I returned recently from what was one of my best trips to South America ever! After spending an incredible week with my Brazilian friends in Rio, I changed gears and went into business mode, heading down to Buenos Aires for the GNetwork360.com Gay Marketing and Travel Symposium, held at the Axel Hotel.
I arrived early, which allowed me to spend some quality time with both my local friends and some of the other presenters arriving early as well. Of course, quality time in Buenos Aires almost always includes food and drink, of which there was plenty of both to go around. The city itself has some of the best restaurants, and for travelers coming into Buenos Aires, the price is sinfully inexpensive. I enjoyed several dinners in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires, including a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant called Osaka, as well as several incredible meals in the San Telmo district, an up and coming area reminiscent of old neighborhoods in Madrid.
We started the conference with a pre-conference dinner and cocktails at Inside, a local gay restaurant/bar (called resto bar) where the energy was high as we all reconnected with the other presenters and our local hosts, Gustavo and Pablo of GNetworks360.com. We also got a chance to meet the GNetworks360.com host team of volunteers helping to keep the week organized, and we had the pleasure of working and hanging with them the entire week up to the closing party at Rheo @ Crobar on Friday night.
The conference itself went very well, as it was a mix of presentations by the NGLCC (nglcc.org) and IGLCC (iglcc.org) to start, as well as GLBT travel presentations by the IGLTA (iglta.org) and ABRAT (abratgls.com). We also had marketing presentations by OutThink Partners (Steve Roth - www.outthinkpartners.com) and Out Now Consulting (Ian Johnson of www.outnowconsulting.com)... I also had an opportunity to present social network and Web 2.0 marketing to the GLBT community.
The conference wrapped up with a closing party and marketplace GLBT travel trade show at Chueca Downtown, which was absolutely packed. After that, we presenters all joined the GNetworks360.com team for dinner in San Telmo at La Banqueano, where I also had the pleasure of meeting Gustavo Colombo of Manhunt Argentina (great guy).
Just when we thought the conference was over and the city of Buenos Aires was ours to enjoy before our departures, Luciano Cazenave of Friendly Apartments (www.friendlyapartments.com) invited us all over to his home for a lovely evening of dinner and cocktails. It seems everyone was there and ready to let off a little steam... by the time the evening was over, Luciano had cranked out his array of hats and we all decided it was time to pose for a crazy-ass photo shoot! Then we all headed out to Rheo, a gay club that made for an incredible last night out in Buenos Aires. The place was multi-level and PACKED with hot men... I don't know what is in that water, but those men (and Brazilians) are over the top! Just another good reason to return to Buenos Aires in the months ahead!
What a week it was... it made for a perfect opportunity to get spoiled rotten by TAM Airlines on my way home. Their business class seats make for a perfect overnight flight of dinner with fine wine and a restful sleep!
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