Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Melbourne: The San Francisco of Australia...

Hello Everyone,
Ozell and I spent nearly three weeks in Melbourne, Australia.  Most of that was due to my hospital stay and follow up appointment as well as Ozell getting a root canal and a temporary crown for the tooth that was cracked back in South Africa.
We stayed at many different places.  Ozell stayed with a couchsurfer the first couple of nights.  I stayed in the hospital.  Then we both stayed a night with the couchsurfer before moving to another couchsurfer's closer to the city.  That place was very nasty so we went to a hostel in Fitzroy.  Then we stayed with a fantastic couchsurfing duo back in South Melbourne.
We both really liked Melbourne.  The weather was absolute shit most days though.  The coldest we had had on our trip to that point (New Zealand has beat it though) and rainy.  But Melbourne has excellent public transportation, parks, and cultural sites.  I spent most of my days walking around various neighborhoods.  I also happened to meet Bruno, the Brazilian flight attendant from Carnival, for a brief conversation.  Melbourne also treated me well with three good guys.
We went out to one bar more than any others called Sircuit.  It was like a classier indoor The Hole but with a sex-on-site area upstairs.  How come we are the only fucking country where we can't have sex-on-site bars?  I have come to really enjoy that option.  Goddamn puritan, christian freaks!  ;)
I also really liked their botanical gardens.  We visited the neighborhoods of St. Kilda, North Melbourne, South Melbourne, South Yarra, Windsor, Fitzroy, Collingwood, and a few others I am forgetting the names of at the moment.
The gay community appears to be relatively large and diverse in Melbourne.  They also seem to be segregated into two camps...  the trendy fags (think Mary's/Mo's, Universal, Bourbon Street) south of the river, and the alternative (which we don't have in San Diego, but think gay punks and artsy folks) and masculine and bears (think The Hole on Sundays) on the north side of the river.  I really liked that they had alternative fags there, and I met a really nice one named Miki my last day in town.
Melbourne is also known as the city of food.   Unfortunately, with my jaw surgery I was limited to eating a liquid diet for the period we were there.
Our couchsurfering hosts for the last week, Zhypeng and Bruce, were great people.  They were very generous with their home.  We also enjoyed going out to dinner and the movies with them.  BTW, we saw a very good Australian indy film called "Samson and Delilah".  If it plays in the States at all, I would highly recommend seeing it.
Well the pic attached to this post is not a very beautiful shot of Melbourne.  It does accurately portray the typical weather we experienced when we were there, but it is not a very flattering view of the city.  The city is actually much more aesthetically pleasing from most other locations, but this is the pic I had.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Perth, Australia- the most isolated city in the world...

Howdy Gang,
Our first stop in Australia was the major city on the west coast, Perth.  We spent a week there, and overall I liked the city.  The weather was pleasant most of the time.  The sun shines a lot, but the temperature was not nearly as oppressive as Singapore.  It felt like a refreshing autumn day.  Of course, this is the city where Ozell and I were assaulted in a bar our last night there and where I suffered a broken jaw and Ozell a cut a mouth.  But since we already posted the details of that event a while ago, I won't go into them again here.
Perth opened our eyes about what the rest of our trip was going to be like in a major way-- Cost!  The prices for hostels, food, and beer were exorbitant.  We stayed in a hostel one night.  It was a complete dump.  Think of a completely trashed fraternity house back in the States, and you will get the picture.  On top of that, the cost was about $50 USD!  We decided we would spend the extra $5 each in order to stay in a B&B we found online.
The proprietor of the B&B was an older gay man named Richard.  He was very kind and personable.  He also had some good stories to share. 
Perth is know as the most isolated city in the world because it is.  There are no other large population centers around for 1000's of kilometers.  One nice benefit of this appears to be the cleanest air of any large city in the world.  The air was very fresh and clear.  I think the pic shows that.
We enjoyed walking around the city and touring the Kings Park botanical gardens.  We also hung out at some of the local bars and met some nice local guys.  Ozell met a really nice guy while we were there, and I had a three-way that was a very fun time.
But as much as Perth had going for it, it was neither of our favorite Australian city.  That distinction would fall to the next city we visited... Melbourne.
Ciao for now,

Singapore, Part II....

Ozell and I returned to Singapore via a bus ride from Kuala Lumpur.  This was our first bus ride in a long time.  We have flown to each location in SE Asia.  The ride was uneventful though except it was a chance to see some of the Malaysian countryside which is mainly heavily vegetated tropical jungle and marsh.
Our second stay in Singapore was just because we caught our flight to Perth from Singapore.  We went out the couple nights we were there.  The most eventful thing that happened was that one of the guys I met in Floripa, Brazil during Carnival, Rodrigo, walked into the bar with some of his flight attendant friends!  He called out my name, and at first, I did not recognize him.  It wasn't because he looked different.  It was because I was not expecting to see him in Singapore.  It just reinforced what a small world we live in.  We also met some other interesting guys and Australians that night.
The following day I did go to the Chinese and Japanese gardens with a guy I met online.  It was nice to see those places since I did not get to see them the first time around.
It was also over 40 degrees C (95+ F) when we were there.  I was bitching about it then, but we were about ready to head Australia and the worst weather we have encountered on this trip.  I would take some heat and sunshine presently.  :)

Petronas Towers (well actually Tower...)

Well, here is a pic of one of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  For whatever reason, I forgot to snap a pic from an angle where you can actually see both towers and the sky bridge which is why these buildings are cool to begin with.  :(

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Yeah from months ago...

Hello All,
After Bangkok, we headed south towards Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  We did not know what to expect with Malaysia.  And again, we only visited the main city of this country so we cannot truthfully claim to have visited Malaysia.  We have only visited certain sections of Malaysia.
We stayed in a cargo container- literally.  It was an exterior addition to a cheap hostel we found in the city.  It was interesting and better than some other rooms we have been in.
This was also the first Muslim country we visited.  We stopped at their national mosque and had a look around.  Malaysia appeared to be a pretty moderate Muslim culture.  Western clothes are common for most women although most do where a scarf around their heads.  The main area where we were affected by the Muslim culture was our drinking habits.  Alcohol is available, but you pay a pirate's ransom for a bottle.
The famous Petronas Towers were there in Kuala Lumpur.  They were for a short period the tallest buildings in the world, buy they were soon eclipsed by a few other buildings with more along the way.  They do still retain the distinction of being the tallest twin towers in the world, and they are the buildings connected by the engineering feat of a sky bridge on the 46th & 47th floors.  The pic attached is from this bridge looking over one part of the city.  The aesthetic facet of these buildings that I liked the most was the stainless steel and glass which covered the entire exterior of the towers.  It is especially amazing when the buildings are lit up at night.  Unfortunately, I do not have a pic of that.
Nothing else much to mention about Malaysia.  That's not the country's fault.  That's our own for having a limited amount of time there and only being able to visit one place.