Apr 7, 2012

I want to "Go with Oh" to Paris!

<< crossposted on the "30 Home Games" blog

I had the pleasure of being in Europe for over a year in 2011. I visited a dozen countries but surprisingly never stepped foot in France. I wanted to.
  • I baracked for Les Bleus, the French Basketball side during EuroBasket and planned to see their star players representing local clubs during the NBA lockout. No luck.
  • I'd planned to do a walking tour retracing the trail of one of my favorite movies. Nope.
  • My parents were incredulous that I was going to miss the City of Light "Just go even for a few days!". Sorry mum.
In all honesty, I was saving it for last and as my time and money expired I knew if I was to go it had to be done right. I wanted a month-long experience like the previous Countries, considering my situation I decided I would save it for another time. 'Go with Oh' could give me that chance.

VIDEO: Quai 54 2011 - The Recap

1. Quai 54 (Continuing my mission)
This is the Pièce de résistance for any Basketball enthusiast in France. Quai54 is the International Streetball Championship held in Paris, the tournament enjoyed its grandest year in 2011 having the iconic Eiffel Tower as its backdrop. The event was brought to my attention by a Czech streetballer I befriended in my Kaunas hostel during EuroBasket last year. I walked around the city with said running mate as he achieved his travel ritual of digging for local hiphop. We later found a court where we balled with a Spanish exchange student.

123 klan, graf, french
2. French Hip Hop (Enjoying the Arts)
When I think of France, romance and high fashion aren't the first things that come to mind. For some reason I picture gritty streets and colorful Graffiti, think of the segue used in Pixar's 'Ratatouille'. As a graphic design student I was enamored by French street art through '123Klan'. I had been looking forward to seeing some live French HipHop and was collecting plenty of acts to look out for as I met people around Europe. Names like Sexion D'Assaut, Oxmo Puccino and Booba.


yamakasi, parkour, luc besson, french,3. Parkour (Getting Active)
France is the home of Parkour. I've been to several classes in Sydney along beautiful Pyrmont Point Park. On my first day attempting it, I reconnected with a mate from Design school. Though its been roughly 18 months since I've been to classes, it heartens me to know my friend has remained committed to the sport as I've never had the discipline to stick with something. One of my instructors made the pilgrimage to France and I can only assume my mate might one day do the same.

I did have brushes with Parkour whilst traveling Europe. The CouchSurfer who hosted me in Tallinn was in the early stages of starting Parkour lessons. I was impressed by the fact he had never done Parkour but hoped to bluff his way into leading sessions. I stumbled onto classes at Olympiapark München on the way to BMW museum. Despite the language barrier it was a well attended and fun workout. It was on this day I would have my first basketball experience in Europe, paving the way for my 30 Home Games project.


4. Reconnecting with Running Mates du jour (Mon ami)
Traveling around Europe for the year, you'll inevitably have French running mates. Below are a few I'd love to reconnect with.
Fab was a charming French photographer I spent several days with in Istanbul. I followed him as he did a story on Turkish Oil wrestling, we met cool kids together at Jazz Cafes and Art Openings.
Syra was a journalist for a French Basketball Magazine (Reverse) I met in my Vilnius Hostel. She began as a dedicated blogger covering female ballers working her way up to globetrotting for the game. I appreciated her dedication and hope to one day forge a similar path. I showed her to the local courts so we could compare notes and shoot around.
When I visit France I'd like to hit up the Arts district and cool spots with Fab and hopefully Syra could show me the inner workings of her Magazine.

VIDEO: Before Sunset Trailer

5. Before Sunset (Life as a movie)
Though I've been a little cute with my Paris to-do list so far. I'm not going to shy away from what Paris is best known for - Romance. I had this on my initial to-do list for my EuroTrip but obviously never had the chance to action it. Before Sunset is the sequel to my all-time favorite movie 'Before Sunrise', charming films directed by my artist rolemodel Richard Linklater. I hope to one day do a walking tour following the footsteps of Jesse and Celine past the iconic sights as well as the parks and cafes. A beautiful encounter with my own Celine would be nice too.

Find some France related posts here:
- Enes Kanter: Turkey, Wrestling and Basketball
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part II
- Jacques Henri Lartigue: Why I'm getting a camera

Hooray for competition giveaways!
Go with Oh is giving away 4 fabulous prizes. Head on over to their Facebook page and enter for a chance to win an iPad 2, Panasonic Lumix camera, 500 euros worth of accommodations or great Samsonite luggage - www.GowithOh.com

go with oh, competition


  1. Yamakasi was such a good movie; it showed me a completely different side of Paris (and of course it had some amazing moves)!

  2. Cool! I myself haven't seen any full blown parkour movies now that I think of it.

    I tend to use the opening sequence of 'Casino Royale' (Pierce Brosnan as 007) as my reference when describing parkour to the uninitiated.

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