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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rethinking Visits to Jamaica and Russia

After reading these Savage Love posts about the extreme anti-gay measures seen in Russia and in Jamaica, I'm definitely reconsidering any future visits to both countries.

I've never been to either, though I've heard of the homophobic attitudes in Jamaica from friends who were from there. And I'm just learning about similar issues in the former USSR.

Not going to Jamaica will not be a huge issue - for me anyway. There are plenty of tropical islands with beautiful beaches and turquoise water. Jamaica never really stuck out for me - other than my brief ambition to one day say I went to all the locations listed in the Beach Boys' song Kokomo. But....that's not really an absolute must for me.

Russia, on the other hand, I have *always* wanted to go to Russia. Specifically, I really, really, really want to visit the Hermitage. Having checked off the Louvre, the British Museum, the Egyptian Museum, and the Smithsonian from my list of must-visit museums - the Hermitage was honestly one of the next ones I wanted to see. A lot.

(from the Hermitage page on Wiki)

Not to mention the myriad of ornate cathedrals and churches in Russia, the sights in Moscow, and how epic it would be to cross the entire length of the country of Russia.

(from the Wiki page on Moscow)
I know very little about Russia. I've never been and I know really only fragments about the country and our relationship with it - it might as well still be behind the Iron Curtain because I really know nothing about the place other than it gets pretty darn cold, and when Russians visit the U.S. they stock up on jeans and clothes since they are so much more expensive where they're from. My general understanding is that the economic system there is not doing so well - which may be helped at least by the 2014 Olympics coming up.

I really want to change the fact that I'm not more informed about Russia, but they're making that very difficult when they're discriminating against my friends and family who are gay - even from afar.

Maybe, just as I have a lot to learn about Russia, Russia has a lot to learn about the world beyond their borders too.


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