Your article on the Grand Canyon [Fall 2008] proves that it's still possible to say something fresh about the place. And it was delightful to read Matthew Link's explorations into the nearby Hopi and Navajo lands. Thanks also for mentioning Mary Colter, the architect of so many wonderful Grand Canyon buildings. This once-obscure genius--whose rustic style was adopted at other national parks--is finally getting her due.
Arnold Berke, Washington, D.C.
Loved the Gay Map of Asia--just in the nick of time for my visit to Cambodia! That, plus Alec Mapa's earlier piece on the country [Summer 2008] helped us plan the perfect visit.
Audrey Capozzi, Boston, Mass.
Thanks for including the personal statement of an American in a foreign city--Scott Heim, novelist, in Prague [Meaning of Travel, Fall 2008]. Although Mr. Heim, grieving for his beloved parent, does not say what a struggle it was for him to travel, he captures a moment of shared understanding: A stranger ("tiny, bundled in drab clothes") looks into his teary eyes and holds his hand as he releases his grief. I hope that Mr. Heim continues to share his most private moments with us. Published emotion, in his hands, enriches our lives. In other words, real men do cry.
Bob Geary, Portland, Ore.
It's time to throw out the old canard that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East ["Israel at 60," fall 2008]. The Jewish state is a theocracy governed by laws gleaned from an ancient anthology of superstitions known as the Bible. What hope do gay and lesbian Israelis have of achieving equality in a state governed by rabbinic laws? The only real hope for LGBT Israelis, as for all Israelis, lies in the radical transformation of their state into a secular, multiethnic, and multicultural real democracy. Short of that, Israeli gay pride remains but an empty slogan--a commodity already in all too plentiful supply in Israel.
Andr? Balog, New York
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YOUR QUESTIONS | OUR ANSWERS
My partner and I want to go to Europe for the week of Christmas this year and are considering Paris and then the Chunnel to London. Are these good choices?
Jim Caldwell, Charlotte, N.C.
JUSTIN SAYS: Both are excellent choices, offering scads of entertainment, culture, charm, and nightlife that they?re known for year-round. But if you?ve ever been to New York City during its very busy holiday season, Paris and London feel similar. Opt instead for the more sedate yet cosmopolitan and super gay-friendly Stockholm. Magical and romantic in its alpine beauty, Scandinavia is the source of a lot of America?s Christmas imagery and traditions. December 13 marks the crowning of Saint Lucia, Queen of Light, and kicks the city into high holiday gear with a traditional gingerbread breakfast, evening fireworks, and free Advent concerts. Drink gl?gg (hot mulled-spiced wine), nosh on homemade sweets and reindeer sausage, and pick up artisan handicrafts at lively Christmas markets Skansen (on Djurg?rden island) or Stortoget in Gamla Stan, or hop aboard a turn-of-the-last-century ship for an archipelago cruise to an even more cheerful market in Ut?. While you?re unlikely to see snow before the new year, sunlight is still at a premium, so that just means cocktail therapy with friendly locals at bar Torget, artificial sun therapy and a?ai juice at Iglo Light Caf?, or cozy couple time in the recently opened Clarion Sign Hotel. Note: The city can all but shut down (except for shopping) December 24?26; perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime side trip to the famed Ice Hotel in Jukkasj?rvi.
I recently went to Jamaica with my boyfriend for a straight friend?s wedding. We had heard that it was not a gay-friendly place, but were happily surprised to find it OK. I am curious, though, about finding gay resorts in the islands. Do you know how many there are and where they are located?
Sam Dixon, Burbank, Calif.
LOANN SAYS: There are a handful of gay-focused properties scattered throughout the Caribbean -- in Puerto Rico, the Netherlands Antilles, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Martin--but use the term "resort" loosely. They tend to be small and quaint, best suited for travelers who value an LGBT environment over five-star style. Good options include Villa Rainbow on the French West Indies side of St. Martin, a three-room hideaway with mosaic pool perched atop Pic Paradis, the island's highest point; the homey five-room Little David Guesthouse set in a tropical garden in Oranjestad, Aruba; and Sand Castle on the Beach, located a half-mile south of Frederiksted, St. Croix, a 21-room hotel with two freshwater pools (one clothing-optional) and a lively oceanside caf?. For a more intimate getaway, consider renting a gay-owned villa on the island of Vieques (think P-town lite), eight miles east of Puerto Rico. A standout is the decadent oceanview Casa Columbia, a four-level Tuscan-style ode to modernity. PurpleRoofs.com offers a helpful island-by-island breakdown of gay-owned/gay-friendly accommodations.
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I love Lancaster, PA., and am proud of our diversity. Enjoy a hot show at the Fulton Opera House, head over to Gallery Row for First Friday to find that perfect sculpture, or have the best martini you ever tasted at the Belvedere Inn. Dance away the night at the Village or the Chameleon, then wake up and walk to the Neptune for sausage and eggs that'll make you think [of] Mom's cooking. You might have said "I Love New York" but you'll be saying "I Love Town Living" after this weekend.
David Gelatt, Lancaster, Pa.
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