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Saturday, 28 January 2012

What did you do on your 40th birthday Grandpa? - Tranvestite Cabaret, Rochester

So how did YOU spend your fortieth birthday, my great grandchildren will one day ask. Actually, last night it turned midnight and I was lost and in a random seven eleven in Rochester, upstate New York. But it turned out rather more unforgettable as time passed. As my phone battery died I finally randomly found my friends place of work and headed out to….Rochesters premier Drag Queen Show!

Gay/Lesbian Bars are pretty interesting for straight people from time to time, from a people watching point of view.

I am disappointed to see that there were quite a few hot girls, grinding other more butch girlfriends (what a tragic waste) but what really hit me was the number of ‘straight looking’ guys really letting go – they plainly had ‘day jobs’ i.e wives and families but were leading double lives in the toilets of these kind of places. So think about that the next time you visit your accountant and he looks at you funny. Of course this kind of closet gay is much more acceptable in my view than the affected mincing types who, I will openly confess creep me out and don’t do gay guys any favours at all from a PR point of view– does being gay mean you MUST develop a lisp?

Anyway, there was a man who was over 7ft tall, dressed in a splendid long black dress, and a blonde wig, MC’ing the proceedings. The music was pretty good and the memory of big fat men with even bigger (fake) breasts dancing like Beyonce, surrounded by brokeback mountain types jigging to Tina Turner like their life depended on it, is one I will savour for a long time to come.

So as I took in the scene, my (straight female) companion got me up to dance. It was quite ok to try out these US dancing styles (did you know they dance differently from us?)  but then she told me that one of her gay friends fancied me which, as you can imagine took the spring out of my step pretty quickly.

So there I was, suddenly I found myself shuffling alone in the middle of a dancefloor of a gay disco, knowing that somewhere, a little lisping black guy was eying me up from the edge of the floor. Not really a good place to be as a straight man on his fortieth birthday on a Friday night. Actually this was not fun so I quickly eyed up my dancing partner embraced the safety of her loving arms and suggested some food.

After hours in Rochester, the only place to go seems to be ‘Jays Diner’ – it’s a 24 hour eating place and we realized that we hadn’t eaten (my friend Julies’ excuse for being drunk) so I tried out whats called a ‘Rochester garbage dish.’ Which means a bit of everything all mixed up and fried.

Well now its back to Buffalo to do a more low key birthday bash with a special friend ( assuming she has got back into her house since she locked herself out in her pyjamas this morning). And while I can safely saw there won’t be any gay bar dancefloors or 8foot tall tranvestites this time, who knows where the night will take us…


Friday, 20 January 2012

The Perfect Hostel

Ok, guys, now i would like to ask for some feedback.

since i've spent years living in them, I'm toying with the idea of setting up a Hostel in Nicaragua. I have an idea of the little things that make a perfect stay in a place, but what are they? And are my thoughts unique or do you guys have other ideas?

Anyway I was thinking about making a budget place, but with those easy to provide extras, you know?


1. Free Wi-Fi
2. Free Coffee
3. For even more budget people, a room with hammocks/space for sleeping bags
4. A small pool to chill at.
5. Bar/Cafe and central chill out area with plenty chairs.
6. Maybe put something in there like pool or table football.
7. Travel assistance so people can link up to the next place or book excursions.
8. Clean rooms.
9. Plenty showers so no big queues making you miss your bus.
10. Good looking staff (that may be difficult in Nicaragua but i'll do my best, and you will have yours truly of course!)
11. Discounts for long stays.
12. Earplugs for sale - dorms seem to attract snorers.
13. Early to bed dorms - i.e. so people who wan't peace and quiet at night get it.

Anyway, any thoughts on extra things that you would like to see in a budget hostel? Feel free to share this link as the more feedback i get the better!



Thursday, 19 January 2012

Fish & Chips!! Glasgow

Well tonight is my last night in Glasgow, en route to warmer climes (Miami then Nicaragua) via colder climes (Toronto, Buffalo, and good old Detroit) So what better excuse to take an Estonian friend for her first 'Fish Supper' in the University Cafe, Byres Road, Glasgow.
Welcome to the land of deep fried sugar
Its so old school it doesn't even have a website. Also, strangely enough it has an outdoor toilet, i kid you not!

But the fish and chips are pretty good, nice and fresh and oozing with cholesterol. Fish and Chips, for you foreigners, is Haddock (Cod in rubbish places) deep fried in batter, and chips like those below. You put on salt and vinegar (or salt and 'sauce' (vinegar and brown sauce) in Edinburgh and the heathen east)
get yourself a cup of tea, and voila...  (i.e. its just like fish fry in USA, but nicer)

I will dream of this picture in Nicaragua

Anyway, the place itself is basic but had a lovely atmosphere. I don't think its changed since it opened in 1918, and the menu has all the student classics like 'cheese beano' and a million combinations of fry-up.

So if you were a real Scotsman, you would eat your fish and chips in your Kilt (with Irn Bru)
Actually I understand fish and chips was first brought to Britain by jewish immigrants to London, about a zillion years ago. And so we Brits kind of took it on, just like we did with curry, and made it our own (i mean British Cuisine needs bolstering where it can lets face it)

Do you recognise this famous film star in the Uni Cafe?
Anyway, now its time to pack - it is truly awful having to pack for minus 20 snow in Buffalo, to the tropics of Central America. But, dear reader, watch this space and i'll report on the truly shameful exploits that may or may not take place....

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Gingered Haired guy Dancing to Korean Pop with a Cheesy Salsa outfit

This link on youtube - i'm sure its not the first one of these but the first i've seen, where you actually control the video, and get a fat gingered haired guy to dress in Salsa dress, while playing Korean pop in an Irish Jig  style, is...well....just check it and see...

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Most Annoying things about R*anair


Whats the most annoying thing about R*anair?

Flying on this ‘airline' today, and realising that they employ mostly those marines who were torturing Iraqis in their customer facing roles, I thought I’d gauge the publics thoughts on whats the worst part of ‘the R*anair experience’.

Here’s my top 5

The grating music they play on landing. That hideous trumpet that wakes you up, reminds you that you are not on the beach, you are on a cattle truck, followed by some quite lame boasting that they are on time.  The more annoying thing is the fact that this is actually a con trick  - they deliberately say the flight will take say 2hours, when in fact it only normally takes 1hr 40mins, so they are always arriving ‘early’. Well, that’s according to my Dad at least.

The clapping. I actually think they play tinned clapping here. Not even Gypsies, Turks or Polish builders clap any more, do they?  The nastier the airline, the harder the clapping, that’s for sure. 

Hidden Costs. The website has become a mine field, to the extent that the headline price has absolutely nothing to do with the actual price you end up paying. I noticed that airport taxes are going up, and there are constant tricks to try to get you to buy bags or the (totally worthless) insurance. Have you ever read the insurance policy? It basically doesn’t pay anything out- check the smallprint! Anyway, its well worth adding up the total costs here (with transport to/from airport) and comparing with a real airline that isn’t out to destroy your belief in the good nature of human beings.

Jobsworth staff. I notice there is a big difference airport to airport. Here in Stockholm (which is 100km from Stockholm actually, with a 30 euro bus fare to Stockholm) One nice girl was fine with me holding a book in my hand, then I had to go back as I was ‘too early’ So when I went back in, the other one
……decided that I looked like the boyfriend who jilted her at the alter and made, for no good reason a totally stupid power trip charade. 
In true traffic warden fashion she made me add the book I had in my hand to the 10kg maximum weight which put it over 10kg, even though id already been through security earlier that day (and made 3 flights with the same luggage and airline the last week) The trick here is of course to not give her the satisfaction of being angry, and to look at the jobsworth with a look of disgust reflecting the cockroach that he/she is, then go to the bathroom and put on all your clothes, and walk through again looking like Michelin man but ‘your hand luggage weighs less than 10kg’ – of course making a total mockery of the whole stupid system. I think the people who work here aren’t actually bothered about the 10kg rule they just get off on causing humiliation to random strangers.

Anyway, to the old lady who made me do that today (I put 3 tops on and stuffed all my books in my pockets, and waltzed through looking stupid, which was what she actually wanted to see in the first place) Good job, jobsworth! I bet your proud.

‘Dublin Belfast’. The enormous and expensive distances from the actual city you are supposed to be going. The airports they use are usually disused airfields at least 50km away from both the city and the real airport that you are connecting to.

I must admit like most people (who don’t admit it but you know its true) I’m quite cheap generally, and usually go for the cheapest flight, but from now on, I’m going to be prepared to pay a little more for a little more humanity. I’ll live longer that way, and not end up punching the next person who wants to weigh my book.