Learn Spanish With Lonely Planet’s Fluent Road

Traveling to Spain or Latin America this summer and want to say more than “Donde esta el bano?” (though, that’s an important one to know)? Lonely Planet has just launched a new online foreign language program, Fluent Road, partnering with Spanish language program Fluenz. The focus is on Spanish for now, but you can choose from dialects from Argentina, “neutral” Latin America, Mexico, or Spain.

Fluent Road is designed for travelers to get the basics before a trip: Spanish for transportation, finding accommodation, ordering food, etc. It’s also a good stepping-stone to a more intensive learning program, and travelers could easily work up to a Fluenz course after completing Fluent Road. What differentiates this from other language learning like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur is a dissection of the language, showing you how Spanish works and providing explanations, not just rote immersion. Fluenz founder and avid traveler Sonia Gil guides you through obstacles, pronunciation, and practice speaking, writing and reading as a native speaker and “language geek.”

As with all online learning, you can go at your own pace; there are 30 video lessons that can be completed in one to six months. Other useful features include the ability to record yourself to compare pronunciation a native Speaker, and customizable digital flash cards to help practice. You can also contact the teacher and program designer via Twitter.

Take a free 12-hour trial now, subscriptions start from $9 for a month to $30 for six months of access, at www.fluentroad.com.

U.S. lifts ban on travelers with HIV or AIDS

For the past 22 years, if you had HIV or AIDS and weren’t American, you couldn’t enter the U.S.

That changed today as President Obama lifted the ban. Since the Obama administration is planning to host the 2012 World Aids Conference, the change in policy was necessary.

The biannual conference naturally includes many people living with HIV and AIDS, and barring their entry would have been bad PR for an administration that wants to be seen as a global leader in the fight against the disease

There are only ten countries that now ban people with HIV/AIDS from entering. They are: Brunei, China. Equatorial Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

According to the website hivtravel.org, some of these countries allow people to enter under “special circumstances”. Some other countries not on the list put restrictions on people living with HIV/AIDS but not full bans.%Gallery-13474%

Africa Travel: Equatorial Guinea

Information on Equatorial Guinea is scarce, but what’s out there makes the country seem worth visiting. Sorta. If you’re the real big adventure type who takes greatest pleasure in being one of the only tourists in around you’ll probably fit well here. The country is located in western Africa between Cameroon and Gabon and borders the Bight of Biafra. As far as LP is concerned the only attractions on Equatorial Guinea are the beaches and the bars. Look for volcanic views on tourist friendly Malabo not museums. Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa who has Spanish as an official language and Malabo embraces the influence.

One note I found interesting comes from the pages of World 66 which says the country’s government does not accept or acknowledge the presence of AIDS in the country and that it is an offence to have an AIDS test. This particular contributor to the World 66 guide on Equatorial Guinea also claims that a unnamed doctor estimates some 80% of the African girls in Malabo to be infected. Should all that be true it could be very vital information if searching for love or a one-time island fling while they’re there.