Wandering Wives – Stranded Roadside In India

Author: , November 30th, 2015

Indian cart

The journey from Orchha to Agra was a long one. We travelled on dusty roads through areas which our driver proclaimed were unsafe to stop. I am not sure how long we had been driving for when we got a flat tyre. Our driver pulled into the side of the road and set to work on fixing the flat. We decided to get out of the car to stretch our legs and were told to get back in, guard our bags and not let anyone see us. A little shocked we did as we were told, he fixed the flat and we continued on our journey. As we drove he told us how we were travelling through ‘bandit country‘ and how everyone here had guns and it was not safe to stop anywhere. We gazed out of the windows at the passing colourful trucks and arid landscape, thankful of our lucky escape.

The scenery rolled by through the afternoon until our peace was once again disturbed by the familiar thud-thud-thudding of a flat tyre on a gravel road. Our second flat of the day was much more traumatic than the first. We stopped opposite some kind of truck stop and the driver got out to assess the situation. We now had three working India Biketyres and two flats. He jacked up the car and took the damaged wheel off. Then he went over the road to chat to some local men at the truck stop, which was now looking more like a trailer park. The hard faced, gap toothed locals emerged to look at us. Children at first, then men. We smiled but tried not to encourage them, fearing for our safety and wondering if we were still in ‘bandit country.’ Our driver came back and told us he had to go to the next town to fix the tyre. He locked the doors, told us to stay in the car, pushed his mobile phone and the car keys through the open window then before we realised what was happening he was gone. He jumped on a truck with our flat tyre and left us on the side of the road, with three wheels and a jack. We quickly wound up the window.

Then the men came. Young men, old men, teenagers and middle aged men, around 25 of them in total. They surrounded our vehicle and began to circle us. They prowled around the car, pointing, looking, leering at us. Some started blowing kisses and knocking on the window. One of them tried the door handle and laughed as he realised it was locked. The pack continued to circle us, shouting to us, blowing kisses, trying to open the doors. Then the car began to move, they were pushing it from side to side laughing at us as we cowered inside. We were frozen in fear by what was unfolding, unable to speak or move. Seeing the mobile phone we decided to call for help, but we quickly realised we had no idea of our actual location to notify the police. The only other number we had was our drivers, and it was his phone we had. We contemplated putting the keys in the ignition and driving the car off its jack. We had no idea how far away the next town was or if a car with three wheels would even move. Our only weapon was a Swiss army knife which was somewhere at the bottom of my backpack. We knew it was only a matter of time before they tipped the car or smashed a window to get to us…read more on Wandering Wives

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Bilbao & Beyond: 10 Great Spanish Art Museums To Visit Before You Die

Author: , November 30th, 2015

Dali Museum - Queerty

She’s been home to some of the worlds most important artists, from El Greco to Goya to Picasso. So its no surprise that Spain is also home to many of the worlds best art museums, covering virtually every period in history and every corner of her map.

At the heart of it all is Madrids Golden Triangle of Art, the three-museum powerhouse (made up of the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofa) thats one of the most potent concentrations of culture in all of Europe.

But incredible must-see museums are strewn across all of Spain, from Bilbao in the north to Mlaga in the south, and from Mrida in the west to Figueres in the east.

Here are 10 to remember for your next Spanish itinerary. See, seor!

Full Story at Queerty

Spain Gay Travel Resources

Carlos Melia – Sunset At The Iconic Shwedagon Pagoda

Author: , November 30th, 2015

Carlos Melia - Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda, known as well as the crown of Myanmar might be as well, the most iconic landmark of Myanmar, one of the most famous pagodas in the world and a very important monument for Buddhist religion. According to some, the pagoda is 2,600 years old, making Shwedagon the oldest pagoda in the world.

When in Yangon, you will feel its omnipresence, and you will be literally draw to it as a magnet. It can be seen from most places of Yangon day and night as the golden roof illuminates the city. The best time to visit, is right before sunset, to be able to appreciate the site, atmosphere and colors, pre and post sunset.

Carlos Melia - MyanmarLocated atop the Singuttara Hill, is this 99 metres (325 ft) tall pagoda, which is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas. There are replicas of Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, like Uppatasanti Pagodalocated in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar. Completed in 2009, it is similar in many aspects to Shwedagon Pagoda, but its height is 30 cm (12 in) less than that of Shwedagon.

The pagoda is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. Being that Myanmar practices the Theravada Buddhism, adds to its prestige. The pilgrimage to Shwedagon Pagoda is to Buddhist, is much the same way Kaaba at Mecca means to Muslims. The main gold-plated dome is topped by a stupa containing over 7,000 diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires, the whole giddy concoction offset by a massive emerald positioned to reflect the last rays of the setting sun.

Before visiting Myanmar, make sure to know the day you were born and the time. It is important for Burmese Buddhists to know on which day of the week they were born, as this determines their planetary post. There are eight planetary posts, as Wednesday is split in two (a.m. and p.m.).

They are marked by animals that represent the day. Each planetary post has a Buddha image and devotees offer flowers and prayer flags and pour water on the image with a prayer and a wish. At the base of the post behind the image is a guardian angel, and underneath the image is the animal representing that particular day. The base of the stupa is octagonal and also surrounded by eight small shrines (one for each planetary post). It is customary to circumnavigate Buddhist stupas in a clockwise direction.

Carlos Melia - MyanmarOne of the many experiences that stood out during this journey across Myanmar, all created by the local expect team of Belmond, was the Oil Lamp Lightning Ceremony at Shwedagon Pagoda. We lit the whole circumference of the pagoda with oil candles. Was such a moving and unforgettable moment and sight. A symbol of moving out of darkness and towards the brilliant future. A must do experience.

The Shwedagon Pagoda is open every day of the year from 04:00 AM to 22:00 PM. Last admission is at 21:45. Entrance fee to Shwedagon is $8 per person. A guide will cost an additional $5. When visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda, it is advised to dress modestly. You have to wear trousers or at least knee length shorts or skirt; t-shirts with elbow length sleeves are also expected. You must enter the Shwedagon barefoot.

Was time to get my shoes back and head back to Belmond Governors Residence, to get ready for an evening hosted by me for our group, at the grande dame of Yangon, Le Planteur Restaurant. I can say after my visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, that I have checked yet another box of my travel bucket list. A landmark I have admired for years, and once of the main purposes of my visit to Yangon. And most definitely had not disappointed at all.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Myanmar Gay Travel Resources

Seven Things to Do When #TravelingWhileTrans

Author: , November 30th, 2015

giphy

The recent tale of a transgender woman humiliated, demeaned, detained, delayed, and derailed by the Transportation Security Administration has struck fear into some trans travelers and validated the paranoia of others who vow not to travel (or avoid airports) so as to avoid a horror story of their own.

Well, as a trans woman who’s traveled the country by nearly every means available, I have something important to tell you: whatever happens, you’ll survive.

But I know from my own experience that bad things happen at the airport screening area all the time, ranging from the simply annoying to downright soul-crushing, as in the case of Shadi Petosky. Her friends and supporters created a hashtag on social media to help others share their experiences: #TravelingWhileTrans.

And let’s face it, airport insecurity is hardly a new phenomenon.

By Dawn Ennis – Full Story at The Advocate

Featured Gay Accommodations: Brandt House B&B, Greenfield, Massachusetts

Author: , November 30th, 2015

Brandt House B&B

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

The Brandt House: a historic sixteen room colonial revival estate sited on three and a half magnificent acres. Just five minutes walking time to downtown Greenfield. An elegant house with antiques, original art, beautiful woodwork, fresh flowers, and friendly caring staff who are committed to making your stay world class. Discover – Delectable featherbeds with down comforters (oh, it’s hard to get up!). Antiques everywhere. Wrap-around porches with mountain views. Flower gardens outdoors. Romantic, crackling fireplaces in bedrooms, library, and living room. Huge covered porch with gentle summer breezes. Sweeping sunny lawns. Always fresh flowers. Complimentary champagne for special occasions. Miles of adjacent woods for cross-country skiing, ice skating, hiking, biking, bird watching, and relaxing. Spring peepers and crickets to serenade you. Air conditioned rooms. Skylights and sun-filled spaces.

See the Brandt House B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in the Connecticut River Valley

Purple Roofs LGBT Travel Newsletter: November 29th

Author: , November 29th, 2015

Welcome to the biweekly Purple Roofs Newsletter. Every day, our LGBT Travel Blog brings you featured LGBT travel articles, as well as tons of news and helpful travel tips, which we summarize here for you every few weeks. And you can also join our Facebook Travel Clubs for our daily discussions and your travel questions (it’s free!):

Gay Travel Club | Lesbian Travel Club | Transgender Travel Club |
Bi Travel Club | LGBT Families Travel Club


Gaslight Inn - Seattle

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Featured Articles:

Morlaix streetFRANCE: Wandering Wives – Morlaix A Fairytale Town
by the Wandering Wives
The old French town of Morlaix is one of the most picturesque places we have ever visited. Nestled between the foothills of the Monts d’Arrée national park and the towns beautiful estuary, Morlaix is a charming mix of ancient buildings and cobbled lane ways, just waiting to be explored. The whole town sits under the watchful eye of a large viaduct, framing its spires and roof tops and further adding to its photographic appeal. We explored the maze of cobbled lane ways and stumbled across tiny French patisseries and creperies hiding out of sight. We found ourselves wandering for hours, pressing our faces up against the windows of bakeries and marvelling at the old world charm. Poking our heads into cute little shops selling Breton biscuits and traditional French dress. When we stumbled across a bicycle outside a shop, we half expected its owner to arrive wearing a Breton top, carrying a baguette, with a string of onions around his neck.


IMG_31711MEXICO: Puerto Vallarta Gay Bar Tour is first Expedia All Gay Tour
by Tim Wilson
“We‘re thrilled Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping Tours will be Expedia’s first exclusive gay tour in Latin America,” said Tim Wilson, owner of Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping and GAYPV.MX, Puerto Vallarta’s gay travel guide and tour promoter. In a joint announcement, Nikolay Nikolov, Destination Manager for Expedia Mexico said “We are pleased to add these gay tours to our portfolio. It will the first gay tours added to the Expedia network in Latin America. These gay tours will complement Expedia’s existing network of best LGBT-friendly hotels.” said Nikolov. Gay Vallarta Bar Tours also has partnered with The Palm Cabaret Cabaret and Act II Entertainment’s Main Stage and Red Room to offer dinner theater packages and a mini gay bar hop afterwards. These are offered on Expedia as well as by the staff at both theaters’ box offices. These combo packages attend the 7/7:30 pm shows or the 9:30 pm shows and include dinner, admission to the show with preferred seating when available, and drinks after the show. “You’ll never have to choose whether you want to see a cabaret show or go barhopping on a Saturday night,” said Wilson. “Now you can do both!”


Carlos Melia - MyanmarMYANMAR: A Day in Yangon
by Carlos Melia
It was time to give my warm Mingalaba ” Good Morning ” to Yangon, and off I went, escorted by the expert team of the Belmond Governor’s Residence, on a full day experience tour of Yangon. I will let mainly the images do the talking, and pinpoint some tips and must see/do while in there. My stay consisted of two nights, and I felt it was the perfect amount of time to enjoy the destinations and see all that needed to be seen. Hope you enjoy my day exploring the vibrant and contrasting Yangon (also known as Rangoon), former capital of Myanmar (Burma) and the the country’s largest city with a population of over five million. I wish to dedicate this, and all my Myanmar post, to Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi. And congratulate her on her massive win on the latest elections. I happened to be in Myanmar, weeks before the election took place. Such a pivotal moment in the life of Burmese people and a new era to come. A true example that convictions ethics, values and character cannot be undermined and dreams cannot be crushed by power.


Carlos Melia - ThailandTHAILAND: Carlos Melia – Khlong Touring in Bangkok Along the Chao Phraya
by Carlos Melia
On a very hot and humid day, it was quite lovely to go on for a long sail onboard a long-tailed speedboat, along the Chao Phraya River and later penetrate the life along the khlongs of Bangkok, enjoy the breeze and every so often a cold splash of water. Our tour began right at our host hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, and from there we went on for approximately 3 hours. This is one of my many visits to Bangkok, but indeed the first time doing the tour of the khlongs, which gives of a totally different perspective of life in Bangkok in the banks of the river and its canals. See and follow my full Instagram Photo Gallery on Bangkok… A Khlong is the general name for a canal on the central plain of Thailand. These canals are spawned by the Chao Phraya, among other rivers, and their tributaries. The Thai word khlong is not limited to artificial canals.


Carlos Melia BangkokTHAILAND:
by Carlos Melia
A night in Bangkok, can begin and end in so many ways…. I am sure you all have heard the stories coming from deep in the Sois. But I have been there and done that, and what I do these days, is to repeat those I have enjoyed the most over the years, and open to discover new ones by the hand of my dear local friends. This was the case of my first night in Bangkok a few days ago, which began in full luxury and molecular Dirty Vodka Martinis at the legendary and recently renovated Bamboo Bar, at the iconic Grand Dame of Bangkok, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. 8PM and it was time for me to hit the road, and head one of my favorite classics in Bangkok restaurant scene EAT ME. For some, perhaps not the best restaurant there, but the one that always delivers the best experiences. And BTW it has been awarded Asia’s 50 TOP Restaurants accolade. For the last 4 years, always at the same time, same table, same lovely companion – superstition, not al all – just the perfect recipe and mix for a marvelous night out. And of course, regardless where I am going and the budget, my choice to move around Bangkok are the Tuk Tuks. I just LOVE to interact with the drivers, and feel/smell Bangkok as we ride.


Carlos Melia - ThailandTHAILAND: Carlos Melia – Taking a Thai Cooking Class
by Carlos Melia
After a long night out in Bangkok which began in full luxury and ended up right in the underground scene, I was awake pretty early, with a pounding headache and hangover, but determine to conquer the day ahead, which included an full morning Thai Cooking Class at The Oriental Thai Cooking School of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, follow by a 3-hours Khlong tour of Bangkok. So my first stop was shades to conceal the damage of my late night out, and ultra healthy breakfast over an ultra spicy Khao Tom soup to sweat away the many bottles of Champagne I had. After that I was ready to start my day and master the arts of Traditional Thai Cooking. I went to the adventure onboard one of the private barges, that would transport me across the Chao Phraya River to The Oriental Thai Cooking School by the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, and to my master of the morning, Chef Narain Kiattiyotcharoen. The dishes, or better I should say the challenge, of the day were: Banana in Coconut Sauce, Steamed Leaf-wrapped prawns with spicy sauce, Green Curry with Chicken and Stir-fried squid with salted egg yolk.


Downtown Santa feUSA, NEW MEXICO: TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Santa Fe, New Mexico Part 2
by Donald and Ray, the Gay Travelers
In our last travel column on Santa Fe, we told you about the FABULOUS place to stay, El Farolito B and B Inn, or their sister property, Four Kachinas Inn. They are simply THE BEST. Once you settle in, you need to find places to dine. We have been going to Santa Fe for over 30 years and our two very favorite places to dine are La Choza, 904 Alarid St. which is just once block east of St. Francis and one block north of Cerrillos Road. It is located in the old adobe headquarters of the turn of the century Mercer Ranch. They offer a very large selection of meals using the finest of ingredients. They have been voted the #1 restaurant in New Mexico by many different surveys and we agree! It is all about atmosphere, food presentation, quality of food and service. La Choza has it all! If you are lucky enough to get server, Geraldo you are very lucky indeed. He is the best of the best and will be able to help you select the perfect menu just for you. Why can’t all servers be this friendly and professional. When you enter the restaurant you are very warmly greeted by Newman who takes you to your table and he is one of the friendliest guys in Santa Fe.


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That’s it for this edition of the Purple Roofs Gay Travel Newsletter!

–Mark & Scott
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TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Santa Fe, New Mexico Part 2

Author: , November 29th, 2015

Downtown Santa feIn our last travel column on Santa Fe, we told you about the FABULOUS place to stay, El Farolito B and B Inn, http://farolito.com/ or their sister property, Four Kachinas Inn, http://fourkachinas.com/ They are simply THE BEST.

santa fe la chozaOnce you settle in, you need to find places to dine. We have been going to Santa Fe for over 30 years and our two very favorite places to dine are La Choza, 904 Alarid St. which is just once block east of St. Francis and one block north of Cerrillos Road. It is located in the old adobe headquarters of the turn of the century Mercer Ranch. They offer a very large selection of meals using the finest of ingredients.

They have been voted the #1 restaurant in New Mexico by many different surveys and we agree! It is all about atmosphere, food presentation, quality of food and service. La Choza has it all! If you are lucky enough to get server, Geraldo you are very lucky indeed. He is the best of the best and will be able to help you select the perfect menu just for you. Why can’t all servers be this friendly and professional. When you enter the restaurant you are very warmly greeted by Newman who takes you to your table and he is one of the friendliest guys in Santa Fe.Visit their website at: http://www.lachozasf.com/

La Casa SenaAnother of our favorite restaurants in Santa Fe is La Casa Sena, http://lacasasena.com/ located in downtown just a block from the Plaza. There actually three different places to dine there. You can dine inside which we have done when the weather is bad however they have a huge outdoor patio which we much prefer. They have another great place to dine, La Cantina which is also located right on their property. Sena Plaza is one of the oldest surviving houses in Santa Fe. The rich history of La Casa Sena feels like you are enjoying everything about Santa Fe. Their menu is full of exciting entrees to eat. We always try to get something different every time we go there.

La Cantina EntertainmentTheir La Cantina Bar and restaurant is one of the things all visitors must do when visiting Santa Fe. Their singing waitstaff performs nightly. As always, we talk to everyone and our experience there was no exception as we talked with the staff. We were there every night while we were visiting Santa Fe. Two of our very favorite singers were Morgan Faulkner and Sean Schwebke. They sang songs from Broadway, Jazz and much more, They were a true delight to the entire audience. With Todd Lowrey on the piano it made for a perfect evening. After dark, there is really little to do in the city so this is a real joy! The singers and pianist are simply FABULOUS!

On a sad note, after visiting Santa Fe for over 30 years, we had a bad dining experience at the La Fonda. Several of the guests were complaining about the food as we were. The hostess was very combative which is not a good thing. Follow up notes to the management really did not resolve the problem. We realize that things change and we are very sorry that we cannot recommend dining at the La Fonda anymore.

Another place to stay away from is Vanessie’s. It used to be a wonderful place to dine and hear live music. Unfortunately it was sold a few years ago and because of the new owners attitude, we highly suggest that the LGBT community stay away. A recent email from their business said, ” The owner prefers not to be named.” What kind of an owner of a restaurant / bar prefers not to be named? STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE! and enjoy the rest of Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Indian ReservationOur favorite Indian Reservation to visit when we go to Santa Fe is the Santo Domingo Pueblo as it is one of the best known tribes of the Southwest Indians. It is the 5th largest in population of the 19 New Mexico Pueblos. It is located about 20 miles south of Santa Fe and just a couple of miles west of the Interstate. We have been there during their high feast days and have been welcomed into their homes for dinner. If at all possible, visit the Pueblo on Feast Days. With all the Indian Reservations, please consider that you are a guest there and respect their privacy. However we have always found that the Indians there are very friendly and hospitable and enjoy talking with visitors. Their website is: http://www.indianpueblo.org/19pueblos/santodomingo.html

Shopping in Santa Fe is a real treat. From the most expensive shops on Canyon Road which has over 100 galleries, boutiques and restaurants in just a half mile area, http://visitcanyonroad.com/ The downtown Plaza stores are filled with everything imaginable as well as area Antiques shops and thrift shops. Our home is filled with a lot of items that we have purchased in Santa Fe over the years. You can spend a whole week in Santa Fe just visiting their museums and art galleries.

When visiting Santa Fe, just remember to stay at the El Farolito B and B Inn, http://farolito.com/ or their sister property, Four Kachinas Inn, http://fourkachinas.com/ Santa Fe is such a historical, adventurous and FABULOUS place to visit. We really cannot get enough of it! Guess that is why we have been visiting Santa Fe for over 30 years.

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

New Mexico Gay Travel Resources

Featured Gay Accommodations: Deer Brook Inn, Woodstock, Vermont

Author: , November 29th, 2015

Deer Brook Inn

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

Welcome to beautiful Woodstock and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Enjoy an historic haven of hospitality and comfort surrounded by spacious lawns and gardens. Whether your vision of the idyllic New England bed and breakfast experience is replete with culture and recreation, or just sinking into a comfortable chair with a summer breeze or winter fire, Deer Brook Inn Bed & Breakfast sets the scene while allowing you to set the pace.

See the Deer Brook Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Vermont

City Sundays: Fort Lauderdale

Author: , November 29th, 2015

city-sundays-lauderdale

Hey all,

We’re launching a new weekly series on the blog and our Facebook travel groups – City Sundays. Each week we’ll select a different LGBT friendly city to talk about, and we’ll invite our innkeeper and travel agent/tour operator friends to come talk with us about it as well.

Fort Lauderdale is a great place to visit as an LGBT traveler – it’s warm and sunny, and has so much to offer, from its status as a cruise ship hub to the shopping on Las Olas Ave, from the Riverwalk to Wilton Manors, a suburb of Greater Fort Lauderdale that’s one of the gayest cities in the country.

Have you ever been? What did you do while you were there?

Do you wanna go?

Let’s chat! Join the conversation here:

Gay (Men) Travelers: Gay Travel Club
Lesbian Travelers: Lesbian Travel Club
Transgender Travelers: Transgender Travel Club
Bisexual Travelers: Bi Travel Club
LGBT Families: LGBT Families Travel Club

Check out our Fort Lauderdale page here:

https://www.purpleroofs.com/usa/florida/flbrowardco.html

And our Fort Lauderdale articles on the blog here:

http://purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog/?s=Lauderdale

Wandering Wives – Morlaix A Fairytale Town

Author: , November 28th, 2015

Morlaix street

The old French town of Morlaix is one of the most picturesque places we have ever visited. Nestled between the foothills of the Monts d’Arrée national park and the towns beautiful estuary, Morlaix is a charming mix of ancient buildings and cobbled lane ways, just waiting to be explored. The whole town sits under the watchful eye of a large viaduct, framing its spires and roof tops and further adding to its photographic appeal.

We explored the maze of cobbled lane ways and stumbled across tiny French patisseries and creperies hiding out of sight. We found ourselves wandering for hours, pressing our faces up against the windows of bakeries and marvelling at the old world charm. Poking our heads into cute little shops selling Breton biscuits and traditional French dress. When we stumbled across a bicycle outside a shop, we half expected its owner to arrive wearing a Breton top, carrying a baguette, with a string of onions around his neck. Sadly he did not, but even without the stereotypical native, Morlaix is the quintessential French town… read more on Wandering Wives

Find out more about Emily & Sian by visiting Wandering Wives

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