Monday, December 19, 2016

"Joiner visitors"

[Although I'm now a retired blogger, I feel the need to post this … ]

I like to think that I'm a (gay) man of the world. I've had a few boyfriends, and more than a few encounters with a varied selection men from all over the world, with a reasonable selection of activities too. So I don't think that anyone could call me naïve. Nonetheless, when I checked into a hotel with boyfriend K today, I didn't immediately realise what the following notice meant at the hotel reception:

"You do understand it, don't you?" asks boyfriend K with a cheeky tone in his voice, "the English is a bit weird!"

"Well, I saw on the hotel's website that they charge extra for 3 people in a room," I reply after reading it very quickly.

"Hang on," I continue, "what is a joiner visitor? A friend who arrives late?"

"Don't forget that we're staying in Pattaya tonight," replies boyfriend K helpfully.

For readers who may not know, Pattaya became famous during the Vietnam war as a place American solders went for prostitutes. And even though the Vietnam war ended a long time ago, the business continued.

"Wow," I say feeling very stupid, "I've never seen that before in a hotel, a policy about bringing someone back for the night!"

And when we get to our room, there's something else that I've never seen before in a hotel. A packet of condoms for sale in the bedroom, prominently visible, and proudly displayed on the mini-bar price list.

"Actually I remember now that one of my friends warned me about this," I say to boyfriend K after the baggage porter has left, "he told me that he always feels a bit dirty after a visit to Pattaya!"

Monday, December 05, 2016

Christmas charity donations

Christmas treeThroughout the year I make small charity donations, for example in response to specific sponsorship requests from friends. However, it's in December in the run up to Christmas that I make the biggest donations. Since 2007 I've been asking readers for charity suggestions (see Christmas charity donation posting category), and just because I'm now a retired blogger, I don't see any reason not to do a post here asking for suggestions. So all suggestions still welcome. I won't get round to making the donations before Friday 16th December 2016, so any comments made before then will be taken into account :-).

Update 21-Dec-2016: charity donations.

In the end, I decided to support some of the charities that I supported last year. Coming from a medical family, I guess Médecins Sans Frontières (UK charity number 1026588) is my favourite charity, so this year I gave them £1k. Apart from that, I also gave £0.5k to each of GMFA (UK charity number 1076854), Food Cycle (UK charity number 1134423), Against Malaria Foundation (UK charity number 1105319) and Shelter (UK charity number 263710).

As I was making these donations, it occurred to me that much of the work that these charities do relates to addressing the symptoms of problems rather than their causes. For example, MSF works in war zones and with refugees, but who is working to prevent the wars and the refugees that accompany them? Addressing the causes of problems would be better than treating their symptoms, but I guess that's a much harder thing to do :-(.

Anyway, a very Happy Christmas to everyone :-). Big kisses, GB XXX