Thursday, November 09, 2017

Naturist dining, the French way

(Photo courtesy of tweeter anpnaturiste75 as shown at Taiwan's Apple Daily website)

Eating in the nude  might still sound strange or even dangerous - due to the risk of hot substances like soup and coffee spilling - but is making inroads into the culinary scene.
Of course, any naturist has eaten naked before - at home or at naturist resorts. When I visited a Croatian resort about a decade ago, my biggest surprise was that you could actually not be naked in their restaurant, but luckily they had a beach bar and a pool bar where that was not a problem, and it shouldn't be anywhere.
The new trend is that nude or naturist dining is expanding outside the relative isolation of the naturist resort into the "mainstream" - unfortunately still textile - world. After an experiment with the Bunyadi in London earlier this year, we now have a full-time naturist restaurant - the O'Naturel in Paris.
The media reports, which you will find easily if you search online, all mention the somewhat temporary appearance of a naturist park near Paris, a phenomenon which has been more than temporary in nearby Germany.
O'Naturel works only with reservations, is only open for dinner from 7:30 to 11 each evening, and closes on Sundays and Mondays.
Due to the nature of our society, the privacy of the customers has to be guaranteed by heavy curtains outside, while inside there are seats for 40 guests.
As a naturist myself, I am more concerned about the quality and pricing of the food. According to media reports, prices for a dish start at 32 euro.
Every attempt to bring more acceptance for naturism in society at large, whether by opening a new resort such as the Phuan Naturist Village from my previous post, or launching a naturist restaurant, is a worthwhile endeavor that deserves our support.
While our ideal that non-sexual social nudity becomes completely acceptable, and that we therefore can walk around and dine or brunch naked whenever and wherever the weather allows, might still be far away, a venture like the naturist restaurant brings it one step closer.
The restaurant's website is www.restaurant-onaturel.fr and of course, they also have a Facebook page.
You can find the Chinese-language Apple Daily Taiwan report at https://tw.news.appledaily.com/international/realtime/20171107/1236617/

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Thailand's latest naturist village: Phuan

Thailand has taken yet another step forward to cement its position as the leading destination for naturists in Asia.
This month, the Phuan Naturist Village opens its doors to guests in Sattahip, the next town on the coast about 20 km south from Pattaya, which itself is a mere one-and-a-half-hour bus ride from Bangkok and from its international airport, Suvarnabhumi.
Of course, Pattaya itself already has a naturist hotel, the Chan Resort, in an alley or "soi" off busy Thappraya Road, the street which links Pattaya to the Jomtien area to the south.
While the Chan Resort is a hotel building with swimming pool within reach of public transportation and the lively city, Phuan Naturist Village is more of a resort with 5 bungalows, 4 villas and a swimming pool with waterfall set in the countryside.
The website www.phuannaturistvillage.com also says there is a game room, a fitness room, karaoke and sauna, and the pool is 7 by 17 meters large.
According to a story on a Dutch naturist website (https://www.puurnaturisme.nl/home/nieuws/12263-vier-zussen-starten-naturistenresort-in-thailand), the village was founded by four sisters, who chose the name 'Phuan,' which means friend in Thai. Nevertheless, the website itself says it was one young Thai woman who was 'converted' to naturism, talked to her friends about it, and persuaded them to open a naturist resort together.
Anyway, we wish them all the luck.
It's great for Thailand to be able to lead the way on naturism in the region, with a vibrant naturist association and already several naturist resorts spread out over the country from north to south. The country has become an example for the establishment and expansion of naturism in a country which on the surface, looks like it might not welcome the practice.



Saturday, October 28, 2017

Goodbye, Young Naturists of America

Seven years after their foundation, the Young Naturists of America are closing down at the end of this year.
I know how hard it must be, and I've never even started. Building an organization, having it run successfully, it's all a lot of work.
My dream has always been to introduce and promote naturism in Taiwan, a country which unlike Europe, has no tradition of sunbathing, due both to the harsh tropical sun and to the local beauty ideal of having a skin as white as possible. Add to that legal restrictions on public nudity, with even advertising far less nude than what I saw back in Europe decades ago.
Setting up a naturist organization here would require people who are willing and able to devote the time and effort, and the publicity, to the cause.
First of all, most people interested in naturism have full-time jobs, and in Taiwan, that often means really full-time. After the day's and the week's chores, they must find the time to organize activities, but also to write promotional material and distribute it.
Setting up and running an organization also demands a level of bureaucracy which can temper one's enthusiasm for the cause. Legal requirements, the filling in of lots of forms, the registration process, the setting up of a website, all those are only the beginning.
An organization needs members, and then you have to seek out and filter who is suitable to join, you have to find where the true naturists are, you have to persuade the doubters, and you have to weed out those who are fake naturists and who might harm the image of naturism at large.
You have to have people who are familiar with the legal requirements, you have to have web-savvy members who can maintain, update and protect the website, you have to have people who know how and where to organize activities in a country which doesn't tolerate nude beaches or resorts, you have to find enough people who are free at the right time and who have the means to reach wherever you hold those activities.
Add to that, a raucous and intrusive press which is likely to give your organization a bad name just for the shock value of it, and you can understand why a naturist organization has not yet emerged in Taiwan.
There is a naturist forum though, at www.naturist.com.tw, and then there is the glowing example of Thailand, a nearby country with a similar naturism-reluctant culture.
With the Young Naturists of America saying goodbye, we wish naturists, young, not so young, or old, the best of luck, and we hope new organizations can emerge to fill the void.
For the goodbye letter from Young Naturists of America, read here:
https://youngnaturistsamerica.com/young-naturists-america-closing-letter/
Image courtesy of Young Naturists of America.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wandering the world, the naturist way

Social media, most of them based in the United States, are notoriously uptight when it comes to nudity, with their watchers or censors making no distinction whatsoever between lewdness and porn on the one hand and non-sexual daily nudity - naturism - on the other hand.
Nevertheless, the Belgian couple Nick and Lins obviously have found a smart way around it, as you can see in the picture above from their Instagram account.
The couple suddenly appeared in the media worldwide over the past few weeks, as they advocate traveling the world 'as naked as you can.'
To some of the less-informed media - who still confuse the terms 'naturism' and 'naturalism' - that might seem funny or original, but the naturist traveler already has plenty of spaces around the world to practice freedom.
The unfortunate thing is that many times, naturists still have to go look far and away in distant corners to find a beach or resort he can call his second home.
I remember when I was traveling as a backpacker around Europe, I had to walk miles over rocky terrain to find a beach which had been marked in a publication as 'nudist-friendly.' Sometimes, that beach was just a stretch of steep rocks between a path and the sea, where you had to look hard to find a flat spot where you could lie down.
While in today's world, naturist beaches might still be few and far between, at least they have expanded across the continents.
Nick and Lins mostly concentrate on Europe in general and the Balkans in particular, where you can find anything from a stretch of beach reserved for naturism to an all-in resort or even naturist sea cruises.
However, naturism has already crossed the borders of Europe and North America to reach countries far and away: Brazil, South Africa and Thailand, to name but a few, all have different opportunities for naturists.
So what Nick and Lins want you to do, travel the world as naked as you can, is really becoming more and more possible.
You can find their blog at www.nakedwanderings.com and of course, they're also present on Instagram and Facebook, while if you google 'Belgian naturist couple,' you're likely to find all the recent media reports about how their naturist story started on a loud camping ground in Luxembourg.

Monday, September 04, 2017

We'll always have Paris ... at least until October 15






A world where you don't have to wear clothes.
It's hot today, the sun is out, you don't have any clothing ready, and you don't really need any because it's not cold, so you step out the door and walk to the baker's, the grocer's, the supermarket, or even your work, without any clothes on.
Science fiction? I have often thought of writing such a story myself, a novel or a screenplay set in a world where being naked anywhere anytime is absolutely normal and acceptable. Or it could be the other way around, a world oppressed by excessive clothing where a handful of rebels and innovators take the lead to change the ruling mentality and 'free the masses.'
In the meantime, in the real world, there are small steps that help us in that direction. The worldwide naturist movement, the opening of naturist beaches and free beaches in more and more countries, naturism in parks in Germany, the topfreedom or Free the Nipple movement.
Paris, the capital of one of the most naturist-friendly countries in the world, is finally following the example of German cities like Munich.
A park area in the Bois de Vincennes has opened daily for use by naturists. As an experiment, it will only function in that role until October 15.
Naturism in the open air  in Paris in September and October, I hear you say? Sure, most of that time might be rather chilly, so they should have launched the project in spring and keep it going all through summer.
But it's a start, and if it works out well, if there are enough true naturists, if there are no incidents with harassment or fake nudists, then the experiment will become an example, and hopefully next year already, be expanded, both in time and space. One of the problems of naturism is often that you have to find really remote places, such as isolated beaches at the end of unmarked rocky paths, before you can enjoy the practice.
Inaugurating naturist spaces in or near major cities is a positive move forward, so I wish the Bois de Vincennes tryout  all the best.
Actually, earlier this year, another European capital, Brussels in Belgium, also faced a proposal to open an urban naturist space, but it went the other way from Paris.
Naturist beaches are already a feature of all European countries, the top equality movement is making headway in the United States, so why not join forces and campaign for more non-sexual nudity in society, not just at the edges?
(Photo courtesy of ANP, the Paris Naturists Association).

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Friday, June 09, 2017

Naked Wheels and the Return of Lady God1va

June hails  the advent of summer, of the summer holidays,  at least in the northern  half of our Earth. That's why it  is also a popular time to start taking  those clothes off and launch naturist and half-naked events. One of those is the 6th edition of Natcon, starting today, as the most popular naturist event in Asia, based in Thailand.
Not purely naturist, but gaining popularity worldwide, is the World Naked Bike Ride, with several locations around the world this Saturday, including London.
The event is not just nudity for its own sake, it’s a protest against energy overconsumption and against ‘car culture.’
As to myself, I am a naturist and I love cars, visiting the Taipei Motor Show every year. I have nothing against cars, but I am of course against people who think they don’t have to respect other road users just because they drive a car, a certain type or brand of car. All road users, including cyclists, should respect the rules and the rights of other road users, especially the weakest among us, the pedestrians.
In the margin of the World Naked Bike Ride, it is nice to hear again from a naturist activist, the British woman who used to be known as @ladygod1va and whom I chose as my Real Naturist of the Year 2016. She was banned for life from Twitter, even though there was no reason to do so. She has always been a true naturist, even though on Twitter you find many fake naturists who post pictures that have nothing to do with naturism, yet they never get banned.
You can find Lady God1va’s latest message at https://ladygod1va.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/london-wnbr-10-june-2017/ and the World Naked Bike Ride at http://wiki.worldnakedbikeride.org/
Each location seems to have its own separate page with routes and times, so browse around online and get naked on wheels.

(Photo by Paul-in-London from Wikimedia Commons)

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Saturday, May 06, 2017

Out in the garden

It's the first Saturday of May ... meaning it's also World Naked Gardening Day.
While I grew up in the countryside in an old house with a literally huge garden, I somehow never caught the gardening microbe.
Yes, I went into the garden to play hide-and-seek, to sit in the sunshine and read a book, to set up an Indian tent, to play with the cats, to pick strawberries and other berries whose English name I don't really know, but neither gardening nor naturism were ever an option.
I discovered naturism by traveling overseas, first of all to Croatia - which was then still known as Yugoslavia - and later to Sweden and the United States. Santa Barbara, California, had a stretch of ocean beach where nude bathing was allowed, but when I visited years later, it had disappeared.
Back to gardening: I chose to live in a densely populated urban society in Asia, where gardens are an unheard-of luxury.
Some people put pots of flowers on the top of their high-rise apartment tower, up on the 11th or the 24th or the 30th floor, or find a place for a potted plant inside their apartment, but that's about it. When you have 23 million people crammed in a space the size of the Netherlands, and half of it is occupied by tall mountains where nobody can or wants to live, it's easy to understand why housing prices in the cities are so high, and why most people can't afford to buy the European-style house with a garden.
But I still have a garden, only it's not a naturist-friendly one.
Back in Europe, there were lots of walls and trees which could have theoretically been useful if I had been able otherwise - read: if my relatives had been naturists too - to want to use parts of the garden for naturism.
But here in Taiwan, my 'garden' is a narrow balcony with almost top-to-bottom windows. If I stand naked in that 'garden,' people down in the street outside, including the police officers directing traffic during rush hour, will be able to witness my naturist endeavors.
So all I can do is pop over naked in the morning to open the windows up to morning air, and to pop back inside quickly - or take a picture first, as I did yesterday morning, in preparation for this blog post to mark World Naked Gardening Day.
With this, I wish everybody who does have a real garden or at least a patch of green where he or she can live as a naturist, even if it is only for a brief time, a productive day.
If you google the term World Naked Gardening Day, you are going to find lots of articles today. The main website of course is http://www.wngd.org

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