Monday, July 30, 2007

Mexico is not just Tacos

Mexico....or how the locals call it, MeHeCo. Before I arrived here, i read a lot about how unsafe the city is and that you should be careful when taking a taxi or that you should not carry too much cash with you or even wear any bling bling with you.

Best to take a proper taxi when you arrive at the airport. It costs about 300pesos but at least you know you will be safely arriving at your hotel on the day of arrival.

This year is Frida Carlo's 100th year celebration since her birth. Mexico City has plenty of art exhibitions to commemorate this auspicious occasion. At the Bella Artes (at the Bella Arter Metro Station...duh!), you can see the extensive exhibition of her works and even a history of her depicting her as a child til her death. I have to say, I was moved by her strength and ability to overcome the hardship that she had to endure in her life after her near fatal accident. Warning though, there is one picture of her taken when she just passed away on the bed. I think that is such a gross invasion of privacy. I suppose the only consolation was that at least she looked peaceful at her last moments before her death.

In conjunction with this celebration, her husband's works are also displayed in the Diego Rivera museum as well as Bella Artes. If you are a fanatic of their work, you can even visit their house at Coyocan. I did not manage to go there, but my colleague told me it was well worth the visit. There, you will feel as if you are their special guest who is given a personal tour of their sanctuary.

Also not to be missed is the Zocalo. That is the 2nd biggest square in the world, after the Red Square in Moscow. There you could see one of the most famous and older cathedral in Mexico City as well as the Parliament building. In the building, you get to see another one of the famous mural by Diego Rivera. The mural is unbelievably huge. I wondered how long it took for him to complete it. Me being cheap, I didn't bother to hire a tourguide (which you could hire there and then). I just went around admiring the mural and making my own conclusions out of it. My conclusion is that it is breath-taking. Each mural depicts a different chapter of Mexico's history. Very intriguing indeed.

The nightlife there is even more superb. There is this area called Zona Rosa (Pink Zone). As the name implies, it is pretty gayish! Apparently, this place is even bigger than Castro in San Fransisco. So, I started off on Amberes Av. When I arrived, I could already see it packed with rainbow flags all over the place and lots of gay girls and guys holding hands and being kissy kissy.

I walked down that road just to cruise around and noticed that the most packed bar is called Pussy. It is adjoining to another bar called Lagata. As I was about to enter the place (it was a Thursday), a woman bouncer stopped me and asked for my ID. So, I suggest to you girls, do not forget to bring your ID if you do look like a teenager but know for a fact that you are not. So, people in Mexico start to party on Thursday nites. In fact, Thursday nite is more for the gals than the guys. Almost all clubs around this area will only admit girls into their clubs. Some have a "you can bring a gay friend" policy though.

So, what I would suggest is to drink at this bar. They have quite extensive drink menu and it is quite cheap too. With drink names like Pussy lover, you can't really go wrong. The music in this bar is pretty loud and it is not really suitable for dancing. Yet, you can see some ass drunken people trying to groove on the dancefloor. I think when they return home, they will notice quite a lot of bruise on their tights since they kept knocking over the table with them. So annoying. But the turn of events were certainly boosting my mood. They started apologizing for grinding my table and then asked me to join their grind the table move. I initially was too shy but I later succumb to them..or maybe it was the alchohol.

If you are into serious dancing, then you should later on visit Lipstick, which is just opposite the bar. I didn't get a chance to visit the place since the bunch of people I met said that it is too expensive to enter after 11pm. The crowd who frequent the place on Thursday nites are mostly stylish feminine women with a little more dough. If you know the L Word, then you can imagine what type of crowd is in Lipstick. On other nites, it has more of a male clientale.

We ended up going to another club close by instead called V.I.P. It is also situated at Zona Rosa. On a Thursday nite, this place is filled with women and they even do not allow men to enter the club. The club is pretty huge with two dance floors. One is playing your typical pop/mexican/spanish/salsa/meringue flava while the other plays House/Techno music. I was truly impressed with the girls there. They knew how to dance and shake their booty. I suppose they started dancing before they start walking. It's amazing how they twirl and spin their partners over and over again without stepping each others feet. One girl took me in her arms and started dancing with me. After stepping her feet several times, I decided I should stop before she plots her revenge.

At about 1am, some female strippers came on stage and started to tease more than strip. They took off their bras but somehow, their breast are still well hidden. I guess it takes lots of practise and skills to do that while u girate to the music and fend off girls who are climbing on the stage to have a grab at it. Funny, there were no bouncer to stop the girls from climbing the stage. Bear in mind, the stage is quite high up, maybe about 4 feet, so whoever who managed to climb up there, must be quite resourceful ....or desperate...hehe. The club opens til late. I left at 3am, but people were still coming in. Entrance is super cheap (2eur) and drinks are also super cheap (beer for 1eur). Girls are a mixture of young and old, butch and pretty eclectic. Have your go, I definitely recommend this place. I actually went back here on Saturday. Saturdays is a mixed crowd of boys and girls...but there are fairly big number of girls there, which is surprising for any gay clubs at all!! Again, without fail, you are sure to get new phone numbers or at least girls grabbing your hands to dance with go crazy! Be daring! It is all worth it.

On Friday nite, I ventured into another club called Living. Apparently, its the biggest gay club in Mexico City with the best quality sound system and laser technology. I definitely would not argue with that. It is a huge club with 3 different floors. One for Techno/House, the other R&B and the other one plays Pop music (spanish music included). On Fridays, the R&B section is closed. Entry is super expensive though to this club. It costs me about 10eur to enter. So, as you can see, this would already filter out the low income people. I have to say, it is a lot to pay for a foreigner, so you can imagine it would be an exorbitant amount for the locals. Somehow that doesn't deter people from hanging here though. The club was still quite full. As usual, people only start trickling in after 12midnite. Music is superb if you like techno/house. The DJ doesn't repeat the music. But for the pop area, the DJ was spinning the same tunes after awhile.

Drinks here are also quite expesive compared to the other clubs that I have been to in Mexico (2eur for a beer). As for the crowd, of course its mostly men, but there are a handful of women, lets say about 4% women. Yup, thats how few they were...which of course would increase your chance of getting hit on by a woman at the end of the night....hehe...afterall, you should try to look at the glass half full right?

Ambience *****
Music ****
Girls **
Service ****
Price *

Ambience ***
Music ****
Girls *****
Service **
Price *****

Ambience ***
Music ***
Girls *****
Service *****
Price *****

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Where Tango Is Born

Buenos Aires or BA for short. The name itself sounds so grand. Bueno in Spanish means good. I suppose if there is an ‘s’ at the back of Buenos, it probably means lots of goodness. Hehe…but don’t quote me on this. My Spanish isn’t that great. So, what would u associate Argentina with? I suppose Evita, Maradonna, football, great beef, superb South American wine? I bet not many people know why Evita is so famous except that Madonna kept singing to Argentina to stop crying for her….I had to google her to make myself look smart and less ignorant. She was the first lady of the former Prime Minister who did well for her country. She is quite a feminist in fact. Bravo, I say….

So what brings me to this part of the world? Another work trip I am afraid. It is my first trip to Argentina. Before I arrived, I have met quite a lot of people who gave good remarks about the country. They said the men there are super hot, and the women are sexy. They even call Argentina the Europe of South America.

Taxi cost about 65pesos (standard rate) from the airport to the city center. You can order a taxi from a counter at the airport. As soon as I got out of the taxi, I was quite dismayed with what I saw. Buildings were mostly run down, paint were peeling off the walls and lots of rusty metal protruding out of the buildings. So to compare it to a city in Europe is like comparing the Ah Beng’s rave up cars in Malaysia to the cars you see in the Fast and Furious movie.

I was staying in the NH City Hotel which is located in the heart of the city (Bolivar Str). A very good location indeed and the cost of the room was not too expensive. It is walking distance to the shopping district of Buenos Aires (Florida Str). Needless to say, I started my day with shopping, shopping, shopping. I started off my shopping spree with buying good quality, cheap leather. The best part is you can bargain for a good price too. But make sure to bring lots of cash with you if you would like to bargain. They don’t do plastic here. After a hard day’s work, I did what every other Argentinean does, drink their famous Mate tea. It has a pretty interesting after taste to it, but it does help quench the thirst. Apparently, it is good for dieting too coz it slows down your appetite. You normally drink this tea with a funny straw in a stout little cup.

Come dinner time, I was recommended by the hotel reception to try out Puerto Madero. It certainly was a great recommendation. Puerto Madero is actually the port area. All the superbly, wonderfully delicious restaurants are located at the Marina. Some even boast Michelin Star chefs. I for one am broke from all the shopping, so no Michelin Star chef for me tonite. I tried out a restaurant called Happenings. It was ‘happening indeed’. I was there at 8.00pm but apparently, that was too early. There were only 2 tables seated. After some enquires, the dinner time in Argentina starts at 9pm.

This restaurant boasts one of the best beef steaks in the city. You have to try the medium rare sirloin steak. It was mouth watering and juicy to the last piece. Of course, don’t forget to order the beautiful Argentinean wine to accompany the delish steak. You are spoilt for choices. If you know your wine well, it pays off. With the help of a Argentinean map on the winelist, you could choose the vintage, the area from which the wine comes from (north of Argentina, south etc) and of course if you know the name of the vineyard, that would be even more impressive. A bottle of wine could cost you between 6EUR to 20EUR depending on the quality of it.

Since all the restaurants are situated at the port, you are able to enjoy the beautiful skyline with your meal. Across the other side of the port are all the modern skyscrapers. All the famous IT companies like 3M, HP, Siemens are situated there, together with the Hilton Hotel. Indeed it is a huge contrast from what is on this side of the city. Seems like the other side is more geared towards the modernization and development of BA while this side of the city still has the reminiscences of the older buildings built in the 1920s. Oh, by the way, Puerto Madero is mostly geared towards tourist? So, eating out here is slightly more expensive compared to the other parts of the city.

To get rid of the meat sweats, I took a walk along the port. There is a beautiful bridge which joins the two ports together. Apparently, it is designed by a renowned local architect. It is called ‘FAT LADY’. Doesn’t resemble a fat lady, but it certainly looks state of the art. There is also an old ship built in the 20th century which is docking at the port and it doubles as a maritime museum as well. It is a huge ship with sails on it which reminds me a lot of the “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Too bad there is no Johnny Depp to be found on the ship.

So, after ridding the meat sweats, I noticed that it is only 10.30pm. What to do, what to do? That’s rite! Let’s paint the town red!! Apparently, BA doesn’t agree with me. All clubs and bars are not open til after 12 midnite. No kidding. What am I to do? Since I did not want to loiter for another 2 hours, I decided to go back to the hotel to have a short nap. And I certainly did not want to be the first person in an empty bar or club. That would make me look desperate. I probably already give out that vibe, but I didn’t want to push my luck.

As I set my alarm for 12 a.m., I shook my head and shrugged to myself. Why am I torturing myself? Then I reminded myself, I am doing this for the benefit of other single women traveler, who would be venturing to Argentina alone, and looking for yummy men but have no clue on where to go or what to do. Yes, yes, I shall sacrifice my youth and earn extra wrinkles for the benefit of women kind. 12 a.m., alarm rang. Time to get up. I had to force myself to get up. I wonder how these South Americans do it every weekend!! I went to the only lesbian club in Buenos Aires and it is called Verona Disco (Hipolito Yrigoyen 968). It was 1 a.m. and the line to get into the club was still super long and to add insult to injury, it was drizzling.

It seems like everyone was dressed pretty casually and are all wide awake, while I am yawning away. Finally about 20minutes later, I finally got into the club. It was packed to the brim…I am spoilt for choice…. Plenty of eye candy. Lots of beautiful, young chicas shaking their booty to the Latin music. Some were singing along. The DJ kept changing the music genre as the night grew younger, infusing House with Salsa, Meringue with Electronica. Few women approached me, but unless you speak the language of love (Spanish was what I meant ;-p), you won’t get too far with them…well, unless you do not mind just having mind blowing ‘ehem’ ….drinks.

Although this club is the only lesbian club in the city, it is huge!! It has 2 floors and both equally huge and is filled with women of all ages. Most of the women were long haired and pretty feminine looking. Drinks are pretty cheap, especially if you order beer. I ordered myself a gin tonic and it seems to be drowned with tonic water more than alchohol though. So, choose your alchohol beverages carefully.

So, 2 dance floors, yet both DJs play the same type of music so I am not too sure why they have 2 floors. Probably to accomodate the number of girls who frequented the place. They even have a drag queen show during the night. Although I hardly understood a word of Spanish, he was super hilarious. He even did a solo Tango Number, fully equip with the traditional tango costume.

At about 2am, the gogo dancers started shaking their booty at the podium to keep the people in the mood for dancing, not that it was necessary.

At about 5 a.m., people were still dancing the nite away. I was fully exhausted but it seems like I am the only one. Crazy. I decided to put up my white flag at 6 a.m. Turns out, 7.30am is their closing time.

The next night, I decided to do a very touristy thing…that is to go to a Tango show. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, its cheesy, its touristy, its overpriced, but you will not live to tell people that you went to Argentina without having to watch a Tango performance. This is where Tango is born. Again, from the recommendation by my clients, I went to one of the best Tango show in BA. It is in El Quarandi ( ). It is reputed to be the best historical tango show in the city. It is advisable to make a booking before you go since it could be packed. It cost me a whopping 40EUR for the whole thing but it was magnificent. You get a full 3 course meal with a whole bottle of wine. I didn’t have to share the wine since I was all by myself. A word of advice, do not order fish. Meat is what they are good at, stick to that. I regretted ordering fish and I look on my neighbor with envy as he savour his piece of meat!!

The show starts after everyone completes their meal. It was excellent, to say the least. It is like a mini theater show with short stories and plots to keep you entertain. The tenor and soprano were also incredible. They were accompanied by a group of magnificent musicians: pianist, a cellist, a violinist and an accordionist. They certainly earned their rights to be on the stage by themselves…and of course the stars of the show, 3 pairs of graceful tango dancers, kicking their heels and showing off their knickers. Needless to say, after the whole bottle of wine, I was trying to keep myself sober enough to get back to my hotel.

Next day, I ventured to Palermo, an area which is geared towards the rich people of BA. It is separated into two parts: Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho. As you can tell by the name, it is definitely up-market. There are actually a few film studios in this area and certain parts of it does resemble Beverly Hills, with plenty of branded and trendy stores glittering and shimmering on every block of the street. But what I enjoyed most here is not those branded or trendy stores, but more of those cute, little stores that sell novelty stuff which I think give Palermo its character. Most of the buildings here are also very well kept which is quite a contrast from the city center. The funny thing about this area is that there are so many pet grooming stores, and in case you have doubts about the number of dogs around, there are plenty of dog poo to substantiate the evidence. I suppose they know their niche market. Also plenty around this area are the side walk cafes and nicely themed restaurants. Maybe this is why they call BA the Europe of South America?

As I was strolling through the area, hopping away from one dog poo to another, I stumbled across a handicraft market. Would you have imagined that a handicraft market be situated in an up-market area? Amazing, I wonder what is at the next corner? Perhaps a zoo? There were plenty of leather goods, souvenirs, accessories and knitted clothes on sale. There are even clothes and bag stalls fitted with a changing room. I tried to bargain with them but to no avail. I guess not every handicraft/flea market resembles Petaling Street or maybe they just pretended to not understand me since there were other more enthusiastic, hassle free buyers around.

So, all in all, I had a fabulous time in BA. I was reading thru the guidebook and I realized that I have so much more to explore in this city. Although the first impression was not too good, but as I spent more days there, the city started growing on to me. I started appreciating the stench of the city, the goodwill of the people and the late night activities. On one of the pages of the guidebook, it explains the reason why Buenos Aires is called the Europe of South America. One of the former presidents of BA, President Domingo F. Sarmiento, in the late 1800s, was visiting Paris and London and he saw how beautiful the gardens were in these two cities. He wanted to create a similar space to London’s Hyde Park and Paris’ Bois de Boulogne. A few years later, Tres de Febrero Park was born in the area of Bosques de Palermo. It is a romantic garden, complimented with a landscape of bridges, pergolas, benches and piers surrounded by beautiful foliage.

It sounds very fascinating and it almost hurts me to leave the place. I guess I would have to return to BA to finally experience the European South America.

Verona Disco Rating:
Ambience ****
Music ****
Girls ****
Service ****
Price ****

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kiev...Welcome to The Dark Side

This is my 3rd time coming to Kiev for work purposes. Apparently, the clients love me too much!! The last time I was here, it was super cold, snowing like nobody's business. But this time around, the weather is superbly sky and plenty of sunshine.

Since the weather is great, I decided to explore the city more than I did few years ago. Surprisingly, I managed to find plenty of novelty places. One that comes to mind is this bar/restaurant with Beatles memorabilia hanging everywhere in the place. In fact, the place has a Beatles theme to it. The menu has all the titles of the Beatles' albums and they even have a live band playing all the oldies. It is not a shabby place to hangout at all. I have to admit, the reason why I stepped into this place was coz I saw a rainbow flag painted on the ceiling. Turns out that it is not a gay place at all, but its just a psychedellic color. Damn, I was cheated..neverthetheless, its quite a nice place to hang. Unfortunately, I can't give you the address of the place since the street signs are all in Cryllic and I have no idea what the name of the place is either. But it is certainly smack at the city center.

During the week, I also ventured to an Irish Pub called Golden Gate. It is a very nice pub with great live music. The food is delish and the service was great. And this speaks volumes!! I have been to several restaurants here, and the service sucked big time! Just to name a few, O'Briens Irish Pub has the worst ever service and the food was ick! The waitress looked like they had something stuck between their arse! Not kidding. They hardly smile and they are not bothered to sit you even though you look lost. The most interesting thing was that most of the restaurants that I go too which are catered to the foreigners are filled with women who loves "entertaining" men, if you know what I mean. This two older men, dressed up in pilot uniforms made me wanna puke! They were all over the girls. I felt like going up to them and slapping them or calling their airline supervisor just to report on them misbehaving!! How embarassing. I wonder if the clothes they are wearing is just part of role playing or if they were real pilots.

The other place that I went to is called TATO. It is the 1st and only Fashion Club/restaurant in Kiev. I thought it was a novelty idea and since I have never been to one before, I wanted to check it out during the weekend. Boy, it was certainly an experience. There were go go dancers, fashion shows and even topless dancers. I have never seen a table dancing thingy before, so my eyes were popping out and I was just smiling uncontrollably during the whole performance. They were just grinding themselves to the guy eventhough the guy never told them to come up to him to do a lap dance. The guy gave them some tip and she almost spit at him saying that it was not enough for a long performance. In the end, the guy didn't pay and I think she did spit at him...hehe

Well, the goal of my weekend was also to check out the lesbian scene in Kiev. There was nothing on the internet. The only thing that I found was a gay club called Androgyne. I went there before last year and it certainly caters more to the gay men than women. I was adamant to find a lesbian place, so I searched on the internet and translated a few pages of Russian websites. Finally, I had a breakthrough. I found a website and they had a lesbian section. It says that there is this new club opened since 2006 Oct, and it is exclusively for women. It is called 911. What an original name, no? Hey, I aint complaining. If the name is SHIT, I would still go there out of desperation and curiousity of course. I took down the address (Artema 10) and took a cab there. The cab driver ripped me off, asking for 50GVR (8EUR) for a bloody 2 minute ride. I came out of the taxi and what I saw in front of me was not a club at all. It was a casino and rite next to it, it was an abandoned building. I searched high and low but there was no sign. After half an hour, I decided to give up. I came back to the hotel and made a call to the club. Surprisingly, the person who picked up the phone spoke good English! woohoo! She told me to give my email address to her so that she could send me the map of the place.

Turns out that the club is just behind the block. I had to go around the block to find this club. The best part is, if you don't know, you would never find it. PERIOD!! There is this blue door with flakey paint on it. Not a good sign. I didnt know if I should step into it or not coz I wasn't sure if it was the rite place. 2 girls were behind me and I slowed down my pace. I said to them "911?" and they nodded. I let them ring the bell first and go in before I entered myself. I admit, I looked stupidly cautious and I think the girls were looking at me strangely. She tried talking to me in English but I think she gave up after awhile. She got tired of trying I suppose...hehe..

The first thing I see when I entered are posters of half naked men. Interesting decor for a lesbian club. I suppose it is a relic from the previous club owner. Apparently, it was a gay club called HOLE before it turned to a lesbian club. The club is situated downstairs. It was so quiet that I was starting to get worried that it would be an empty club. Entry to the club is 20GVR (3EUR). As I entered the club thru another blue door, I was surprised to see the club filled with women. Lots of them too!! Music was playing loudly, girls were dancing on the podium, laughing and having fun. I could grow to like this place.

The club isn't too big, which I think is fine since the lesbian community isn't so big in the 1st place. But the decor could be so much better. Everything in the club was covered with foil. I guess they were going for the cool, shinny, out of this world look but it looked more like a baking oven tray or chicken marinated in foil. I am not kidding when I said covered. The walls and collumns are all covered with it, well except for the dancing pole. Music was a mixture of everything from pop, rock, indie, russian music, house. Needless to say, when the russian music comes on, everyone was singing and dancing to it like there was no tomorrow.

Girls were mostly butch looking. Most having the sporty spice look but there were some old school butch wearing suit and tie. I asked one of the locals if there are more butch or femm girls in Kiev, she said there were more femm girls. But she said, almost all girls in Kiev are bisexuals. Good to know, hehe...Odd though, cos the number of femms in the club are outnumbered by the butches...maybe it was just today.

It seems like everyone knew everyone there. A few tried to talk to me, but obviously, that didnt hit off too well since they could barely speak English and my russian/ukrainian is next to nothing. Drinks are quite cheap too. You can get a Gin Tonic for 4EUR. Beer is certainly much cheaper. The workers here are very friendly and accomodating although they do not speak the language.

At about 11pm, the show started. It was a drag queen lip snyching to a russian song and then doing some standup routine. Again, just laugh along eventhough you have no clue what is happening. They even hired a local duo to play some old classic tunes (with the sax and a guitar). It certainly was a nice change compared to some other lesbian places I have been to where this one has live entertainment to boost the crowd....and thats not all. They even had a game. Of course, you have to be brave enough to volunteer to go up to the stage to be a guinea pig, but since evreyone knew everyone, it was not a problem at all to get some participation from the crowd. The mission of the game was simple: 3 girls from the crowd has to come on stage, sit on some sweets which were placed on the chair and guess the number of sweets. Simple enough. But the best part was that, the participants were very sporting. One of the girls actually pulled down her pants so that she could "count better" as she puts it. True enough, she won!! She got the exact!

At about 12.30am, I decided to go back coz I had to work the next day. The club apparently closes at 6am every weekend starting from Thurs. Too bad I had to go back. I wouldnt mind staying longer but duty calls!!

Thurs: Special show
Fri: Karaoke and Strip show
Sat: Speacial show

opens daily from 6pm to 10pm on all days except Thurs, Fri and Sat when it closes at 6am.

911 Rating:
Ambience **1/2
Music *
Girls ***
Service ***
Price ***

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Where Llamas and Guinea Pigs Thrive

I was once again lucky enough to be assigned for work to go to Lima, Peru. I know nothing much about Peru except for the Incas and of course Macchu Picchu. I was quite weary about the country since I didn't have a good experience in Sao Paulo. I expected Lima to be the same way, dirty, polluted, unsafe and certainly a concrete jungle.

Few days before my flight to Lima, I managed to dig thru the internet sites to look for lesbian or gay location. After searching thru 100 websites, I finally found one which was quite useful. The 1st problem was that it was just links to Gay Clubs, the other problem is that its all in Spanish. I found a lesbian group in Lima and decided to write to them instead.

After a day or so, I got a reply from one of the members of the group. Nice girl. Gave me plenty of recommendations. Peru isn't really a gay mecca but there are plenty of gay friendly bars/clubs/restaurants.

One area that I adored very much is Laco Mar. Although it is not a special gay area, but it is certainly a good place to have coffee or seafood accompanied by best view of the Peruvian coast. It has a shopping center, cinema, bowling alley and also 2 amusement centers there. The place is indeed more catered towards the upper class Peruvians and it is a little bit touristy, but the locals seems to be fine with it. In fact, I was told, it was the place to see and be seen. And I can't think of a better place to eat fresh seafood in Peru. If you would go to this area, I would certainly recommend going to Mango. The best service that I ever had and most delish seafood. I felt like a queen, the way the waiter was dotting towards us.

Anyways, I met up with the girl from the Lesbian group and she was super friendly. I have to admit she definitely doesn't look gay at all. Later on, I realized that most women in Peru are not very butch looking at all. There are of course a token few, but mostly are girls who love wearing tight, revealing clothes, shaking their bums to salsa and meringue songs.

So where is the place to be? Unfortunately, there is no exclusively lesbian hangout, but there is a BIG GAY club which has plenty of girls and guys hanging out there. The place is called Downtown. It is situated at Pasaje Los Pinos 168, Miraflores. It is the biggest gay club in Peru. It has 2 dance floors. One is for the Latin Lovers and the other is for the House Music Lovers. Guess which ones are the women's favorite? The only problem is, most of the women are just standing drinking and not many are boggie-ing the nite away...

Since I am too shy to shake my not-so-latin-like-booty, I decided to go to the House Music section instead. The DJ is great. He plays the contemporary house music and has good eye for what delights the crowd. It was a Friday night and it was packed to the brim. There was even a drag show which is at the 2nd level of the dance floor. I mean, the drag show wasn't anything to shout about, but I guess, it was great that they are quite with the "program". I mean, the show constitutes of 3 drag queens dressing up as nurse, an S&M fan covered in black leather suit and an innocent school girl strutting their butts on the catwalk. Is that considered as a drag show? hmm...oh well, I did enjoy winking at one of the drag queen, so that was fine.

Friday nites are the best especially since they have this special: buy 2 jugs of beers for only 5euros. That's madness. Oh, and you should try looking for people who are selling you tokens to get into the club for a cheaper price. It costs only 1 soles as opposed to paying at the entrance. Girls are also SUPER friendly over there. It would be a plus though if you could speak Spanish because a few girls came up to me, but I could not strike any conversation with them. Then again, you don't require spanish when you're just sucking face...hehe..

I had such a good time there that I went back on a Thursday and it was super full as well. Not so much girls, but men are a plenty. And music is consistently awesome.

Oh, warning ahead though, if you would like to try their local special drink, make sure you are a fan of raw egg. Otherwise, just don't look at how they prepare the drinks. For those in the dark, the name of the drink is Pisco Sour. It tastes great...but once you know it is made with raw egg, somehow, it doesn't taste as good anymore....

During one of the weekends, I went with my colleague to Cusco.

A city which is the closest to Macchu Picchu. It is about 3000meters above sea level. Although it is a quaint little city, it has lots of character. The architecture of the place is just fabulous, lots of Spanish influence. The Peruvian girl told me that there is a famous gay club in Cusco. We were looking around and I noticed that there were many gay flags hanging outside of the hostels. I was quite proud to see so many gays are living in Cusco. But when I kept seeing flags all over the place, I started to question. People say, 10% of the mass population could be gay, but I think I have seen more than 50% of the buildings here with gay flags flying proudly. This can't be gay heaven. True to my instinct, rainbow is actually Cusco's national symbol. It has something to do with the rain giving them good harvest and sometimes, after the rain, they could always see a rainbow and therefore, rainbow symbolizes good times.

The trip to Macchu Picchu from Cusco took us 7 bloody hours (including flight, train ride and bus ride) but it was certainly all worth it. We only had 3 hours in Macchu Picchu, but it was an awesome trip indeed. The area where the temple ruins are is amazingly breath-taking with the backdrop of the mountain covered in mist. I felt like I was Indiana Jane and found the lost city of Inca. I wish we had more time to absorb this beautiful sight, but we had to catch the train back to Cusco in order for us to fly back the next day.

At night, we went to the local restaurant. Lo and behold, we saw grilled guinea pig as one of their specialty. We had to try it, I mean, it is a mandatory thing to do since we are already in Cusco. When the dish came, it was quite a horror sight. We could still make out the shape of the guinea pig. It still has its tiny legs attached to it. The head was off of course. But that didn't make it more appetizing..and it didn't help that the table next to us were making icky faces and sounds when they realized what we have ordered. What does it taste like? It reminds me of eating squirrel. Pretty bony and tastes like something you have never tasted before, except for squirrel (I know, bad comparison....since not many people have actually eaten squirrel before...hehe, but that is the closest comparison.)

Anyways, we were too tired to venture out to the gay clubs that I have no idea how the gay clubs are in Cusco.

Downtown Ratings:
Ambience ****
Music ****
Service ***
Price ****
Girls ****

Monday, June 19, 2006

Greece, home of Socrates & Where Lesbians Orginate

So...I am off in Greece for 3 work work! I know, I know, most people would kill for this chance. I been here before and the last time I was down, it was a GREAT experience.

Seeing all the ruins (Acropolis, Theater, etc.), and imagining myself being there worshipping all the Gods and Goddesses, or better yet, people worshipping me because I was the! The last time I was here, I did manage to go island hopping, 3 to be exact, but mostly to the nearby islands (Poros, Hydra and damn I forgot the name).

Anyways, I was hoping that this time I get to go to my dream vacation spot 'Santorini'. But with luck NOT on my side, there isnt anymore flights to Santorini and if I really desperately want to go, I would have to take a 7hr ferry ride there...hell NO!

So, this weekend I killed time by hanging out at Monastiraki. This is where all the hip and happening cafe/restaurant/bars are. The best part is that the backdrop of the area is filled with beautiful scenery of the ruins. You can even see the Acropolis from there since it is situated at the top of the hill. Also, the best part is when you sit outside and just watch the people passing by. I have to say, a lot of very good looking Greeks, men and women!! Well, that is of cos if you are into dark haired and tanned people.

In the evening, I ventured to a lesbian club. It was tough looking for the places on the internet. I took down 4 addresses, but I decided to visit two for the night. The 1st one is called Troll. I took a cab there and what a disappointment. The place has been torn down. I guess someone should UPDATE the website, hello!

So I tried to go to the other lesbian club. It is called Noiz, located at Eumolpidon 41 & Kostantinoupoleos (oposite Kanella restaurant), Gazi area. The best way to go there is by a cab...that is if the cab driver know where the hell it is. Funny Greece, you could just hail a cab from anywhere and the cab will stop in the middle of the road, even if it means that it is stopping traffic.

So I hailed for a cab, and he the side of the road, but not really. So, some guy behind was shouting at him...of cos he shouted back with I am sure lots of foul words..the hillarious thing was that when he turned to me, his voice immediately changed, he was smiling and was polite. Wow, what a 180degrees change. It was like it never happened. So, I stepped into the cab and it took about 10minutes for him to ask me where I wanted to go. I wrote the address down and he was trying to pronounce the name over and over again but he doesnt get it. So eventually, he started driving and stopping other cab drivers for direction. Bear in mind that he is stopping at the middle of the road to ask for directions..

Eventually we made it. It was 11pm. I tried to enter the place but it was not opened yet. Apparently, I was super early. He said to come again at 11.30pm. I hung out at a bar opposite the club called Moshi Moshi. It is a gay friendly bar. Nice interior and the DJ was playing very relaxing music.

Come 11.45pm (trying not to be the 1st) and I headed to the club. There is a cover charge of 7euros but that entitles you to any free drink...I REPEAT, ANY! So get the most expensive one if you can..hehe... The interior isn't very impressive and the club isn't very big at all. It could fit maybe about 80-100 girls at one time.

It is quite darkly lit..but not to the extent where you would hit yourself on the face though. There are 2 bartendress. I started chatting up with one of them. She was really nice and not to mention cute too!! I was asking her about the other lesbian clubs around town. Apparently, Troll has closed down a year ago and another club that I went to the last time I was down (Perfume), has been closed for a few months too. Another club called Fairy Tale has also closed down. So now, there is only 2 clubs in town, NOiz and Onar (Elasidon 2 & Piraeos str., Gazi area). She told me that Onar is not really recommended unless I love Greek Music and Heavy Greek Ladies....wonder if she was just giving me the sales woman pitch or is it for real.

She later introduced me to the really cute and handsome waiter. He is sooo friendly. We both hit it off instantaneously. Anyways, the crowd only started to come in at about 1.30am, and that is the normal time cos it is summer time and people rather sit down and chat outdoor until sundown, rather than club indoor. Closing time is about 6am!!!

Most girls who hangout here are younger (about 18) to about 30 somethings...but mostly young crowd. I noticed that most greek girls are having longer hair, with make-up on and tight hugging clothes to show off their curve.. but still, that won't fool a trained eye...

Did I already mention that Greek girls are Goddesses!! And they really know how to party. The bartendress kept topping up my drinks for free and the waiter kept getting shots for me. By 3am, I was already super drunk!! The music is great. It is a combination of House, R&B and the obligatory Greek Music, but it wasn't so bad. Very good dancey tunes indeed.

The club was so GOOD that I went back the next day. But this time, I was smarter, I came at about 12.30pm. It was still not full though. I was starting to think that Saturday may not be a good day for clubbing. I was proven wrong. At about 2am, the place started filling up. It was more crowded than the day before. It was getting very uncomfortable to dance though. Especially since some girls got really drunk and started trashing around, thinking that it is a sexy way of dancing...I think. Got stepped on my feet a few times, got burnt on my arm by an idiot who didn't say sorry after her ciggies landed on my arm. She only shook her head. Dumbass!

Today, the bartendress who was working the day before has been replaced by a hotter bartendress. I didn't get a chance to talk to her though cos the place was too packed! The bartendress who was working came that night, but she was there to party. And BOY SHE DID!! She even did a Cayote Ugly Move..She danced on the bar..and she was gyrating her hips like Shakira. Good show indeed!

After dancing for a few hours, I started noticing a hot babe around the corner. Ok, there were a few hot babes...but this one caught my attention cos she looked like someone I knew. I inched my way towards her, trying to build up my courage while doing that. After 1/2 hr of inching, I finally was behind her. I tapped on her shoulders and introduced myself. She doesn't really speak English well. I asked her if I could dance with her. She pointed to the girl in front of her, 'She my girlfriend'. Wow, what an embarassing moment. The 1st time I gather enough balls to come up to someone to ask them to dance with me, and I get shot on the face..ewww...

To salvage my dignity, or whatever that is left, I introduced myself to her girlfriend. She was kind to me, but we didn't really talk, just a lot of awkward smiles. Oh well...can't blame a girl for trying. There were still more girls around...but I didn't dare venture my luck anymore. Afterall, I got enough ego bruising to attend to. Ouch!

By 5am, I got really tired and since they were starting to play more and more greek music, I decided to Greek out. And the worst part was that while I was saying goodbye to the bartendress and waiter, someone grabbed me from the back on my waist and wished me goodnite. I turned and saw a straight looking asian girl staring back at me. I could have stayed and tried out my luck, but I decided to play cool and smile and said goodnite to her. And now, I am banging my head against the keyboard while typing this out!!

All in all, Noiz rating:

Ambience ***
Music ***1/2
Service ****
Price ***1/2
Girls ****1/2

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Paris Part Deux - Femmes

Les 3w Café (8, rue des Ecouffes, 75004 Paris)

I came to this café last year as well after hopping out of Blisscafe (it is just 2 minutes walk from each other, so obviously, take the same metro: Hotel de Ville). The deco here is more modern and planned compared to Blisscafe. I suppose it gives a sense of professionalism as soon as you step into the bar. It was quite a packed day when I went in.

The girls who hungout here seem to be much, much younger compared to the ones that hungout in Blisscafe. Most of them are immersed in their conversation and there wasn’t any place for me to sit except at the bar.

Drinks here are similarly priced to the ones in Blisscafe but they are more extensive choices. The bartenders are very friendly and very chic as well. I cannot say much about the patrons though since I was sitting at the bar. Again, similar to Blisscafe, the downstairs is opened during the weekends for dancing as well. I guess I would have to come here during the weekends to check out if the music and women dance scene in France is any different from other countries.

Feel free to comment about this place if you have been here!

My ratings:

Ambience: ***

Parisian Women - Ooo La La

Bliss Kfé (30, Rue du ROI de Sicile, 75004 Paris, France)

I came to this cafe a year ago on a Thursday night. I found this information thru . The best way to get to this café/bar is by Metro: Hôtel de Ville. It wasn’t very packed but the patrons there were very friendly. Even the bartender was friendly although she doesn’t speak English at all. This café isn’t very pretty to say the least. It is cozy but it feels like the idea to decorate the interior was just thrown around to see who comes up with the best idea. Very minimum deco and the walls are pretty bare. The effect is that there isn’t much character in the venue so it doesn't give u a lasting impression of the place. Also, the place is pretty dimly lit...I think it is too dark for a bar. I would say, the place would fit about 50 girls if some would end up standing.

The toilet is downstairs and apparently the café opens a dance floor every Friday night next to the toilet. It was quite dark when I went down to have a look, so I can’t say for sure how many people could fit in it.

So, I tried my luck again this year to visit the café. It was on a Thursday night as well. This time though, it was pretty pack for a Thursday. I took a seat at the back of the bar and boy oh boy, this time, I had a very different perspective of French women. You would think that French women are snobbish, especially if you do not speak the language. But 2 girls, actually came to my table and started chatting with me, albeit in broken English (still better than my broken french). The best part is that these girls weren't drunk at all and they still wanted to talk to me. could be the effects of the dim lights though....but hey, I ain't complaining!

Anyways, the bartender once again, was very friendly and even the patrons were very friendly. The patrons range from age 20s to 50s. It is a casual hangout…so wear anything that feels comfortable.

Drinks are pretty expensive, but then again, its Paris. Everything everywhere is expensive! The cheapest of the lot is Beer.

So for girls who are strangers to French and the language, it is quite a good place to end up chatting Frenglish with the patrons there. I certainly have a new respect for French women. Who said French were unfriendly to those who doesn’t speak French!! Merde! So, for what it lacks in ambience, it makes it up by having a good service and good crowd.

P.s: I recently read that this club might be closing pretty soon. So sad!! The date of closure is 30.6.2006. I hope it is just a rumour...sigh, another lesbian bar closing...

My ratings for Bliss

Ambience: **
Drinks: **


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Random Discrimination

I was excited about my trip to London with another 2 friends of mine. We were going there to meet a Londoner and also to have a final goodbye before our American friend was to leave Europe for good to head back to her Texas hometown. While we were in the plane, the air stewardess gave us a form to fill, probably an immigration form.

The 2 other friends that I was travelling with - one is from Japan, another from America and I am from Malaysia. All 3 of us were lazy so we decided to fill in the form as quickly as possible. One of the question that was to be filled is Address of place of stay. All of us decided to write London.

As we were queing to enter the city, all 3 of us were on a seperate queue. My American friend had no problem passing the immigration officer, neither did my Japanese friend. When it came to be my turn, they stopped me. He said 'London, where in London? London is a huge place.' So he told me to furnish him with the full address.

I was appalled. It was so unfair. Why is it that my friends who originate from other countries do not have this problem. But for me, I had to be questioned about my address, was asked how long I would be staying, what is the reason of my visit ...blah blah...

I wonder if it is because I am a Malaysian? Is it because Malaysia is predominantly Muslim and therefore, everyone from Malaysia could be a candidate for terrorist? It seems that the world is not just an unsafe place anymore, but people seem to all live in fear, discriminating, judging, making sweeping statements, thriving in a society that inflicts paranoia to one another.

Hopefully I am wrong. Perhaps, it was my luck that this officer just happens to be stricter on form filling procedures.