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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Nude resorts taking off the gloves in fight for customers

The photo of the attractive brunette is strategically cropped, but the ad makes it clear she's wearing nothing but a smile. The pitch: she swims nude at Paradise Lakes Resort and so can you.

Lake Como, Paradise's across-the-lake neighbor, promises a more rustic family style retreat, including naked camping and karaoke on its 210-acre grounds.

Just up the road, brash newcomer Caliente Resort and Spa entices nudists with conspicuous consumerism - flashy facilities, lavish homes and a medical spa featuring laser hair removal.

Three of Pasco County's six nudist resorts are taking off the gloves and everything else as they attempt to attract more of the worldwide clothing-optional market, which has tripled in size since 1992.

"Pasco is becoming the Mecca of North American nudism," said Richard Mason, an activist who helped open a stretch of Miami-Dade County's Haulover Beach to nudists in 1991. "A lot of people think nudists live in a colony like hippies. Then you see a place like Caliente. It's like a country club."

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Nudist groups revel in the right to bare arms... and everything else

There are three basic rules of nudism:

Wear plenty of sunscreen.

Always have a towel on hand for when you sit, both for hygiene and to avoid a potentially unpleasant union with hot metal, plastic or wood.

And never, ever, fry bacon.

Richard Eriksen, a retired attorney from Virginia, tried that and speaks from grease-spattered experience. (By the way, he also warns against tarring your roof naked, which he also attempted.)

"I don't recommend cooking bacon or barbecuing," he said, chuckling. "Tarring the roof wasn't a good idea, either."

Mr. Eriksen is a longtime member of Pine Tree Associates, one of two nudist clubs in the county. The other is the Maryland Health Society, located in Davidsonville. Both were founded, separately, in the early 1930s, and are the only such clubs in the state.

Nationally, the nudism movement is much larger and growing, according to the Florida-based American Association for Nude Recreation. AANR has more than 50,000 members and close to 270 affiliated clubs, resorts, RV campgrounds and bed and breakfasts, according to its Web site.

"There's not a lot of (perfect) 10 bodies," said Carolyn Hawkins, AANR spokesman. "You don't have to be afraid of it."

Members of the two local clubs hail from the county, the rest of Maryland and many other states. Some live at the clubs during the summer months, others stay longer, and still more just visit on the weekends.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Get Naked with the Germans

The Germans love to be naked. They'll strip off just about anywhere and any time. For most, though, it's not exibitionism. But beware of "The Hammer."

You'll see naked Germans everywhere. Lying on the banks of the Isar River smack in the center of Munich. On the shores of the Havel on the outskirts of Berlin. In public parks. There's one perennially naked guy who wanders around Munich's English Garden like an ambulatory grandfather clock shocking foreign guests. His nickname is "The Hammer."

And then there's the sauna. Forget about trying to wear a swimsuit in a sauna. First of all, you'll be the only one with any sort of clothing at all. Secondly, you'll be immediately pegged as a prudish Anglo-American. No one stares, no one tries to make you feel awkward, but everyone in the room somehow knows to address you in English. Though there is also a decent chance that the sauna authorities will come around, pour water on the broiling sauna rocks, and demand in a brisk impersonal voice, "Take off your clothes, please, no clothes allowed!" Jawohl!

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Nudist tour boss makes a million

Britain's biggest naturist and nudist tour operator has been sold for £1.8m.

Privately-owned Peng Travel was set up by 70-year old nudist Peter Englert in 1971 and claims to cater for the UK's "hundreds of thousands" of naturists.

The Romford-based company made an operating profit of £235,000 on a £2.6m turnover last year.

Purchaser Travelzest is an Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listed operator offering specialist holidays outside of the traditional package holiday market.

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