Feb 10, 2013

Dérive Day 2013 – Tales from Kampala, Toronto and Cairo

This post is the first in a series of Dérive Day 2013 posts

The following three reportages of Dérive Day 2013 were kindly compiled by Veronica Yow, who also headed up the organisation of the one-day-marathon urban exploration event, that had 60 users in 23 locations worldwide using Dérive app to explore their urban surroundings in new ways. The following three tales give a bit of insight into what the derives were like for Veronica, Isabel and Dalia.

Dérive #5385312m, 106min, 43 cards

Overall, it was great discovering another side of Kampala which I don’t normally go to and it shows that when you do take the time and throw caution to wind, you’ll never fail to find something that delights you.

Most Striking Observation:
Going places you don’t normally go brings with it many little surprises that you may not have come about. I’ve never seen a busker in Kampala before and just as we were on card #32 – Move South, we came across this amazing musician, strumming his guitar and singing with such ease and comfort; he could be on a road in Kampala or in front of a live studio!

Most Common Observation:
You walk past many buildings each day but most of the time, you never look inside. On this Derive Day, we came across 2 buildings which took us by surprise when we looked a little deeper:
• Pavilion Mall which is really close to City Square and what I would call an unassuming place but when you enter, its beautiful space & layout with plenty of striking African art décor makes it a real haven at the heart of Kampala;
• What seemed like just another office building turned out to have such amazing statues and Egyptian pharaonic wall décor. Really shows what you can creatively do with spaces.
Never judge a book by its cover!
See Dérive #538 on Dérive app

IsabelDérive #5723494m, 206min, 46 cards

Turning left and right onto random little streets caused me to uncover hidden gems- interesting houses, street art for a cause, random encounters with various Torontonians…

I have always known that something which makes Toronto incredibly special is the “cities” within a city it contains- vastly different neighbourhoods with architectural, cultural and social differences. But participating in Derive Day amplified that characteristic of Toronto- with just a short streetcar ride from east to west, I was surrounded by a totally different environment.
Turning left and right onto random little streets caused me to uncover hidden gems- interesting houses, street art for a cause, random encounters with various Torontonians (which unfortunately can’t always be captured in a photo!).
I can see myself using Dérive app on a regular basis- especially as I recently returned to Toronto after spending a number of years abroad. Deriveapp can help you see the city around you with fresh eyes; it can also prompt you to get out of that winter hibernation funk so many of us are going through in the Northern hemisphere.
PS: Where can you find a cat in Toronto? (Unless you peek into someone’s window?!) 🙂
See Dérive #572 on Dérive app / See Isabel’s photos of her dérive on flickr

Most Striking Observation:
Getting a card with the instructions ‘Find silence’ in the middle of Cairo’s crazy streets and having my brother lead me the other way, crossing the street and into a garden area only to discover that it was a local library I never knew existed! Plus it has beautiful conference room spaces and a children’s section that both just made my day!

Most Common Observation:
Seeing these flowers again. I didn’t realize they were in Egypt too. I only used to see these flowers and suck on the ends of it for honey when I was growing up in Saudi Arabia… I later googled it and realize they are called Lantana flowers…