Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Poem: Wam bam - hit like a revolver's load

{When I travel, I write - and sometimes poems}

Struck in the temple - dual attack - driving through to the depths of the skull emitting a shudder to violate the whole body! Rammed into darkness reverberating the intensity, drowned in sorrow's pain!

Anguish pronounced its mark through a furrowed brow - frozen, contained, as though trapped. Eyes darting trying to escape the power! No longer a simple thought, it's now an overpowering conundrum questioning every reason, answer and feeling. What is? What is? What is?

This constant battle between what's right and what feels right. Crusading daily through mind's War field to cleanse it of life's complexities. Weapons discarded, ammunition rifled, strength abandoned, fighters fleeing.

The battle seems over but the war yet not lost nor won. Imprisoned by what is, what may be and what you really want it to be.

The revolver burning, it's load fired - entrenched in a battle of its own!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Preparing for Stockholm Pride - furthest North

I'm off to the most Northern Gay Pride event I have ever been to next week - Stockholm in Sweden - and I am incredibly excited. The ladies at the Stockholm and Sweden Tourist Board have been ever so helpful and keen to get me over for sometime, finally I am making my journey with my best mate and co-writer/presenter Tim Macavoy. We're off to celebrate our 30th's.

Sweden is renowned for short days in winter and long long summer days where the sun barely disappears off the horizon, so I am very much looking forward to that. But also the immense number of parties.

The Stockholm team sent me a run down of the best events. I will be back to tell you how they went with photo and video:


CLUB X Pride Party
“CLUB X makes a fab pride celebration for all party lovers
Exclusive video release. Live Appearance by: Jamilla Idris (MILA) Large floor: Swedish Dyke Vibes. After a successful premiere and totally magical evenings Club X is now on the track. They are now ready to give you all the love they can give you. It is Pride Party and you party with the most handsome and hottest crowd in town! Its gonna be party party party!!”
Open: 23:55–05:00
 Regeringsgatan 61, Underground-Östermalmstorg
Paradise Pride Special at Kolingsborg
“Stockholm’s largest Friday gay club never disappoints! Four dance floors.
Welcome to Paradise Sthlm - Stockholm's Biggest Gay Club!
Come dance the summer night away to the latest hits, the hottest summer tunes, the best dance and the sweetest house and tech-house! Come be that Dancing Queen!”
Address: Kolingsborg, Gula gången, Slussen. Underground: Slussen
Open: 23.00-05.00

Mr Gay Sweden 2012 at Hamburger Börs
“It's time to crown the year's gay in 2012 under the leadership of Jean-Pierre Barda and the one and only Maria Montazami.”
Address:Hamburger Börs, Jakobsgatan 6, Underground-Centralen.
Open: 22.00-05.00

It’s once again time for that colourful street party- PRIDE PARADE

Where else can you see party leaders, sometimes including the prime minister (!), walk side by side with bears, colourful queens, and mature ladies holding hands? In The Pride Parade everyone is more than welcome to join in. “Proud Parents” always get the loudest cheers of approval from the many onlookers.    www.stockholmpride.org


GARAGE XL presents: Paradise Island @ Kolingsborg
“It's Saturday and GARAGE XL presents: Paradise Island @ Kolingsborg!
It's the Pride finale@Kolingsborg and this is not a party you would miss! The heat is on and the temperature will be rising! So give those beach balls a good blow and strip down to you hottest summer swim wear cos it's time to rattle your coconuts and get that sweat going!We're gonna Lambada, Hey Macarena and Vamos A La Playa all night long!!
It's ganna be hot, steaming and GAY!”
Kolingsborg, Södermalmstorg 2, Underground-Slussen

The great afterparty @ Debaser Medis,
“After last year's success, the produces Katja & Gunn will host another Pride, THE BIG afterparty. It's extravaganza of dance in all forms!
Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and more danceable electronically will sound on the dance floor! Rökhav, DJs, dancers, drag queens and flashing disco lights.
On with the mustache, lipstick, wig, boa and your high heels baby! It's gonna be FAB! it's gonna be PRIDE AFTER HOURS!”
Debaser Medis, Medborgarplatsen, Underground-Medborgarplatsen

STAR GayDisco,
“Straight all week but on STAR.... YOU R GAY!
May we introduce: STAR GayDisco, here we gather and celebrate that we are GAY at Stockholms "Place To Be". Artists, hostesses and surprises will constantly appear on STAR.
Behind the turn-tables on the three different floors: DirtyDisco-floor, Star-floor and Chupa Chupa-floor you are going to hear music like Hits, Schlager, Disco, RNB, House, 80s and everything in between. “
 Lästmakargatan 8,Underground-Östermalmstorg

Wide Open

WIDE OPEN! New, cool and very popular gayclub at Berns by Miss Inga and DJ Marcus Ullmarker. Wide Open is open every Saturday during the summer. You’ll find the club at the terrace at Berns.
Berzelii Park, Berns Hotel
Underground- Östermalmstorg or Kungsträdgården.
More info on nightlife visit www.qx.se

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

London Olympic Torch 2012 - hits home - Bexleyheath, London

For the first time in several weeks the sun shone. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, nor when to expect it. Typically the Olympic website had limited information, thankfully it seems BBC was more informed with more precise ETA (estimated time of arrivals). I left early, jumping on my bike like any sporting hero, strapped to my back my camera and a bottle of RedBull. 

Getting there early was neccessary, to grab my plot at the front. The crowd grew with about 15 minutes of it to come through. It felt like my village fete when I was just 8 years old - suddenly a community coming together. It was a precious moment. With the sun on our heads we were all in jovial spirits awaiting the golden torch.

Exactly on time, as the BBC stated, the Olympic Torch procession made its way through. Gold cars and buses, promotional vehicles from the sponsors, so BMX champs, the odd runner and a few other athletes in the mix. The music blared and the onlookers developed their excitement, swinging their heads from side to side to try to get a peek between shoulders and the mass of hair for the flaming torch.

A sudden roar exclaimed the arrival of the torch. My camera at the ready, my iPhone set to record - and there it was in two split seconds - Come and Gone. The maddness was over. 
It's amazing how these memorable moments can be over in a flash...

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Poem: Flare go off

{when I travel I write, here are some poems]

Flares go off like Rockets shooting up into the sky - an immediate explosion, catapulting it's glare from vibrant lungs.

Flares fly with such power and force knowing an unknown destination weaving as it goes, incapable of maintaining a rigid path.

Flares are set free, only to use all their energy and burn into a million pieces - no sooner setting off and going up, fuming its energy then falling to the sky in little more than tiny flakes, just to be forgotten in fields, choppy waters and the relentless air.

Flares give us a moment of exasperation. Flares makes us take notice. Flares signal help

Flares signal help - a moment just a moment in time

Euro Final - in NYC - Spain Vs Italy

I never expected to actually watch the Euro Cup Final, let alone in NYC - but the atmosphere was incredible as Spanish and Italian visitors, immigrants and descendants watched the game.

Monday, 23 July 2012

TIme to be Quiet - the SHHHHH Bar in New York - NYC

Burp Castle is probably one of the more interesting hangouts in NYC/ New York. This establishment has no music, and encourages quiet chitter chatter and should it get too loud the bar made will make a polite request for quiet by SHUSHING the patrons.

The bar is adorned with a painting of Monks by a Polish guy - check out the two kissing monks - who seem to be celebrating mighty hard.

Burp Castle serves a selection of different beers and wines. It is extremely simple but a great hang out. And if my experience was anything to go by - you will come out burping.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Become a Gay Travel Guru - paid travel experience, USA only

The Gay Travel Guru is back and ready to pay someone's flights, hotels, food and entertainment. This is your chance (if you live in the USA and a permit to work) to see the world, and the rest of the States. Being very British this opportunity marks me out, but it shouldn't you! What a chance to have.

In Season One, Nick Vivion was crowned North America's first Gay Travel Guru. He was paid $30K and over the following six months, he traveled to the hottest destinations in North America and shared the Gay Travel experience with GayTravel.com followers around the world.

(BTW - if you haven't checked so see MY blogs on gaytravel.com)

Season Two of Gay Travel Guru kicked off on July 15th. Gaytravel.com is NOW seeking applicants for Gay Travel Guru Season Two from all over the country.

NOTE: If the winner of Guru was sent to GayTravel.com from MY site/magazine, I will receive a special travel prize as well as a complimentary Guru Sponsorship package for the 2013 season. Therefore mention my name - Ryan C Haynes, or simply Ryan Haynes - please, I want a piece of the action too!

The all important website: http://www.gaytravelguru.com/

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Poem: I'm not angry

{I write when I travel, sometimes poetry, here's just some things}

I'm not angry

Irritated, annoyed, agitated maybe,

frustrated, antagonised, aggressive possibly,

wound up, pissed off, stirred the wrong way most likely,

disapproving, unagreeable, unsupported probably,

uncomfortable, challenged, inferior perhaps,

tense, anxious, nervous are options,

scared, unsure, indecisive could be

Anything but angry

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Train travel - UK looks to the future, my journey from Baltimore - NYC

The Government of the UK announced on 16th July it is investing £9.4 billion into Britain's rail infrastructure, this will see better connections, rail upgrades, faster trains, better services, developments to stations and the electrification to 850 miles of rail way (small seeming as London Underground is over 250 miles). But this should be seen as the biggest upgrade since the Victorian era - and about time too.

Unfortunately our trains run incredibly slow - unless on a fast-speed on Virgin or off to Birmingham or Brighton from London. The carriages are often poor and neither catered to business commuters or leisure travelers - sort of fall in between, and the costs are almost out of reach. I cannot justify a trip home to my parents at £45 when it costs the same in petrol and takes just as long.

Britain uses all sorts of excuses for delayed or canceled train - it's too hot, it's too wet, there's too much ice, the drivers are on strike, the lights don't work, the carriage is being cleaned. I am sure this happens elsewhere. I always enjoyed traveling by train in Europe because it is FAST and CHEAP. However my experience in the USA was different.

I once made a journey from LA to San Francisco by train, it took about 15 hours. I left a dawn and arrived near to midnight. Coming into San Francisco as a 21 year old I felt a little lost. But the journey was long. This long train that seemed to be more for transporting goods than people, appeared to need as much time to stop as it did to get up to a mediorce speed. I think I spent most the trip in standstill. Yet, just two weeks ago I decided to avoid my flights to NYC and head by train.

Booking was the first nightmare - real-time pricing. No sooner had I found a cheap train ticket, I went to purchase, keyed in all my details, and suddenly that seat was sold. This happened four times until magically it worked. But a ticket that started off at $66, I ended up buying for $101 and actually paying $122...all a bit of a shrewd game by the train company!

But, the journey was a quick 2hours 45 minutes, in comfortable chairs with electric points and free wi-fi. There was no comparison with the UK, in essence they did everything right for the passenger, including making more money from me....

{photos from Baltimore to NYC and arriving in NYC}

Monday, 16 July 2012

Visiting HITEC - the travel technology show - 2012

For four years I was whiling away in the London office, coordinating the prestigious North American tradeshow that is HITEC. Over 5,000km away, the RTConnect and RTSuite sales team along with management members swooned the delegates and built relationships with some of the biggest and brightest hotel tech companies. I waited in earnest to find out their experience, with often William Goldsberry getting overly excited by the opportunities.

2012 – and I am told I get to go. The prospect was daunting, Goldsberry and our CEO tried to reassure me that it is not the big bad beast I imagined. (I was having nightmares of conversations with CIO and CTOs about the best system integration techniques). Indeed they are right, HITEC is a friendly show and much smaller than that of WTM and ITB, but much more specific in its approach.

I met journalists from across all the North American publications; it was a pleasure to meet them in person after 5 years. And their enthusiasm to finally meet the face behind all the emails on product updates, customer wins and case studies, was inspiring. We talked distribution, channel mix, sales opportunities and how RateTiger will be in more places in 2013 than it has done in its 10-year history.

The rest of the team had a good show, in fact I never saw them for the number of meetings they had. The RTConnect team were talking about seamless connectivity, and channel integration as more companies look to direct connect, from CRS to PMS and plenty of channels.

We were pleased to be joined by Trust and Travel Tripper for our post - HITEC meal. We even had chance to head to Fells Point, on the edge of the Baltimore harbour. The old cobbled streets, red brick buildings and array of small restaurants, eateries, bars and pubs reminded me of a quaint town of England – home! We made sure we had some of their finest seafood delicacies including fish and mussels. But, Must go back for the Crab! 

Ryan C Haynes
is VP - Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at ryanh@ratetiger.com

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Moving Onward in Singapore - the gay life

Guest Article: Author: Jon Fairbanks, Gaytravel.com team member

"Majulah Singapura" is Malay for "Onward, Singapore" and the local LGBT community is truly living this motto. Homosexuality is still illegal in Singapore but in recent years gays and lesbians have made great strides toward not just tolerance, but acceptance.

As a queer traveler, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful city to visit. Singapore is clean and easy-to-navigate. It’s also culturally diverse and there are several official languages. Citizens speak English, Indian, Malay, Chinese and Indonesian. A cosmopolitan city, there’s a plethora of exquisite museums, parks, cafes and restaurants to enjoy. If you love to get your shop on, the world-class malls (featuring high-end retailers) won’t disappoint.

With the growing tolerance of homosexuality has come an influx of gay bars, clubs and other LGBT venues in Singapore. That said, there are still no protections to keep the queer community and travelers safe against homophobic attacks, so enjoy but be cautious. Tourism is huge and many businesses are vying for the pink dollar. The amazing nightlife, cruisy gay beaches and impressive infrastructure make Singapore a wildly popular gay destination.
You’ll find many of the popular gay clubs are in Chinatown, which is easily accessible by public transportation. Backstage Bar is one of the hottest clubs catering to queer patrons. You’ll love the classic movie themed décor, from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” to “Oklahoma.” Sweat to the beats or head outside to cruise or light up. The house is packed each weekend and it’s a great place to meet hot locals and other out of towners.

DYMK (Does Your Mother Know) is another amazing place to get your dance one. It’s a double-story retro bar with an S&M night every Thursday. You’ll find a common theme with the naming of a lot of the venues. DYMK, Taboo and other clubs are named to reflect the “don’t ask, don’t tell” atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a break from all of the hustle, bustle and modern conveniences, head to Tanjong Beach in Sentosa, one of Singapore’s most popular gay beaches. Tanjong is the furthest beach from Beach Station opposite of Siloso Beach. You’ll find a wide range of sun seekers here from young twinks to bronzed older gents donning speedos. Unlike many other gay beaches, you’ll find some shops, bars and cafes near Tanjong. This beach is also close to Palawan. This stretch of the coast is where you’ll find a lot of straight families and teens but it’s still a great place to get some rays.

In 2005, Singapore hosted their first LGBT Pride festival, sponsored by IndigNation. This year marks the sixth season. Unlike most Pride festivals, you won’t find the local queer community participating in parades or other flamboyant events because organizers cannot get permits from the government. Typically the schedule includes LGBT lectures and film festivals but few if any outdoor celebrations.

Despite efforts to quiet Singapore’s gay and lesbian community, it’s easy to hear the roar of The Lion City’s mos. The gay traveler will revel in the city’s modern appeal and a queer scene that’s not just growing, but bursting as the seams.

For more information about gay travel destinations please visit www.gaytravel.com

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Poem - Something Snapped

{I write when I travel, sometimes poetry, here's just some things}

Something snapped. It gave way - felt the pressure as everything collided failing under the weight of itself.

Stretched beyond strength incapable of supporting the disappointment that had eluded all aims. It was broken and needed to be repaired, to regain its place built on the existing foundations to make a bigger and better support network dissolving all tears and massaging all strains in hope it won't snap again

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Why when buying on GroupOn you need to be careful

EFT: There needs to be a distinction between retail and travel flash sale sites since travel is a far more complex purchase. Any thoughts?
AT: The main challenges are educating consumers to read all fine print thoroughly prior to purchase to avoid dissatisfaction and also sufficient training for hotel ground staff so every guest is being well looked after.

***So remember to read the fine print, you may find you might not get what you think you are buying


Friday, 6 July 2012

Siem Reap: Night, Shopping, Bars & a gay scene

Siem Reap is a buslting little town within a country that has been torn apart in so many ways. Making its living from the tourism and Angkor Wat Temples, it has moved on leaps and bounds to the palm tree villages that surround it. 

The town has a night market where you can buy local arts and crafts, including t-shirts designed by locals that use the temples and Cambodian culture for inspiration. Pub Street is exactly that and reminds me of the tourist towns of Spain - Benidorm comes to mind.

There is also a gay scene, while small - just one bar called Linga, it also has a Spa (Linga Spa) and a hotel by the name of River Queen. This new guest house only opened in November and has done better than expected in the first year. The Australian/European couple bought the property to invest in their future and totally refurbished the crumbling building. The top deck sports three jacuzzis and a bar, each room has an ensuite, television, safe and air-conditioning, with some delux rooms offering a balcony. Breakfast is included, and wifi, and on the ground floor they have a bar.

Siem Reap really is Old  meets New