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Travel Light

May 28, 2008
It is a time of year when the local weather improves and (hopefully) less rain plus cooler temperatures inspires the travel bug to bite more frequently even among residents. Of course the number of public holidays during the latter end of the year is virtually nil, so working residents are limited to short weekend trips. Number one destination for many gay travellers is Pattaya.

There are many reasons for this, nothing to do with the dirty sand and water either! I have a personal distaste for Pattaya, which stops just short of outright hatred. My recurring fantasy is that one of these days when we are leaving the place, having spent my annual one night penance there, my boyfriend will glance in the rear view mirror and be turned into a pillar of salt. I then see fire raining from the heavens and doing a Sodorn and Gomorrah number on the place, sparing a few righteous places such as Bruno's and the Hard Rock Cafe. Alas this is only a dream, and anyway I'm rambling again when I should be concentrating on the subject at hand which is gay tourism.

There are quite a few travel agencies out there who specialise in tourism aimed at a specifically gay clientele. I have never made use of any of their services and I don't intend to. I really fail to see that what they offer is significantly different from what any other travel agency has, with the possible exception that a specialised service charges more!

Luckily in Thailand we do have a couple of agencies who I think are fair and honest in their dealings. I refer to Ragoncastle and Utopia Tours both of which have excellent helpful websites with tons of FREE information for any gay tourist visiting this country!

Let's not kid ourselves for a moment for many tourists whatever their inclination, top of their priority list is ''where can I get laid"? If anyone asks me this question I simply reply that Bangkok is the place if that's all you are interested in and all the bars, discos and baby was allegedly stolen by a wild dog whilst on a picnic near Ayers Rock, not my cup of tea at all.

However 'The architect and the emperor of Assyria" is another matter! A plane crashes on a remote island. One man stumbles from the wreckage. But he is not alone. Who is this other man, how did he get here, and will he make a good Bloody Mary? This is a high camp comedy and will certainly be more cheerful than "Lindy"!

My favorite just has to be "I Love The Nightlife." For one night only, the Sydney Town Hall will be ringing with the huge sounds of the world's best gay and lesbian ensembles performing their best repertoire. With over a hundred performers, these ensembles are committed to bringing pride and understanding through their energetic and infectious music.

Now that is what Gay Pride should be all about!

While I am talking about pride, I may as well mention that Bangkok Pride will be having an event in September, apart from their Koh Kret cruise that is. It was described to me as a celebrity waiter event and I was asked if I would be interested in participating. Mmm, I think I'll have to discuss it with my manager!

Did anyone ever wonder about the symbol of Gay Pride the Rainbow flag and it's origins?

The first Rainbow Flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, who created the flag in response to a local activist's call for a community symbol. He designed a flag with eight stripes: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Representing, respectively: sexuality, life, healing, sun, nature, art, harmony and spirit. He dyed and sewed the material for the first flag himself. Due to the fact that the color hot pink was not commercially available the flag was reduced to 7 colors for mass production.

In November 1978, San Francisco's gay community was stunned when the city's first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, was assassinated. Wishing to demonstrate the gay community's strength and solidarity in the aftermath of this tragedy, the 1979 Pride Parade Committee decided to use Baker's flag. The committee eliminated the indigo stripe so they could divide the colors evenly along the parade route - three colors on one side of the street and three on the other. Soon the six colors were incorporated into a six-striped version that became popularized and that, today, is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers. I bet that's news for most of you out there!

Lain Duncan Smith, leader of Britain's Conservative Party, has given his support to Alan Duncan (no relation) ,who on July 29 became the party's first member of Parliament to announce that he is gay.

Duncan Smith wrote to Duncan saying that his coming out would not harm his political career. (No, really?)

Duncan Smith said, "What you have done is honest and will not affect you in any way politically in the future." (Well I'm not holding my breath for him to be party leader or even PM.) Could such a thing ever happen in enlightened Thailand? I doubt it!
About the Author
Francisco Faulkner is the professional freelance writer. He's also the webmaster of Liketravels.com
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