IML Diary: June 2004

June 1st to 7th - Waikiki, Hawaii

Photo credit: Dave Harris

Tuesday June 1st - Flew from Chicago to Hawaii, arriving at the Cabana Waikiki mid-afternoon. Spent the rest of the day unpacking, having dinner at sunset and walking along the beach at night.

Wednesday June 2nd - Swam in the sea and worked out at 24 hour fitness. In the evening we took a sunset dinner cruise on a 3 storey high catamaran with several hundred other people. Fortunately our hotel warned us it was worth paying extra for a little privacy on the top deck.

Thursday June 3rd - Another lazy day of swimming, sunbathing, dinner and moonlit walks along the beach.

Photo credit: Dave Harris

Friday June 4th - Our first helicopter ride. Flew around the island past steep mountains with sharp ridges, waterfalls, fantastic beaches on the north shore and Pearl Harbour. In the evening we visited a traditional Hawaiian restaurant to try Kulua pig and Laulau plate, followed by several rounds of cocktails in Hula's bar with some friendly American bears.

Photo credit: Dave Harris

Saturday June 5th - Gym in the morning and sunbathed in the afternoon, because at 5pm we were collected for a photoshoot for DaKine, a local gay magazine. There's a reason why no-one wears leather in Hawaii. It's so hot! It's even worse when you're wearing full leather and two volunteers are holding mirror boards to shine extra sunlight on you. Dave took his camera along, you can see some of his pictures here.

In the evening we returned to Hula's bar for more drinks with our American bear friends.

Sunday June 6th - Sunbathed and swam in the morning, then went to Waikiki University aquarium in the afternoon (above). Watched the sunset during dinner and then went home to pack.

June 7th to 10th - San Francisco, California

Dave in Castro Street
Dave in the Castro

Monday June 7th - Flew from Hawaii to San Francisco (1:30pm to 9:50pm). Took a taxi to our host's home in the Castro. Had a drink at Daddy's bar to end the day.

With our friends Jay, Kevin, Robert and Joe in Daddy's bar in the Castro

Tuesday June 8th - Dropped into the Magnet health center in the morning to see our friends there. Lunch with Joe Gallagher, then at 4pm we had more drinks at Daddy's bar with Jay and Kevin from Magnet and Robert Davolt and his partner Joe.

Went out for dinner with our host and then met Chuck from Blow Buddies in the evening.

The wild sea lions at Pier 59
Photo credit: Dave Harris

Wednesday June 9th - We were due to see more friends but were both so tired from rushing around that we phoned and made our apologies, then headed out to see the wild sea lions at Pier 39. In the evening Dave explored the bars and I went to Gold's Gym in the Castro.

Thursday June 10th - Flew from San Francisco to Chicago. Had lunch with another friend then caught the overnight flight home to London.

June 11th to 20th - Home in London, UK

I'd stepped down as IML now so there was no need for me to keep travelling. However, I met Steve Lenius at IML. He's a journalist for Lavender magazine and had written some nice things about me during my year. He asked what I'd like to do next and I replied that I'd like to return to the US as an SM educator or contest emcee. He pointed out that Minnesota Leather Pride was taking place in the last week of June, and if I didn't have a job by then would I like to be flown out and take part in some SM events? Hmmm.... what do you think?

June 21st to 28th - "Leather Pride", Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown Minneapolis

Monday June 21st - Flew to Minneapolis for Leather Pride. After dinner I met Jazz Thomas to discuss our workshop presentation tomorrow.

John co-hosting a punching workshop
Photo credit: Steve Lenius

Tuesday June 22nd - Four SM workshops were held at Patrick's Cabaret. Jazz and I led the third workshop on punching (above).

The bar which hosted and SM and Spirituality discussion

Wednesday June 23rd - Trained at the YMCA gym. Went sightseeing in St Paul, before heading to the Town House Bar (above) for a roundtable discussion on "SM and Spirituality".

One of the most famous sculptures in the Minneapolis schulpture garden: Spoonbridge Cherry

Thursday June 24th - Visited the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which includes "Spoonbridge and Cherry" (above) and "Artist Inspired Mini-Golf". Stopped by the Wilde Roast Cafe on the way home. Spent the evening at the Minneapolis Eagle chatting to Gregg White. He was Mr Minneapolis Eagle in 2003 and competed with me at IML - now he's the Eagle manager.

Friday June 25th - Another workout at the YMCA during the day. In the evening we headed back to St Paul for a bears night at TRIKKX, and then a private party as part of leather pride week.

The cage which was part of the Minnesota Leather Pride stall in Loring Park
Photo credit: Steve Lenius

Saturday June 26th - Spent the day at Loring Park walking around gay pride booths and enjoying the sunshine. The leather pride group had a cage as part of their stall (above) which attracted a lot of attention. In the evening we returned to the Minneapolis Eagle and had a late supper at the Rainbow Rooster diner next door.

The enormous leather pride flag which we carried in the Pride Parade
Photo credit: Steve Lenius

Sunday June 27th - It rained. I helped carry a 75' long leather pride flag in the Twin Cities Pride Parade, but it got very heavy as it filled with water. In the afternoon we gathered at the leather stall in Loring Park and let the sun dry out our things.

Monday June 28th - Steve Lenius drove me to the airport along the Mississippi River and the Mall of America, the biggest shopping mall in the US. It's so big it has a theme park in the middle. Steve loves rollercoasters and I'd never been on one before, so we queued for the Timberland Twister. I think I'll need to go on a few more before I can enjoy them.

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