Sailing on the 2011 HIV Cruise Retreat
My alter ego Anita Mann made her Cruise Retreat debut this year, hosting The Blue Party and sealing my fate to never get a date with anyone on the ship, once they got a load of Anita in all her outrageous glory.
All sorts of fun events sprang up throughout the week, such as an improv class led by host Jonathan Goldman, who also provided mud masks for our day on the Aruba beach, which was a sight in itself. Paul also arranged our own excursions in each of the ports, so we could snorkel or tour bat caves as a group.
We had so much fun with our own events and yet the ship itself offered nonstop entertainment -- a casino, live shows, games on deck, and one of our group members even won the highly coveted Karaoke contest!
On our last day at sea I facilitated "Mark's Poz Time Machine," a multi-media review of the last 30 years of HIV. It featured images and video clips along the timeline, but relied on audience members who fleshed out the years by sharing their experiences. Thanks to their recollections and candid memories, it was a bittersweet and enlightening event. I believe so strongly in the power and importance of telling our stories and sharing our history living with this pandemic. I'm so grateful for the contributions of the attendees.
I realize how fortunate I am. So many of us are not able to take the time or devote the money for a cruise like this. It's my hope that this video blog will inspire you to seek community, in whatever way you can, and never forget that a sense of humor sure does help the journey.
After all, you don't really need a cruise ship as an occasion to wear flip-flops on your head.
As always, my friends, please be well.
Visit Mark's live blog at www.MyFabulousDisease.com.
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Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.
Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.
Speaking engagements: Mark King is available to speak to groups. Contact Mark about speaking at your organization or event!
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Interviews With Mark:
Mark King Looks Back at the AIDS Epidemic's Darkest Hour in the U.S. (May 14, 2008)
This Month in HIV: Crystal Methamphetamine and HIV (August 2007)
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