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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Men in Paris

Posted by bert5 on 29 August 2009

There’s a fair amount to like about men in Paris, and a couple downsides.  Just about any non-tourist guy in ages 20-30s in Paris shares a few beneficial characteristics:

  • Not overweight:  How could they be?  It’s so expensive to eat in Paris.  If you want to live economically, you’ve got to cook and go grocery shopping for at least some of your meals.  Metro stations are denser in Paris than other towns, but you’ve still got to walk some.  Plus, many smoke, so probably the revved up metabolism helps.
  • Dress well:  I think the guys do pay attention to their clothes a little more or else the girlfriends do.  Following the latter reasoning, apparently, no self-respecting girlfriend lets her man dress like an American slob.  It is helpful of course, that European men’s clothes seem to fit better.  Whatever shirt they’re wearing, be it a t-shirt, polo or button down, they are form fitting, tight arm hole type showing slim muscular physique to the best advantage.  This is the type of shirt which I would only see on gay guys in the US.  But it is like on every guy here, like a uniform.  You can’t even buy this stuff in the US because huge percentages of guys can’t fit into them, and if they did, you’d see the beer bellies and saggy breasts and it’d be a comedy on the streets of Memphis (34% obese — talking obese here not merely overweight).
  • Like to be out in the sun and get tan:  As above, generally they have the body for it, so I have no objections as I pass or stop for a break in the park.  In combination with skin damage from smoking, all this sun probably results in premature skin aging, but that’s a worry for later.
  • Friendly:  As in not rude, in general.  I wouldn’t say gentlemenly because I think that’s reserved for men in London.  (In the London tube as we were stymied by the card readers, a worker gently called out to us: “Gentlemen” and kindly directed us to the correct turnstiles.  That nearly made my entire day.  I don’t think I’d ever in my life been called a gentleman by a stranger.  Ok, maybe a couple times in significantly more formal settings.)  In Paris, guys are pretty friendly especially if you speak and understand some French.

Now for the downsides: Read the rest of this entry »

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Music in the Paris Metro

Posted by bert5 on 23 August 2009

There weren’t any performers in London Underground, probably because it’s so expensive to just ride the Tube or because the ever orderly British just don’t allow it.  But in the Paris Metro, there are performers galore.  Probably more than in the New York subway.  I don’t like accordion players though, and generally the aggressive musicians which get on the trains are unbearable for more than one or two stops.  But I’ve donated change to a couple more serious musicians:

  1. A young to middle aged male saxophone player on solo — i.e. without the cheap sounding canned piano accompaniment other sax players had put on.  It was sad and haunting and beautiful and carried throughout the long corridor from line 1 to line 11 at Hotel de Ville.
  2. A middle aged Asian woman on the liuqin (or other related plucked Chinese string instrument).  She was raking it in, but it was beautiful and unique and also carried well throughout the station even perhaps to the platforms.  She was in the correspondance corridor at Franklin D. Roosevelt station.

It occurs to me that they could be just needing practice and lacking a soundproof place in crowded Paris, the Metro was their solution which also happens to make them money. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Muni underground is truly

Posted by bert5 on 29 January 2008

The strangest thing is that I’ve been to the city so many times, but how did I not know that there is a subway in SF?  No, not BART the regional transit — a local SF Muni subway which runs sooo much faster than anything above ground from 4th Street, Embarcadero, along Market to Castro and beyond. I suppose the SF dwellers (or commuters) know about it, but most visitors arriving by car don’t find out about it, until they get so frustrated by the parking they decide to come by public transport.

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A traveler gives 10 tips on airline travel

Posted by bert5 on 12 November 2007

BLM  I don’t fly a lot.  At least not commercial.  But if you do, this guy writes some useful tips.

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Folsom, CA

Posted by bert5 on 6 September 2007

People are so friendly in this town even in prison.

But I was in the popular local Japanese joint (Mikuni Sushi) and a middle-aged woman neighbor at the bar kept trying to make conversation. She was with her brother. Of course, conversation is something which I am very poor at, but I tried to avoid being rude. The woman was attempting to set me up with her 22 year old daughter who happens to live in the Bay Area. I have never wished to be other than what I am (okay, maybe a couple times in middle school, but how could I deny the happiness of staring — or rather, furtive glances — at Paul Lemire), but here is a situation which I simply couldn’t take advantage of. The lady’s brother assured me his niece was a looker. I was flattered, but managed to finish my meal and get out of there before causing a scene by asking whether the lady has a son and if so, whether he is hot, too.

But you know it’s not like this hasn’t happened before to me — and in the right way.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Powell’s City of Books, Portland

Posted by bert5 on 16 June 2007

I drove to downtown from the suburbs to hit the gay bars. The drive didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I guess I’m too used to LA and SF (and other cities) where suburbs seemingly go on for miles and miles. The bars were nothing spectacular, but perhaps mid-week wasn’t a good time to take my survey. I was drawn to Powell’s massive, multi-floor store. It’s sort of like a big college library in that it’s open late and books smell. However, all the books are for sale and many of them are more interesting and recent than those in a library. A fun place to browse.

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My trip to South Florida

Posted by bert5 on 5 March 2007

I had planned a nice little break in the Miami area. Winter isn’t a bad time to visit I’d read. No mosquitoes and a bit cooler. Still, it was sufficiently warm and humid for me to be using a/c in the car most of the time.

It was nice that Miami felt like a Latin American city, but probably one of the cleaner ones. In fact, in places it was positively gentrified and expensive. Being the cheap person I am, I didn’t enjoy that as much as other tourists might have. It did feel rather safer than I thought it would be. It was fun being asked if I was looking for a date by a hot black girl in Miami beach. Not my cup of tea, too bad for her; but at least I wasn’t a cop. Quite a number of good looking guys on the boardwalk around 12th Street, and there was a lot of the eye contact thing going on. . .

The Everglades were mildly interesting as a swampy place with wet and dry seasons, but nowhere near as spectacular or fun as Kakadu in Australia. I got to see lots of gators and birds though, probably more than I saw in Kakadu. And as I mentioned earlier, nary a mosquito.

As I usually stop in on museums everywhere I go, I was pretty disappointed. The guidebooks make the museums sound better than they are. Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t have gone to South Florida to see museums.

I’d never stayed at a hostel before Read the rest of this entry »

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Another trip to Phoenix

Posted by bert5 on 9 March 2006

Sunday. I arrive in the afternoon, pick up my rental. This time my gold club works sort of. After looking at the list posted, I find my car and jump in. I drive off, but at the gate, the guy asks for my rental agreement. Wasn’t in the car. Figures. Hafta go back to the office. They give me a tank of gas for my trouble, so actually I’m happy! Head to the Phoenix Art Museum. Not a bad place. Their special impressionist exhibit is maybe 10 paintings. Still pretty nice. Someone from work calls and says I need to stay in town until Wednesday, instead of my planned Monday departure. Surprise to me. I’m going to be bored out here. My hotel room is actually nice — a suite overlooking the pool. A bunch of guys and a couple girls in the hot tub… Watch the oscars and get happy for Ang Lee winning Best Director. Surprised in the next moment when the racial drama in LA wins Best Picture, but not too sad.

Monday. I go to the office. Try to do some work. Do some shopping after work. Looking for swimming trunks, as I didn’t bring any and somehow have the urge to swim. Weather has been nice for it, 80s. Never been in a Nordstrom Rack. Not bad. I think maybe I bumped into 3 or 4 gay guys in there. They do have fashionable stuff, so makes sense. Bought some shirts. Make a mental note to see if there are any stores back home. Go swimming and soak in the hot tub. Nice. Read the rest of this entry »

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