Tag Archives: Travel

The Cayman Islands on my mind

Grand Cayman IslandRegular readers will recall that in the fall I encouraged you to book a trip to a warm destination (if you could) in late January or February to break up the winter.  Maybe it will make you feel good to know that I follow my own advice; two weeks from today, we fly to The Cayman Islands to visit my friend, Steve.

Steve is near and dear to my heart because if it weren’t for my blog, we may have never met.  Back in the day Steve also wrote a blog and that is how we met.  A chance visit to Boston  to see a concert gave us the chance to meet in person and we hit it off.  Steve’s the kind of guy who melts your heart the minute you meet because he is handsome and thoughtful.  Although I’ve known him for a few years, until now I’ve not had a chance to visit him so I’m really looking forward to seeing where he lives, meeting his friends and visiting someplace new.

Have you ever been to the Cayman Islands?  Tell me all about your experiences.

Virgin opens first hotel in Chicago

This week Virgin Hotels opened the doors to its first property in Chicago.
Located in the Loop in the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash Ave. The 26-story art deco building has 250 guest rooms, including 40 one-bedroom suites and two penthouse suites.Virgin Hotel ChicagoVirgin Hotel Chicago offers free Wi-Fi at unlimited bandwidth and lack early check-in or late check-out fees, room service delivery charges, business center transactions, and other fees associated with many hotels.

Virgin Hotel Signature Lounge Bed

Virgin Hotel Signature Lounge Bed

Virgin Hotels has plans to open a second location in Nashville in the summer of 2016 and a third property in New York City in the fall of 2017. Virgin hopes to announce two more locations by the end of 2016, with the brand hoping to have 20 locations by 2025.  Hopefully Boston is on that short list!

Where in the world would you travel

gay travel,If money and time was not an issue, what one destination would you put on your “Must See” list for 2015?  I often write about traveling but only get away from New England one or two times a year for pleasure.

There are so many places I would like to see that it would be tough to limit my answer to just one location.  However, I’ve always wanted to visit Cape Town South Africa and I do regret not having visited New Zealand when Sergio and I went to Australia back in 2009 so those two destinations would rank high on my “Must See”.  Where would you like to visit if you could go anywhere in the world and why?

Outta here

travelA surprise business trip means that I will be flying out to California for work for the next few days and may be slow to respond.

Despite the fact that I’ll be inside conference rooms all day long, I’m still happy to get away from the cold that has gripped Boston if even for just a few days.

Thank you for your patience if I’m slow to approve any comments, post on Facebook & Twitter or respond to email.

Time to travel abroad

Eat Well Travel OftenPerhaps you have not noticed but the US Dollar is surging against most world currencies, making it more affordable for Americans to travel abroad.   However, the favorable exchange rate has no impact if you travel within the United States.

A good example of this savings is comparing my recent trip to Brazil.  Everything cost approximately 35% less than it did when we traveled to Brazil a year earlier due to the strength of the dollar.

Book Your Travel Abroad Now!

If you are unsure where you might like to go, I would suggest you check out Google Flights.  In early December I wrote about Google Flights website because it shows travelers the prices of multiple destinations near and far from one web page.  If you can find a deal to Europe, Caribbean, South America or elsewhere consider taking advantage of the strong US dollar.

Unsure of where you might like to travel? There are plenty of great travel sites; some that focus on LGBT travel. Book air travel for later this year and you can probably secure an affordable airfare.  And most importantly, keep me posted on your travels. I’m always interested in checking out new places to visit.Ipanema

Shopping tips when visiting Sao Paulo

Shopping Brazil, Brazilian retailers, Sao Paulo shoppingFor the past few years the American dollar has been laughably weak as compared to other currencies, making shopping less enjoyable when we travel abroad.  However, the US economy has been on a tear lately and the dollar is significantly stronger than it was a year ago when we were in Brazil.

As a result, Sergio and I opted for some retail therapy when we visited Sao Paulo. I’d strongly encourage anyone visiting Sao Paulo to bypass foreign ateliers where prices are 100% – 300% more expensive due to the country’s idiotic tariffs and fixate on Brazilian retailers where you can purchase items friends back in the US will not have access to.

Sergio splurged on these red shoes from Aramis

Sergio splurged on these red shoes from Aramis

While Sao Paulo has many shopping malls (‘the gays’ are partial to Shopping Frei Center and Shopping Higienopolis), but I’d recommend you bypass them and head directly for Rua Oscar Freire.  The street is full of retailers you will be unaccustomed to seeing, selling everything from bathing suits to tuxedos.  If you get hungry each block has one or two places you can duck into for a quick bite.

A few tips if you go shopping in Brazil:

1) Customer service is taken very seriously.  Be prepared to have someone approach you and to bring you multiple items they think you may want to see or try on.

2) Sizes are different and more in line with European designers so don’t enter a store with the mindset that you are a medium or a particular waist size.  Clothes in Brazil are much smaller than in the US.

3) If you are serious about making purchases and are buying more than 2-3 items ask them if there is a possible discount they can provide.  You are more likely to get a “yes” if you have a Brazilian ask the question.  We were able to get 10% off our purchases at one retailer.

4) Avoid purchasing anything from the US or Europe,  You will pay significantly more than in the US.  Focus your shopping on local designers and chains.

5) The most important phrase of all to learn when shopping, “Quanto Gosto?”, which is acceptable for asking “how much”, although I don’t believe that is the literal translation.  It is also good form to know how to say thank you (although this is a phrase you will hopefully use elsewhere as well) “Obrigado”.

Spot (the gays in Sao Paulo)

Dining Sao PauloAlthough on our most recent visit we didn’t have a chance to go to Spot, I thought I should write about this restaurant and bar since it is a favorite.  You will find more than a few handsome men at this gay friendly restaurant conveniently located just a block off of Paulista Avenue near MASP.

The first time I visited Spot was probably ten years ago.  We arrived at 11PM on a Friday night and asked for a table for four.  The handsome host smiled and said the wait was 2 hours, but encouraged us to order drinks from the bar and enjoy the outdoor patio while we waited.  We didn’t take him seriously until he came to seat us for dinner at 1 AM (at which point there was only a 30 minute wait).

Dining in Sao PauloWhile the food is good it is the people watching that makes this a great place to either nab a cocktail or have dinner with friends.  Main dishes at Spot run from $30 – $50 Reis (with the current US exchange rate of 2.5 that equates to $15-$20).