Thursday, 31 May 2012

KLM Video - new social campaign

I read about KLMs new social media application that helps you choose who to sit next to just a few months ago. It past me by a bit. I really am not hugely interested in people knowing where I am on every step of my daily journey, but admittedly this new advert renewed by curiosity.

However the problems with adverts they show what's in our dreams and not reality. If only it really is that easy to swipe away your neighbouring passenger for someone else. I may give this app a go when I next fly KLM.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Taking a flight East - comfort in Singapore?

Returning to Asia for my second trip to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon for a journey through the Mykong Delta and then onwards to Cambodia for Siem Reap and Angkor Wat I considered the carefully the airline to take.

Unfortunately the direct route with Vietnam Airlines was fully booked for the limited flights they offer weekly, so no easy journey to the Vietnamese city. Instead I had to consider other options, with the cheapest at the time being little less than £650 return the choice of airline was a gamble for one I had never heard of. However so many of my friends and Facebook yelped at how amazing Singapore Airlines is - looking through Wunderlust magazine and some other websites for airline ratings Singapore was certainly coming up trumps, for a simple £100 more will I be guaranteed an excellent flight?

The truth is to be experienced later today, to see if what everyone is right and Singapore is an airline of choice. Off to Ho Chi Minh City via Singapore...

Monday, 28 May 2012

Loving the Ibis approach

Ibis has launched its three new brands as it encapsulated eTap and All Seasons under one roof. Now given the more simple titles of Ibis, Ibis Style and Ibis budget the new trend to offer more services but in trendy and simpler settings is apparent in Accor's new branding.

The website is a fantastic one page approach exploring all areas of the development of the new brands, including development timeline, new launches, statistics including number of pillows and great behind the scenes drama as properties across the world get an Ibis make-over.

I am certainly impressed, and seeing hotels in central Paris for next weekend cost as little as £56 per night - I think Ibis will be a new choice for my travels.




Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Photos: Bright Lights of the Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City these are two completely different worlds. Excuse the blue skies, but focus your eyes on coffee shops, no street living, latest technology, historic landmark buildings, big bright lights and an ever growing skyline. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or Saigon as it was, is the new Bangkok and Singapore of Asia. A city with youth in its heart.










Monday, 21 May 2012

Photos: A pastime gone - American Vietnam War, the strength of people

The Vietnamese are strong people. They have a grit I haven't seen so vividly before, even through Eastern Europe and the fall of communism, opening up of my continent following the World and Cold Wars. In Vietnam the remains of war continue, the devastation of war proceed to challenge people and especially new borns. This country will not forget and have a lot to be grateful for, and perhaps will make their future more sustainable.













RyanAir - posting profits and warnings are a JOKE on the industry

RyanAir today posted the biggest profits they have made up 25% on last year and YET again warned that profits for the coming year will be lower. How are we expected to believe this when they made the same claim last year - it is as simple as the fact that RyanAir want more money and they only way they can do this is by increasing the price of fairs - they blame it on fuel costs, but profits are still rising despite only 16% increase in fare prices vs 30% increase in fuel costs.

Last year RyanAir said "No increase in profit next year" as they announced a 23% rise in profits totalling €374 million, and today posted 25% totalling €503...did they do maths in school.

In May 2011 they envisaged a 4% growth in passenger numbers, infact it was 4.9% - so this airline is certainly not hard-up. In fact in 2011 fuel costs rose by 37% so they've had an easier year.

Even if the markets weren't pitiful RyanAir would still complain about how bad the economy is and give the impression how they won't survive another year without good passenger numbers. However recent evidence shows that RyanAir is little more than bullies as they cancel flights to Kos and Rhodes (Greece) because the tourist boards won't do a dual marketing campaign. Sorry - but correct me if I am wrong but Greece is going bankrupt and the airline expects them to put budget towards a marketing campaign?! It seems RyanAir wants people to pay everything for them and they just keep skimming the profit.

Go Ahead - RA can continue to do this. However I am proud of the fact I haven't taken a flight with them in four years - and I applaud EasyJet for its service, prices, destinations and huge range of other services it offers. 


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Photos: My Son, rich in heritage - destroyed by war - Vietnam

Just outside Hoi An, about a 2 - 3 hour drive is the ancient tombs of My Son. Discovered by the French these amazing pieces of historical architecture are some of the first ever structures formed by brick. These exquisite forms have detail both in shape, carvings, depth and the ability to starve off the sun to keep the interiors cool - and dry - an ideal habitat for bats. Of multiple sites only a handful remain and some of which were destroyed by American bombs when they assumed they were Vietnamese settlements.









The Good and Evil of Gay Savannah


GUEST ARTICLE
Author: Jon Fairbanks GayTravel.com team member
Photo Credit: www.savannahvisit.com

Savannah, Georgia is a charming gay oasis frozen in time. America’s first planned city boasts a thriving gay and lesbian scene and is a haven for the artistic and creative. Whether you’re looking to relocate or want a relaxing getaway, this historic city is a dream destination.

SCAD: Savannah is an Art Student’s Inspiration
One of the reasons so many artists, musicians and free-thinkers love “the hostess city of the south” is because of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The campus is stretched out across the downtown area and uses more than 60 buildings, including many historic structures. It’s not uncommon to see SCAD’s trademark red double decker bus passing through one of the squares. Many of the transplant gays are drawn to the city because of SCAD and the school’s presence adds unique appeal.

For gay and lesbian art enthusiasts, there are several opportunities to get your culture on in Savannah besides the gorgeous landmarks. There are a number of galleries featuring work by local artists, the acclaimed Savannah Dance Theatre and the Savannah Music Festival, an annual soiree that highlights an eclectic mix of performers.

True Crime and The Lady Chablis
Savannah’s breathtaking downtown district and colorful residents became a worldwide phenomenon in 1994, when John Berendt’s iconic novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” first hit bookshelves. The book quickly topped The New York Times’ bestsellers list and stayed on that list for 216 weeks.

“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” tells the story of a male prostitute who is killed by his gay lover. The death took place in a home built by a relative of native singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer. During the course of the novel, readers are introduced to several iconic, real-life denizens, many members of the LGBT community. Clint Eastwood adapted the book into a critically acclaimed film, starring Jude Law and Kevin Spacey.

One of the most notable characters in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is real-life legendary female impersonator, The Lady Chablis. Chablis adds some comedy relief to the heavy drama of the main plot. The legendary performer played herself in the film version and continues to entertain the local masses. Chablis is a huge draw at her “home” gay club, Club One in Savannah and she also performs at gay pride events across the country.

Rollin’ on River Street
For any gay or lesbian traveler venturing to Savannah for the first time, a skip down to River Street is a must. This charming commercial area is where you’ll find a plethora of gay-owned and gay-friendly restaurants and shops. Rocks on the Roof is a great place if you’re looking to enjoy some American fare with a glorious rooftop setting. If you want to partake in some French cuisine, check out Papillote, intersecting with Broughton. After a late night of boozing, head to the Mellow Mushroom for a slice or a calzone.

Make sure you bring an extra suitcase so you can shlepp back all of the antiques and other souvenirs you acquire back home with you. River Street is a great place to find unique pieces. Jere’s Antiques and Nature’s Treasures are just a couple of the most popular shops.

Savannah Gay Nightlife: Club One, Club All
So you’ve shopped ‘til your bank account balance dropped and now you want to check out the gay nightlife in Savannah. The most popular LGBT venue continues to be Club One. This iconic hangout offers two dance floors, a video bar and regular drag shows and liver performances. If you’re looking for a spot that’s a little more low-key, check out Chuck’s off River Street. This is a great place to chug down cheap drinks and meet friendly locals.

Life’s a Beach on Tybee Island
One of Savannah’s biggest draws is the fact that it’s located on the coast. Tybee Island is the most popular local spot to find gay and straight hotties alike getting bronzed. The area, also known as “Savannah Beach,” is a great quiet getaway for locals and tourists. This is also where you’ll find the famed Tybee Island Light Station and Fort Screven Historic District.

Each May since 1987 Tybee Island has played host to the popular Beach Bum parade. This is a great event to spy scantily clad southern gents and belles in all of their glory. Just make sure you bring your water-gun to squirt them when they roll by on their floats. The parade takes place on Butler Avenue, the main street in Tybee.

Art, music, amazing architecture and incredible LGBT nightlife, you can find it all in Savannah, Georgia. It’s a great city to relax in a rocking chair, put up your pinky and sip a mint julep in your best seersucker attire. I do declare!

To learn more about Savannah and other great LGBT travel destinations please visit www.gaytravel.com

Images: www.savannahvisit.com