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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh, the Horror!!

It just ain't right!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Miss Ginger's Venice

As promised, Miss Ginger has found time to continue her TravelBlogging, and today she's going to bring you up to speed on what she knows about Venice. The City of Canals may be the most unique place Miss Ginger has ever visited, and it truly is a must see! You might want to get there soon: Miss Ginger is told that the city is slowly sinking into the lagoon! In fact, in many of the buildings, the first floor is no longer used, since rising waters from high tide often fill them! The clever Italians are coping, however, and there are a couple of projects in the works to try to protect the city.

ARRIVING:
Miss Ginger arrived in Venice by train, which is probably the way most people arrive. Some cruise ships also call on the passenger terminal near the train station. There are no streets in Venice, so therefore no cars, and there certainly is no place to land an airplane in Venice proper! Italy's high speed train service, Frecciargento (Silver Arrow) calls on Venice's San Lucia station, and is fast, modern, and comfortable! This is in sharp contrast to Italy's Artesia Treno Notte (night trains) which are old, filthy, and miserable uncomfortable! The "faclilities" on those things are foul, and even though they appear similar to an airplane bathroom, the operation is completely different! Let's just say there's no swishy blue water, and there's no bottom in the bowl! If you ever find yourself in the Italian countryside, for God's sake don't walk on the train tracks!!
Ginger, MeeMaw, and Aunt Tonya shared a compartment, which was clean enough, but extremely tiny! Because the beds were already made, there was no where to sit in the cabin, so we did our best to go to bed early and sleep, but that proved to be futile for Miss G. Even though there was a power outlet for her to plug in her CPAP machine, everytime the train stopped in a station (every hour or so) the power would shut down for 15-20 minutes, waking her in a fit of coughing!


If you take a train, be sure to ride all the way to Venezia San Lucia. If you get off at Venezia Mestre, you'll still be on the mainland, and will have to take another train to the island!

Once you've arrived at San Lucia, it's easy to take il vaporetti to a stop near your hotel. Since it's impossible to dig tunnels for a
subway, and there's no streets to drive buses, the Venetians use a system of "water buses" that circle the island. Too large to navigate the small cross canals, the vaporetti circle the
perimeter of the island with regular stops. You can buy a "HelloVenezia" chip card for a very reasonable price and use the vaporetti to get as close a possible to your destination. Once you've disembarked at the vaporetti landing, you're gonna be hoofing it, so pack lightly! Venice is a fascinating, confusing maze of alleyways, canals, and footbridges that at times is incredibly fun, but wildly frustrating. You'll feel like PacMan as you wind your way through the alleys, finding dead ends, short cuts, crossovers, and all sorts of other obstacles! After dragging suitcases down countless alleys and over numerous bridges looking for our hotel, we finally discovered the best way if you're travelling with someone else. Have one person sit with the
luggage, while the other orienteers the area until the hotel is located! It's the best way to avoid dragging it all over the place, and some of the nicest hotels even have porters they will send back with you to collect the luggage. It's also possible to have a porter meet you at the train station and guide you to your hotel, which might be a good idea if you aren't good with maps, have trouble walking, or are just easily frustrated!!

ACCOMODATIONS:
Venice is not a place for point whores, as you will not find a Marriott, Hilton, or any other recognizable hotel chain anywhere around! The Venetians may well have invented "boutique" hotels, as most of the properties are small, charming, and well appointed. Another reason to pack lightly: the rooms are tiny! Use a reputable search service like Orbitz or Expedia, and count on
the star system to help you locate a property at the price and service level you desire. The city is small, so you don't have to worry about "good" or "bad" neighborhoods, and it's pretty easy to walk to and from just about anywhere. If you're concerned about too much walking, it might be wise to find a hotel as close a possible to one of the vaporetti stops.

We originally booked rooms at the Hotel Ca Dei Conti, which had a lovely lobby on a quiet canal, but that's all we know about it! When we arrived, we were told that a pipe had burst, rendering half of the property unusable, and that we would be accommodated at another nearby property. We were escorted by the porter to the Santa Marina, on a cute little plaza near the middle of everything. It was cute, spotless, and comfortable, and provided a nice little breakfast selection each morning.

FOOD AND DRINK:
Of course in place as touristy as Venice, small cafes abound, and the good news is that most of them are quite good. One would expect the ones near the Realto and San Marco to be more touristy, pricier, and of lower quality, so buyer beware. Throughout the city there are sandwich counters and pizza takeways for meals on the go, and lots of small, charming cafes with sidewalk tables. Walk until you get tired, then pick a place that appeals to you. Most have the menu posted, and most offer similar fare of pizza, pastas, and seafood. . Mussels are quite popular in Venice and were quite delicious. And please, for the love of all things holy, PLEASE have wine with every meal! The Italians joke that they don't have the same reputation as the French as wine exporters because they keep the best for themselves, and that may well be true! Many of the wines they create for domestic consumption are bottled without sulfites, and it makes all the difference in the world! Enjoy it there while you can!

As far as gay nightlife in Venice, there doesn't appear to be much. Actually, there's not a lot of nightlife of any kind there! According to the Damron Guide there is a bar in Mestre called Glitter, but we didn't leave the island to check it out. Most of the cafes, bars, and pubs close by midnight, and the city becomes quiet and serene.



DIVERSIONS:
Venice is a wanderers paradise, so ask your hotel for a guidemap that indicates your location, grab your camera, and go! Trying to follow a map in Venice can be woefully frustrating at times, but it's impossible to get truly lost since you can't leave the island
without getting on a boat or train! Once you've located the
and the Rialto Bridge and San Marco Square, you've pretty much found the "hub" of the city. In the square (the Italians call it "the piazza") be sure to check out the basilica and the Doge's Palace. The Scala d'Oro (Golden Staircase) is really breathtaking, and the apartments, courtrooms, and armory, are pretty fascinating.


You'll also get to walk across the Bridge of Sighs and see the prisons and dungeons that will give you some idea of just how
miserable the punsihment was for anyone who went against the Doge! The palace was undergoing renovation when we visited, but the bridge, one of Venice's top tourist attractions, was left exposed.









With her love of all things Mardi Gras and Carnival related, Miss Ginger was fascinated by the many mask and costume shops all around the
city. As Venice has become more and more dependent upon tourism to support its economy, it's shops have become flooded with all sorts of mass-produced reproductions of its many classic arts, much to the dismay of Venetian locals and artists. Papier mache mask-making is a
centuries-old Venetian art, and there are still some shops that sell unique, one of a kind masks, often made on the premises! We found Il Canovaccio, at Castell0 5369, and met a delightful young artist who makes a genre of unique animal masks that MeeMaw has begun collecting. After he spoke to her a bit about his collection, she showed us the mold on which she was currently working, and explained the process. It was one of those delightful finds that made our day, and we each left with more than one of the delicate masks, carefully wrapped to protect them during the rest of our journey!
A word of advice about shopping in Venice: if you find something you like, buy it right then and there! There are 2 huge risks in the thought process "I'll think about it and come back for it".
First, making your way to somewhere specific in Venice can be very difficult, and you may find it impossible to find the place again! In addition, Venetian shopkeepers are notoriously lax in their opening hours! Some are open only mornings, some only afternoons, and some only at the whim
of the shopkeeper! So if you like it, buy it! You may never see it again!

Nowhere is the effect of the import market on the spirit of Italian artists more evident than on Murano, the tiny island famous for its fornaces used for centuries to create beautiful handmade glass. With modern manufacturing and questionable labor practices, developing countries in Asia, Africa, and South America have flooded the market with high-quality, if not ubiquitous, products. Where galleries of true Venetian artisanal glass do exit, they are extremely pricey and are sold as fine art. Most of the fornaces have been turned into trinket shops, although there still are a few that operate the furnace and put on a show for tourists. It's easy to tell the purveyors of authentic Venetian glass, both by the uniqueness of their product and the conspicuous signs condemning imported impostors! If you bought a chipcard, it's about a 20 minute ride on the vaporetti to get to Murano.

Of course, the
quintessential Venetian diversion would be a ride on a gondola. Whereas the water buses and taxi chug noisily around the Grand Canal, the slim, man-powered gondola slip silently through the narrow canals and under the low footbridges. Gondola rides are expensive, but Miss Ginger is told there is room for price negotiation, especially during off-peak times. Miss Ginger chose not to spend her time on a expensive boat ride, and instead chose to enjoy watching them from the many footbridges that cross the canals.

So, Miss Ginger has saved the best for last! The best part of Venice? Well, that would be the gondolieri, of course! Here's the one piece of Venetian tourism not overtaken by the Eastern Europeans! Gondolieri must be Venetian, by law, and they are all male. And paddling a boat full of fat American tourists is pretty good excercize, so most of them are fit, friendly, and fine!! What's not to love about that?!







Friday, August 27, 2010

Boy Ginger's Big News!

Miss Ginger does all the work and Boy Ginger gets all the glory... story of her life!!!

After all the work she does to support ,Legacy Community Health Services, wouldn't you know that HE is being honored at their annual luncheon as their corporate honoree!

Check out the blurb, and let us know if you'd like to attend!!










Press Release

MEDIA CONTACT:

Michael Mandola

Special Events Manager

Legacy Community Health Services

Phone: (713) 574-9736

mmandola@legacycommunityhealth.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Rachel Brown, Debbie Festari, and Martha Turner to chair Legacy Community Health Services

8th Annual Luncheon on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at Houston’s Wortham Theatre, Grand Foyer at 11:30 AM

This year Legacy Community Health Services will benefit from the proceeds of its 8th annual luncheon held on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, honoring Frank Campisi for his exceptional support of Legacy Community Health Services over the last 30 years. In addition, George Burch, a great supporter of Legacy and District Manager at Macy’s, a Houston landmark and advocate for all of Legacy’s services, will be the 2010 corporate honorees.

All proceeds from this year’s luncheon will benefit Legacy’s highly regarded healthcare programs – from our maternity and pediatric services to our social and medical services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Legacy provides a comprehensive set of health and wellness programs at four different clinics in some of Houston’s low-income neighborhoods.

We hope you will join us in raising the funds that will make a difference in the lives of so many people in need of quality primary healthcare services. Donations can be made and tickets for September’s luncheon can be purchased online at www.legacycommunityhealth.org, or contact Michael Mandola at mmandola@legacycommunityhealth.org.

Legacy Community Health Services is a full-service, Federally Qualified Health Center that provides comprehensive, primary healthcare services to all Houstonians in a culturally sensitive, judgment-free and confidential environment. Legacy specializes in HIV/AIDS testing and treatment. Generous financial support from individuals, businesses and charitable foundations allows Legacy to provide no-cost or low-cost healthcare services to over 33,000 men, women and children each year. www.legacycommunityhealth.org

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wortham Theatre’s Grand Foyer

Chairman – Rachel Brown and Debbie Festari,

Honorary Chairman - Martha Turner

11:30 AM


Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Must Fight for Our Right to Bear Bunnies!!!

Can you believe in Harris County, Texas, there is a law on the books that says a rabbit hutch cannot be kept within 100 feet of the closest neighboring residence?! And, if one keeps a bunny in one's home, the home essentially becomes the rabbits "hutch"? Don't know about you, but my house isn't 100 feet away from the neighbors! Even worse, a Houston animal control officer recently enforced that law?!!

People! We cannot let this happen in America!! Bunnies should be allowed to roam freely! It is their nature to be curious, peace loving beings, sniffing around the world in search of papis, curly fries, and an occasional Bicardi Limon!!

In other news, a happy belated birthday to the queen of Bunny Nation, David "Mamey" Dust!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Amsterdam Photos!

Miss Ginger didn't want to clog Blogger with the 800 some odd photos she took at Amsterdam Pride, so as she's been shuffling through them she's uploaded them to Picasa. Check out the latest album here!

Miss Ginger's Amsterdam

Miss Ginger promised a full recap of her recent vacation, so here she goes with here insightful opinions of some great European vacation destinations. These are her opinions, and her recollections- no statement of fact should be expected to be accurate!

That said, here we go with Miss Ginger's Amsterdam!

ARRIVING:
Obviously most Americans will arrive in Amsterdam by plane, although cruise ships do call on Amsterdam as well. From Schiphol Airport
it's easy to take the train directly to Amsterdam Centraal Station, the transportation hub of the city. You can also take any number of high-speed trains into Amsterdam from other European gateways. The Thalys train serves Paris, Brussels, Germany and London and is clean, comfortable, and fast! At Schiphol, after clearing passport control and customs, follow the signs that say "to trains" and purchase your ticket from one of the bright yellow electronic kiosks. One note about these kiosks: they will accept American credit cards and debit cards, but will require a PIN code for both. Since most Americans don't use their credit cards with a PIN, and therefore don't know it, just save yourself some time and use the debit card! You'll purchase a one-way trip from Schipol to Centraal Station on NS, the Dutch National Railway, and once you arrive at Central Station, you're in the middle of it all!

If you want to cover more distance once you arrive in Amsterdam, purchase an Iamsterdam card for unlimited use of the GVB trams, subways, and buses that move people around the city. These cards, known as "chip cards" throughout Europe, are available at Schiphol, in Arrivals Hall 2, in the Centraal Station, near Track 2, and at the Stationsplein, across the street from Centraal Station. We bought ours at Stationsplein and had quite a long wait in line, so if you know you want one, check the lines at Schiphol and Centraal on your way in. If you're only there a few days, you can probably walk everywhere you'll want to go and won't need a chipcard at all!

Many of the nicest hotels are within walking distance of the train station, so unless the weather is bad or you've overpacked, walking will be the quickest way to get to most hotels.

ACCOMMODATIONS:
Miss Ginger has stayed twice at the Convent Hotel on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, which is the street leading out of the train station. On Miss Ginger's map above, the "H" indicates the location of the hotel, and her little pink path is noted. The hotel is perfectly situated within walking distance of everything, and a tram line runs right in front if you need to venture farther. As a part of the European Accor hotel chain, which also runs Sofitel, it is a first-class property, well-maintained, well-appointed, and comfortable. The staff is courteous, efficient, and pleasant, and the rooms are spacious by European standards. Miss Ginger gives the Convent 4 lipsticks!

Across the street from the Convent is the Avenue Hotel, which is listed in Damron's Guide for gay travelers. Miss G has not been inside the Avenue, but she can certainly vouch for it's location, and from outside it appeared to be clean and neat. Also in the same vicinity is a Crowne Plaza, if you are collecting points from their particular loyalty program. No one is a bigger point whore than Miss G, so stay where you can get 'em, I always say!

DIVERSIONS:
There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam, Miss Ginger can't imagine that anyone would ever get bored! The city is so imminently walkable that it's fun to just amble along the streets and alleyways, exploring the stores, cafes, and coffee shops along the way. Just remember, if you want coffee, go to a cafe. Coffee shops sell marijuana. If it were called Gingerdam, we would sell coffee in the coffee shops, and joints in the cafes, but I guess that would confuse the French too much! Anyway, smoke if you have them, but do it in the coffee shop; technically, that's the only only place it's legal to partake.

The other remarkable legal diversion in Amsterdam is prostitution, and no trip to Amsterdam is really complete without a trip to the red light district, indicated roughly by the big red star on Miss G's map. It's truly another world, where girls in bikinis ply their trade behind glass doors, occasionally opening it up to negotiate a deal with a potential client or perhaps attract the attention of one she thinks looks particularly lucrative. Two comments Miss G feels compelled to make about the RLD: first, if those girls have been "enslaved" or forced into this world, then they are the greatest actresses on Earth, because the all seem to be having the time of their lives! Secondly, it just goes to show there's a market for everything! The girls are neatly arranged by house and street, supermarket style, depending on what you want. Of course, the main street along the canal features buxom Eastern European girls, with blonde hair, long lashes, and lots of makeup. You want Asians? What flavor? Along that street, we have Thai, Chinese, Philippine, and lots more! You like them plump? Black or white?... we've got a street for each! Get drunk before you go, put your wallet in a secure place, and check your judgement at the door! It's there, it happens, so see it!

Water travel is a way of life in a city of concentric canals, so a canal tour is a must. Long glass topped boats replace the familiar red "hop off" buses one sees in most cities, so if you take a tour on one of those you can get on and off at your leisure and see what you want to see. Miss Ginger found the maze of street and canals quite confusing until she took a full 1 hour tour on a canal boat... after that, the map made sense in her head!





If you go to the Netherlands you simply MUST see a windmill... while you can!! Whereas windmills were once as common as tulips in Holland, and in fact allowed the creation of the country, there are only about 1,000 windmills still intact in the country, and only about 400 of those are still operable. There are a couple of windmills in and around Amsterdam proper, but if you book a bus tour near the Centraal Station, you can go out to the countryside and visit a working windmill. Miss G was fascinated to learn that each mill had it's own purpose, from pumping water, to sawing woods, or grinding grain. The mill she visited was actually a mill for grinding pigments, and was used to create the pigments that the Dutch Masters mixed with linseed oil to make their paints! The blades of the windmill are actually like giant sails, and when the sailed are furled, like this one, the mill is idle. But when the miller unfurls the sails and turns the top of the mill into the wind, the rotary motion is transferred to enormous mast down the center of the mill, transferring the wind power down to the business end- silently, gracefully, and effortlessly! Truly, truly amazing!


video

FOOD AND DRINK:
As one of the primary crossroads of Europe, Amsterdam boasts a very diverse assortment of restaurants and cuisines. Typical Dutch fare is simple country food, and the Dutch claim meatballs as their own over the Swedes, and pancakes are served morning, noon, and night. Most of the food we had was good, if not exceptional, and no specific meal stood out as noteworthy.

As far as drink, everyone knows that Amsterdam is extremely liberal, and expects a huge gay scene. Miss Ginger was no exception, and like most American tourists found herself sadly disappointed. She found that most gay bars in Amsterdam are there for the tourists, as the Dutch are so liberated that they don't feel the need to isolate themselves to "gay" bars. That said, there were a couple of establishments that Miss G particularly enjoyed, and a couple that she located, but never entered!

Her favorite is "Prik", indicated by a "P" on her map. In Dutch, prik means bubbles, and Miss G assumes the establishment was so named because of the Italian prosecco they serve on tap. It's a cute little place, with friendly- though not Dutch- staff, a nibbles menu, and delicious specialty cocktails. Aunt Tonya found the raspberry mojitos particularly enchanting- at least until they returned for a visit at 3am!!

Another fave is the "The Queens Head", shown as a "Q" on the map. It's a cute little place, on a really neat little street near Amsterdam's Chinatown. Along this little drag is another place called "The Angel" ("Engel" in Dutch- not to be confused with the "Eagle", which is down the road!)

Speaking of the Eagle, there are a number of leather/fetish bars that Miss G chose to avoid, but all are in the vicinity of the Queens Head. She assumed Getto, Dirty Dicks, the Sleeze Pit, and the Web to be aptly named and chose to avoid them. Enter at your own risk!

WHEN TO GO:
Miss G would venture to say anytime, although she has only been in August. For Miss G, Amsterdam in August is a perfect opportunity to escape the infernal Texas heat, as the temperatures there are a delightful 70 degrees Fahrenheit, even in midsummer! While the city is crowded with tourists that time of year, it handles them extremely well.

The other reason to go in August is Amsterdam Pride- a gay pride parade like no other on Earth! The "floats" truly float, as they are built on canal barges that moves through the canals! Because the streets are high above the waterline, there are numerous places along the rather long parade route to find a spot, and Miss suggests staking out a spot on one of the bridges. Better yet, do what Mee Maw did this year, and reserve a canal boat in lieu of a hotel room! From our little spot on the water, we were truly in the midst of it all, and had the time of our lives!! Just check out Miss G's snapshots of it all!
Don't miss Amsterdam- if it's not on your bucket list, add it! Everyone there is bi- or tri- lingual, at least, and unlike their neighbors to the south, will happily speak to you in perfect English!

For most Americans, it's a little hard to wrap your tongue around the Dutch language. In order to simplify things, Miss G and the gang developed their own little anglicized names for the streets, in order to gives each other understandable directions! We knew "straat" was street, and we assumed "voorburgwal" was bloulevard, so Spuitstraat became "Spit Street", and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal became "New Weeds Boulevard"! I'm sure to the Dutch, it was "the Lost Language of Queens" but for us it was a necessity! MeeMaws Mississippi accent just couldn't handle "Voorbugwal"!

Have fun, and happy travels!



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's What Usually Happens to Miss Ginger....

The World in Which We Live...

is sometimes a scary, scary place! On a scary night in 1993, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were scared as they scurried home through White Oak Park (not far at all from Chez Ginger), scared to death of what their parents would do if they didn't make it home in time for their curfew. They didn't know just how close they were to death, until they were unfortunate enough to randomly find themselves in the path of Peter Anthony Cantu and his rag-tag band of sickling thugs, who captured, raped, and beat the girls to their bloody deaths. Miss Ginger remembers watching the television news, with stories first about the search for the girls' whereabouts, and then, after the bodies were found, stories about the search for their killers.

Since that time, the rag-tag group has been captured and punished- some, not old enough to face adult trials, will be a burden on society the rest of their lives. Two others have already been executed by lethal injection. Cantu was executed tonight. No family members fought for an appeal, or asked for a pardon. No one cared, except for the victims families, who showed up to see another page close on the sad drama that has consumed their lives.

The story that invokes this post is not the scary part. Miss G has lived in Texas for over 24 years. She's used to hearing about executions on the the news. (Cantu is the 16th in Texas this year). She understands that she will not always agree with her fellow constituents. She's not even 100% sure where she stands on the death penalty. On the one hand, it IS murder. On the other hand, why should her tax dollars be spent buying bread and water for some scumbag loser who will never amount to anything when it could be spent to help improve the life of a victim of poverty who who may be willing to work hard to make it in a system that seems to work against them?

The part that scares Miss Ginger is the readers' reactions to the story, as indicated by the blog responses to the Houston Chronicle article recounting the story. Read them. Read them and weep, dear reader. Weep for humanity!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Where to Even Start?!

Miss Ginger is home, after a long, exhausting day of travel from Rome, via Newark, to Houston. After a hot shower in a stall the size of an entire European bathroom, a good night's sleep in her own king size bed, and a long snuggle with 2 very affectionate kitties, she is left to sort through the rubble of her now-ended journey.

She's got a suitcase full of dirty clothes, a camera with over 2,000 images in it, and copious notes and bon mots jotted into her iPad to share with you, gentle readers. Just how to organize such a project has her head spinning, but she's developed an idea.

In the style of her "Consumer Product Reports", Miss G has decided to create a page on her blog dedicated to Drag Queen travel. Using her lipstick rating system, she will sort out the sights, events, hotels, and gliteratti that make up her FABULOUS journeys! It's going to take a while, and she's got to get some work work done today, so, until she has a chance to get the project moving, here are a couple of highlights from the trip to whet your appetite:

Amsterdam was every bit as beautiful as Miss G remembered, and the weather was cool and comfortable, if a bit damp at times. Amsterdam was perhaps the first "master planned" community, with a series of concentric canals that lay the city out in a walkable, easy to learn semicircle, where all roads leads back the the center, the Centraal train station.





Of course, she went there for the Gay Pride parade, and her vantage point this year was from a houseboat rental on the canal: truly, the way to go! This spot allowed for some awesome photographs, so you can look forward to photos of floats, festivities, and lots of hot men! Miss G will post a couple of the best on here on the blog, and get the rest upload into albums so you can browse them at your leisure!







Miss G got to check another item off her bucket list: she's always wanted to see the inside of a windmill, and she was not disappointed! We were able to crawl all around inside it, and Miss G was truly amazed at the technology of the time! There's a whole post on windmills coming, so look forward to that!






Another bullet off the bucket list, overnight rail travel, was also checked off, thankfully. Here's Aunt Tonya in her bunk... MeeMaw was above and Miss G was below. That 60's era sardine can was a nightmare, and there's an entire post coming about European rail travel. It's a great way to move about the continent- IF you know what you're doing. Miss G is getting pretty good at it, so she'll have a few pointers for you!




The train trip absolved itself by delivering us to Venice, undoubtedly the most unique city on Earth! Breathtakingly beautiful, incredibly cultural, and very easy to get around, Miss G definitely wants to spend more time in Venice, and has a whole post planned on what she did, what she learned, and what she'll do differently
next time!





After Venice was Florence, and visits to the Uffizi to see Venus and to L'acadamia to see David. Florence was another great city, and an art lover's dream. Photos, and even this reproduction, of Michaelangelo's David just do not do it justice to the real thing! He is truly beautiful, and so much larger and perfect than I ever realized!














And finally, a quick visit to Rome, just enough time to see the major sights from the street. This is another "go back" place for Miss G, since it was really just a quick overnight to position herself near the airport for her return crossing. It was enough time to tell that Rome is definitely THE European city to city if you only have time for one. As a place where history, culture, and hospitality come together, it can't be beat!




Now, the phone is already ringing, and work is calling, because I KNOW they are going to want me back a day early! What good does it do to plan a jet lag day if you don't get to take it?!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Checking in from Amsterdam!

Well, GingerSnaps, Miss G has made it to Amsterdam, and the city is a clean and beautiful as she remembers! It's such a great city for travel... no wonder is one of the primary gateways to Europe! From plane, to train, to hotel, all within 30 minutes...no cabs, no long walks!

After checking Miss G into the hotel and
dropping off her bags, our travelling trio head over to canal #3 to find the boat where Captain Bill and Aunt Tonya will be staying. It's right up the street from Miss G's hotel, and it's so cute! It has a little "patio" on the back right at the water level, so we'll have a GREAT view of the boats when the parade starts! This is a picture of the view from the little patio.






Yesterday, we sat out there through the late afternoon, sipping vodka and watching the sun go down. We made ourselves a little snack tray of meats, Dutch cheeses, and other treats, and drank, and gossiped, and waved at the boats till bedtime. What a great evening!










Last night was a great night's sleep, so Miss G a up and attem, ready for the parade! She's had a nice "English Breakfast" at the hotel, and she's got all her party gear ready to head over to the canal and take her place on the "patio". Happy pride, everyone!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Here She Goes... Again!

Tonight is repack night for Miss G. She arrived home after 2 nights in NOLA on business, and she has tonight and tomorrow AM to wash and repack before heading off to Europe for her annual trip across the pond!

She had so much fun last year at Amsterdam Pride that she has decided to return, and make this year bigger and better than ever!











On last year's trip the trio decided the only way to do it was on a canal boat, and we vowed in our drunken stupor that next year, a boat on the canal was the only to go! Lucky for Miss G, she sobered up the next day! Even luckier for her, Aunt Tonya and Captain Bill didn't, so, while she sleeps in her first class room at the Sofitel, the boys will be "roughing it" on their rented canal houseboat! But, for the parade, Miss G can put on that fabulous dress she made from the Minnow's sails and have a day of fun right on the canal! And the best news yet... even if a terrible storm blows across the canal, Miss G can just scramble up to the street in safety and not risk being stuck on a desert island with that lecherous Skipper or the lesbious Mary Ann!!

After a long party weekend and a full Monday to recover, the worldly Miss G and her companions will board the Artisia overnight train and head down to Venice, Italy, for a couple of nights of sightseeing and pasta, but mostly wine. As you know, Miss G LOVES her some Pinot Grigio, and she intends to scour Italy trying to find the very best!! After Venice, we'll spend a couple of nights in Firenze, and then on to Rome for a quick overnight tour before winging back to Texas!

She knows from experience that she can post from Amsterdam, and she's pretty sure she can upload from Italia, so you can look forward to lots of FABULOUS pics of our adventures!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nog's Little Friend


Miss Ginger had no idea Nog had a little friend over for breakfast this morning, so she just shuffled out on to the back porch in her nightie like she usually does to give Nog his breakfast and grab a Diet Coke out of the bar fridge.

Miss G musta looked quite a fright, 'cause the little fellow scrambled up the telephone pole before I even got breakfast on the table!

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