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50 Things about my Summer Vacation


It's over.

My narrative skills are non-existent today. Vacation has left me drowsy. So here’s a random list of memories/thoughts.

  1. A day at sea, under full sail, beats any port of call.

  2. It’s never too hot to lounge in a hot tub.

  3. The Windsurf crew is brilliant. Friendly, attentive, professional. And oftentimes very cute. It was my second Windstar experience. The first was in French Polynesia, more than a dozen years ago, on the now defunct Windsong. If you ever have the chance to experience a trip on one of these ships, jump at the chance.

  4. We no longer buy cigarettes at Duty Free. Instead, we stock up on L’Oreal men’s skin care products.

  5. Miss Coco Peru is wicked funny. Her alter-ego is one of the most lovely men I’ve met in a long time. If only all drag queens could be so real, and have intellegent witty conversations when the wigs are off. Her manager's adorable as well.

  6. I used to be afraid of missing something and would try to do everything. I did very little on this last trip and don’t feel like I missed a thing. The streets of Saint Tropez will be there another day.

  7. If you’re a “host” of the travel company sponsoring the ship, you should make an effort to introduce yourself to each of your guests (especially if there are less than 300 guests). This goes double for the owner of a relatively new company who’s trying to build a repeat business. Good PR is more about personal contact than putting up rainbow flags (and a big shout out to the captain of the boat, who sailed rainbows on his masts for a week).

  8. Even the most mediocre of dives is one of the best ways imaginable to spend an hour or two.

  9. I would love to hear a cabaret piano player who can actually finish an entire song. And know "Stars and the Moon". Or "Meadowlark." But he did have a fine set of buttocks (which he gladly showed off during the toga party) and loved to be spanked. So ... it's all a balance.

  10. The two Roberts from Seattle should live closer to London.

  11. I want to take art classes from Alan in Lauderdale (who used to live in Washington).

  12. Ben the water sports guy knows every word to every camp gay anthem and is really eager to don a toga. His girlfriend of many years refers to him as her “dancing queen”. Several of us think she wears the trousers (or at least the field hockey shorts) in the family.

  13. Whatever was going on in my throat / sinus never really went away, so I lived on cold medicine and the occasional codeine. Made for a fairly mellow trip.

  14. Chocolate buffets are overrated but delicious. I guess everyone doesn't have a chocolate fountain in their bedroom? Keep up, y'all.

  15. All that food and booze and I ended up losing a few pounds. I think it must be drinking vodka and wine instead of pints of beer.

  16. Things overheard at dinner: “In the last 36 years, I have never gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to pee.”

  17. Things overheard by the pool at 2 in the morning: “Have you had sex on the cruise yet? Well you’re about to.”

  18. Met a couple Dublin boys towards the end of the trip … they’re a riot.

  19. DC boys on cruises are like Boston boys going to Ptown. It takes them awhile to wash off the starch and become friendly. But once they do, it’s almost worth the wait.

  20. There were a LOT of DC boys on the trip. Second only to Fort Lauderdale. An interesting demographic.

  21. It took a while to get used to a ship full of passengers with American twangs. I don't mean that to be mean, but it's just weird once you haven't that many of them in once place (especially in Europe) for a long time.

  22. Most of the Americans I talked to said I didn’t sound like I was from America. Talked to a couple of Brits and they said, “where in America are you from?” I’m a man without an accent.

  23. You know the singer of the disco classic “Coming Out of Hiding?” Me neither. Her name’s Pamela Stanely. She’s now a gay cruise ship entertainer who lives in Lauderdale. They love her.

  24. There were two guys from Tampa who had the exact same bodies (and wax jobs, complete with treasure trails from navels to well-groomed bush). I called them the Jean-Claudes, in reference to their dual resemblance to Mr. Van Damm. They dressed the same (or at least clothes with contrasting colors … e.g., white shorts/blue trim, blue shorts/white trim), 24/7. Matching yellow spandex and cowboys hats make for subtle shore excursions. How many of you are in couples where you make a conscious effort to dress alike? How many wish you were?

  25. They brought the most fabulous white satin for the toga parties and looked really hot.

  26. An Australian boy (of Arab descent) did an authentic belly dance for the toga party. Were there belly dancers in Rome?

  27. We met a couple from New Hampshire, in their 50s, who’d been together for 5 years. They both were previously married and each have grown children. They met in a gay men’s support group, are each others 1st and 2nd relationship with a man, and are an amazing couple.

  28. Bob Smith makes me laugh. And he’s excellent dinner company, although I felt like a stalker when we ended up unexpectedly eating with him a second night in a row.

  29. There was a hot French guy on board with the best jeans ever. Who knew he was the ship’s magician and does amazing tricks with his hands?

  30. Who knew that Miss Coco Peru would be the opening act for a magician? (Um, not Sra. Peru, to be sure).

  31. I took a walk through the city of Capri. It would be so much nicer if only there was some money there. Jeez, it's like Rodeo Island.

  32. Ended up at the Natural Arch on Capri. It was beautiful, but not where I expected it to be and I had to walk back another 45 minutes to get the tender back to the ship.

  33. A forced march through the hilly paths of Capri is beautiful, yet exhausting.

  34. Ponza is probably what Provincetown would have been like 60 years ago. Really lovely.

  35. I want to go back to Sorrento and spend a few days there, and have the time to properly enjoy Pompeii.

  36. Most all of the wait staff was Indonesian/Malaysian. They were the friendliest, happiest guys I’ve ever seen in a work environment. Surprisingly, some of the gay passengers brought wigs along. There was one particularly adorable crew member, Aladdin, who couldn’t have been more happy to be wearing a big black afro. He loved his disco dancing as well, even with a tray of drinks in his hand.

  37. The fresh-baked cookies on board every day were the best treats ever. I think Larry had them for several of his meals.

  38. There were a number of solo travelers on the boat. When I saw them eating alone, half-way through the cruise, I wondered if they were lonely … but I didn’t want to impose and ask them to join us. So now I’ll never know.

  39. www.silverdaddies.com can get you laid in Nice and Rome, and get you a lovely companion for a morning in Almalfi.

  40. I’m intrigued but a little too scared to register with silverdaddies.com and see the profile for the passenger who told me about it.

  41. The same playlist will work for “seamen’s tea” (original branding to be sure), “70s Studio 54 party”, and the “retro tea”.

  42. If you’re going to hold a “retro tea” and invite guests to wear tie-dye, platforms, and wigs, you should tell your passengers before they leave home for their holiday.

  43. Never underestimate the power of Mylar as a decorative tool.

  44. The guy who hung the most Mylar mentioned his new career numerous times. He’s just gotten his degree in Interior Design. “Did they teach you about Mylar at Design school?” I asked. He said no, but “we’re gay men and have a reputation to live up to.”

  45. I vote for a new reputation.

  46. Ships casinos should have craps tables.

  47. Italian boys are hot, especially when they don’t try.

  48. It’s a long, dreary bus ride from where the boat docks to the actual city of Rome.

  49. It was worth the wait, despite the fact I was exhausted.

  50. Looking forward to proper couple of days in Rome in mid-September (a tagalong to L’s business trip). It'll be a skosh cooler, and there are so many more hidden streets to explore after we wait forEVER to get into the basillica.

It’s good to be home. As we were landing over Gatwick last night, I thought how easy it is coming home to London and how hard it would have been to be coming home to New York. Have I mentioned lately how much j'adore living in London?

Off to Edinburgh in the morning to spend a couple of days with an old college buddy who has a play being performed there.