Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Another trip to Charleston

Yesterday the flight to Charleston was late due to the weather. Driving, pounding rain, with some lightening thrown in for good measure, meant we were two hours late leaving. So we're too late to check in for the conference, so we go to our Quality Suites Inn. It wasn't quality, and it wasn't sweet. This is what I get when I let my architect chose the hotel. He has two requirements, near the airport and high speed internet. I agree with high speed internet, but the hotels in downtown Charleston are SO much nicer. They are definitely worth the drive. Dinner at Coast (my favorite restaurant) and then back to the hotel to crash. Get up early, go to the conference. More of the same sh&t. No internet access and I'm wigging about all of the stuff I'm missing. Then since we're trying to reduce our "footprint", I get to go back home after the first day. My architect drops me off at the airport where there is never a line so I've got some time to kill. I didn't bring anything to read, so I check out the Newstand/store thing. Now all of the adult magazines have these little black cardboard covers so you can't see the cover page. That's fair, this is the South, the bible belt and they need to cover up the 8 or 9 straight porn magazines. But then I also notice they care using these covers to block Maxim, Blender, and GQ. GQ??? Are they afraid of good taste?

Some googlisms for today:

trey is single and loves beeeerrrrrr
trey is caring and fiercely loyal
trey is a dick
trey is an evil man
trey is beautiful
trey is sex on legs
trey is thinking of quitting to return to school because the stress from the job is getting to him

As for the last one, not so much school, but maybe something else.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Why We Dance

“Maybe you go out because you’re sick of your life
Or you want to get drunk or you want to get laid;
Or maybe you want to be something that you’re not at the moment
But that you could be if you’d just meet the right person and they’d give you a chance.

Or maybe you can get to that rare place where you’re invited in,
You’re made to feel comfortable
Where you see people you don’t have to be sorry for or intimidated by
And where you are allowed to dance-
With a partner of the same sex,
With a partner of the opposite sex,
With a group,
With a stranger,
With a group of strangers,
Until it doesn’t matter anymore where you are on the ladder of success,
Or why you have to get up so early in the morning, or not get up at all.

The music’s beating loud and hard
And your heart’s beating loud and hard
And you feel anxious for a minute, but then you relax and you’re someplace else,
Where the sound of the music is soaking your clothes
And the heat is assaulting your eardrums
And pounding a sharp stake through the top of your head to your feet
Through your shoulders, your arms, your hands, your chest, your stomach,
Your hips, your butt, your thighs, your knees

None of these people look familiar
And you can’t remember their faces from one minute to the next
But they’re all doing it,
Whatever it is that’s turning this room into a pulsing, headless, machine
A frenzied muscle of Tantric libido that goes on and on and keeps going on.

There is no rhythm nation here, no love shack, no funky music white boy,
No burning down the house, no all she wants to do is dance

There’s just a groove in the dance floor
and it’s getting deeper,
and it’s smoking,
and it feels like soon it’ll burn. "

-from an 1980's GQ article. This is why we dance.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

At Sea and then back to Reality (or atleast my twisted version of it)

The last real day of the cruise passed to quickly. I got up, had breakfast, and then promptly claimed my lounge chair on the pool deck. It was another hard day of sun bathing by the pool, sipping the frozen margaritas, and watching the hot men wander by. As I lay there, contemplating life and trying not to drool over the hottie next to me (married, natch!), I realize that a gay cruise is kind of like going to Ptown. So the town/ship is full of gay men. Okay there are some straights/lesbians, but it’s mainly men. You spend the day at the beach/pool deck and watch all of the hotties. If you want to sun bath au naturale, you walk to the far end of the beach/up to the 12th deck. There are tea dances (not every day on the ship though). And dancing at night. In between you go to eat and then maybe catch a show. So the cruise is just like a floating Ptown. And to drive home the point, one of the guest performers they brought on board was Miss Richfield, 1981. Miss Richfield is a pretty famous drag queen who does shows in Ptown over the summer. I’ve never had a chance to catch her show in Ptown, but I did see it on the ship and it was very cool. The theme for her show was Holy Matrimony and one of the things she did was ask all of the couple to stand up in the crowd and then told them to sit down if they had only been together 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, and then 20 years. At this point, there were easily a dozen couples still standing. One of the couples had been together for 26 years, and they had finally gotten married last year. It was really touching. After her show, they had a lesbian comedienne do her show, Shann Carr. OMG, so funny. And only a lesbian can slam gay men like she did. It was hilarioius. After her show it was time for the last dance. I went but the music wasn’t that good and the whole thing was kind of strange. There were lots of guys in desperation mode. They hadn’t managed to hook up all week and they were just crazy. In the solarium area, there were several guys who had shed their bathing suits and were frolicking in the pool. Or maybe another word that starts with f. I ended up going to say goodbye to Joe and Tom and then I called it an early evening.

Leaving the ship wasn’t the haze I thought it was going to be. My bags had been picked up the night before, so I only had my backpack. I ate a very light breakfast and then it was time for me to leave the ship. I had arranged a transfer, so that gives you priority to leave the ship earlier than most. Going through customs and immigration was a breeze. After that I walked into a huge cavern where I finally found my luggage. Then it was off to the airport only to arrive a mere 5 hours early. Someone just shoot me. Again, that airport is just a mess. There’s no food once you go through security. So I actually had to go back out to get some lunch. The flight left on time and I was already out of vacation mode. Thinking about getting back to DC, laundry, checking work email, oh the madness of it all.

Am I going to do another cruise? Are you kidding me? Hell yes. I signed up for the cruise next January, but may see if I can swing the cruise to Mexico out of San Diego in October. We’ll have to see how that pesky job things pans out.

Okay, last pic from the cruise. These two brazilian boys were out every night in different costumes that somehow exposed the maximum amount of skin. HOT! HOT! HOT! Oh, and they are huge. Like RedBull huge. ; )

Hot Brazilian Boys Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

More boys dancing. Posted by Hello

Day at Sea and Aruba

Do you ever associate a smell with a thought, or a feeling? Close your eyes and think of that sun tan oil smell. What do you think of? Is it firm, tan skin, hot muscled bodies, lying in the sun, the rays turning their already brown bodies into that beautiful gold color? Keep your eyes closed. Now think of that smell and of those beautiful muscled men all around you. Nice isn’t it.

So I get up relatively early (damn that internal body clock) and go to the gym. It’s only half packed, and I get some good cardio in and little bit of lifting. Then I’m up on the pool deck by 10 AM. I manage to snag a good chair and I rub the SPF 15 oil into my body. I’m definitely into the oil these days. It’s just so much sexier than regular lotion. The worst part of the oil? Asking the big hunk next to me: “Would you mind putting some of this on my back?” And then feeling his big strong hands work the oil into my skin. It doesn’t suck.

My day is spent reading my book, checking out the hotties, jumping into the pool to cool off, checking out the hotties, hydrating myself with frozen margaritas, checking out the hotties, talking with some folks, and pretty much just checking out the hotties. Okay, so that’s not really true. I didn’t really read my book that much. Malcom, the cruise director, leads the pool games. They are fun to watch and very funny. Tom and Joe stop by and help me put some oil on my back. They invite me to watch sunset from their cabin after the T-dance. After 5 hours of some hard sun bathing, I’m starting to get tired. You know it is really stressful to lay out that long. So I go back to my cabin for my disco nap. Thankfully my cabin is on the 2nd deck, so I don’t hear the Classic Disco T-dance. Classic disco just really isn’t my thing. I know, bad gay man, bad. But it’s the truth. But apparently it was a huge success and lots of people had brought costumes to include multi-colored afros, etc. Hello, how many suitcases did you bring? I hook up with Tom and Joe after the dance had ended, but unfortunately the sunset is on the other side of the ship. But we manage to find something else to do. Then it’s time for dinner and then a show. The special mystery guest that came onboard in Grenada is Deborah Gibson. Yes, she goes by Deborah now that she’s a serious singer. Yeah, whatever. She looks good and she certainly knows how to work the crowd. The first half of her show is all Broadway stuff. She’s been in a couple of Broadway play and has an album out of Broadway songs. Yawn. Then she goes into her old pop stuff and you know what? I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s like it had gone stale. Which is what most pop stuff does eventually, but half the crowd was up and singing along to “Only in my Dreams.” Yeah, not so much. After the show, I wandered around a bit until it was time for the next dance at 11PM. DJ Tony Moran again and he was awesome. I think I made it till 230AM, not bad for someone running only on Redbull.

By the time I wake up, we are pier side in Aruba. I’ve got another excursion planned, so I quickly grab breakfast and then head down to the pier. I’m on a catamaran & snorkeling trip today. The catamaran is docked close to the pier so it’s a short walk to the boat, we set sail, and then the rum drinks are flowing. The shoreline is pretty as we head out to our first snorkeling stop. I love snorkeling, but I hate the aweful inflatable vests you *have* to wear. The florescent yellow is clashing with my blond highlights!! We anchor off the first spot where the water is no more than 20 feet deep. We enter the water, which is fairly warm, and explore the coral reef there. We get some bread as we enter the water and the fish just swarm around us. It really is fascinating. I swim into a huge school of minnows that just clear a space for me and then keep going. Kind of cool. I’m almost the last one back on the boat and then we move about another 200 yards off shore where the sea floor has dropped to probably 50 or 60 feet but where an old WWII German freighter is lying. Apparently it was forced to leave Aruba without sufficient fuel and ended up running aground and sinking just off the coast. A small part of the wreck is actually above the water, but the rest is just under it. The current is very strong and only strong swimmers are encouraged to go swim. The wreck is amazing and the ship has actually broken into two pieces. There are several holes in the wreck and I stupidly try to swim into one. Not a good idea and I end up scraping the hell out of my leg. It’s bleeding and the sea water stings. Well that’s what I get for being stupid. But still the wreck was amazing. After we get onboard, and have some more rum drinks, we head to one of the beach area to eat lunch and hang out. Lunch is okay, and then (again stupidly) I decided to go parasailing. I’ve done it before, it’s fun, no big deal. They take me out to the boat and I get hooked up in the sling (and no, not that type of sling). Then the one guy sort of tosses the parachute into the air and *whew* it gets caught by the wind and fully opens. They basically just let the line out and up I go. The view is amazing and the wind is so strong the boat just sits there and lets out the line. As I bounce up into the air, I get higher and higher, and the wind is strong. I can see a sea turtle below me and all of the different colors of water below me. It’s pretty even as I get tossed around up there. I can see the ship in the distance as the wind gusts and I move higher. And then it dawns on me. You know, the wind is REALLY strong here. And I’m up really high. And I shouldn’t have had the greasy ribs for lunch on top of about 3 rum drinks. So know I’m thinking, you know, if the ride ends early, I won’t be overly upset. I do manage to enjoy the ride and make it down safely without hurling. But it was kind of close a couple of times. Once the catamaran docked, I headed into town to do some shopping. I bought some cologne and then a pair of white shorts for the White Party. Then its time for the disco nap and then dinner.

At 10PM, there is a special show. At the forward end of the ship, there is a really cool bar called “The Bar at the Edge of the Earth”. It has windows all around it and at night it’s really cool. It’s also kind of special since Cirque Du Soleil does a lounge show there. Tonight, they are doing a special show called, “The Edge of White.” So I go there and it really is a phenomenal show. It’s not like their circus stuff, it’s more personal and interactive. Lots of music and light interaction and holograms and projected imagery. They have performers in costumes who do different things. Towards the end of the performance, the performers shed their costumes and you get to see their bodies. Umm, hello twinkville. There was only one who was a hottie. Oh well. Then it was time for the real White Party. The White Party was fun, and crowded, and lots of people had costumes (apparently it’s a serious fashion mistake to *just* wear white underwear to the white party, okay good to know). So I was looking okay in my white shorts I had bought. The problem with the White Party is that it really is techno driven to appeal to those who might have used some “manufactured joy” for the evening. So after awhile I head up to the 12th deck to “look at the stars.” The 12th deck is above the bar at the edge of the earth and is where the “topless” sun bathing happens on a straight cruise. Apparently on a gay cruise it’s where the nude sun bathing happens. And at night, there are any hardly lights up there so you can see the stars better. And on a gay cruise, at night it’s called the Dick Deck. I did a quick tour of the scene and then headed back to my room. However, I did later hear that several of the Greek ships officers (Oh my gawd what hotties) wandered up to the 12th deck and received some “special attention.” So apparently some of the crew *really* love the gay cruises.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

On the catamaran just off Aruba. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Tropical Heat Party Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

St. Lucia and Grenada

It’s another early get up since I have an excursion planned for St. Lucia. The ship is actually anchored out, so we have to take the tender (or ferry, and don’t go there) to the port. When I woke up, I opened the curtains on the window and saw one of the ship’s lifeboats being lowered. All but one of the tenders are from the ship. The whole thing is amazingly well organized. When you get your ticket for the excursion, it tells you what time you need to be in the lounge to get assigned to a tender. We make it the port and then get onto our bus. It’s another "tour the island and then go lay on a beach" trip. The lay on the beach part is always good, the tour the island, not so much. To be honest, I really don’t care about their school system, or the local politics, or even the history of the island. Yes I’m a big bad selfish American, but I’m on vacation and I really don’t want to know all of this little arcane useless trivia. I’ve met this couple (Tom and Joe) and we keep making snide comments about the boring commentary and the passing country side. I know, bitchy gay men, can we be more of a cliché? But it is fun. We stop at a batik shop where they give us a quick demonstration of how they make batik prints. The shop is nice, but how many batik print dresses do they think they are going to sell to a tour bus of gay men? Wait, don’t answer that. I do find a cute batik shirt for Carter that will be perfect for his birthday. After the shop, we get back on the bus and head towards the beach. I’m talking with Joe and I notice he keeps rubbing my arm, shoulders, etc. It feels nice and he is hot in a muscle bear kind of way, so I just let it go. We get to the beach and lay out. We get the obligatory rum drink, I lather up in sun tan oil and then go into a deep sun baked coma. The weather is perfect, hot, sunny, a little bit of wind. The beach is beautiful and the water is the clear light blue color that’s so pretty. We’re close to one of the Sandals resorts, so you know it’s nice. Tom and Joe are lying out next to me and they head into the water. A little bit later I join them and we’re talking a bit. Tom goes for a swim and Joe goes in for the kill. He starts to rub my shoulders, and then lower, and before this gets crazy, I’m like, “What about Tom?” And the response: “Tom saw you first and thought you were just our type.” Sure enough, Tom comes back and he’s very friendly also. Since this is St. Lucia, not Ptown or Key West, we just talked a bit more and then went back to the beach to dry out. Then it’s back on the bus and time to go back to the ship for the Dog Tag T-Dance. You get dog tags and then they put a colored dot on them: green = “available”, yellow = “buy me a drink and we’ll see”, red = “not available”, and two greens = “meet me in my stateroom in 5 minutes.” Okay, that sounds like a reasonable and easy system. So I get up to the dance (DJ Joe Gauthreaux who ROCKED!!) and then I see: green & yellow; green, yellow, and red; red, yellow, and red. I’m SO confused. But boys will be boys. So it’s late afternoon and it’s sunny, we’re anchored out and there isn’t a lot of breeze, and there are several hundred shirtless men dancing and writhing on the pool deck. HOT! HOT! HOT! Sometimes life doesn’t suck. More great music. After the dance, I hook up with Tom and Joe who are kind enough to show me their cabin. They are on deck 7, so they get a balcony. The room really isn’t that much bigger, but the balcony is nice. After the tour of their room (and did I mention that every room has these huge floor to ceiling mirrors on one wall?), it’s time for dinner and then I go see the “Spotlight Broadway” show. It’s okay, but broadway stuff isn’t my thing. Then it’s time for a quick nap and then it’s the Fire Island Party on the pool deck. More hot shirtless men dancing. This is such a boring cruise.

I think I went to sleep around 3AM, but am up at 8AM. By the time I open the curtains, I can see we are moored at St. Georges, Grenada. I have no excursion planned today, but I’ve heard the thing to do is walk into town and then get a water taxi to a nearby beach to spend the day. So after a leisurely breakfast in the main restaurant, I get cleaned up and head for the beach. I make it off the boat and then follow the signs for the water taxi. There is an Italian cruise ship moored opposite of us, and somehow I fall into a group of couples from that ship. We board the water taxi and set off across the harbor. Grenada is green and lush and very beautiful. But apparently it got hammered during the last hurricane season. There is construction going on everywhere and I later hear that on one of the tours they see a sail boat upside down on one of the mountains. How’s that for insane. The boat drops us off at a very nice beach. While all of the straight couples walk to the right down the beach, I see a group of guys to the left and walk over to them. Sure enough, this is “our” section of the beach. It’s sunny, hot, and I’m on a beautiful beach jamming to my MP3 player. This does not suck at all. I’m using SPF 15, but after a couple of hours, I’m starting to feel the burn, so I head back to the ship. Then it’s time for my massage by Alex. There’s this pretty decent spa on the ship and it was very popular (according to Malcom, there were more pedicures given on this cruise compared to any other cruise that Celebrity has had). So after a rough day in the sun and then a nice massage, it’s time for the disco nap. Up for a late dinner in the restaurant, and then it’s the Tropical Heat Party. Have I mentioned the hot men on the ship. Okay, they aren’t really all hot. There is a fairly decent mix of guys. So here is my very unscientific analysis of the various subgroups:

Muscle Marys: You know the types. They’re so huge they couldn’t put their arms next to their sides if their lives dependent upon it. They are hot, and they know it. And they only stick to their own kind.

Twinks: Thin, young, not really developed. Kind of like female gymnasts. Think young A&F types with lots of energy.

Gym Bunnys: In shape, not huge, but nice builds. Usually friendly.

Normal gay guys: Not fat, but not gym bunnies. Just kind of in between.

Big gay guys: Bigger than a normal gay guy, not as big as your average bear.

Bears: Big, furry, friendly, and they’ve never seen a pizza they didn’t like.

And the age range was pretty interesting as well. Here are my informal statistics:

My informal statistics for the cruise Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005

Boys dancing. Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Atlantis Cruise: San Juan & St. Maartin

Sleep late, hit the pool at the hotel, go back to the room to pack. Can’t find my passport. Completely empty my suitcases, twice. Find my passport. Start to breathe again.

You can’t board the ship until 1PM, so a little after 1 I got a cab to the Pan American Pier. I arrive and enter this big waiting hall where there are all of these chairs lined up. It’s like 130, and I’m like the 1000th person there. The next hour or so is moving from one line to the other. The funny thing is that I’m sitting next two these two tall guys and this little old lady. Apparently the mother is going on the cruise with them. I listen to their conversation for a bit as I am intrigued. “It’s a shame we couldn’t get that suite so all three of us could stay together.” OMG!! Can you imagine rooming with your mom and your boyfriend? That’s just a parallel universe I’m not prepared to enter. The line actually goes pretty smooth and soon enough I have my ship card and am taking the escalators to get onto the ship. The ship is HUGE! My frame of reference of course is USS Reeves (, and this is a little bit bigger than that.

I’m on the second deck. Basically the lowest deck, with the smallest rooms. But I have it to myself and I have a window. So there! While the room is small, it is pretty nice. There’s a little ship newspaper that lists the various things going on as well as some info on the excursions. So the first plan of attack is to figure out what excursions to do. I do that, and then I’m sort of stuck. I want to go hit the pool, but my suitcase has not arrived. (Improper planning #2: Always carry a change of clothing with you when you board so you can immediately go up to the pool deck and begin the lounge chair Olympics.) So I wander up to the pool deck and do my first initial survey of the men onboard.

There’s the mandatory boat drill at 5 PM. It’s a haze and the life vests are not flattering. Orange will never be the new black. But of course, this is a gay cruise, so there is one guy walking around with an orange boa that *perfectly* matches the life vests. Just too funny. During the drill, they demonstrate how to blow into the whistle on the life vest. Big mistake. First of all, gay men have that blowing thing down pat. Secondly, some of the boys decide now is the time to pretend they are at a circuit party and won’t stop blowing their whistles. Stop. Please.

There is a little bit of pre-departure drama. The original info from Atlantis said the ship departed at 11PM. When we get on board and it's really 6PM. Ooops. And apparently some guys dropped their luggage off around 1PM and then headed into San Juan so they could skip the initial madness of trying to get on board. So there's this question about whether they will get on board on time. I'm not sure if they made it or not, I hope they did.

Cocktails on the pool deck, then dinner (the food is okay, there is lots of it, but it’s just okay). I wander the ship for a bit after dinner. They have all sorts of different events going on all the time: POZ meetings, Friends of Bill W. (which is an AA thing), “Straights Along for the Ride”, and even a Bears and Cub gathering. I go to the bears and cub thing, but its dead. Then it’s time for the first dance, the welcome party with DJ Warren Gluck. We like him. He plays music with words. I don’t make it a late night as I am on an excursion the next day. However, before I go to bed, I discover the midnight pizza buffet. Bad, Trey, bad.

When I wake up, the ship is docked at Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten, the Dutch half of the island. It’s overcast of course, so I take the umbrella from the room. After congregating on the pier, we board the bus for our tour. Now the excursion I was on was a tour the island type thing, head over to Marigot (the capital of the French side of Saint Martin), and then go to this beach resort for a couple of hours. The thing is, I expected the island to be prettier, more resortish, but it’s not. Our tour includes some areas of the island where I wouldn’t want to walk down the street alone at night. Just some kind of sad poverty striken areas. We stop for the mandatory photo ops, but it’s overcast and it’s really not that pretty. We do make it to Marigot, but this “charming little French village” is closed for Sunday. All of the stores and cafes that we were supposed to wander around are locked up. So we end up at the open air flea market where they hawk cheap (cost & quality) t-shirts, dresses, etc. After an hour there, we board the bus for the beach. We eat at this beach resort and then it’s some quality time on a lounge chair under the hot sun on a beautiful sandy beach on this lovely island. Yeah, not so much. I did get some quality time on the lounge chair, but it’s still overcast and there is a bit of a wind, so it’s almost cold. And then it starts to spit rain. Just not a good start. Anyways, after a couple of hours, we board the bus back to the boat. Now the funny thing is I ran into this guy on the ship who’s not doing any excursions. He’s like, “If you’ve seen one beautiful sandy beach in the Caribbean, you’ve seen them all. Why leave the ship.” And I can kind of see his point.

Back on the boat, I have time for a quick disco nap, and then it’s time for the singles cocktail party. Malcom, is the Atlantis cruise director, and he hosts a show every day on the ship’s TV talking about the different things going on that day. About the singles cocktail party and dinner. “It’s for the needy, not the greedy. You don’t count as being single if your boyfriend is up on the pool deck.” He’s just hilarious. The cocktail thing was pretty good. Chatted with some guys. Then we went into the dinner where between courses you got up and moved around so you could meet other single guys. It wasn’t so good. When I got a chance to move, I joined a table too quickly and when everyone else sat down the median age was 50. The second time people got to move (they alternated who could move), the median age went up to 60. When I finally got a chance to escape before the dessert course, I found a decent table and chatted with some interesting guys. But I had to leave dinner early to catch the comedy show. They had three comedians on board the ship and the first show included them all. And it was just hilarious. After the comedy show, it was time to wear my lightweight harness and go to the “Lure of Leather” get together at the bar at the end of the ship. It was fun and I did meet someone who was interested in “checking out my cabin.” So naturally I felt I had to show it to him. ; ) Afterwards, I went up to the Mardi Gras party with DJ Tony Moran. Another lesson learned: you need to pack for the theme parties. Some of these people had insane costumes. So cool. Of course, going shirtless was an option also. I did learn that wearing a harness and wearing mardi gras beads don’t match. How’s that for a bit of fashion advice.

The Mardi Gras Party was great. The music was hot, the boys were hotter, and we danced under the stars with red and green lasers shooting into the sky. It was just amazing. I danced to one of my favorite songs: How Would You Feel by David Morales:

Do you feel, you're in a dream
Is it real or hardly what it seems
Can your heart decide the game
Do you stay or burn me in your flame

Do you wanna remember
Did it last forever
Was it what you imagine
Or did it feel like magic

How would you feel
How would you know
If it was truly love

On the Constellation in San Juan Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 12, 2005

At Fort San Cristóbal. Posted by Hello

El Murro Posted by Hello

Old San Juan

Old San Juan is actually a walled city. Or, it was originally. Most of the walls and fortifications are still left and there is a big fort, complete with moat, at the end of town called El Murro. That’s where I started my tour. The old fort is pretty amazing and there are these turrets at the corners of the fort that overlook the deep blue water surrounding the island. Just like a tourist postcard. The wind is blowing pretty hard, which is nice because it is HOT, and the wind keeps me cool. Overhead, the sky is filled with kites. I’m not sure if it’s spring break here in San Juan, but in the big field in front of the fort, there are easily 50 children flying kites. Of all shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s really pretty. I walk around El Murro and then head into the city proper.

With it's small streets, cobblestones, and quaint little houses Old San Juan reminds me of the little towns in Spain or Italy. All of the houses are painted in pastel colors: pink, orange, yellow, light blue. It really is pretty. I wander the city for a bit, trying to find someplace to have lunch, but the only place I find is a McDonalds. Just say NO! So I keep wandering. At the other end of the town is the other part of the main fort: Fort San Cristóbal. It’s about lunch time now and I’m seeing more gay guys who are going to be on the cruise sort of wandering around the town. I head into the fort and am really appreciating the shade from the battlements. Part of the tour heads deep underground, into the heart of the fort, where they used to store gun powder and there was a small prison. It’s just hard to imagine how much time and effort it took to build these huge forts.

I cab back to Condado and do the beach thing. All I want is some peace and quiet. But no, the spring breakers are here. I’m sitting in front of three girls and a guy, all probably under 20, who are getting hammered on cheap Puerto Rican beer at like 2 in the afternoon. And one of the girls is just this little whiny bitch. “Jeff, go get us some more beer.” “Jeff, go get the bottle from the room.” “Go get my cigarettes.” I’m just hoping that Jeff is getting some from her after taking all of this crap.

Back to the hotel to shower, change, head to the Atlantic Beach Hotel. A quick drink there and then it’s off to the Hilton Caribe for the Atlantis welcoming party. I ended up sharing a cab with a couple who own a guest house in Ft. Lauderdale. They are hammered, but hilarious. The Hilton is pack with gay men. All fighting for the spot at the bar. I meet some interesting folks, including a hot couple who have cards made up and they are handing them out. Yep, little cards with their pics, their names, and their room number on the ship. I would see this couple off an on during the whole trip but never got a chance to hook up with them. Oh well.

After the cocktail party, I decide to go back to Condado to grab some dinner before heading to the Eros nightclub. On the way back to Condado I get stuck in this horrible traffic jam. I ask the driver what the problem is and he says that there is a section of town where all of these bars and restaurants are and that’s what causing the jam. So I decide to hop out of the cab to explore some of the local nightlife. Couple of things: Puerto Ricans are loud. Loud talkers, Loud music, just loud, loud, loud. The street is packed, like what I imagine Mardi Gras is like in New Orleans, except it’s just a Friday night. Salsa music is blaring from every bar and restaurant. The street is packed with Puerto Ricans of every age and they ALL have either a drink or a cigarette, or both. I worm my way through the crowd and find a restaurant. The menu is only in Spanish and the waiter can’t tell me what the food is in English, so I just order blindly. I ended up with a stuffed game hen. Not bad, and definitely different. After dinner, I walked up to the Eros nightclub and hang out for a couple of hours. The music was okay. Around 1AM, it was back to the hotel.

Friday, March 11, 2005

View from El Murro Posted by Hello

DC to San Juan

Okay, so I had planned this trip for months. No wait, scratch that. I had signed up for this cruise many months ago, but I really didn’t do any planning. Which is so unusual for me. And when you have no plan . . . . well, it generally doesn’t turn out very well.

The night before the trip, I got a new haircut, short, buzzcut-ish, and highlights. Then a friend came over to help with some grooming. And so I found myself packing at 1030 the night before I leave. So am I really thinking things through, what I’m bringing, the right number of shirts, shorts, etc? No, not really. I got the essentials and shoved them into a suitcase and a roll on. Then I crashed.

The Supershuttle sucks. They arrive 30 minutes early and want to know if I’m ready. Um, no! We’ll can we come back in 10 minutes? Try 20. I was the last one in the packed shuttle and then we headed out to Dulles. It was cold, like snowflakes coming down cold, but I refused to bring a coat. So it’s jeans and a black wool sweater. Dulles is only a minor haze. I get out to the gate and it’s early. Like 2 ½ hours early. So I start to read and people watch. It’s easy to figure out who’s going on my cruise. I see several of the A-list gays. Hate them. Tall, thin, good looking, partnered. Hate them. A couple of hotties, but I’m feeling big, fat, and unattractive in my jeans and black wool sweater.

The flight down is uneventful. I was braced for the horror of the airport at San Juan, but it seemed so nice, and clean. And did I mention f&*king warm. Even with the AC, it’s hot. Lesson Learned: Plan. When leaving a frigid cold climate and going to the tropics, dress in layers or bring a frickin change of clothes in your carry on. The trek to baggage claim is a good way to get the blood and sweat flowing. Yikes this black wool sweater is a heat sink. Baggage claim: what a zoo. It takes over an hour, and three different baggage carousals to get my bags. When I leave the baggage claim area and actually go outside, it’s like an oven.

San Juan is not pretty. It’s big, it’s noisy, it’s a mix of modern high rises and slums. The traffic makes DC’s look weak. It reminds me of the Phillipines, and not just for the heat. The driver doesn’t speak English (and this is a US territory don’t forget!), the cars don’t really follow the traffic lights. It’s all just weird. We get to the Condado area of San Juan which is where the Radisson is. I had Pricelined the Radisson and it claimed it was a 3 star hotel. I guess 3 stars doesn’t mean much in San Juan. The hotel is basic, clean, but not 3 stars. It does have a casino which is packed with little old ladies chain smoking and working the slots. Kind of sad. I change clothes (shorts yea!!) and decide to tour the neighborhood. Condado is definitely one of the main tourist areas, so it’s kind of nice. Kind of like a run down South Beach. I manage to find the Atlantic Beach Hotel which is the gay hotel and it’s got a beachfront bar. I sit, listen to the good music, and drink a couple of margaritas. Did I say couple? Try four. And then I realize, I’m hammered. And hungry.

So I find a Mexican restaurant for dinner. I’m sitting next to two young, pretty hot guys who are so working this woman who is sitting next to them. They are probably early 20s and she’s probably mid-late 30s. And they are using every tired line in the book and it’s just really sad. Weirder still is that across from them are two older men, who the younger men refer to as their Dad’s, and the older men are trying to convince the woman to go out with their sons and have a "good time". Even in my 5 margarita stupor (well I had to have another one with the chips while I wait for my dinner!), I can’t believe these men are trying to scam this woman into their sons beds. And trust me, it’s so obvious that all the younger guys want to do is score. Then, the younger guys leave and it turns out the older guys aren’t their Dads at all, just strangers at the restaurant. It’s like watching the Twilight Zone.

Between the food and the margaritas, I’m done for the night, at like 8 PM. Yes, kind of sad I know. But tomorrow is old San Juan and then the beach!

Friday, March 04, 2005

My membership card?

From Howard's "Fashion Cocktails DC" blog:

"'Early' is the new 'Late'". But what does that mean in the gay world? "On time" means atleast 30 minutes late. And "fashionably late" means atleast an hour late, if not more. So if "Early" is the new "late", does that mean you show up on time. Or even early, like before the event started. I'm so confused.

I've also learned that "Excited" is the new "Bored". Yikes, I can't keep up. Next thing you know, "black" will be the new "black." I'm so confused.

And that's why we need a membership card and a monthly newsletter. There are so many guys out there who just don't know that they are gay, and a membership card would help them all out. If my membership card hadn't gotten lost in the mail, I would have been out years ago. Plus, we really need a new members guide: things like how to come out to parents, how to speak gay, how to dress, how to figure out which subgroup you belong to (jocks, twinks, bears, etc), the militant gay agenda, you know, the basics. It took me a couple of years to realize that you get the toaster after you've converted three "straights". See, this is just crucial information that needs to be provided upfront.

I'm always afraid that I'm going to be the token gay man at a party or some event and I'm not the stylish, witty, smart, successful man that the media says I'm supposed to be. If I let the community down, will they take away my membership card?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Yuppy Go Home!

I love living in the city. So much to do, great shops, bars, restaurants, the theater, you name it. But there is a price to pay for this much fun. It's called living in the city. The noise, the traffic, the taxes, etc. Most of the times, it seems like it's worth it.

So when I moved into my condo last summer, there was a big pothole right in front of my parking spot. There's also a big 6 foot tall metal pool right to the right of my parking spot, so getting into my parking spot is always a bit of a kabuki dance. It's usually a 2 or 3 point turn to get in. And the pot hole sucks. It makes it just that much more difficult and I'm always a little paranoid about gunning out of the pothole and hitting the big frickin pole. So since the winters is almost over (truth in advertising alert: it's actually snowing while i blog!), I thought I would start the ball rolling to get the pothole filled. So I started with the condo management folks. Nope, it's a DC thing. But there's this website where you can go to request to have the pot hole filled. So I go online, I fill out the form. Size, location, etc. And I'm thinking, okay maybe by mid-summer they will get it fixed. But less than a week later is was filled. I was shocked!! Government bureaucratic efficiency? Here in DC? No way!

But then I was walking from my car to the entrance to my building and I noticed that someone had spraypainted part of the concrete on my building. And what did it say? "Yuppy Go Home." Are you kidding me? Hello, which "yuppy" are you referring to? Is this some futile attempt to save the "hood" from the yuppies. Well wake up and smell the Starbucks, or the Caribu, coffee. The yuppies are here. They own the neighborhood, and they have for years. This area of Dupont and Logan isn't really "in transition" anymore. If you want to fight for the "hood", try Shaw or Columbia Heights, or some other places to the east. You've lost the battle here.