Posts tagged ‘Fodor’s’

February 19, 2012

This Last Week and Month have Been Interesting.

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What a ride it has been these last few weeks.  I work for a very small TV company so when I returned from Canada  another manager decided she had to go on vacation which resulted in me working for 39 days non-stop.   That sucks so much I can’t describe  and add writing for Fodor’s when I got home at night and you see what a hell my life has been. On the wonderfully happy side, I also sent my first article to Gaylaxy Magazine ( India) and  my first article on ACTUP.org both of which made me incredibly proud.

On Thursday my 39 days of working producing the news,interviews and my  call-in show came to an end  so yesterday the ‘gay agenda’ dictated that I had to clean. Thankfully my wonderful Ex  came and helped enormously – with the blessing of his current.

This evening I was wandering on the internet and discovered an article by an amazing young gay person called Troy Roness and I noticed that Randy R Potts also posted him on Facebook.  To make a long story short the article is the grittiest article I have ever read – the title alone says it all : “It’s time: Yes,  I’m gay, and I’m unapologetic”

Staring at myself in a mirror, I internalized my shame, guilt, and insecurities. I believed my appearance defined my existence. The perfect grades, the perfect body, and appearing flawless would somehow make me complete. I’ve learned, though, that we aren’t mean to be “perfect”; we’re meant to be whole.

Read the Huffington Post article here.

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December 21, 2011

In other developments….

Those of you who follow my serial postings might have noticed a wee gap for the last couple of days. This dry spell was occasioned by me being in the air en route to Toronto, sleep deprivation, my birthday and a few more martinis than might have been deemed absolutely necessary.  I am also working feverishly on Fodor’s  travel  chapters for my usual islands in a mad effort to finish them before Xmas. Those few things, however, pale in comparison to another development that has occurred recently – the folks at ACTUP.org have agreed to have me as part of their team which is dedicated to activism on a global scale in a variety of languages. I consider my inclusion to be a tremendous honor.

For those who don’t know the history of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) , it was founded in the 1980s in the midst of the AIDS crisis and became an hugely  influential force in moving the fight for LGBT rights forward .   Wikipedia has an extensive entry about the colorful history of ACT UP:

ACT UP was effectively formed in March 1987 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New YorkLarry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: “Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?” The answer was “a resounding yes.” Approximately 300 people met two days later to form ACT UP.[2]

ACT UP was effectively formed in March 1987 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New YorkLarry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: “Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?” The answer was “a resounding yes.” Approximately 300 people met two days later to form ACT UP.[2]

Read the entry here.

This blog will, of course, continue with its heady mix of subjects but there will undoubtedly be an increased cross-posting of  links to articles and news on ACTUP.org.

Looking forward even more to 2012 now.

 

November 24, 2010

Side note.

 

If anyone is remotely interested I have been posting masses of pics of my current trip to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao over on Flickr.

View them here.

December 21, 2008

Another mini post

image-50ec0199aac911d9 I had a wonderful birthday quite above my expectations. Firstly I am really grateful to all the people who took the time to just wish me a happy birthday. Some did it on Facebook, some via text message, many called ( thankfully not too early) , people like Milo and my brother Vic who wrote me on this blog and, of course, my colleagues at work and my friends who spent time with me last evening. I don’t like my birthdays and my Mum tells me as a child I once had a crying fit and refused to attend my own birthday party – that explains many things.

As much as I hate the sign of another step towards the graveyard ( not that I have any fear of death – I don’t – I am a journalist) the thought that anyone would be sweet enough to send me a greeting makes me rather misty.

I read and produced news on my birthday and it was nice being around colleagues I love. Earlier on I ran to the supermarket and bought a lot of liquor and after the news I ordered a ridiculous amount of Chinese food considering I only expected about 8 people to show up. Who knew that a 1/4 portion served two? I now have a fridge full of leftover food. My few close friends and other came over and we had a few short but bonhomie and wine filled hours. Alvin had to open Sky so he and Binky had to leave at 10:30 but it was still wonderful having them. After that, because I had to work the next day, all the rest dispersed but one The two of us ended up popping into Sky as Alvin had forgotten his float at my place so we spent a quiet hour there before leaving.

All in all a really wonderful birthday and a reminded that growing older is not in itself a bad thing. I have made many great friends over the years and I seem to have the capacity to add another one to the list every now and then. Pity I can’t look like I did when the photo for this entry was taken.

And Milo thanks for the referral on my WALL-E review from your blog. I was wondering why I saw a big spike in hits. May I return the favour by suggesting everyone learn something about honesty in blogging and read your blog … The Year Zero.

I admire his willingness to bare his soul. It pleases my journalistic heart.

November 25, 2008

Laziness

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I am too tired writing to upload an entry but I have finally uploaded pics of my trip. You can see them at http://flickr.com/photos/globewriter   Enjoy!

November 24, 2008

Back to the dustbowl

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Well after a delayed ( and a long delay at that) return flight on Surname Airways and a ridiculous immigration line in Trinidad I am back on the ground and dealing with all that means. Peter P met me and he let me use his car to get home from his place and since my car is not fully serviced I am still using it. It was weird driving on the “right side” again but I managed at 1:30am when I was supposed to be back at 8:15pm the previous day. Cascade was normal looking until I rounded the curve and saw that the flood damage had affected my area. The security gates are stuck in the open position, all the vegetation was washed away and there were piles of mud everywhere.

 

My place is up on a hill so there was no damage in my living space but it was weird having to pass all the damage. I stayed at home on Friday as i had a lot of laundry and cleaning to do and did a quick trip to the grocery but that was the extent of my outings for the day. The mud on the main road has now turned to dust so Cascade feels like the place that the ABCs are normally. The irony is not lost on me.

I produced and anchored news on Saturday and just produced on Sunday so Giselle could do a perfect job of anchoring. Watching her read after 2 weeks was a great experience as I see how far she has come. I pray the Beeb does not snatch her from us as she is close to a perfect news reader now.

 

I still have to research Tobago and also Trinidad as despite living here much of the time there is a lot I have to get right as Fodor’s does not accept poor information and least of all my editors. This should be fun…I imagine my days will be very long between ieTV and Fodor’s for the next little while. Fun? What is that?

 

I will say, though, after this many years of doing this I really miss my friends on the ABC  islands including Susan at Bucuti, Ricardo and Monique, Rolando, Anabela and Bobby from the wonderful Pinchos in Aruba, Stephen in Curacao ( what a revelation he was) , Delno Tromp from Bonaire and Curacao..so many great people. I am truly a lucky guy to have crossed paths with such wonderful people and I am hoping to do so again next year. Traveling is a revelation as you realize that we are all very similar and that goodness and generosity of heart transcend national boundaries.Though Susan is now back in Miami I think I miss her the most as we have an intellectual connection and I consider her a friend par excellence…they don’t come along that often …I wish her the best as she pursues her dreams and I hope she knows that.

Tomorrow I hope to get the hearse back and I will commence my interviews here on Tuesday. Fodor’s T&T will slip in somewhere in between the ABC writing. It will all come together. Having traveled on islands that have no natural drinking water but have managed I am dealing with the fact my condo, on an island full of fresh water,  has no water at,  all with a rather circumspect approach. If I say I am on vacation it all seems amusing and somehow better. Bucket bath anyone?

November 19, 2008

If this is Wednesday it must be Curacao

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Sitting in the lobby area of Breezes on my last night in Curacao for this year though I will definitely be back for work and pleasure. The sad thing with these trips is that by the end, no matter how wonderful the island, I am totally overdosed on site inspections and driving around. It is a pity because Curacao deserves so much more of my attention but Stephen has been a trooper and we have had a great time despite the schedule. Today was another litany of visits but since it is his daughter’s birthday we arranged things so i could be back at the hotel by mid-afternoon – and not a moment too soon I would have hurled if I saw another great property.

 

I often find myself faced with dilemmas during these assignments. The hotel here is proving to be one at this point. My room is good and the staff have been excellent but for the second night in a row I have seen large rats running around the beach restaurant which is closed at night. I know there are hazards to having a place on the beach but these are huge ( 5+ inches excluding the tail) and the beach hut is awfully close to the main pool and restaurants. I told a manager and he seemed most concerned and vowed to call the exterminator but how long have these creatures been there? It doesn’t look like they just showed up fully grown…and last night I saw at least five of them.I will consult my editor as to the proper course of action. Editors always know…I am one of them and I always do.

 

Tomorrow we will have a few more inspections before I head off to catch Surinam Airways for Port of Spain. The flood damage there yesterday was awful so I am dying to see what it looks like when I arrive. My bright spot tomorrow…Stephen has promised to take me to the old market for local food..I am happy already.

November 18, 2008

No blog for you today.

100_6221 I could not resist the Seinfeld reference but seriously it was a really long day today of inspections and reviews. I started at 7:45 am and was dropped back at my new home Breezes Curacao at 9:45pm. Glamorous life of a travel writer ….yeah…sure.

At least I had a great dinner at the Marriott with the lovely woman from marketing who hails from New Zealand. Now that would be a great place to visit. The rack of lamb was also quite amazing. 

 

Off now to have a quick Pernod poolside so I can face another day of this tomorrow. At this point on the trip I don’t know if I am coming or going. I also note with alarm that rains in Trinidad have turned the area of my condo into a disaster area..a fact verified by Alvin who was spending the night at my place and is now stuck.

November 16, 2008

Lap of luxury.

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Today was the day I said another said farewell to perfect little Bonaire and, it being my last day, naturally storm clouds rolled in. I puttered around my room and eventually ended up at the restaurant for a quick sandwich and some welcome WiFi surfing before Rolando arrived to take me to Flamingo Airport. I bid farewell to the lovely Rolando and eventually made my way onto the wretched 14 seater Insel plane I have come to loathe so much. I don’t like small planes and I especially don’t like small planes in bad weather. It was, predictably, a rough 20 minutes in the air before I was finally able to release my grasp on the bottom of my seat and unclench my jaw on arrival at Hato in Curacao. 

Stephen was there to meet me as arranged and we basically it hit off right away as he is quite the great conversationalist. We arrived at my first Hotel the Kura Hulanda which I have always known to be an exceptional property but have never stayed in it. It is not a normal hotel in fact it is as far from a normal hotel as can be imagined.It is essentially a village  in Willemstad that had a number of fine 18th and 19th century buildings that a Dutch billionaire bought up as a ruin and then restored with attention to every detail. It is now an 80 room luxury hotel in the form of a village and I don’t mean theme park here…it is completely authentic. You walk through a maze of cobblestone streets and lush landscaping to your room in one of the original homes in the area. My suite is so unbelievably beautiful and luxurious I was almost taken aback when the bellhop showed me around. 

Picture 2 king beds, antiques galore, a lovely sitting area, a writing area, a small dining area and a step-up bath and you get the picture. I can’t imagine a more atmospheric and spacious room anywhere. Now it is not a cheap room ( about $700 US a night) but honestly it is as romantic as all get out.The hardest part of this trip will be leaving the room.

 

I also had a chance to chat with Delno at Kura Hulanda’s sister property on the other side of the island. He suggested I stay with him for the rest of the trip and I am trying to figure out if that will be possible given the 45 minute drive from Willemstad. Still, he is one of the funniest and warmest people I know so I will try to make it work as I know we would have a blast. In any case I have decided I will come and visit him on vacation just for the pleasure of his company. We will discuss the logistics of this trip over breakfast tomorrow.

Now if you will excuse me I am going to sit in my antique dining area and admire my room.

November 10, 2008

Sitting on the dock of the bay

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Just returned from a dinner with Susan of Bucuti that I am absolutely certain will remain the highlight of my trip. When I stayed at the Tara Suites which she kindly offered me she was too busy for us to sit down for any length of time but this evening at Marandi we managed to have a great conversation in beautiful surroundings. Actually, that is not entirely correct as it started when I got in her car and ended only after she dropped me back at Amsterdam Manor. We are from very different backgrounds but share many similar thoughts on life and the planet. The fact we are what Dubya  would categorize as bleeding heart pinko liberals only helps matters and now that Obama is going to be president of the USA I believe we are on the A-OK list.

Susan has had a fascinating life and learning about her life process was anything but dull listening. You just know that anyone who has a story about falling afoul of Israeli border police in her youth will have me tuned in. I also realize now that being of a similar age can make a meaningful conversation much more relaxed as there are points of reference. I don’t have to explain who Nixon was and she didn’t have to explain to me what Thatcherite Economics was all about. Off the top of my head a few of the subjects covered were, the internet, DOS, US Politics, New York, London, Aruba politics, the hotel business, relationships, cutting dog toenails with a device that looks alarmingly like a vibrator and the environment. As to the details of any of those conversational topics..well..I am keeping those close to my puny chest. I am just glad that I came to Aruba a year ago and connected to someone who is truly a citizen of the world.

In other news…well…let’s see. I was up early and then surrounded by flies, mosquitoes and other airborne wildlife , in what seemed to be an outtake from The Exorcist as i waited to get on a horse. My request for an aged equine that had been tranquilized was turned down as was my request for a valium IV. The horse I was asked to mount ( and how decidedly vulgar those words look in type) was laughingly named Excalibur. What the snorting brown creature had to do with Arthurian legend I cannot tell you but it may have been some inside joke. I got on with little problem and shortly after the whole posse of 8 of us started off on a pee and manure peppered trek through the wilds of Aruba’s landscape. All I can say is that while I know the horse was instrumental in the development of the US West and of European civilization they must all have had sore asses. I can see now why they invented the car and I promise I will kiss my misbehaving Mondeo when I see her next.

We finished that ordeal adventure and proceeded to the Westin for lunch with Patrick Donovan the Marketing Guy. I managed a fair cleanup of the dust on my face thanks to my ever present St. Ives blemish fighting wipes .It was nice seeing him again and I have to say that I am impressed with the changes at the Westin Aruba. They inherited the current property from another hotel and they have finally succeded in de-Wyndhamizing it and making it their own. Patrick is a great conversationalist and along with my ATA pal Ricardo we had a lovely lunch at their Asian restaurant Blossoms. I loved my General Tso chicken but honest to Abe those portions could have fed a Vietnamese family for a week. I am not a fan of high-rise hotels but if I had to pick one on Aruba the Westin would be it.

Upon returning to my hotel I ran to the shower to wash off whatever horse and dust remained on me but as I proceeded to disrobe …and I apologize for the lack of delicacy here Dear Reader,…an insect lodged in my clothing bit me on the ass. It hurt about as much as a bee sting and I got an immediate welt. Susan told me in the car it was most likely a scorpion and she has survived being stung by one. The life of a Fodor’s writer is not as pretty as it seems I can assure you.

I also ventured to the local supermarket area with the ostensible aim of getting some extra coffee and maybe suntan lotion at non-hotel prices. I did eventually get those items but somewhere along the line I also got a lovely pair of deck shoes, a shoulder bag and a decidedly non-Vern pair of Puma Fluxion II training shoes. I hope this serves as a cautionary tale to all that it is never safe to think “Oh look a shoe shop I wonder if they have sports socks?” because the next words you say will be “Do you have these in a size 10?”.

Tomorrow I am on a submarine which should be most interesting and, at any rate, will not result in any scorpions in my underwear.