultimate-frisbee, watching the sunset at home with a fresh club beer and of course, going out with friends!
- What is the best souvenir someone can bring back from Monrovia?
You can bring some lapas, some handicraft work made by people from the beach or a Liberian jaser. What about a soccer jersey too?
Site: http://www.thomaslhomme.com/ Blog: http://www.rocktheworld.fr Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/thomas.lhomme