Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ethiopia Part 2: Why I Censored My Own Post!

As a (always) fun-loving writer, it's strange for my obscure, gay-mapping (and yes, I'll say it) very frivolous blog to get the kind of traffic I have received for my recent Ethiopia piece. But because of a particular person and his careless moves to breed fear within the Ethiopian LGBT community, this blog is getting lots of attention! Namely now by people who want me to censor it - and this type of request gives me great pause as a writer.

LGBT-Ethiopians comments in secret blog:
Things started off well!
Let's start from the beginning, a well-meaning Ethiopian who wanted to celebrate my blog and share it with more of the LGBT community in Ethiopia posted it in a secret LGBT Facebook forum. His and other comments began positive - but then a western writer decided to quickly alter the celebration. He began raising questions about my blog mentioning a couple of known LGBT places in Addis - and "exposing" them.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ethiopia: East Meets West, North Meets South (but Man only meets Woman?)

After an Ethiopian posted my blog to celebrate it with his Ethiopian LGBT friends in a closed Facebook group, a western-writer living in the UK began fueling fear that my obscure blog piece would expose LGBT Ethiopians. Despite strong positive feedback and encouragement from friends and contacts inside Ethiopia, I have decided that that fear - fostered by a foreigner - has become a distraction. Thus, I removed names of places I originally described. Read more about what happened in my latest blog.

Driving can be quite the challenge - but not if you're relaxing
on the roof of a truck!
Whether you’ve come because you “wanted to see Africa,” for business, tourism, or to volunteer – you won’t leave Ethiopia disappointed. Many challenges are here to overcome – from the lack of adequate infrastructure to omnipresent health challenges. Yet the people are so warm, friendly and optimistic you can often forget the problems (especially when the DJ plays “Happy” or you’re watching the very cliche “eCupid” on a tablet with a new friend). Let’s face it, this remains Africa – it’s not a “gay destination” for sure, but it’s an adventure and an experience not to be missed – and the people will surprise you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

ITB Berlin: The World's Largest Tourism Fair

I've arrived! The LGBT Travel section at ITB
The world’s largest tourism fair proved to be a re-run of much of the same displays and people from Madrid's FITUR. However, I did go back to the booths of Iran, Romania and Poland – after harsh responses to LGBT travel questions in Madrid – yet I spent more time getting to know people; that's really the key to any conference, especially when you're opening a travel business. Plus, finding the right people means you also find fun...

Berlin is a world of its own; truly apart from Germany and maybe even Europe. I discovered its hipster/cosmopolitan/artsy charm in my two previous visits - including one for Berlin CSD (Christopher Street Day - German gay Pride) last year. This time not only did I get to meet successful LGBT bloggers (like Adam from "Travels of Adam") - but I met up with my Berlin boyfriend, and attended Berlin's best Sunday dance party - GMF!