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CaliPexx

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  1. An interesting report about HIV among Brazilian men who have sex with men (MSM) appeared in June 2018 in Folha de São Paulo about a paper that had just been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, International Medicine. The study included 4,176 MSM from all social strata and age brackets in 11 Brazilian capitals. Each participant had two interviews and HIV tests and half of the participants reported that this was the first HIV test they had ever received. 83.1% of the considered themselves gay, 12.9% heterosexual or bisexual and 4% "others". Of the total, 75% were having sex only with men. 3,958 of the participants agreed to be tested and, taking all of the participants in the Brazilian cities as an aggregate, 18.4% were HIV-positive compared to 12.1% in a study set up in the same way in 2009. Of all of the Brazilian capitals in the study, São Paulo ranked first, with 1 in 4 MSM HIV-positive. Rio de Janeiro had an HIV-infection rate near the middle of the pack at 15.3%. Among MSM 15-19 years old, the rate of HIV infection had tripled since 2009, going from 2.4 to 6.7 per 100K inhabitants. Among MSM age 20-24, the rate had doubled from 15.9 to 33.1 cases per 100K inhabitants. The authors wrote that Brazilian MSM are experiencing a "second wave" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The factors they hypothesized for this increase included: The reduction of HIV prevention campaigns in Brazil related to the economic crisis. The anti-sexuality instruction in schools movement of the Brazilian extreme-right [and this was even before Jair Bolsonaro became president and, as one of his first policies in office, acted to remove sex and diversity education in Brazilian schools]. The rise of social media, giving MSM the ability to have many more sexual encounters. The fact that young MSM don't remember what the worst years of the AIDS epidemic were like and never met anyone seriously ill with complications of HIV/AIDS. The [false] notion that HIV has been cured by current medications, losing the fear of death has led to a "relaxation of preventive measures". They provide this telling quote: "Young [Brazilian] men think of themselves as supermen, who'll never get sick, and so they don't seek out health care services."
  2. That is indeed hard to believe. According to an article in the illustrious medical journal , Guia Gay São Paulo, even though PrEP has been offered by SUS (the Brazilian National Health Service) for people at risk since 2017, as of summer 2018 only 2,748 Brazilians had initiated PrEP, at least PrEP that is dispensed by the SUS. The SUS had sufficient supplies for another 4,200 to start PrEP. I doubt that many Brazilian MSM are obtaining PrEP through sources other than the SUS, because they would then have to pay the high retail cost of Truvada out-of-pocket. That's a worrisome observation. As a confirmed passivo (bottom) who wishes to maintain his HIV negative status, I am keenly aware of the point during sex at which garotos don their camisinhas (condoms). Truth be told, I have never been with a GP who has not used a condom. And I've never had to ask him to do so. If the mores of condom use are, in fact, changing among the sauna boys in Brazil, as you imply is happening among Brazilian MSM in general, that would be concerning indeed.
  3. @Walker and @Uqtyang: Checking Google Flights it looks like you are both right about the aircraft used on Avianca flights from the West Coast -- but it depends which city you are departing from and the specific flight option you select. From SFO to GRU, it looks like the old TACA narrow-body livery is still being used and they send you on flights with stops in San Salvador and Lima. From LAX to GRU they do have a couple of narrow-body choices, also through the old TACA hub in SAL. However, as @Walker mentioned -- and this was news to me --Avianca do offer a 787 Dreamliner option in both directions on the segment from LAX to BOG. Of course, traveling from BOG to GRU, as @Uqtyang noted, you would board an A330 plane to GRU. Unfortunately, you would have an 8h 10m LONG layover in BOG, before boarding that A330 to GRU. Maybe time enough to meet a couple of those Chaturbate.com guys we've been reading about in this Forum?
  4. @Pauleiro, I fully agree with your concern about Avianca BRASIL [BOLD ITALIC ALL-CAPS emphasis mine on the word BRASIL to distinguish the airline from Avianca, in Bold Italic Initial Cap+lowercase]. During our trip to Brazil in March 2019, some of our domestic Brazilian flights were on Avianca BRASIL and, after hearing news reports of the bankruptcy and imminent demise of Avianca BRASIL, we were on pins and needles every day wondering whether our domestic flights might be canceled. While Avianca BRASIL has been operated as a subsidiary of Avianca and has been headed by a brother, JOSÉ Efromovich, of the guy who controls Avianca, Germán Efromovich, the two airlines are actually separate and distinct corporate entities. In fact, Avianca BRASIL (formerly OCEANAIR) flights have the IATA symbol "O6" while Avianca flights contain the IATA code "av". Furthermore, one even had to book flights on the two entities on two separate websites, WWW.AVIANCA.COM.BR and www.avianca.com. At last report, Avianca is still fiscally sound while, as pointed out in the news item you referenced, Avianca BRASIL most certainly is not. All that said, my question had nothing to do with the failing Avianca BRASIL (which, as of this week, has been reduced to serving domestic flights in just four (4) airports in Brazil) or even to do with the flights from the U.S. East Coast of the still solvent Avianca. Rather, my concern is whether Avianca is still using the single-aisle Taca aircraft with partially reclining seats in Business Class on its international service from California to Brazil via San Salvador, El Salvador (the former hub of Taca). I'll repeat my question again here, in case someone with personal experience with flights from the U.S. West Coast on the former Taca division of Avianca can answer it.
  5. @Walker, thanks for the info, particularly about Aeromexico. Their business class flight might be worth a go since the total trip time from LAX to GRU on Aeromexico is one of the best of all flight options from the West Coast, with the exception of the 12-hour nonstop service on American Airlines from LAX to GRU. In regard to Avianca, I guess I was thinking of the aircraft they acquired from TACA when they took over that airline several years ago. Avianca continued to use the same TACA narrow-body metal on their 2-stop service from the West Coast to El Salvador, El Salvador to Lima, and Lima to São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU). At that time the flights didn't connect through Bogatá, AFAIK. None of those TACA-sourced flights were wide-body planes but I can't remember if TACA was using Boeing or Airbus in their livery. As I recall, business class on the TACA flights was quite similar to U.S. domestic first class although the seat recline was slightly improved compared to their U.S. domestic equivalents. Do you know if Avianca has replaced the TACA aircraft with wide-body planes in their flights from the West Coast to Latin America?
  6. Thanks for the heads up! Per Google Flights, from the West Coast (LAX), and selecting some random, non-holiday dates in early November (dep 6 Nov, ret 14 Nov), it looks like the best deals for a round-trip 1-stop to São Paulo (GRU) in Economy Class are with Copa ($710) and Avianca ($867). In Business Class, the lowest prices LAX-->GRU RT 1-stop are with Aeromexico ($2,295), Avianca ($2,331), and Copa ($2,496). Does anyone on this board have experience with the Business Class seating on Aeromexico to Brazil? Are their Business Class seats only partially reclinable, like those of Avianca and Copa? Or are they fully reclinable, like those of American and Air Canada?
  7. From the Wednesday 1 May 2019 issue of The Rio Times: Anti-Gay Comments: Big Sponsors are Cutting Ties With Event Honoring Bolsonaro
  8. I agree with your observation about both Presidents. In today's issue of The Rio Times, the correspondent presents an interesting hypothesis for last week's "Brazil won't become a gay paradise" rant and the hissy-fit President Bolsonaro had about the Bank of Brazil diversity ad: The writer postulates that Bolsonaro was trying to divert attention from some terrible economic news that was revealed the same day but that got relegated to the back pages due to the furor created by Bozo's hateful remarks. Not surprisingly, diversion is the same tactic that Trump pulls when the news of the day is not to his liking.
  9. An acquaintance who has studied the Holocaust has explained to me that there were Jews in Germany who supported the ascent of Hitler, who promised to bring stability after a period of economic turmoil. Sadly, we all know the end of that story. President Bolsonaro's popularity has apparently plummeted as he is concentrating on social engineering rather than bread-and-butter issues, down from 49% saying he was doing a "good or great job" just after his 1/1/19 inauguration ["honeymoon effect", methinks] to 35% in the latest polls. Just this week, he sacked the advertising director of Bank of Brazil (an entity of the Brazilian government) for airing a TV ad about diversity, which included racial minorities, young people with decorative rings, and transgender people, which he personally found to be distasteful. The reasons people voted for Jair Bolsonaro had to do with (1) the threat criminal activity poses to living day-to-day in Brazil; (2) corruption, which permeates every level of Brazilian society, affecting both democratic norms and economic advancement; and (3) the morbid Brazilian economy, with high unemployment and stagnant growth rates. Bozo has had just over 100 days in office and hasn't performed well thus far on any of those parameters, in the eyes of Brazilians. It seems that people are seeing what he is trying to do, i.e., avoiding the real concerns of the people by falling back on social "hot-button" issues, including his attacks on LGBT people. As early as it may be, it seems that Bozo's short-lived honeymoon is already over.
  10. As reported in a prior post in this Forum, after having come within an inch of death, a generous benefactor took over The Rio Times earlier this month. The new owner of the online site, Matthias Camenzind, promised to provide more reporting within Rio de Janeiro and to expand coverage to other cities in Brazil. I was dubious that he would follow through but already there is a significant change in the online newspaper's content. Just in the past two weeks alone, I have noted many more stories about life in Rio de Janeiro, including politics, travel, crime, the economy, shopping, dining, and other subjects of interest to guys on this Forum who travel there. As an example, The Rio Times did cover the story this week, addressed in another post on this Forum, about President Jair Bolsonaro not wanting Brazil to become a "gay tourist paradise". Importantly, new owner Camenzind has, as he promised, expanded coverage to other parts of Brazil, in particular to São Paulo. Whereas the nightlife entertainment column in the past dealt solely with things to do in Rio, the Rio Times each day now includes a nightlife suggestion column for São Paulo. Although one commentator in the previous BoyToy Latin American thread suggested that we all should study Portuguese and read the articles published in online Brazilian news sources, it's not really practical to expect everyone to get a good reading command of Portuguese. Even if you do read Portuguese (and I do), sometimes nuances in meaning aren't readily appreciated. The Rio TImes does a good job of publishing online stories that are clear to understand. I urge everyone with an interest in Brazil to subscribe with the hope that The Rio Times may continue with our support along its current, much improved journalistic path. Here is a link to the "Premium Access" subscription page: https://riotimesonline.com/premium-access/
  11. From President Bolsonaro's past utterances, he has a number of potential scapegoat targets from which to choose: (1) the PT (Workers' Party, which opposed him in the general election); (2) PSOL (the party of openly gay and now exiled deputy Jean Wyllys); (3) "Communists", Bozo's bogeymen who hardly exist in today's Brazil; (4) victims of the military dictatorship; (5) black Brazilians; (6) native Brazilians; (7) Northeast Brazilians; (8) immigrants; (9) women; and, of course, (10) LGBT people. Did I forget any other group of people defamed by Bozo during the course of his political career?
  12. Bolsonaro simply reeks of homophobia -- not that we didn't know that already. After saying: "O Brasil não pode ser país do mundo gay" ("Brazil cannot be the country of the gay world"), Bozo goes on to throw out this welcome mat to men who have sex with women: "Se quiser vir fazer sexo com mulher, fique à vontade" ("If you want to have sex with women [here in Brazil], go for it"). We, as gay and bisexual men, along with our heterosexual supporters, are particularly offended by Bozo's comments yesterday to the effect that LGBT visitors are no longer welcome in Brazil, ostensibly to avoid Brazil becoming a "gay tourist paradise". Additionally, like many statements Bozo makes, his remarks are idiotic in that, as several of you have already pointed out, his rantings serve to shut down a segment of the tourist industry that includes many potential tourists with substantial disposable incomes, something Brazil could use right now in its struggle to escape economic stagnation. These comments are particularly ironic, coming as they do not long after Bolsonaro eliminated the tourist visa requirement for citizens of Japan, Canada, and the U.S. with the stated goal of increasing foreign tourism to Brazil. More importantly, many of us believe that President Bolsonaro's comments will serve as a license to incite violence against LGBT people, both Brazilians and foreigners. Already one openly gay Brazilian congressman who has fought with Bolsonaro over the years, Jean Wyllys, felt compelled to resign his seat in the Chamber of Deputies and to go into exile because of credible death threats he received following Bolsonaro's election and inauguration. While we probably shouldn't overreact to this news, it's important for those of us who are visiting Brazil now and for the remainder of Bozo's 4-year presidential term to remain vigilant by keeping apprised of the daily news from Brazil. This forum represents an excellent place for us to communicate with each other and to share information about any real or perceived threats to members of the LGBT and other minority communities.
  13. @asdsrfr, nice to see your suggestion about trying Thermas Califórnia. However, in your post 18 months ago, you indicated that there weren't many GPs at Califórnia Thermas Club, except maybe on Thursday nights: Do you know if the GP situation at Califórnia Thermas Club has improved since your visit in late 2017? I'm curious about Fortaleza because in February 2019 I met a GP on a busy Tuesday night at Thermas Fragata in São Paulo. Unlike many garotos who have worked at the saunas with boys in just one and occasionally two Brazilian cities, this boy (who, BTW, is also blessed with an enormous endowment) -- named "Thales" -- was like a tour guide to Brazilian saunas with GPs, giving me his opinion about the best nights at each facility in cities he had worked at, ranging from Fortaleza to Florianópolis. He opined that I would really like the working guys at the saunas in Fortaleza, several of whom -- both white and black he said -- have the cool physical characteristic of "olhos verdes", i.e., penetrating green eyes! (and we hope, of course, that they also have the requisite characteristic of what appears in the majority of Brazilian sauna boys: penetrating huge endowments!)
  14. The maximum dimensions of carry-on bags for domestic flights in Brazil are currently the same as those in the U.S. and other countries. Height: 55 cm (21½ in) Width: 35 cm (13¾ in) Depth: 25 cm (9¾ in) The new information is that, starting on 10 April 2019 and continuing weekly, these limits on hand luggage will be strictly enforced at airports hosting Brazilian domestic flights according to this schedule: 10 April 2019: Juscelino Kubitschek (Brasília/DF) Afonso Pena (Curitiba/PR) Viracopos (Campinas/SP) Aluízio Alves (Natal/RN) 17 April 2019: Confins – Tancredo Neves (Belo Horizonte/MG) Pinto Martins (Fortaleza/CE) Guararapes – Gilberto Freyre (Recife/PE) Luís Eduardo Magalhães (Salvador/BA) Val-de-Cans – Júlio Cezar Ribeiro (Belém/PA) 24 April 2019: Santa Genoveva (Goiânia/GO) Salgado Filho (Porto Alegre/RS) Congonhas (São Paulo/SP) São Paulo International Airport (Guarulhos/SP) Galeão – Tom Jobim (Rio de Janeiro/RJ) Santos Dumont (Rio de Janeiro/RJ) The way this will operate is that measurements of your hand luggage will be taken just before the security X-ray conveyor belt. If your carry-on and/or backpack exceed the limits, you will be asked to return to the back of the (usually long) line of the airline's check-in counter where you will have to pay for the bag(s) as checked luggage. While the cost of checking your carry-on is an annoyance after your bag gets rejected at the security checkpoint, the real issue is that you could easily miss your connecting flight. Although the airlines tout this new enforcement policy as leading to a more efficient boarding process, one can imagine that, as nearly every carry-on bag gets measured, queues will form at the security conveyor belt measuring station, with conflicts erupting among airline employees, passengers, and security personnel as hand luggage gets rejected. The new enforcement policy also indicates that your one allowed personal item (e.g., a backpack) may not exceed the following measurements: Height: 35 cm (13¾ in) Width: 45 cm (17¾ in) Depth: 20 cm (7¾ in) AND it must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. In any event, the new carry-on size enforcement policy is likely to affect many travelers, including road warriors on business trips and those of us currently in the middle of or planning quick trips to Brazil that include domestic flight connections.
  15. Great idea! Go for it! It's a great time to consider making this move, with commercial real estate prices near their lows and the value of the USD at near high levels vs the BRL. I feel confident that many guys on this forum would be more than willing to patronize your new establishment. That said, I'd recommend that you partner in your endeavor with a Brazilian who can not only assist you in winding your way through the labyrinth of Brazilian bureaucracy but also who knows something about their system of gorjetas (tips). ;-)
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