Fauna in Flores – Everything To Sea

The fauna in Flores varies from the Komodo dragons to wild boars and deer, to Manta Rays swimming in the Coral Triangle. And the Wallace Line, which scientifically delineates species, is an altogether different aspect of this region.

The relatively dry and rocky Lesser Sunda’s are not home to impressive rainforests or a big diversity in strange local animals. In fact, these islands are kind of low populated with big animals. Areas that are covered in shrubs are the habitat of deer, wild pigs, bats, snakes, dragons, and other lizards.

Underwater Wonderland

It’s a totally different view of the underwater world. The coral reefs there (known as the Coral Triangle) belong to the richest ecosystems in the world. Nowhere else can you find a more diverse variety of aquatic species. One single big reef in Nusa Tenggara can contain about 1000 species of fish, more than in all seas in Europe combined. The underwater world is very colorful. Brave anemone fish defend their living house against the teasing hand of the diver. Groups of coral butterflyfish float between the reef walls and other fish cross the reef in couples. The area houses big sea mammals like the sperm whale and the Indian sea cow, which looks like walrus without teeth. Along the border of the reefs, you can find big pelagic fish: peaceful whale and reef sharks, and manta’s, which are relatives of the ray fish.

The Komodo Dragon

The most impressive animal of Nusa Tenggara is the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the biggest living lizard in the world, which belongs to Komodo, Rinca, and Western Flores. This robust animal can reach 3 meters in length and weigh up to 150 kg. The heavyweight was only known in the Western world by the start of the 20th century, mainly because Komodo then became inhabited. Shortly thereafter, stories about dangerous, seven-meter-long crocodiles started to emerge. The stories were somewhat exaggerated, however, these lizards can certainly scare people. The giant lizard has a physique that looks like a snake. Its jaws can move independently from each other, so it can swallow an entire prey larger than its mouth. And its forked tongue is used for smelling as well as for tasting.

Indeed, the Komodo Dragon is one of the best-equipped predators: it has a powerful tail to take down its prey, and strong jaws with sharp teeth to tear the victim apart. But its saliva and stomach juices are what kills its prey, and ultimately decay horns, bones, and hair.

Wallace Line

Zoologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who toured Indonesia from 1854 until 1862, was the first to remark that the size of big land animals changed drastically when crossing the sea lane from Bali to Lombok. From Lombok, there were no elephants, rhinos, or tigers anymore; in fact, he didn’t see any meat-eating mammals excepting one species of a cat, nor any insect eaters.

Wallace remarked that when he went more to the east, he found lesser Asian species and more Australian species. He concluded that the border between the two groups, the two small islands – Bali and Lombok – were as big as the differences between South America and Africa, or between North America and Europe. Still, nothing on the map indicated a barrier as large as the Atlantic Ocean.

Back in London, Wallace reported his findings to the National Geographic Society in 1863. There, he drew a straight red line on the map of the Malay archipelago, with Borneo and Bali on one side, and Lombok and Sulawesi on the other. This line was later named the ‘Wallace Line’.

The zoologist was convinced that there was an actual barrier. At the peak of the last Ice Age, the sea level dropped 180 meters, so it would have been possible to walk from Singapore to Bali, but no further to the east.  The deep Lombok Strait formed an impassable barrier.

Full Story at Everything To Sea.

Everything To Sea runs all-male, clothing-optional trips on traditional wooden yachts in the calm seas of Indonesia. As a travel operator, they specialize in excursions for men of all orientations, that center around freedom, camaraderie, and friendship. 

Since January 2019, Everything To Sea has been exploring natural environments and giving guys one-of-a-kind, life-changing experiences. Trips range from private journeys for individuals to small-group departures for up to 12 men. Their ships are also available for existing men’s groups, such as yoga or tantric communities, who are seeking unforgettable journeys.

Bali’s Kecak Dance – Everything To Sea

Bali, often nicknamed “The Island of the Gods” or sometimes “The Island of a Thousand Temples”, is known as a mythical place rich with art and culture, fascinating its visitors. 

One thing the Balinese still maintain is the famous Kecak. Part ritual, part art-performance, part dance, Kecak is carried out by about 100 bare-chested men wearing nothing but black-and-white sarongs. It is meant to illustrate the world’s diversity. For the Balinese, it’s important that each aspect of the world is in balance. The concept is that there are many differences in the cosmos, and they should strive to be in harmony. Kecak is often performed before sunset surrounded by breathtaking views, such as the oft-visited temple in Uluwatu. 

Kecak was inspired by the Sang Hyang dance and Ramayana stories. Sang Hyang is a form of ritual dance where the performers are in trance, so they can communicate with the Gods – as well as their own ancestors – and therefore deliver their message. The Ramayana itself is a story depicted in Hindu scriptures. It tells the battle between the good King Rama with an Evil King, Rahwana, in an attempt to save Rama’s wife Dewi Sita. The good king is aided by the monkey god, Hanuman. In Kecak performance, men sit in concentric circles chanting “chak – chak – chak”, representing a full army of monkeys.

One might wonder what musical instruments they use during it. Kecak is actually performed without any instruments – it’s a capella. The sounds come from the mouths of all of the performers who vocalize the chants, as well as from metal bells that are attached to the dancers’ ankles.

By Eddie Rahadian – Full Story at Everything To Sea.

Everything To Sea runs all-male, clothing-optional trips on traditional wooden yachts in the calm seas of Indonesia. As a travel operator, they specialize in excursions for men of all orientations, that center around freedom, camaraderie, friendship, and honesty. 

Since January 2019, Everything To Sea has been exploring natural environments and giving guys one-of-a-kind, life-changing experiences. Trips range from private journeys for individuals to small-group departures for up to 12 men. Their ships are also available for existing men’s groups, such as yoga or tantric communities, who are seeking unforgettable journeys.

Oscar Wilde Tours – Gay Historical Tours

Oscar Wilde Tours

GAY HISTORICAL TOURS

Looking for gay historical tours made for our community?

Oscar Wilde organizes group adventures that are focused on queer history, culture, and art in major cities from Rome to London, from Paris to France.

And from Socrates to Michelangelo, from Whitman to Wigstock.

Come travel with us, and discover the richness of the LGBTQ+ past and the importance of our contribution to world culture on our queer adventures!

See the Oscar Wilde Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

The Imperial Citadel of Than Long – Keep Calm and Wander

The Imperial Citadel of Than Long - Keep Calm and Wander

The Imperial Citadel of Than Long in Hanoi is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its cultural, political, and architectural significance. Unlike other UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve been to, the citadel was kind of a disappointment to me. I thought I was gonna see much more than just one edifice of a bygone era.

Standing or sitting at the facade gave me an impression of its well-maintained domain. But, of course, I was wrong! Go up and you will find its outgrown sods.

I believe that there is more to this sole structure but they’re not showing it -yet? The brochure I had said about objects (coins, ceramics) that were excavated in 2004 but I didn’t see one.

Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Hanoi Gay Travel Resources

Mexico’s Coba Ruins – 2TravelDads

Mexico's Coba Ruins - 2TravelDads

We love all things history and nature. And Mexico. Although we spend the most time in Baja California Sur there’s something truly unique and wonderful about the Yucatan Peninsula and the state of Quintana Roo. In addition to the pristine waters, wildlife and cenotes, the magical attraction of the Yucatan is the concentration of Mayan ruins, and visiting the Coba Ruins is really a special experience, but you need to know how to visit.

The Coba Ruins are by no means the most famous or most popular ruins on the Yucatan, but they are the most awesome to explore, especially the site called Nohoch Mul, the great pyramid. A visit to the Coba Ruins is a lesson in history, an incredible demonstration in nature, and an intense workout. Of the several sites I’ve visited for Mayan Ruins on the Yucatan, the Coba Ruins was, hands down, the best.

Which is Better, the Tulum or Coba Ruins?

More people visit Tulum which is much more famous than are found visiting the Coba Ruins, but it is not better. In terms of the quality of the site and access to the many ruins, both sites are very similar.

By Chris and Rob – Full Story at the 2TravelDads

Yucatan Gay Travel Resources

Mexico City’s Teotihuacan Pyramids – Keep Calm and Wander

Teotihuacan Pyramids - Keep Calm and Wander

The massive Teotihuacan Pyramids lie 40 kilometers outside Mexico City. Two of its biggest pyramids here are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. The former, however, is bigger than the latter. It doesn’t matter which one you explore first – but in our case, we chose the Sun Pyramid first.

How to Get to Teotihuacan Pyramids

There are three ways to get to Teotihuacan Pyramids. The easiest one is via a one-day tour that your hotel/hostel organized. This is what we did because we liked the tour itinerary that included Palacio de Ituberde, Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, and a local handicraft (you don’t have to buy). Our last stop was the Pyramids, of course, and we were allowed to stay there close to 4 hours on our own! There was no planning and sweat on our part. TripAdvisor has some recommended tours.

The other way to get there is to take a taxi if you can afford it. This is the quickest way to get there but nothing educational happens on the road. Unless, of course, you will hire a private car with the tour guide as your driver, too. 

It is also possible to get to Teotihuacan by public transport. All you have to do is take a metro (line 5) and get off at Terminal Central del Norte. From there, buy your ticket and find the bus that says, “Piramides.” The bus will drop you off at Gate 1. Buy your ticket before you enter or else you’ll regret going back. It’s a long way from here to the Pyramids. So, pack water, a hat, and sunscreen! If you choose this mode of going there, make sure to start early.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Mexico City Gay Travel Resources

Pnyx Hill in Athens – Keep Calm and Wander

Pnyx Hill in Athens - Keep Calm and Wander

Pnyx Hill in Athens is not your ordinary hill. It may just be another hill in the city but this was once where citizens congregate to talk about and vote on issues that mattered to them. 

Yes, democracy was born here! When power was transferred to the people, they held assemblies here to discuss reforms.

The hill is overlooking the ancient Agora, once a thriving center for business and commerce of ancient Athens. The Parthenon or the Acropolis is very visible at a far distance. It’s only less than a mile.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Athens Gay Travel Resources

Stay in a Scottish Castle – Go Girlfriend

Dalmunzie Castle

For me, the essence of Scotland is in it’s beautiful landscapes and it’s castle-icious history. From the Orkney Islands in the north through the Highlands to Hadrian’s wall in the south, historic castles sit lochside and hillside in some truly spectacular locations.

Historic clans like the MacDonalds, the Stewarts, the MacKenzie’s or the Robertson’s, just to name a few, cover the countryside with their clan lands. The clan chieftains castle is Clan Regions of Scotland (click any to enlarge)always the grandest estate on these family lands perched majestically on a beautiful loch or amongst amazing mountainous views. 

Most stone castles have their roots in the 1300-1600’s as fortified clan strongholds. As technologies and workmanship improve, renovations, refurbishments or expansions happening til the mid-1700’s. At this point in history clans and castles sympathetic to the Jacobites were seized and destroyed by the opposing British so it couldn’t be used as a stronghold against them into the future. Many still sit in ruins today – some have been purchased and painstakingly restored. Some have even been slept in by Bonnie Prince Charlie or Mary Queen of Scots!

For those that were not destroyed, the 1800’s brought a change in castle perspective and architecture. As the Industrial era was changing the global landscape, these centuries-old stone castles (draughty, small winding staircases, not warm and inviting – more strongholds) were now considered ‘brutish” and more elaborate Georgian, English-style “modern” castle homes were built.

Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Scotland Gay Travel Resources

Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon in Athens – Keep Calm and Wander

Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon in Athens - Keep Calm and Wander

The Temple of Poseidon in Sounion is where you should spend your sunset viewing outside Athens. It takes an hour to get there by bus from the Greek capital, but it’s all worth the hassle. 

Homer, the well-known Greek writer, was the first one to record Sounion in “The Odyssey” as the “sacred cape of the Athenians.” 

Herodotus, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and Thucydides all mentioned the Temple of Poseidon in their stories and poetries. 

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Athens Gay Travel Resources

Fort Matanzas National Monument in St. Augustine – 2TravelDads

Fort Matanzas National Monument - 2TravelDads

The city of Saint Augustine, Florida is remarkable and full of history. There are so many things to do in St Augustine that you’ll never be at a loss, but for a special experience you MUST visit Fort Matanzas National Monument. Because it’s not directly in downtown St Augustine, it’s often overlooked but offers a variety of things to do and learn. We really love Fort Matanzas and sharing it with others visiting Florida’s Historic Coast.

Where Is Fort Matanzas National Monument

Only about 20 minutes south of St Augustine, Fort Matanzas sits directly on the Mantanzas River. The river is actually an inlet, a part of the inner coastal waterway. Either way, Fort Matanzas sits on the water with Anastasia Island, a barrier island, separating it from the Atlantic Ocean. The land is pretty marshy, but beautiful. If you’re visiting Daytona Beach with kids and want to plan a day trip to the Saint Augustine area, it’s an hour’s drive north and it’s totally worth it.

By Chris and Rob – Full Story at the 2TravelDads

St. Augustine Gay Travel Resources