Aired: August 4th, 2021
Audio and Photo Source: Cassandre Guillaume and Instagram
This week we are taking “Go where the locals go” to a whole new level! From secret Cuban dance halls with octogenarians to Spanish speakeasies with celebrities, it pays to get off the beaten path of tourist traps.
Our WDW special guest Cassandre, has been to 40 countries and counting and boy did she have some stories to tell. Hang out with Orion and Cassandre as they discuss how Cassandre’s Haitian roots has impacted her travel experiences, why traveling solo can lead to life long friendships, and why Cassandre has her eyes set on a trip to Vietnam.
Wine Down Wednesday: Cassandre Guillaume
Orion Brown (00:00:05):
Hello, besties. Hello. Hello. Hello. Wait, let me get my, let me get my shirt on bunch for you. Cause I'm all the way in the couch. Y'all I'm all the way in the couch. I am deep in the couch. Hello, besties. It is Wine down Wednesday. This I know you're not supposed to put ice in wine, but this is a spritzer because I still need to keep my wits about me. Hello? Oh, Ms. Cassandra is waiting to get in. Hi Yvette. Ooh. So strange. I think that's what your name says. And I love that I'm here for it. I'm here for it. Hey, let's get started. For those of you who do not know me. My name is Orion Brown. I am the founder and CEO of BlackTravelBox. We're personal care products company for travelers of color and This is Wine Down Wednesday. Ms. Cassandra, how are you? Good. How are you doing now? I just got a new setup. You guys don't laugh at me. I got one of those, like Amazon, it's got like the snake arms and like different lights and all of this stuff. So not clips to my face. My phone sits in it. Everything's plugged in. So if it falls off, don't laugh at me. Y'all be my friends and be like, all right, let me, I'm going to scoot this back a little bit. Let's see. I think that's a good, my head is big. Y'all again. Don't make fun of me cause I got all the big old head. Hello? Hello. So we got some folks hanging out with us. I'm so glad y'all came. It's Wine Down Wednesday. We have made it through a whole half of another week or meet a whole week since last time we drank together. Y'all so I am so here for it. I'm really excited because once again, we get to come together and we get to talk about travel. We can talk about beauty. We can talk about whatever comes our way. So definitely hit us up in the comments. And then I want to introduce our guests to Cassandre. And I'm going to have you introduce yourself to everybody. And I would love for you to tell us who you are, where you live, where you're from, if those are different places. And, uh, how many stamps do you have on your passport?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:02:16):
Orion Brown (00:02:17):
It doesn't have to be the exact number. I've had people like go full on matrix on me and they're like the one. And I'm like, don't do that. Don't do that
Cassandre Guillaume (00:02:24):
I was trying to calculate right now.
Orion Brown (00:02:26):
We're just trying to get a sense of how many places you have been. So, yes, without further ado, Ms. Cassandre, hi,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:02:34):
I'm Cassandre and thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. And when I was told, you know, that I'd be a quote unquote special guest, especially in regards to traveling. I'm like, thank goodness because I miss traveling so much. So unfortunately I always say this, I work in corporate America, so it's not that exciting. Um, I work in finance. So what I do to offset that sort of, you know, uh, stodgy, you know, occupation is traveling a lot. So in terms of, I live in forest Hills, Queens, New York, um, my family's originally from Haiti. So I had, you know, I spent my youth in Haiti and then of course I'm a native new Yorker. And in terms of stamps on my passport, I would definitely say over 40,
Orion Brown (00:03:26):
Cassandre Guillaume (00:03:27):
I had the luxury, I will say for nine years, I worked for a Swiss company so that, you know, allowed me to live in Zurich for a little bit. And you know, once you're in Europe, you can travel, you know, to another country. It's like me in New York going to Jersey. It's it's literally -
Orion Brown (00:03:43):
Right. Well, I mean, Jersey is another country.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:03:46):
Pretty much, pretty much. Yeah.
Orion Brown (00:03:50):
I love that. And you know what, I, so I spent 15 years in corporate and that was exactly like, when I talk about travel is my care. That's what got me through corporate without ending up on the nine o'clock news. Right. Because you know, there's moments, there's moments. So I love that and I can totally relate to it. Um, and then I love that you're from Haiti. Oh girl. I know it was a whole bunch of stuff going on down there, but I just want to see more and more of us when we can go to Haiti, spend our money there and hang out with people that look like us.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:04:25):
I think the thing with the Haiti is it's such a beautiful country, but you'll never know it based on the images you see on TV, right. Unfortunately Haiti has become this sort of like, um, donation country, right?
Orion Brown (00:04:39):
Yeah. Some white lady giving us money to little kids with flies on their face.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:04:44):
Exactly. So they kind of depend on that. But in actuality, when you go to Haiti, there's a nightlife, there's beautiful BG. You can do yoga, sushi, jazz clubs, and stuff like that, but they're not going to advertise that. Right. Um, tons of hotels and, uh, everyone that I know, even nominations, I've gone to hate love it.
Orion Brown (00:05:05):
Yeah. Yeah. And you know what, too? So to be fair for folks that are like everything, isn't about race, everything isn't, although this country is a lot of it is predicated on it. And even in places that we don't even recognize. But that being said, when I went to Cuba and I thought Cuba was backwards, but before I went, I was like, they're backwards. They don't have power. They don't know what's going on. Like it. And then I got there and I was like, oh right. Because the us, isn't the only power in the world. Right. And so when we, when we embargoed Cuba as a country and as a government, we kind of created this narrative around Cuba being this backward place that they're driving these old cars, because they haven't had a new car that I'm like and all kinds of stuff all over Cuba. And it's because they've been, you know, they been kicking it with Canadians and Russians and everybody who could freely go there. And so it's not a backwards place. Yes. There is poverty. But honestly I dare you all to come to any major city in the United States and go to the sketchy areas and not see poverty. So yeah, I I'm obsessed and Haiti is definitely on my list.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:06:16):
So I'm going to have to echo what you're saying about Cuba, because for the longest I've wanted to go to Cuba for the longest, but coming from Haiti, I kind of knew that it wasn't what was pictured. Right. And so, and I just love, you know, uh, Cuban music. So when I got to go in 2015, it was, I mean, I wasn't really surprised because I had educated myself so much about it and I was just happy to be there, you know? Right. When
Orion Brown (00:06:44):
Did you go in 2015? Cause I was there fall 2015,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:06:47):
Orion Brown (00:06:49):
Oh my gosh. It was right before you. I was there over November, the
Cassandre Guillaume (00:06:52):
There was a Jazz festival. So I'm a big Jazz head. So I went two years in a row. I went to jazz festival 2016 as well.
Orion Brown (00:07:00):
So it's in December every year.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:07:02):
Yes. But now they moved it to January because it was like right before Christmas, a week before Christmas. So they changed it. So now it's in January,
Orion Brown (00:07:10):
We want that used to get your family come on ahead and go on vacation money. That's what that is. And I'm not mad at it. I'm not mad at it. That is awesome. Well, tell me about that. Like tell me, tell me about like, cause there's this, there's this interesting thing that I've noticed. And then my ex-husband was Caribbean he's he's Jamaican and there was like this sort of like, why would I go to any other island? Because my home is dope, which I totally get. That totally makes sense to me. So what was it, what made you go to Cuba and what was it like to experience and like sort of compare and contrast that with your Haitian background?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:07:51):
Well, that's the thing, um, comparing it. I just felt like I was at home. So what you don't know? Well, probably, you know, because you were married to a Caribbean, we all pretty much have the same sort of culture. It's just how, it's, how we interpret it. But I would say Cuba is the closest to Haitian culture. Also there's a large population of Haitians in Cuba and also Cubans, you know, really look up to Haiti because Haiti helped them get independence. So going through the museums or just walking around, you see homages to, uh, Haitian, um, generals that help and anyone that I spoke to, they just really reveled in it in terms of the food. I think because of the lack of, I guess, um, supplies that it's not as spicy as ours, ours is extremely flavorful and very hot, but in terms of rice and beans and, you know, plantains, it's all in the same, but in terms of Cuba, I was just happy to be there because I dreamt about it for so long. Right. So I, I just soaked it in everything and I did everything, you know, so it was just a dream come true, to be honest. And I have to say that it's probably my favorite country out of everywhere that I've, um, visited .
Orion Brown (00:09:08):
And you you've been like 40, so that's pretty impressive. Right. And very, very different places. So tell us like, like, and I, I feel you on the food because I think, especially in the states, we have this idea that anything that is quote unquote, Hispanic or Latino is like, this is spicy and it's really just us liking Mexican food. Let's be honest. I mean, cause it isn't right. And Cuba is one of those islands that didn't, you know, if you go back to the agriculture, they actually didn't grow hot peppers there. So they're like, why would I make that, that hot? Like that's crazy. Y'all are out of control. Um, and so that was a surprise to me. Although I will say that I noticed personally the food got more flavorful outside of Havana. So like when you go into the countryside, it got more flavorful. Um, which to me is just, I think, and this is my hypothesis. It may not be true, but I just think that's like, anytime you go to a place that's very touristy. They tend to like make the food more palatable for more people. Um, but girl, that food was good out in the country though.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:10:13):
It was, I mean, the food was good, but it's just kinda like, you know, I'm Haitian are like spices. I, you know, I understood, but I loved it. I, I, I just relish in the culture and the music. So I I'm a big like jazz fan and definitely a huge Cuban music fan. So that alone in terms of listening to the music live and you know, dancing. So, so that's why it's my favorite because I just felt more at home and I was just welcomed with open arms. Right. And maybe it's because they hadn't seen American tourists as much as all the others. So it, they just really made me feel at home.
Orion Brown (00:10:52):
Did you, did you go with a group or did you go solo?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:10:55):
I went with, well, I think you, you have to go with a group, so, oh yeah.
Orion Brown (00:10:59):
You did the-
Cassandre Guillaume (00:11:00):
Unless you go through Canada. Of course. So I went with a group and we were just a group of 10, a group of 10 small group. And till this day, five of us were still friends. Six years later,
Orion Brown (00:11:13):
You hadn't met each other before you went.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:11:16):
Orion Brown (00:11:16):
So I mean it's, so to some extent it's a solo trip, but you have the benefit of a group that like gives you safety and other things, but it wasn't like you went with like five of your friends. It was like-
Cassandre Guillaume (00:11:26):
No. Okay I was supposed to go with my cousin. And she backed out at the last minute. Okay.
Orion Brown (00:11:30):
They do that mess. They do that mess.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:11:35):
But then when I got there, I was like, oh, but then it just became just one whole family. And I'm so happy. My cousin didn't come actually, because she's just raw raw raw. And I think she would have kind of hindered my bonding with the people.
Orion Brown (00:11:49):
Cassandre Guillaume (00:11:51):
It kind of worked out in the end. Until this day, six years, we're still together. Like we are all friends
Orion Brown (00:11:57):
I love that. And you made a really interesting point because when we go places that are familiar to us with people that are familiar to us in general, the tendency is to want to stick with your people. But when you don't have your people, you stick with the people that you meet. And it's a great opportunity to meet new people, to create new connections with folks that may or may not be anything like you.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:12:23):
And other people were by themselves as well. So it just kind of, we just kind of blended, you know, right after the airport, we had lunch. And then all of a sudden, you know, we told our story and I told her about my cousin. Everybody's like, well, I'm here alone. And then it was-
Orion Brown (00:12:37):
Well I'll be your cousin! I got you! That is Awesome. So where did you guys end up going? Like what do you recall? Your itinerary.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:12:48):
Okay. So are you familiar with Shabi.
Orion Brown (00:12:52):
Cassandre Guillaume (00:12:52):
Okay. So she's, I went through her travel agency, Cultural Island Travel, and she has her partner down there. Patricia, who's an American, but she's been living in Cuba forever. So basically it wasn't a typical tourist tour. It was like, we went to visit somebody that lived there. So love that bus. It was a S you know, it was like this mini bus and Patricia was like the queen of Havana. So she got us in every club and everything else. So she just took us to friends who knew about the country, knew about the city. We did an architectural tour, which was fantastic. Now, remember our nights were already planned with the jazz festival. So it was pretty much get up early in the morning, do as much as you can. And then at night our agenda was already, it was already booked, but I would say the best place was after our architectural tour, Patricia goes, I have a surprise for you. We're like, okay, we're going into this sort of very, um, rundown neighborhood, but you know, it's Cuba. Right? And then we parked in front of this just, you know, house. And she goes, go on in. And we walk in and basically into somebody's house. And it happens to be this house where every Saturday night people come to dance. Okay.
Orion Brown (00:14:12):
I love that. Oh my God. I love that.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:14:16):
You had like all these octogenarians who came there and dance and the history was.
Orion Brown (00:14:23):
Wait so time out for those of y'all who were like, I've never heard this word octogenarian, this is your grandma.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:14:29):
Orion Brown (00:14:30):
Your oldest aunty! 80 year old people out there cutting a rug in the middle of the night. Right?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:14:35):
Cassandre Guillaume (00:14:38):
So back in the day, they were not allowed to listen to American music. So what they used to do is have that these rooms and all these octogenarians were doing like, you know, the hop, you know, the twist, like they did all that sorta like spinning around at like American music. And then of course salsa. And then we all dance with them. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And they were, they were good. They were good. You wouldn't know. Right. So that's the history that people used to have these sort of like hush parties. So she took, and they told us the story about how he used to go to people's house. And they used to listen to rock and roll and dance, the rock and roll.
Orion Brown (00:15:20):
Cause they were cool back in the day. They can't help it, that they got old, they were -
Cassandre Guillaume (00:15:26):
They gave us rum and yo guys I did try it. It doesn't matter.
Orion Brown (00:15:31):
And some of them now, we all had that moment where we like you kind of old , but you could have it if you really -
Cassandre Guillaume (00:15:38):
Especially if they're spinning you right.
Orion Brown (00:15:40):
Oh my gosh.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:15:42):
So that to us was like the greatest part of the trip. And then we go back to our hotel, we're going to the jazz festival. And then all of a sudden who comes out during one of the jazz numbers, these octogenarians came on the stage and started dancing for this Cuban. And we're like, those are the people we dance with. We're like, oh, and that's what Patricia hooked us up. And then people next to us goes, what are you doing? Oh, we went to this house and they were like, what kind of tour are you on because we are on adouble Decker, you know? And I was, was more intimate and Patricia hooked us up. So they were like, oh, well we did was this that? And I'm like, Yeah, yeah.
Orion Brown (00:16:26):
Y'all didn't have the real real, oh my gosh. I love that.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:16:31):
I would say that was my favorite because you just felt at home and they didn't have that much, but they gave you what they had, you know? So -
Orion Brown (00:16:39):
Cassandre Guillaume (00:16:42):
Orion Brown (00:16:44):
About to cut it up. Ah, I love that.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:16:47):
Orion Brown (00:16:48):
And see, that's the thing where you, you obviously tell people, especially if they don't travel a lot, go with your gut. If you have a funny feeling about stuff, it's okay to just be like, no, but if you feel comfortable, like when people take people, like you want to go on an adventure, like you want to try something cool. Like, and there is a, again, it goes back to, there is some strength in numbers there, right. So if you're like alone, alone, and you're like, I really don't know if Imma come back home. Like, it may be the best night of my life and maybe the worst. That's different. But like to have some other people around you, because you never know, you never know. Cause you were Australian into somebody's house, in a state. You're not going to Queens being like, I hear some music. I don't know these people, but I'm going to show up in their house. I don't know. I mean, you know, maybe if it's a friend of a friend, you know, who lived there, but not someplace, you never been.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:17:38):
And, and, and Also we there's this joke, like all Haitians know each other. So maybe it's a Haitian household. We know somebody who knows that person -
Orion Brown (00:17:44):
Right there's like math behind that.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:17:51):
Not on the regular.
Orion Brown (00:17:52):
Oh my gosh. That, so that is so dope. I did not have that experience in Cuba, but we had an amazing time, but I had a similar experience in Barcelona, which I was just like, I didn't really like the city. I'm not going to lie. I'm sorry. Y'all I didn't think people were as friendly as I would I have -
Cassandre Guillaume (00:18:11):
I have to agree with you. It wasn't. Yeah. It wasn't my favorite. Um, cause you just felt, you know, it was crowded and also they were alive at the time I went, there was a lot of like pickpockets and everything. So,
Orion Brown (00:18:22):
So yeah. It's just like, don't put nothing in your pocket. Y'all put it in your bra up under your titty. I hate to use the term, but it needs to go under the titty. Cause otherwise they will take it. It's like, but so I did, but I didn't find people to be too friendly there. Although like the architecture and stuff was beautiful and I still recommend if you've never been go. However, I went once and this was when I was in corporate and we were filming, um, a TV ad. And so our director and our producer for the TV ad took us out like locals, which is a very different thing. So to me, it's sort of like LA LA, I love LA it's beautiful of Santa Monica, love the water, all of that stuff. However, people are a little bit clique-ish. So it was hard to kind of like interact with people and just be, you know, whatever. So, but if you're in the group, you're in the group and we had one of those nights where like I was on a motorcycle at some point, I was like, you know, you go like, I'm never going to forget that trip. It wasn't even vacation y'all it was work. It was work. And it was like, it was crazy. But we went to a building that was like, I want to say maybe like a six flat or not a six flat, a three flat with like two, uh, two sides of six units and oldest older size building. And they have these in New York, like, you know, brownstone, gray stone type building. They have them in Chicago and we go in and we're like, what the hell are we doing here?
Orion Brown (00:19:49):
We thought we were going to the club and this lady should shooses us. And there's like a little, uh, look, I want to say, you know, they got the pew pew with the altar at church. Like the little things that they move out, it was like one of those. But it was, uh, you know, for the entrance of like a restaurant. And I can't think of the right word, so whatever, but she's like, she may be quiet and she walks us upstairs. We get up to the second floor. We are legit in a regular residential building, but they have taken an apartment and they have like soundproofed it. So you have to be quiet in the hallway cause everybody can hear you, but then nobody can hear. And instead of it being like, you know, it's a long, older building for those of you who live in cities that have like older buildings, oftentimes these brick buildings are long. Right. And you get in, in the apartment as long as it's not square. It's like goes back.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:20:34):
Orion Brown (00:20:34):
Yeah, yeah. Like that. So it was like bar along the short wall, like a full bar with like a mirror and the, all the drinks and stuff. And somebody back there working it. And then the room had like tables, like this long sort of like living room slash sunroom area had multiple tables, like, you know, big wooden tables. And when I tell you they had a stage and it was about, it was just big enough for your feet to fit on. And they had this Black chick was up singing, jazz, which I was like, she gotta be from France because all the cool Black chicks in Europe are from France and from other places via France, like the ones that seemed like all the jazz singers are French. I don't know why, but it's true. You don't hear the accent until they're like [inadubile], and you're like what? What did she just say? They'll be doing their Billie holiday and all of that. Um, but to your point, it was a secret like sort of speakeasy restaurant bar kind of thing. We ate, we drank, we listened to music and then Javier Bardem, the actor rolls in because he was at some type of award show. He didn't have his wife with him. So he came by himself and there was like a band or like a guy that was like a very well-known pop singer in Spain. But I didn't know who he was, but he was like very well known. So the two of them came in and they decided to have a jam session at like 2:00 AM in this random apartment in Barcelona. That's like, like soundproofed. It has a whole bar in it. It was so bizarre. I wouldn't have gone unless I trusted the people I was with because it's like, you go, okay, we're going to go out to dinner and then we're going to have some drinks. And then all of a sudden they're walking you into an apartment building. You're like, I seen this movie. It was on my time. I'm not going out like that.
Orion Brown (00:22:29):
But I will say, I'm not gonna lie in both places in both Cuba and in, uh, Barcelona, I was with a mixed group. Right. And so there is a little something about having some white friends with you. I'm not going to lie. And that could just be my US hang up. It may not actually be a thing outside of here, but it was just sort of like, okay, we get in trouble. Y'all are gonna cry and complain. Like be like Nancy, get them tears out girl. Cause I ain't going down like this. Um, but yeah, it's I love those types of experiences. Yes. Pastor Donna said it's white privilege, but you know what? Sometimes that privilege comes in handy. If they're allies,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:23:11):
Listen, I always do. So w I was going to say, so during the pandemic, right. I wasn't, I haven't been able to travel and people know me. They're like every three months, I'm somewhere.
Orion Brown (00:23:22):
Right, right, You okay girl?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:23:23):
I am itching now. So, um, I think that's one of the hardest things for me because, you know, like I said, I worked for core corporate America, so my trips, you know, to visit friends all over, you know, I've been to 40 countries and I have like a lot of friends, so all I need is a plane ticket, you know, in essence. So that was one of the hardest things just being, you know, stuck here, you know? So, um, yeah. So, uh, I have to say I'm kind of like itching now, so I'm trying to plan a trip for September, but of course all these things are, you know, it's depending on what's going on with the Delta, um, yeah. The deck, the Delta strain. So a friend of mine rented an Airbnb in Portugal for two months. He's a writer. So he's like inviting us to go. So I want to do like Portugal and of course Zurich, because I used to live in Zurich. So.
Orion Brown (00:24:19):
Cassandre Guillaume (00:24:20):
But you know, depends. So not sure,
Orion Brown (00:24:25):
But that's, that's an awesome segue. Cause I was gonna ask you, like, you know, having been pinned up for so long, what are the places that you are itching to go? And like-
Cassandre Guillaume (00:24:35):
Nowhere in the United States.
Orion Brown (00:24:36):
She said I'm out.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:24:38):
I am no, the funny, I'm very funny. Like I don't feel like going around the United States is a trip for me, for me, it's always been overseas or in a different country. So I haven't really gone anywhere. I've done like trips to like upstate, you know, going, you know, just, you know, to people's lake houses. But to me, those are not trips. Right.
Orion Brown (00:25:01):
Girl you need to go down south, it's a whole different country. And I say that because my family told me that and I'm like, I'm afraid a little.
Orion Brown (00:25:10):
No well, so, okay. So, so there's, there's the negative connotation. It's a different country, but then there's also just amazing places and, and culture. Um, you know, that is along the Carolinas. That's along, you know, in, in, I mean New Orleans in and of itself. Beautiful thing. Um, but yeah, I mean, it's, it's funny to meet. So I live in Colorado, I'm in Denver right now and I got desperate cause I was like, I need to go somewhere. I need to do something. And I'm like, well, at least there's mountains right here. And then I was like, oh, I don't really feel like going to the mountains. And I found like I decided to go further south and we have the nation's largest, actually the continent's largest sand dune here.
Orion Brown (00:25:54):
And so you're looking one direction and it looks like the Sahara, you look in the next direction and it's mountains and it's like crazy. Right. And so it's, it's interesting to me, like, I've been a few places around the country and like, you go to places like Seattle and you see Mount Rainier and it's like, oh wow. Like this is like Mount Fuji. Right. It's not Fuji's cousin. Cause they probably were, they were probably kissing cousins back in Mesopotamia time. Um, and so there's some, there's definitely some interesting things, but I feel you on that. Like the mentality of, yeah, I've got this country, but it's my backyard. I really want to see something different.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:26:33):
Exactly. You know? So I'm always planning big trips. So right before the pandemic, I had a trip to Australia cause I had friends down there, but of course the fires happened. Right, right before the pandemic, the fires happened and my friends are like, yeah, don't come down. We want you to have a good time. And I'm like, okay, that's fine. And then I took a short trip to South Carolina. That's a visit friends and to do the Charleston jazz festival, um, with my Cuba family. So we all met for the jazz festival cause one of us lives down there. So he, you know, he housed all of us and everything. And then I said, you know, let me take a quick trip to Zurich, right. To visit my goddaughter. I'll leave on a Thursday, come back on a Monday, found seriously a flight like $500 because it's off season. So like march is, like all season $500. And then sure enough, the pandemic happened
Orion Brown (00:27:32):
And you have the benefit of being in New York. I lived in New York for awhile and you can just like decide to go to Europe and it's faster than a flight to like LA because it's like right there.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:27:44):
Well, I mean mean it is longer. But it's just more exciting.
Orion Brown (00:27:49):
So when I was there, I think, so I went to Ireland from New York and oh. And I also went to Spain from New York and it just seemed like it was such a quick trip. Like Ireland, I think was maybe six hours, um, which was pretty tantamount to an LA flight. Uh, and then Spain was just like, uh, you know, stop over and Heathrow and then, and then be in Spain. So I was like, this is not bad. Whereas you know, if you're going from like, like LA to Tokyo is 11 hours. That's nothing. That's horrible.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:28:21):
But from New York to Tokyo.
Orion Brown (00:28:24):
Speaker 2 (00:28:28):
What's been your longest flight. Like what's been the place that you had to go the furthest in the air.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:28:34):
I would say Beijing. Ooh, yeah. Beijing or, um, Uganda. Right? So yeah, Uganda, I have a friend down there, so people are like, you're going to Uganda. I'm like, I have friends, I have a friend down there. Um, who's part Norwegian and part Uganda. And he was raised in, in Norway. However, he came back home to, uh, I guess that have a hospital. Right. He was creating a hospital and for years they were saying, when are you coming? When you come? I'm like, I'm coming in. And finally I think in 2018, he's like, I'm sending you a ticket. It was the best trip, one of the best trip because it's somebody who's there, you know, like somebody who's taking you all around and it was great. It was absolutely great. His family was good and yeah. And I've been wanting to go back ever since. It's great.
Orion Brown (00:29:28):
It's so awesome. What's, what's dope about Uganda. Because again, this, I feel like this is one of those places that people, at least in the states, it's like there's little children with flies that were just giving them protein oatmael to make them live. And they have little bellies and we feel sad for them. Tell us about what's dope about Uganda.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:29:47):
I think, um, especially at the, in the Capitol, it's just like any other tourist place. And in fact there were a lot of white folks down there and what I, and what my friend told me, it's because there's a lot of European countries who have like medical programs. So they send their doctors here, but it's, there's a nightlife, there's restaurants. I'm in the, in the Capitol. However, when you go out beaches, beautiful beaches, beautiful people. Um, yeah. I mean it is a third world country. Um, however, I would say it's more than it's more developed than Haiti, right. I think it's because you know, the Chinese are down there and they get all the road contract or the Chinese, or they own half of Uganda
Orion Brown (00:30:35):
Oh half of the continent. Let's be honest.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:30:37):
Half of the continent. So they, the roads are better. Um, a lot of things had been, you can tell they've invested in the country. However, yes there is poverty. Once you leave, once you leave the, the main city, the capital, and we went through the route, it is, you know, it is kinda sad, but it's for me, I come from Haiti. So it's not, it wouldn't be, it wasn't a shock to me, but maybe to others, it was, but I guess the best place was the food. The food was great. I was -
Orion Brown (00:31:07):
Was it familiar or was it like really different, but really good?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:31:13):
I think it was familiar. Just a lot of starch. Oh. So ho
Orion Brown (00:31:18):
I ain't mad at the carbs. I ain't, I ain't gonna lie. You have
Cassandre Guillaume (00:31:21):
I mean youo have rice plantations, potato, yuca like, no, it's all in one plate. Like, and then the fish, you know, so it was just a lot of food, um, for no money, like nothing. So it's a, it's a place where you, your money stretches very, very far.
Orion Brown (00:31:40):
And what kind of place did you say?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:31:42):
What kind of food?
Orion Brown (00:31:43):
Like what kind of place did you stay in?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:31:45):
Oh, I stayed at my friend's place.
Orion Brown (00:31:48):
Okay. So tell us about your first place. What's your friend place? Like? I mean, he, he, a doctor in Uganda,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:31:55):
He has an apartment. And the thing is he's been living there for so long. He knew everybody. So we went to like clubs, but you see this a lot of like, um, UN people down there. Um, a lot of white folks now. Yeah. I have to say a lot of white and they love it down there as you can imagine. Um, and yeah, I mean, just like any other place, right. They take advantage of the locals. Right. So you always see like these like older, white men going for these younger Ugandan, um, young ladies and it's a little uncomfortable.
Orion Brown (00:32:30):
But I mean, if the girls got game know, I never take away any woman's agency. Um, but that being said, you also don't want to see a situation where people are subjugated into behaviors that they wouldn't, you know, normally
Cassandre Guillaume (00:32:45):
We went, you know, salsa, dancing. We went to see my bands. It is, it is, it was fantastic. It was absolutely fantastic. And it's so funny. Like my friend who's Norwegian he met some Norwegian people and then, so we started hanging out with them. But a lot of UN people, a lot of, uh, missions, like, uh, medical missions, they send like doctors, uh, to get their residency and specialization. So you saw all types, you know? Wow.
Orion Brown (00:33:12):
So, I mean, it sounds like while somewhat colonized to be fair, it's also a melting pot, right. Because it's not just the, the traditional sense of, okay, so these are Europeans, like white Europeans coming down and like colonizing this space. You've got Asians, you've got basically professionals from all of these countries.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:33:32):
There's a large Indian population. Of course. Um, they came while they were there before. And um, and a lot of them had to leave, you know, with ed, I mean kind of kicking all the Indians out, but a lot of them came back or allowed them to stay because they didn't want to give up their, their property. So there are a lot of, there are a lot of Indians down there
Orion Brown (00:33:53):
And that's, that sounds like a pretty like culturally diverse and interesting city, like, you know, or, or country to go to.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:34:02):
It is. I loved it there. But again, I had somebody who knew everything. Right. So, you know, and, and yes, I was on one of those little like mopeds, because he was like, we can take the car, but traffic was traffic. No. Right. I was dying all the time. I just kept my eyes closed. It was like crazy.
Orion Brown (00:34:26):
That's me, that's me in the Caribbean. Like, I will take a Benadryl and let somebody else drive. So I don't have to even be aware of what we've gone through.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:34:35):
You're not on those motorcycles right. You're not on that. Those, those -
Orion Brown (00:34:37):
no, no, no. I'm telling you in a car, I'm talking in a car.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:34:40):
Oh no car is fine, but when you have on these little, you know, scooters.
Orion Brown (00:34:43):
No cause I like my legs too much in my arms and I'm floppy. I don't want to...They drive too fast, in too small spaces.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:34:50):
And Imagine I'm very tall. So I'm trying to be compact you know.
Orion Brown (00:34:55):
You gotta be as small as you can. Oh my God.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:34:59):
I'm telling you, I close my eyes. Sometimes. I'm like, we're going to the car? I don't care about traffic. Like I need to be at peace.
Orion Brown (00:35:08):
So, so this brings me to what is the local alcohol and how much of that? Can you drink and be a passenger on somebody's motorcycle?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:35:17):
I, in fact I have some of the local alcohol. I have alcohol from everywhere. Um, it's strong. I couldn't take it straight. I had to always like, um, liquid, uh, you know, made it a little weaker with like tonic water or seltzer, but most Ugandans just throw, throw it back. Carson muffin.
Orion Brown (00:35:38):
So is it, so is it, um, like a white liquor, like a Vodka? Is it more of a rum?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:35:43):
Uh, white liquor. I wouldn't say it's a rum because it's not sweet. So I would definitely say it's kind of like, uh, a gin,
Orion Brown (00:35:52):
Oh yeah. So you've got like some herbs and some, okay. Yeah. I like the gin. I mean some Negroni's. Yeah.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:36:00):
That's why I would put it with tonic, but they just, they just, just put ice and they're good.
Orion Brown (00:36:06):
They just through it back. Oh my lord.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:36:09):
We went clubbing as well. It was just great. You know?
Orion Brown (00:36:13):
So what's the music scene like?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:36:14):
Um, they love a lot of Caribbean music, a lot of gray gay, for sure. Raegeton was huge. Um,
Orion Brown (00:36:25):
I mean, it makes you move.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:36:28):
Yeah and then like you know typical Uganda music, which I learned to love, you know, I went to see a live, one of the most famous bands, like live and they were fantastic. They were great, you know, and I looked them up there on iTunes and it just, it's, it's funny how all the cultures it's like Haitian music, but a little bit more upbeat. So, and you don't even need to understand the language. It's just, you're in, you know, you're, you're in yes.
Orion Brown (00:36:56):
One of my now new secrets to focusing while I'm doing business stuff or like when I need to read and like, cause I'm the first person to fall asleep. Like if I listen to podcasts, I'll fall asleep. It's just too relaxing. I can't,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:37:10):
I listen to podcasts while I'm working.
Orion Brown (00:37:13):
Yeah. Well even that, like, it makes me, I don't know, unless it's like, work-related, it just makes it, I'm like, oh, they're there. It's like listening to NPR. You know, they all kind of whispered to a little bit, but in any case, then when I turned on music, I like then I'm sitting there and I'm singing and I'm dancing with it and I'm not getting anything done. So what I've done is switched to K-pop because I can't understand the words, but the beats are on point. I had no idea. Y'all didn't nobody tell me how dope K-pop is. I'm like a 15 year old girl now. I ain't mad at it. Look, uh, between K-pop and I think I was on a flight to S uh, I want to say it was maybe Kenya where I like got exposed to all the Twilight movies. Cause they were like free and it was a really long flight. I'm like, you know what, maybe I am a 16 year old girl. I'm almost 40, but uh, I'm here for it.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:38:12):
They love, I mean, it's just all the rage now. I see it. And I'm just like, oh, okay. That's like hip hop, but you know,
Orion Brown (00:38:19):
Yeah, no it's, I would say to me it was like top forties, hip hop from like the late nineties and early two thousands and these dudes, but they make, you know, like stuff in it and it's not all the same. Like if you listen to like, I have Tidal cause you know, vote for everybody Black and for everybody Black, I know they sold it, but still, you know, we need to make sure we still, um, but it's one of those things that I was listening to it and it was like, it had the beats, it had the rhythm and I was like, you know what, y'all pull it off and y'all appreciate the culture. So, uh,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:38:55):
Do they appreciate it or just, you know?
Orion Brown (00:38:58):
Well...So, so it's interesting. And we could get into that too. Cause I think it's
Cassandre Guillaume (00:39:02):
It's not organic, right. They, they, they, the producers know what kind of, what hits they've done this, you know,
Orion Brown (00:39:09):
It's not organic here though. Either. Like, let's be, it's not organic anywhere. Like I used to, I will say I used to hate on Brittany Spears, but I used to be like that girl, can't say until I actually heard her, like, it was a video of her like at 11 years old singing in church. And I was like, they took that and turned it into this. So that's where I also take it with a grain of salt, but I'm like, it does take, you know, I mean they, they, they got some skills, they got the little dance moves down and I was like, you know, y'all out here doing your thing. But um, but I D I guess the, the really obscure obfuscated point though I was making was like, music can be really universal. And it's like, people like, oh, I don't understand what they're saying. Just enjoy it. All you need is the beats, the beats, whether it's slow, whether it's fast I've I've had, I was in Croatia, in Dubrovnik at an Irish pub where a guy was like playing acoustic guitar and it was so good. It was so good. And so random.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:40:15):
So were a lot of your travels for work, like you would happen to be there?
Orion Brown (00:40:19):
No that was getting the hell away from work. Croatia was getting the hell away from work. Um, I think I've only taken two or three international trips for work. Um, and everything else has been me trying to get the heck up out of the country and see the world as a national. I was in nat geo kid.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:40:38):
You went to Croatia by yourself?
Orion Brown (00:40:39):
No, I went with my friend from work.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:40:41):
Orion Brown (00:40:41):
It was the two of us and it was, you know, it was one of those things. Most of my trips have been with like one other person. Um, I've done a couple by myself or like semi by myself. Like for instance, my friend got married in the Philippines. And so I took the trip out there, but like solo and I didn't know anybody, so her and her husband, but, um, I stopped over in South Korea and like visited friends from business school. You know, I wish I need to go back because it was so dope and I was only there for a short amount of time, but, um, yeah.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:41:15):
Vietnam is on like for me, it's Vietnam.
Orion Brown (00:41:18):
I want to go and I heard, but this is why I'm doing keto. Now I'm over here with my light wine spritzer because they make suits and stuff for you. And I really want like a bad boss, bih suite, because the whole thing is, is they like, basically like the fashion district in New York, but they're doing custom stuff and it's super, super cheap. So like very cheap. Oh my gosh.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:41:43):
In Thailand. And they turn it around quick,
Orion Brown (00:41:47):
They measure you one day and you, and you got a custom suit. So I want to do Vietnam. I want to do Thailand. I want to do Cambodia because I just liked the food. At least I liked their food in the states. I don't know if I like Cambodia food in Cambodia, but yeah.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:42:00):
Yeah. But no, you're right. Like those countries, I mean, when I went to Thailand, I came off with a couple of suits, I mean, one day and they got it so exact. So by the time I went to pick it up, they only had to do a couple of things. That's how they just know already, you know, like how to put it together. So I do agree like Vietnam from what I hear. So that's definitely on my list.
Orion Brown (00:42:22):
And it's beautiful.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:42:23):
Orion Brown (00:42:24):
And, and, and I love going to places and tell me if you got any of this from Cuba, but like, I like going to places that have American history there. Right. Cause, cause I know what I've been told. And then I kinda like getting the Barbara Walters 20, 20 special on it when I get there, I'm like, so what really happened? You know? And
Cassandre Guillaume (00:42:43):
I wouldn't say so much with Cuba because Cuba, I was a little bit more aware because Haiti and Cuba are so close and they have history. So I understood how it really was as opposed. But now Vietnam, the reason why I want to go is because of the Vietnam war and everything that had transpired. So I was reading these books and I'm like, like you said, the history I want to see, we know where all of this happened and you know, it's just, I think it's something very important for us to at least see history. And I think if we go to Vietnam, we could just see what had transpired. There's still people down there that will tell you how it was. Um,
Orion Brown (00:43:25):
It wasn't that long ago. Like it's a generation maybe back. So there's, the memory is still there. It's like going to South Africa where you're like, oh, you were a whole adult when this was going down and I'm having a conversation with you. And you're not so much older than me that I feel like, you know, oh, that was a long time ago. It's like, oh,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:43:46):
South Africa. So close. Like when I was, it was too much for me. Like, it was just very, very emotional because it was, it's just so close. You know, you talk to people and they will tell you exactly. You know? So I went because my cousin married a South African and she had her wedding down there.
Orion Brown (00:44:06):
Isn't it gorgeous?
Cassandre Guillaume (00:44:07):
It is phenomenal, phenomenal. So now her parents, um, her, her in-laws that is, um, let's still live down there. She's now here. But they, when they come to New York, they stay here and they're like, I have a place now in South Africa, but they will tell, they tell stories about how things were, you know? And, um, it's, it's hard. It's hard, you know, because, uh, it was, it's just so close, you know? Yeah.
Orion Brown (00:44:39):
And, but I think that's also fascinating too. And like even going to countries where, where race isn't necessarily the, the nexus of whatever the cultural friction was, um, can be, it's just fascinating to, to see things that are, I guess, considered historical. I mean, we look at like, the Bosnian and Herzegovina wars in the nineties. Right. And look, cranberries y'all can make fun of my sense of music, but I love cranberries Delores reordered in like, you know, rest in peace helped Jesus got you in his arms. Um, they, all they did was like holler and cry about Bosnia and all these things going on. And then you go and drive into Bosnia and you go to places like Mostar where one side of the city, it's a city that's split by a river and a bridge. And one side of the city was Christian. And one side of the city was Muslim and they were blowing each other to smithereens 25 years ago, which wasn't that long ago. And it's crazy to go into a place and see it heal after that, to see people like crazy it's little things like you're, you're shopping that everybody has like little shops, right? Like, you know, there's no matter where you go, there's going to be somebody on the street selling you some little chotsky there's, you know, we're not made in China, not to be funny because it was made out of the shells and I'm talking, I've never seen like military ammunitions, like munition cells that are like the size of a shoe box, right. Like tall and then little tiny ones. And they've taken them and they've like etched art into them and they're gorgeous. Girl I would have bought them. But I was like, I ain't trying to mess with TSA like that. They already get mad. All the toenail Clippers. I'm not really trying to be that, but it's beautiful to see the art, the beauty that comes out of the pain that rises out of the Ash of whatever that
Cassandre Guillaume (00:46:32):
I have a Serbian friend, um, and she promised to take me, the funny thing is I have a Serbian I have a Croatian friend. Um, they both live in, in, in, in Switzerland, in Zurich. They actually left because of the war. Right. So they were refugees coming into Switzerland and you know, they were raised there. And it's so funny how that generation there's no issues, but when you talk to their parents, oh, oh, it's, you know, there's still some deep seated, you know, issues there. Right. You know, so.
Orion Brown (00:47:10):
And the funny thing is, is not, this is where it begins. It gets a little interesting for me as, um, as, uh, you know, Midwestern, you know, American that grew up with very generic history lessons, right. Because it's like, you know, especially in the states, very like white people are white, black people are black and they've erased culture from both sides, which I don't think we talk about a lot, but culture has really been erased from both sides. Because if you look at places like, you know, the Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, all these and these places that were formally a part of the Ottoman empire and all of that, these were groups, ethnic groups of people. And it's like, there's a reason why the grandparents are still mad. Not because somebody's white or black, but because they had very different, I mean, ethnicity actually is a thing in Europe. It has a real, real thing, which is really cause you'll put your all in the same country. Yeah. But it's like being Southern and being like calling northerners Yankees. Right. There's that animosity is going to be there. It doesn't matter where it came from. It comes from that cultural separation, which I think just makes for great food.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:48:19):
South Africa, there's like white, there's black and then there's color. Right? Yeah. So you are categorized as black is if you belong to a tribe. So I was called colored because I don't belong to a tribe I'm American. So on, so forth. Right. We would be co but if you're a part of a tribe, that's when they consider you black. Yeah. You know, and it was funny because my cousins hasn't came here. We had a football and he was, he said, colored the whole, you know, have like a record scratch.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:48:57):
Yeah. But he said it with a U though. So it's okay. Right. And one of my friends go, my man, my man, I know you're new here.
Orion Brown (00:49:05):
We don't say that here,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:49:06):
But now her knows. He knows, but it was so funny, but I had to learn about it because he actually is, would be considered colored like a Mike, because he's, he's like Indian, but like one of the, like for natives, like in the native, like, you know how we have native Americans, native Americans there, so there's native south Africans. So his dad is always saying the blacks, the blacks, the blacks. And I'm like, and I had to readjust when he says the blacks is like, no.
Orion Brown (00:49:38):
There is so much xenophobia down there. And it has to do like, it's like, uh, you know, open, you came over from Zambia, you're black and it's because they don't use it in the same vernacular that we do. Yeah.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:49:51):
Exactly so everytime he's talking and I'm like, not okay. But I usually, like I got, now I got it. I think
Orion Brown (00:49:59):
John said he lived in Germany and the Polish were the butt of all the jokes. Like Mexicans, honestly, I'm from Chicago. The Polish were all the butt of the jokes in Chicago too.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:50:08):
At one point in New York as well. It's true.
Orion Brown (00:50:13):
And, and it's interesting, like, I guess if you, I hate to say if you've been around long enough, but I remember the eighties, I remember the eighties. Well, and it was Irish and Polish were not necessarily white, but they didn't everybody else. So it was a very interesting Chicago historically is a very segregated city. So it's not like New York where people like, kind of like people did not mix until I would say nineties.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:50:40):
Are you, were you raised in Chicago?
Orion Brown (00:50:42):
Cassandre Guillaume (00:50:43):
Orion Brown (00:50:44):
Yeah. And so, so to me, I have very distinct memories about the Polish areas and how other people, not just the black people, but other people, other ethnicities were not like welcome in those areas. And it wasn't just Polish people don't get me wrong. I'm not dogging on Polish people, but that was like the temperature of Chicago. It was like, this is the Polish part. This is the Jewish part. That's the Black part. That's the Mexican part. This is the, you know, whatever Andersonville with all the Norwegian people, which I don't think the Norwegian people were beating anybody up. I don't really know. I never hung out there until I was an adult. And then I was up there getting pancake cooking all the time because, oh my God, they will F up a pancake and the best way I tell you what.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:51:30):
Food is very important to you.
Orion Brown (00:51:32):
Look every, every place I associated with the food. But yeah. So it's interesting to me, this concept of, of ethnicity. And I think it's really beautiful, again, for people of color, particularly in the states to get out to places that have ethnic roots.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:51:47):
Yeah. I think that's one of the things when you said going down south. So now, because I can't, I don't know if I can fly out. I was talking to a couple of people who are from down south, like Montgomery, Alabama, Mississippi. I I'm mentoring some, some kids. And I'm like, they tell me how sometimes some towns are stuck in the, in the past. Right? Like what they grew up with. And for me, I, you know, I'm, I'm Haitian. So I don't know a lot about, like I had to learn African-American, you know, culture as an adult because you don't have school. They're not going to teach you anything. Right. So for me, you know, just learning about slavery, slavery, and how some people are able to trace back their, you know, their roots. So when I was in Charleston, I met somebody who was like, oh yeah, I can tell you exactly who my great-grandfather was to me. I think that's fascinating. You know? And so I think, like you said, you know that there is ethnicity because I do feel like the south there's something different about it. Right. And I'm just curious, because I don't know that, I guess, because I'm a Northeasterner right. And also I'm kind of afraid of the south because I hear, you know, Confederate flags were flying everywhere.
Orion Brown (00:53:04):
I have my moments. I definitely have my moments. And it's, it's, it's an interesting thing because you almost have to be, you have to, it's just like going to a foreign country. You have to kind of be with somebody that lives down there to know what's where and what is, okay. I mean, we have a history of like green book and all of that stuff, but that being said, like, there's some really dope places. There are definitely some places like you walk in the diner and you're like, I walked into the wrong diner. I'm just going to grab a pie cause I'm hungry and I'm out.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:53:34):
That's the thing that's kind of scares me a little bit, you know, because just from what, uh, the mentees that I have, they're like, no, like it's pretty bad, like how they had to grow up, you know, being called, you know, easily, easily. Like it was like, you know, so.
Orion Brown (00:53:55):
And New York is a very different place, like I could, I moved from Chicago after college, after I graduated from college, two weeks later, I was out, I was on the east coast. I stayed in Baltimore, lived in Delaware. And then I lived in New York for a bit. And it was like a breath of fresh air to be in a place that wasn't segregated. Like I could go to the grocery store and not tell what kind of neighborhood I was in because everybody was there. Like I was like, I, I couldn't tell the ethnicity of the neighborhood surrounding it. And to me, that was really nice. And then I came back, came back west and I was like, oh my God, this is so oppressive. Um, and even here in Colorado, it's a very interesting space to be in. But it's, it's funny because somewhere in between, I found this audacity to be in spaces that people don't necessarily want me in, or I'm not supposed to be in.
Orion Brown (00:54:50):
And I found joy in those spaces and I found the beauty of the place. And there's still, there's still good people everywhere like, um, and so there's something kind of nice about finding those. I hate to put them as diamonds in the rough. I am not trying to put myself in harm's way, but there's definitely some really interesting places even going, you know, so Maryland south of the Mason Dixon or along the east coast, I lived in Wilmington, Delaware. I would go to, uh, Elton, Maryland to go to Walmart because it was a 24 hour mark Walmart. And it was like 20 minutes from my house or whatever. Until I found out it was like one of the largest Klu Klux Klan areas in Maryland. I had no idea. I knew people were looking at me crazy, but I was also at Walmart at like two in the morning. So I was like, I get it.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:55:36):
But that's even worse, you're out there by yourself.
Orion Brown (00:55:39):
And I was like, I mean, after I figured that out, I was like, okay, I should probably go do her like normal business hours or go to like a regular Walmart.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:55:46):
Did you see any though?
Orion Brown (00:55:49):
No, I mean to me, so I was used to being in a space of being stared at and suspect like anytime I went into stores, so it felt a little different than other places I have been in, in that area. But didn't feel no different than the middle west to me, like at all. And I'm bright. I'm like, you would think not to be funny, but I'm like, you know, people be like, well, you got this, you got that privilege. And I'm like, I get, I, I agree. I do agree, but let's be really clear when I go into any room. People know I'm not one of them of like, whether I'm more respectable, that's a different thing. And I completely get it. And, and my life is not threatened nearly as much as darker skinned people. I totally get that. I, I agree, but they'd be funky if they want to test you. And so you do get those, like somebody will stop and stare and I roll you the whole way down the aisle and all that. I was just left in the Midwest and I didn't realize that was completely out of sorts for the east coast. And then they were like, oh, you know, it's like a Klan thing. And I was like, oh, Okay. This makes sense to me now. Yeah.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:57:02):
Yeah. So that's the only thing. If I can't, um, fly out, I may do like a Southern, I don't know. I have to work up the nerve,
Orion Brown (00:57:13):
You know, but there's always some good places. And it's just like, when you're going to a country that you don't know, right. Like you said, you're, I'm in Cuba. They took us to the sketchy neighborhood. But since I was with somebody who knew where we were going, it's the same idea. It's the same idea I love. Um, like I said, I love Louisiana. I love parts of Mississippi. Um, I've never gotten used to Alabama yet. I just haven't, it's just shot. It's not my thing. I don't know. There's a lot of ranch houses and I'm just like, can, y'all put some stairs in here. Just, just a little bit of stairs. I just need to get a booty workout just a little bit. Um, but there's some amazing things. One of the things I always wanted to do was kind of go to like the Geechee Gullah areas of Carolinas. I've never done that. And I'm like, again, I'm in it for the food, but like, yes. Yeah.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:58:03):
That's something I'm interested in as well. You know.
Orion Brown (00:58:06):
Donna said I have no desire to go down south. I lived in Mississippi for a little bit and it's a mix. Like I have things that I love. And as a things I don't love, um,
Cassandre Guillaume (00:58:18):
I, I'm going to say I'm nervous about, I mean, I just feel like I have to experience once now I went to science, but I went to Charleston. Right. So Charleston is, is not good. However, we went outside of it and you see the disparity between Charleston, like king street versus everyone else. And I'm just, it's backwards. It's where people live, how people live. And I'm like, okay, it's just, it's so it's, it's disheartening. And you'd like, this is, this is United States. So when people say the United States is the best...okay. We've gpt work to do.
Cassandre Guillaume (00:58:54):
Oh, well, yeah. But we also live in a country that, you know, in so far as people were really upset about the coastal elites and talking about the democratic party and how they weren't wrong. They had some other things. They had other hangups. They had some other hangups that I don't agree with. But um, oh John, you live in Brandon. Okay, cool. I know Jackson very well. And I have family down in Greenville, uh, and in Philadelphia as well, Mississippi, not Philadelphia city. We're not that cool. It's not west Philadelphia. Um, you know, people in Jackson, Jess, there is a spot. Every time I go into Jackson, cause you fly into Jackson, it gets to Philadelphia. There's a spot that I go for fish catfish. Every time I go. And it is always full of white people that just stop and stare. Cause they'll just see, cause he'd just be like me. And like my 90 year old aunt and like my little cousin or somebody and we're like the only Black people that walk in and I'm like, unless you gone touch me, I'm getting this catfish. I'm sorry, we just got to do it. We just got to do it. Um, like I will, I have taken so many life altering risks just for food. I can't even tell you some people like to skydive. I like to eat. I just, I love it. I love it.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:00:13):
I don't know if you'll get it in Denver or Colorado, but Haitian food is the best now, I'm biased,
Orion Brown (01:00:19):
Not here, But it is good. I haven't had a lot of Haitians.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:00:22):
Oh it's. I mean if you've had Dominican food. Um, Puerto Rican food, um, although as is a lot spicier and then there's a little bit, um, there's some recipes as a little bit French influence, but Haitian food is the best. I'm biased though.
Orion Brown (01:00:40):
So I, so I, so because we've been on for an hour and I could talk to you all day. So one, I think we need to like go down south. We should just have a trip down south. And like we should take Wine Down on the road and go down south. Um, she said, y'all eat a lot of pork. I do need a lot of pork. I ain't gonna lie. I do. You know, it's the other white meat. I bless my food before I eat it. It's good. Um, we can put us like, so, so if we were like, okay, this weekend, we're going to see if we have Haitian places in our respective cities. Cause like we got somebody in LA, we got folks in New York. We got folks from all over that that have popped in. What are some of like the must have like Haitian meals? Like, do y'all have your own version of roti? Like or what is it? Or is it more French inspired.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:01:32):
It's more French inspired. So we don't use any curry, roti or any, any of that. I would say portk is number one. So we have this thing called Griog, which is like a pork cubes that we roast in the oven. Um, and
Orion Brown (01:01:48):
Is it like Pork belly?
Cassandre Guillaume (01:01:50):
No, no, no. It's like a pork pork shoulder.
Orion Brown (01:01:54):
Cassandre Guillaume (01:01:56):
But the best thing, which is very rare to find, cause sometimes it's hard to find here in New York is conch. Okay. Now the way we make conch and it like in a particular sauce, conch it like conch is what we do very, very well. And then we have this called a Blackboard. We have rice and beans, right. But we're the only ones that have what we call black rice and black rice. Um, we call it [inaudible] John, John is made up. What they do is you take mushrooms and it gets dried out. It's like leaves like mushrooms become leaves. You soak the leaves into the, into water. You drain the leaves or the water's black. Yeah. You cook the rice with that, the flavor. And then you add shrimp and peas like that. Black everyone at my non-Haitian friends are like you making the black rice.
Orion Brown (01:02:51):
That's basically risotto. Like I'm here for that. I mean just you have a little cream, but like, you know, mushroom risotto is basically,
Cassandre Guillaume (01:03:00):
no, we don't want any mushrooms.
Orion Brown (01:03:01):
It just the mushroom juice.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:03:04):
So the leaves. So somebody, you have to go to a Haitian store to get the leaps and it's literally, and then you just soak it in water. You boil it and you use that water to cook the rice.The flavor...Everyone, every time I have a party, I have to make the black rice. I mean, and some people put shrimp in it, you know, I put shrimp. And also you put peas.
Orion Brown (01:03:29):
Are these like the little green piece, the Gunga peas. I'm thinking the Jamaica. I don't know what the equivalent is in Haiti. The little pigeon peas.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:03:39):
Or you could put lineman beans, but yeah, that the black rice is, is, is it like, so whenever I go to Haiti, I always get the, I always go and get like a mass amount of John, John, the dried mushrooms. Because when you go to a Haitian store, it's like a lot of money. So I come back with a whole, which costs nothing. And I always have, so,
Orion Brown (01:04:00):
Okay. So clearly we need to be friends cause Hey, you cook and to, you know where all the good food is. Um, this has been so much fun. You have to promise me to come back. Cause we had such a great time.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:04:13):
I definitely will. And we definitely, And, and I am very open to that, you know, going down south. So if you are planning to go, I want, I would like to, um, get my nerve up and go because
Orion Brown (01:04:27):
I love it. I love it. And it's, you know, I, if nothing else, I, I channel my inner caucasity and I just show up,
Cassandre Guillaume (01:04:36):
Oh i do that too. I work in corporate America.
Orion Brown (01:04:39):
You know, Yes. You know, I'm sorry. Is there a problem? Okay, thank you. I'll take my drink now. Uh, but then you got to watch people when they bring you your food. I'm not saying people are dirty. I just saying I heard some things. I just don't. I just heard some stories. Um, this has been so much fun.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:04:59):
I want to do it again.
Orion Brown (01:05:00):
Yes, yes. So you and I will connect offline. This has been so dope and the messages have been flying and they talking about food. They talking about peas. They talking about pork. I'm here for all of that. I love all y'all for joining us. I love you girl, for joining us, tell everybody I know you're you're um, you're not, well, actually, I don't know if you're, if you're any of your businesses like on social media, but um, tell us, tell folks where we can find you where we can see your travels when you make it out to Zurich and you're kicking it and stuff like where can we find you on the interwebs?
Cassandre Guillaume (01:05:36):
So all of my travels, I'm still kind of old school is on, is on Facebook. So it's albums, there's albums of my travels, um, all over. So, um, yeah, I can't do the insta. It'sjust too much. There's too much going on.
Orion Brown (01:05:52):
You know, what, if it makes you feel any better? When, when Instagram, when I first got on Instagram, I was not a first adopter. It took me a while to get on. And I started using it because it had the filters and I was taking pictures of food. So for those of y'all who know me in the comments,
Cassandre Guillaume (01:06:07):
It all goes back to food.
Orion Brown (01:06:08):
It all goes back to food. So I had started this little insta called the tasty muse and it was just me taking food, porn pictures. And I thought Instagram was just to use as filters. I did not realize it was public. So people at work. So I was in corporate. They were like, so you had lamb chop, like you made lambchops Tuesday night and you didn't invite me over. And I'm like, what? In the creepy? Um, I just didn't know.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:06:31):
I wasn't going to get on Instagram, but the only thing is I follow people, jazz musicians. That's pretty much it. I'm a jazz head, so I, I just follow people.
Orion Brown (01:06:41):
Okay. So then, then the last question I have for you the last, last I promise, um, where is your favorite, favorite place to go for, for jazz music in the world? Because I know there's jazz festivals, everywhere.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:06:54):
For Sure. New York,
Orion Brown (01:06:57):
Cassandre Guillaume (01:06:57):
New York, before the pandemic, I used to go see like three, three shows a week right now. Um, I would say a lot of people come to New York for blue note. Right. Which is great. And they bring all the big stars, but the jazz standard was the best in terms of like the bigger. And then you had like the sort of speakeasy jazz clubs where it's like literally this small, um, it's called smalls. It's called smalls.
Orion Brown (01:07:26):
It's easy to remember. It's easy to remember.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:07:30):
It's this small. And the jam sessions are the best. So after midnight, like musicians come from their gigs. Right. So they have the gigs at eight and 10:00 PM. They come to the jam sessions to eat, to drink and they just bite. And you're just sitting there and just watching improv to me, that's the best. So like after 11, they all come in and yeah. And it's like free, you know, because if you're there at 1:00 PM, 1:00 AM and everything and they are jamming, like they just, they're still hyped from their previous performance. And they see that buds and they're like, yo, let's do this. And it's just, it's, it's the best. So,
Cassandre Guillaume (01:08:08):
Oh my God, I love that Sandra. I'm going to be hitting you up. I'm building you up one because I used to stay. Well I don't want to say I used to stay in New York, but I would go twice, at least two or three times a year to New York and two or three times to San Francisco. Because there places I love to visit, but they too expensive to live in. Um, but I lived up in white Plains for a while. So I had some space I wasn't too far. But um, yes, this has been so much fun. Oh my gosh, you have blessed us
Cassandre Guillaume (01:08:39):
And I'm happy and I'm happy that we connected and I will do this again.
Orion Brown (01:08:43):
Yes, yes. And we're going down south. So y'all keep us honest. Somebody hit me up in the, in the DMS and be like, did y'all go down south yet? Cause we need to do that .
Cassandre Guillaume (01:08:51):
Um, do whatever, um, social media. Thank You. Thank you girls. Um, but look, Facebook is what I got. That's all.
Orion Brown (01:09:02):
But you're here. You did a live on Instagram. Look at you.
New Speaker (01:09:06):
I know it's my first!
Orion Brown (01:09:07):
You're advanced you're advanced girl. I love it. Thank you so much for coming. Thank you everybody that joined us, hopefully. And I say this every week, but I really, really do hope that this brought some love and some light and some fun that you forgot about at least four things that pissed you off this week. And you just had a moment to kick it and feel like you were kicking it with some friends, wherever you guys are. I wish you the best. I wish you all the blessings. I hope the rest of your week is fire in the best way. It's all downhill from here. Y'all and we rolling into the weekend. So I love you guys for coming. Cassandre, thank you so much for coming. We gonna definitely kick it again too.
Cassandre Guillaume (01:09:42):
Orion Brown (01:09:43):
I love it. Take care, everybody have a great night. Bye!
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