Miami: A Gay Winter Wonderland

Author: , December 31st, 2010

Gay Miami TravelMy trip timing wasn’t so good. When I arrived in Miami two weeks ago, Florida was in the middle of a cold snap. The famed Miami Beach was deserted except for a few surfers in wetsuits and tourists posing for pictures in winter clothes. It had gotten down to 34 degrees that morning. It wasn’t predicted to go above 53 degrees all day and was going to be another night in the 30s. San Francisco’s low temperature that day was the same as Miami’s high temperature.

But the typical year-round summer weather in Miami returned two days later. The “crisis” was over. Summer was back. The beaches were full of people soaking in the Florida sunshine in the middle of December.

Barring a rare cold snap, Miami is a great escape from the Bay Area cold and rain. It is also a very gay welcoming getaway. And the gayest thing to happen in Miami in a while is happening this week. A gay hotel, Lords South Beach, is scheduled to have its official grand opening, following a soft opening that began last month. It is the only gay hotel in the greater Miami area and is already generating a lot of buzz.

Full Story from the BAR

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami.

Seattle to Host West Coast Gay Tourism Summit

Author: , December 31st, 2010

Gay Seattle Tourism ConferenceNationwide, gay and lesbian tourism is an $84 billion dollar industry, and a local group is trying to make Seattle the center of it.

The Greater Seattle Business Association, a gay and lesbian oriented chamber of commerce, will host similar organizations from up and down the west coast Jan. 6 to 8 for the first ever gay tourism summit.

Seattle has the country’s second largest percentage of the population identifying as gay or lesbian, but according to the GSBA’s Jerome Bader, it’s 9th on the list of most popular tourism destinations for that community.

Full Story from MyNorthwest.com

Click here for gay marriage resources in Seattle.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook – just search for Gay Marriage Watch (you’ll see our b/w wedding pic overlooking the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge in SF). We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

“Adonis Tulum”, Luxury Gay Hotel, to Open on Mexican Riviera

Author: , December 30th, 2010

Adonis Tulum Gay HotelA luxury hotel catering exclusively to male gay tourists will open in January on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Spanish news agency EFE reported. The 94-room Adonis Tulum hotel near the Tulum archaeological zone will serve male gay tourists exclusively.

“The hotel is uniquely for men,” Patrick Lurenz, the hotel’s general director, said. “That is to say, only homosexual couples are accepted, it’s not for women, although among our personnel we have heterosexual men and women and all have received specialized training to avoid having our guests feel uncomfortable or discriminated against.”

It is the first such hotel in the state of Quintana Roo, and is expected to provide 100 direct jobs.

Full Story from On Top Magazine

Click here for gay travel resources in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Fortitude, New Gay Benefit Weekend, Launching in Ft. Lauderdale in March

Author: , December 30th, 2010

Ft. LauderdaleFortitude, a new LGBT benefit weekend featuring over 12 events, launches in Fort Lauderdale during President’s Day Weekend 2011, February 17 -21. Fortitude includes a film festival, comedy night, live concert, Women’s and Men’s pool parties, sunset cocktails, brunch, and nightclub/bar events.

Two of the signature events are the comedy night and the live concert. The Saturday, Feb. 19 comedy night will be held at the historic Parker Playhouse featuring Judy Gold, Alec Mapa and Julie Goldman. Judy Gold is a 2-time Emmy Award winner for her work on the Rosie O’Donnell Show, a GLAAD Award winner, and has delighted audiences with her critically acclaimed Off-Broadway hit 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.

Alec Mapa’s hilarious one man show, I Remember Mapa, won the LA Weekly award for Best Solo show; he is better known as the always catty series regular, Suzuki St. Pierre, in Ugly Betty. Julie Goldman is an award winning comedian in her third season on Logo’s Big Gay Sketch Show and appears on Comedy Central with her featured stand-up Live at Gotham.

Full Story from Chicago Pride

Click here for gay travel resources.

Gay Travel in Cambodia: From Temples to Drag Queens

Author: , December 29th, 2010

CambodiaThe air is heavy with heat and the lingering smells of the day. It is nearly midnight when my partner and I walk down the dusty road, hopping on and off the pavement to avoid open sewers, discarded food and parked tuk-tuks. As we get to the end of the street we hear the unmistakable thumping of techno music, the trademark of Blue Chili – one of Phnom Penh’s oldest gay bars.

It is the Mr Blue Chilli competition and slender Cambodian men are strutting their stuff down a makeshift catwalk erected in the middle of the street. They swagger, smile and preen to the cheers of people crammed inside the bar while dozens of Cambodian and foreign onlookers on the street peer over the fence to get a good look.

We join the street gawkers, watching the boys, then the drag queens perform before making our way back down the street. It is our second week in the city, and once again we are struck by what a country of anomalies Cambodia is.

Full Story from Xtra!

Click here for gay travel resources in Cambodia.

Gay Tourism Soars in Mexico City After Gay Marriage Legalized

Author: , December 29th, 2010

Mexico City Gay TourismGay & lesbian tourism in Mexico’s capital has soared since lawmakers legalized gay marriage in March. According to the government’s Officinia de Turismo Lesbico-Gay Bisexual y Transexual (LGBT), the city netted nearly half a million dollars (6 million pesos) in the second half of 2010.

The agency’s manager, Erwin Romero Montiel, credited the legalization of gay marriage for the city’s soaring gay tourism.

“Social progress, namely the law to allow marriages between members of the same sex and local government policies, have opened great possibilities for this niche market,” he told Mexican news agency Notimex.

Full Story from On Top Magazine

Click here for gay travel resources in Mexico City.

Ten Lessons for Gay/Lesbian Travelers

Author: , December 27th, 2010

I’ve been on the road for six months already, which seems like an awfully long time to be living out of a backpack but just barely enough time to see a chunk of the world. This milestone happens to coincide with the end of the year, which is already a time of reflection.

Now it’s even more of an opportunity to think about home, family and my place in the world. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Open up. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something. I used to have a problem asking for help; now I have to ask 27 different strangers how to get to the bus station, how much it should cost, which stop I should take. It’s OK to be vulnerable and trust people.

2. Sharing is fun. Remember show-and-tell time in kindergarten? Traveling is like that, but on an extremely large scale. I’ve introduced South Africans to Mexican food, shared photos of my family with villagers in Uganda and taught Rwandans how to play bingo. In exchange, I’ve picked up a few new phrases in different languages, sampled local foods and learned how to wield a machete in a rice field.

Full Story from MyDesert.com

Click here for gay marriage resources.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook – just search for Gay Marriage Watch (you’ll see our b/w wedding pic overlooking the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge in SF). We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

Bird Whirled: Sandhill Cranes, An Experience of Wonder

Author: , December 26th, 2010

by Fred Miller, Copper City Inn

Email Fred | Visit the Copper City Inn Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Sky Islands Page

Bisbee Sandhill Cranes

When  looking at birds the tendency is to focus on the individual bird. That’s mostly what we see around us. That is if we look.  For birds often are taken for granted,  part of our visual and auditory environment that’s always there but little noticed.

However if you visit Bisbee during the Fall and Winter you can immerse yourself in the bird world in a big way, one of the many magnificent sites of the natural world in Southeastern Arizona and it is absolutely free.

Bisbee Sandhill CranesThis primal experience can be yours by driving 30 minutes east of Bisbee to Whitewater Draw wetlands to view the Sandhill Cranes. They arrive from the Northern US and Canada in October and leave in February. (The better known and more numerous, humanus arveeus,  know by their common name, Snowbird, has a similar migration pattern although their nests are widely dispersed throughout Arizona.)

A person, you perhaps, might be inclined to think, so what? What’s the big deal over a bunch of birds?

The deal is, they are huge, they are loud, there are thousands and thousands  of them, and you can view them up close. It is an experience of Wonder.

Sandhill Cranes  have  a wingspan of six to seven feet. As many as 21,000 birds have shown up at the wetlands although the number varies from year to year. They are grey in color with black feet, legs, and bill. A patch of reddish skin marks their forehead. The last few  years there has been a magnificent albino crane amongst them. You can see it and many more photos here, www.sabo.org/photoalb/whitsand.htm.

Bisbee Sandhill CranesThe optimum time to go to Whitewater Draw is at sunrise or sunset although there are birds hanging out throughout the day.  At sunrise large numbers of  birds leave to feed in the harvested grains fields around Wilcox, Kansas Settlement, and Elfrida. The air is filled with their loud calls and  there is a momentary illusion of low grey clouds rippling and rising in the morning light.

At sunset, long, thin, irregular shaped lines begin emerging from the north and east appearing black across the orange-red tinted sky. A faint sound accompanies these many wavering lines stacked and staggered above the horizon. The sound separates into hundreds of calls vying for ear space, then louder and louder and finally a cacophony of sound surrounds Whitewater as hundreds of  birds alight simultaneously.

Bisbee Sandhill CranesAnd then they are in the water, around the water, over the water, standing,  grooming, walking, squawking, wading,  flying, lying;  thousands of birds filling your senses with their presence.

Other bird species can be seen at Whitewater. Most notably are Vermillion flycatchers that flit among the reeds looking like, ummm , little red birds? In the rear of the pole barn you may see a barn owl.

Adjacent to and south of the water in a stand of trees is a  quartet of Great Horned Owls. Walk over and look up as those unblinking yellow eyes fasten on you; whooooo is watching whom?  Most likely you won’t be this close to an owl unless you’re a mouse. Greater Roadrunners dart around frequently, as do blackbirds, and several kinds of hawks. Other birds to be seen are Snow Geese, Blue Heron, American Pipet, Say’s Phoebe and an occasional Golden Eagle.

The sunsets frequently have dreamy  cotton puff white clouds with a brilliant orange/black outline moving slowly in a tangerine tinged sky. The intensity fades to pink, then lavender, then dark blue hues as the sun slips over the mountain bringing that peculiar time known as  dusk where it’s not light and not dark and the chill sets in while the brush rustles with nocturnal creatures and the cacophony of cranes quiets.

Whitewater Draw is part of a 600 acre wildlife area that is owned and managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It is semi-developed with two viewing platforms with fixed binoculars, a perimeter trail, picnic tables and restroom and ample parking.

Note: If you bring a dog, please keep them on a leash so they do not disturb and/or threaten the wildlife as well as other visitors.

Directions to Whitewater Draw: Take Hwy 80 East from Bisbee towards Douglas, as you descend from the mountains  (about 7 miles) a left turn lane will appear with a turn to Double Adobe Road. Take it. Go 8 miles to Central Highway (Double Adobe dead ends into Central Highway) Go left, north, about 3 miles to Bagby Road, (start looking a mile after you pass the Fiesta Canning plant for  a small Whitewater Draw sign on the right.) turn left, go ¼ mile and you’re there.

What to Bring: A warm jacket, binoculars, camera, comfortable walking shoes, and water. Pick up a picnic lunch or  some goodies from High Desert Market (two blocks up the canyon from Copper City Inn) and  treat yourself to a nice repast on one of the several picnic tables on site.

Tours and more photos:

The Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO), a non-profit organization,  has  tours of wetlands and wonderful Hawk Stalks. Sherri Williamson and Tom Wood are the knowledgeable people doing the tours. Their website is replete with detailed pics of birds you are apt to see at Whitewater Draw.  < www.sabo.org/photoalb/hawkstal.htm>

Resource websites :

www.gf.state.az.us/outdoor_recreation/wildlife_area_whitewater.shtml

http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/cranecam (this site is about the Platte river in Nebraska, a stopover for the Sandhill Crane Spring migration.)

http://www.aztrogon.com/AZInfo/litrefs.htm (books on SE AZ birds)

Copper City Inn, Bisbee, AZStaying at our Inn is a perfect place to stay when checking out cranes and other birds. Copper City Inn is in the historic copper mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. Quiet, sensuous rooms with thoughtful amenities characterize the five room Inn. Each room has a balcony with views looking down on Main Street and across to the Mule Mountains. Nestled into the side of Tombstone Canyon, on the quiet side of the historic business district, the Inn is just steps away from shopping, restaurants,  and museums.

All of our guests receive a complimentary bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine, Evian bottled water, locally roasted organic coffees, teas, and a voucher for a continental breakfast at a nearby gourmet market. Rates are $110-$135.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Casita du Marroc, Taos, NM

Author: , December 26th, 2010

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Gay Friendly Taos, New Mexico Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Casita du Marroc, Taos, NMCasita du Marroc is a cozy vacation rental casita in El Prado, New Mexico, just a few miles north of Taos.

Our Taos casita offers colorful Moroccan decor, with a huge circular shower, and some great artwork by some of our talented local artists.

The queen size pillowtop bed has an allergy free “feather bed” as well as a European duvet to keep you warm in the cool winter nights. The sheets are organic cotton – and we use organic laundry & cleaning products to provie you with a clean, safe environment.

The casita also has a Jotul gas stove to keep you warm in the winter while adding to the romantic ambiance.

On the side of the casita, you’ll find a small private patio – it’s a great place to to sit, relax, and enjoy coffee or a glass of wine. There are several other sitting areas on the grounds, as well as a hammock for use in the summertime – a great place for stargazing.

See the Casita du Marroc Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Travel: What to Tip When Traveling

Author: , December 26th, 2010

The friendly doorman is at the curb in an uncharacteristically severe San Francisco downpour, and he’s trying to get me a cab. Once he finally snags one, he follows me with the umbrella to make sure that I don’t get soaked, ruining my always-gorgeous appearance. He opens the door and I jump in.

There’s an awkward pause that I have been dreading, because I don’t have any cash to tip him with. I hate not tipping, because hospitality workers are often unappreciated and certainly under paid. Most people don’t tip right, or at all, because they have never been educated to what the normal is.

In general, the rule is: tip when special attention has been given. Don’t feel obligated to tip if the service has been mediocre, but reward good service whenever possible.

Full Story from GayTravel.com

Click here for gay travel resources.