Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mexico Trip - The International AIDS Conference

Fun times aside, the actual reason I went to Mexico was to participate in the International AIDS Conference. For those of us in the HIV field, this is THE event. This is the 17th conference, but only my second time attending. My first time was in Bangkok in 2004. I don't know if I was more excited then or trigger happy, or maybe the Bangkok conference was more visually appealing but I seem to have way more pics of the conference in 2004 than this year's.

The conference is a great way to get updated on the latest issues in the AIDS industry, as well as being able to network with people and connect with organisations that one may normally get the chance to. For me it is also a great way to connect with my far-flung friends and colleagues which I only get to see in these types of meetings/events.

I actually presented 2 posters on my MSM work in Asia

And what is an HIV conference without a protest of big pharmaA drag queen teaching kids how to put on a condom on a dildo - fun times
And who makes the prettiest tranny, Michael or me?

The conference was held at Centro Banamex, however the event was so large they had to build an extra space in the middle of the horse track - this hosted the "Global Village"
It was great seeing Michael and Paul again, I hadn't seen them since Bangkok
And I missed my Sue
No comment :-P
Ashok and Vivek, my old bosses at Humsafar
"Hair Stylist Against Aids", and you ask why people call it the AIDS industry?
Sue leaves me again for deepest, darkest Africa - Uganda really, but that doesn't sound as exotic
Centro Banamex, and a sampling of the 25,000 attendees
:-) Happy Condoms

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

International march against stigmatization, discrimination and homophobia

The day before the AIDS conference there was a large demonstration/march. Allegedly this was the first march against stigmatization, discrimination and homophobia, however I would argue that every gay pride march since Stonewall served the same purpose. Alas, 13,000 people joined and united for a common cause. I think the best part was the boy scout troop that was having some sort of jamboree in the same space. Some of the kids looked like deer in headlights, others liked the belonged in the march. I wonder if the scout leaders planned it on purpose :-)

We marched from the "Glorieta del Angel de la Independencia" to el Zocalo.
It was kinda fun.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mexico City

So last week, I was rather tied up with the conference and what not, which made it kinda hard to blog. But, this week I am on holiday and can take a more relaxed approach to the recounting of my Mexican saga.

First off, let me point out that I am staying with my friend David, whom I met when we were both working in India (him for private, me for non-profit). Being spics in India, really made for a bonding moment, and we have remained friends since. And in true Latin fashion, when I told him I was going to Mexico City he insisted I stay in his house with his family. "Mi casa es su casa" after all.

He lives in Tlalnepantla, which is located about 5 miles (10 km) northwest of Mexico City (See Map), in the State of Mexico

View Larger Map

Latin hospitality rocks. David had a last minute business trip, which meant he would not be in Mexico City when I arrived. So it was left to his brother to pick my up and for his family to welcome me. Having arrived Wednesday, 30 July, by Thursday I was already adopted and they invited me to join them on the family trip to the beach in Veracruz the following weekend.

Thursday and Friday I worked :-( but on Saturday I joined the Anti-homophobia march (pics to come). :-)