Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Sophie Sarin / Hotel Djenne Djenno

Recently I mentioned a blog that I enjoyed during the holiday season written by a Swedish woman Sophie Sarin [link]. The stories of her running a hotel in the not entirely hospitable historical city of Djenne in Mali (the hotel is made of mud like many of the buildings in Djenne and is quite vulnerable to the extremes of weather) and also adapting to a different culture & way of life make this a really interesting read. I'm very happy that Sophie has found the time to answer this week’s TT Test and I think if you ever find yourself in Djenne Hotel Djenne Djenno is an essential stopover !! Lots of love tt. What is your wake up song at the moment ? The music I listen to is Kar-Kar (Boubakar Traore) Very simple, very moving. The very essence of Mali itself; this dry, vast, gentle land, which I love in spite of it all. A good point of departure is the album ‘Sa Golo’. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession? Perhaps Bach’s Brandenburg concertos, the first piece of classical music I knew and loved. I used to play it with my next door neighbour Britta when we played chess as twelve year olds, a brief moment of seriousness before we discovered boys and rock n’ roll - nothing wrong with that either of course… If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? A frivolous part of me would have liked to have lived at the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette before the revolution (and then managed to escape) Such beautiful clothes! And such fun - all those masked balls! Otherwise I am quite happy to be here and now. I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me? My favourite restaurant is ‘Rules’ in London [link]. It claims to be the oldest restaurant in London and is romantic and beautiful with great service and great traditional British food such as grouse etc. that is fabulous if well prepared and enjoyed with a good claret. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional / creative life? Don’t worry what people think of you. BONUS QUESTION: What is the most challenging and most satisfying thing about running the Hotel Djenne Djenno? Most challenging thing here in Djenne: Definitely to be patient and understanding to my staff and the people around me, although I lose my temper most of the time. Most satisfying thing in my life here: the limitless scope of things. Wherever I turn there are new things to discover or to set in motion, whether investigating the Djenne manuscripts or managing to grow dill in the garden and trying out other crops. Life is never ever dull.