Tips For the Gay Traveler Going to Egypt

As home to many sites of cultural, religious and historical importance, Egypt has attracted visitors for hundreds of years. Gay vacations in this beautiful country can include a wide variety of activities, such as riding through the desert on the back of a camel, exploring ancient cities, gazing at the monumental Great Pyramids of Giza, taking a boat cruise on the Nile, dining and shopping in large, modern cities or wiling away an afternoon on gorgeous white sand beaches. From exploring the Temple of Edfu or the Valley of Kings burial tombs, to finding the perfect souvenir in the Khan al Khalili Bazaar and viewing the treasures of King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, there is simply no end to the wonders that Egypt has to offer. Anyone partaking in gay travel to Africa simply will not want to miss the opportunity to incorporate this intriguing country into their gay vacation plans.

While Egypt is a great destination for gay vacations, there are some points of interest to members of the LGBT community. The Egyptian government has become more aggressive in its efforts to arrest and imprison gay men in recent years, including a very public trial of over 50 men arrested on a boat hosting a night club in 2001 and several undercover sting operations in gathering spots, online chat rooms and other venues, which have led to arrests and imprisonment.

While Egyptian men are usually the focus of these raids and online undercover operations, local women and male and female tourists have also been arrested. There are no laws that specifically ban same-sex sexual activity conducted in private between consenting adults; however, laws against debauchery, contempt for religion and other similar behaviors have been used in recent years to persecute members of the LGBT community in Egypt.

With this being said, that does not mean that gay travel to Egypt should be avoided, or that all locals can be assumed to be homophobic. Most folks who partake in gay vacations to Egypt find that locals are warm and welcoming and report no legal issues during their travels. It does mean that you will not find a visible LGBT community for the most part. While there are popular meeting spots in Alexandria, Luxor, Dahab, Cairo, Aswan and other larger metropolitan areas, discretion is key, as these popular hangouts are also well-known to the police.

Egypt is a land of mystery with several must-see historical and cultural attractions. To experience some of the best offerings of Egypt, while also helping to ensure a safe trip without hassles, those seeking a gay vacation to Egypt should consider taking in this intriguing country as part of a gay travel tour, or at the very least, going through a travel agency that is aware of issues of concern to the LGBT community and is able to provide the information necessary for safe, fulfilling gay vacations to Egypt.

Tips For Buying Used Furniture on Craigslist

Are you a new homeowner who wants to outfit your home with affordable furniture? If so, you should visit Craigslist is a popular online classified website where items are bought, sold, and traded. There are many items listed for sale, including affordably priced furniture.

If you want to use the popular classified website to find and buy used furniture, perform a search. Once on the main page, select your state and the nearest city. To perform a search, look for the search box on the left hand side of the page. You can search for a particular piece of furniture, like a couch. To search other local areas too, download a free Craigslist search tool, to search multiple cities at once.

You now know how to find and buy used furniture on the Craigslist website, but how can you ensure you get a good deal? By asking important questions. What should you inquire about?

Ask to see pictures. Many sellers on post pictures of the products they sell, but not all do. If a picture is not posted, ask to see one. In fact, you can ask to see multiple pictures from different angels. The buyer can email these pictures to you. Emailing pictures saves you both time and gas money. You do not waste a trip to view an old and dirty couch.

Ask about storage. Furniture owners sell their old furniture. It likely has not been used in months or even years. Before buying a couch or recliner, ask where it was stored. Was it stored inside or outside? You do not want furniture that has been outside and exposed to the elements, at least not without a large discount.

Ask about payment. Most furniture listings on Craigslist just say how much they want for the item. They rarely give you more information, but you need it. Does the seller want cash or a check? Will there be an immediate exchange? If paying by check, does the seller want to wait until the check clears before delivering your purchase? These are all questions you should have answers to before agreeing to buy furniture through the classified website.

Military Travel – Useful TDY Travel Tips

If you have orders to travel TDY (temporary duty yonder), you have a choice to make it a smooth experience or a difficult time. From the moment you get to the airport, to the speed at which you are reimbursed for your out-of-pocket expenses after you return, a handful of tips can easily tip the scales in your direction. Why not avoid a bunch of frustration? Consider applying all the tips below, and you will enjoy your TDY. You'll become a travel specialist fast!

Tips and Information

A. Make one number out of multiple similar expenses by adding accurately.

Look at all the different taxes on a hotel room receipt. Add them up, and make that number: "Hotel tax," for example. Make it easy for the person reviewing your voucher to pay you.

B. Do everyone's job to make a smooth road for you.

Do not wait for DTS to contact you. After submitting, check on the progress of your voucher and take care of any problems fast. Be a "Nice squeaky wheel." You can call anybody repeatedly about anything as long as you are nice. You'll catch more bees with honey than with vinegar, and you'll get a reputation for being a military travel professional.

C. Join every travel club and get every travel advantage card.

Current rules let service members keep miles and points. You do not determine how you'll travel; the government does. Because you'll have so many cards, get something to carry all those cards in an organized fashion. If you start out organized, you'll find the points and miles add up. You'll enjoy that free flight or vacation down the road because you started out organized.

D. Keep your stuff neat in your hotel room.

It's easier to see if someone has gone through it while you were gone. It is also easier to "drag bag" when you're leaving a room because you are less likely to leave something behind. Military travel professionals do not find themselves frantically calling the hotel from the airport to see if the maid found a watch in the room!

E. Do not let your voucher sit there for five days on your return.

Your Complete TDY by vBulletin® filing your voucher color : as soon color : as you get back. You'll appreciate getting your money back sooner rather than later.

F. Scan your receipts.

If you fax them they may not be readable. Check all your expenses twice. Do everything you can to make it clear and easy to process your voucher. Your professional processing of your voucher will be appreciated.

Before you leave for the airport on TDY :

1. Make sure that your orders are finalized.

You will also need a vocal order (VOCO). Take off without it and you may not get your money back for some expenses. Yes, you are serving your country but that should not mean taking money out of your pocket to do it.

2. Make a TDY envelope for every trip.

Maintain an envelope with related Operations Order (OPORD). This envelope should also be home to your itinerary, orders, and receipts. Your life will be so much simpler if you keep all the papers from one trip in one envelope.

3. Does your travel card function?

Just before your travel date, buy some gum or a drink at a store and use it. Why be embarrassed on your trip? Make sure it works before you leave on military travel.

4. Pack early.

Look over your OPORD. Do you have everything? If you're going to a school, check on the net to see if you can get the packing list for that school. It is possible that you will not be able to get what you need where you are going – be prepared.

5. Print your boarding pass in advance.

This just saves you from one less potential problem. Why not put it in your pocket before you get to the airport? Be a prepared military traveller and perhaps wear something military like military rings to indicate your rank or profession.

6. Get to the airport two hours early, period.

Just carry something to read if you have extra time. The security process and the potential for problems with security means you'll want the time to keep your sanity should anything go wrong.

Build travel habits early which will serve you well throughout your career. You will enjoy TDY if you do. You'll live with less stress and more rest. Make the above tips into habits, and you will be a military travel professional. Have a great trip!

The Importance Of Cell Phones In Modern Society

Cell phones have become a necessity for many people throughout the world. The ability to keep in touch with family, business associates, and access to email are only a few of the reasons for the increasing importance of cell phones. Today's technically advanced cell phones are capable of not only receiving and placing phone calls, but storing data, taking pictures, and can even be used as walkie talkies, to name just a few of the available options.

When cell phones were first introduced to the public, they were bulky, expensive, and some even required a base unit that had to be transported along with the phone. Good reception was a major problem and in general, early cell phones could only be used in certain locations were the signal was particularly strong. As cell phone technology advanced, the difficult in using them became less of a problem. Today, cell phone reception has improved greatly due to the use of satellites and wireless services. As cell phones improved and became simple to use, the importance of cell phones increased accordingly.

Cell phones are the perfect way to stay connected with others and provide the user with a sense of security. In the event of emergency, having a cell phone can allow help to reach you quickly and could possibly save lives. However, the importance of cell phones goes way beyond personal safety. Modern cell phones are capable of internet access, sending and receiving photos and files, and some cell phones are equipped with GPS technology, allowing for use in most locations around the world and allowing the cell phone to be found or the user located in the event of loss or emergency.

Cell phone reception has become reliable and of high quality due to advances in wireless technology. Wireless service providers offer excellent packages and promotions for cell phone users. Finding a dependable service provider is no longer an issue for cell phone users. The expansion of the wireless service provider industry gives cell phone users a choice and the increased competition has caused a drop in prices of wireless cell phone service. The importance of cell phones goes way beyond the ability to make or receive phone calls. Cell phone users can instantly send data to the home or office, check for important email, use their cell phone as a PDA or calendar, and store photos which can be easily transferred to a PC or laptop computer.

Cell phone manufacturers have produced a wide range of cell phones, which sell for prices that range from very inexpensive to over one thousand dollars. The available options give users the choice of purchasing a basic cell phone to use simply for making calls, or choosing a complex, technologically advanced cell phone that can perform as many or even more tasks that a home computer. Over the past decade, the increasing importance of cell phones has made them almost a necessity for most people. Even remote and underdeveloped countries have some access to cell phone technology and wireless services.

The importance of cell phones has increased the competition in the wireless service provider industry, making cell phones very affordable and very easy to use. Cell phones have become almost a status symbol in addition to the convenience and security that comes from owning them.

ACH Online Payment: Its Benefits and Drawbacks

Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments are electronic payments made through the ACH network, an electronic network that handles a variety of transactions occurring in the United States, with some of most common being: payroll deposits, mortgage bills, utility bills, insurance bills, B2B (business to business) payments, and ecommerce payments. For businesses, an ACH online payment has several advantages over imbursement by check, money order, or telephone, particularly:

1. Timely payments

If left to mail or phone in payments, many customers procrastinate, which translates into your business missing out on money that could be in its accounts, which could translate into lower investment ratings. While late payment may not put your company out of business, they do make its present finances more complicated.

2. Fewer late fees

While some entities profit handsomely from late fees, they can cause other entities to lose money in the form of lost customers. While consumers always pay late fees to entities whose services are essential, such as banks and insurance companies, they often become non-payers when faced with late fees for services that are more dispensable. ACH benefits customer retention by helping to prevent late fees.

3. Faster access to funds

ACH imbursements take less processing time than standard debit and credit imbursements, roughly 1-2 days compared to 2-3 weeks, respectively. Posting imbursements to a company's account sooner than later allows it to realize more financial flexibility in the present, especially if a majority of its income comes from ACH pay.

4. Less collateral expense

With traditional methods of imbursement come several expenses that ACH pay eliminates, such as: paper, postage, and extensive telephone staff. Automatic payments can also decrease the expense of collection action, whether in house or through outsourcing, as they make it harder for late fees and missed payments to accrue.


The drawbacks of ACH pay are not drawbacks as much as they are contingencies that should be addressed in order to profit from the arrangement, such as:

1. Offsite data storage

Offsite data storage can be found inexpensively through Software as a Service (SaaS) providers that specialize in data security and storage, or merchant services that offer the same service. Keeping pay data stored offsite in encrypted form is crucial to preserving it from fires, flooding, or hardware theft.

2. Fraud

Like all systems that use stored financial information, the ACH system is a target for fraud, both internally and externally, with statistics showing the former poses the greatest risk in terms of data theft. Fraudulent activity can be greatly decreased by the presence of firewalls that protect against interior and exterior malicious activity, and also by engaging in smart personnel practices, such as the four below:

1. Using permanent rather than temporary employees for certain jobs

2. Separating critical duties as much as possible

3. Intensifying screening procedures for certain positions; and

4. Resetting passwords to sensitive accounts on a regular basis

Planning a Retirement Party on A Budget – Tips On Inexpensive Retirement Party Planning

If you're planning a retirement party, you might be looking for ways to cut costs. After all, parties can be downright expensive and retirement parties are no exception. In fact, the average luncheon retirement party (at a banquet hall) with over 35 guests typically costs $ 2000 or more. And, the average luncheon retirement party (at a home) with 35 guests typically costs $ 750 or more. However, you can significantly cut these costs and plan a great retirement party with a modest budget. In this brief article, we'll discuss how you can plan a retirement party on a modest budget.

Here Are Some Tips On Inexpensive Retirement Party Planning

1. First of all, you must know your budget. After all, how can you stay within your budget if you do not know what your budget is? With this in mind, the first step to planning a retirement party on a budget is to figure out how much money you have for the party. Write down your anticipated costs and expenses.

2. Second, evaluate your expense list and do a price comparison. This can be accomplished by contacting stores, warehouses and recreational facilities in your area and online to determine if your expenses are reasonable. If necessary, adjust your list so that you have a realistic expense sheet to work with.

3. Third, hone down on miscellaneous items. That is, figure our what you can do in order to trim down your list. For instance, can you plan a luncheon instead of a dinner party? Can you invite less people? Can you cater the party yourself? Can you cut down on paper goods or choose less expensive ones?

4. Fourth, shop around. Once you've honed down your list, you should shop around to find the best prices. This includes shopping online and offline. In fact, to ensure that you save the most money, make sure that you start shopping for discounted goods and services as soon as you possibly can. Then, use merchants and service providers to bid against one another. In addition, just because a lower price is not offered, does not mean that it is not available. In many instances, you simply have to be willing to ask for the discounts and in many instances they will be given to you. After all, just about everything is negotiable. You simply have to be willing to negotiate for better prices.

In conclusion, planning a retirement party does not have to be a difficult or there are cost effective ways to plan your party. You simply have to be willing to know your budget, evaluate your expenses, do price comparisons, hone down on miscellaneous costs, and shop around. Once you do this, you can rest assured that you'll have a great retirement party that does not break the bank.

Fun Christmas Facts – The History of Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread has been around for a long time, but the recipes used to make it have changed considerably over the years. Initially gingerbread was made from breadcrumbs, ginger, and a sweetener, like honey. People discovered that ginger has preservative properties and used it accordingly.

The recipe for gingerbread changed, and by the 15th century (the 1400s), the breadcrumbs had been replaced by flour. Honey was replaced with molasses. The biscuit became lighter. Some recipes made sweet, thin crisps of ginger and others were thicker and more biscuit-like.

Pictoral scenes that told stories were carved in wood and the gingerbread was rolled and pressed into them.

It was first made into figures (like people) n the 16th century (the 1500s). Queen Elizabeth I of England is credited with the first gingerbread men.

Queen Elizabeth was queen of England starting in November of 1558. (She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.) Queen Elizabeth was known for having well dressed courtiers in her court. She has been credited with the first gingerbread men. The story goes that she had gingerbread cookies made and decorated to look like her favorite courtiers, and had the cookies presented to them.

Gingerbread men tend to have vague shapes. For instance, the legs do not have definite feet, and they certainly do not have any toes. The arms do not have definite arms, and they definitely do not have any fingers. Gingerbread women are equally simple in design. Gingerbread expands when it bakes, even recipes without eggs. As a consequence, the cookies work better when they are not overly detailed.

The detail work comes into play when you decorate these cookies.

So, gingerbread men and women needed houses, chairs, tables, beds, wagons, trees, and livestock that is also made out of gingerbread, and bakers created these.

The Brothers Grimm wrote Hansel and Gretel in 1812. The story told of a witch that wanted to eat the children, Hansel and Gretel. She fattened them up with candy and other sweets, and the children munched on a house made of gingerbread. Gingerbread houses became popular at that time, especially in Germany.

Gingerbread houses are popular in the United States and many parts of Europe, but oddly, not England. These houses are most common during the Christmas season, but also work well for every other holiday. Valentine's Day houses are decorated with pink, red, and white candy. Halloween houses have ghosts popping out of them and are often purposely constructed "wrong." The only limits with gingerbread houses are your imagination and the size of your cookie sheets. (I like to design one or two each year from index cards. Remember that gingerbread is thicker than paper, but put together the cards into whatever kind of house you can design.)

Favorite recipe for My gingerbread houses your is Called " the alternate recipe ." I replace the shortening with butter and use corn syrup instead of molasses.

Criminal Justice Job and Their Resume Objective

The careers in the field of criminal justice include the positions in law enforcement, forensic departments, court and security. Each of these job positions needs working under the supervisions of the criminal justice system. This is to allow people attain peace, justice and order. There are various career choices in criminal justice career. One of the best career choices is of a criminal justice lawyer. Financial position is also an important career choice offered by this field. When applying for such positions, you need a resume showing your relevancy for the job. The financial resume objective in it should explain to the employer how you can be beneficial to the company if you are hired.

Criminal Justice Jobs

The requirements of the particular job will depend on the area of ​​expertise. The overall aim of these different jobs will remain same to make sure that all laws are imposed. The advantage of this career is that there are wide ranges of opportunities in criminal justice career and something to fit one's interest. People interested in medicine or science may find jobs in crime labs. Those interested in financial jobs can find opportunities in private and public limited companies.

The criminal justice resumes should emphasize on certain elements relevant to the profession. Experience is much important for all job positions. But in case of criminal positions, educational details and certifications are much more important. When writing the resume for criminal justice positions, it is important to emphasize on listing the qualifications and skills necessary for the position.

All the professional resumes share different characteristics. Criminal justice CV are somewhat different from other professional resumes. Education and professional certifications are much important parts of these CV rather than experience. Hence, focus on writing these details in your CV when you are making an application for this position.

Job Description for Criminal Justice Job Positions

Following are some important job duties that a person working in the field of criminal justice has to handle:

• Designing the emergency preparation plans
• Undertaking disaster prevention programs
• Preparing the training manuals for the emergency management team
• Providing assistance to the commercial loss prevention programs
• Verbal de-escalation and criminal uneasiness
• Contribute to decrease in material theft
• Participate in site visits, security meetings, etc.

Job Objectives

Objective Statement for Experienced Candidate

An experienced criminal justice with extensive experience in the field, looking for a job to utilize the old skills and learn new job skills while benefiting the company. I would like to work for bringing up considerable change in the judicial system of the country

Objective Statement for Entry Level Candidate

As an entry level candidate, I aim to bring the remarkable change in the judicial system of the country by enforcing laws from my side. My self-motivated, enthusiastic and energetic nature can help me in working efficiently

Objective Statement for Internship Candidate

As an intern candidate, I would like to learn about criminal justice as much as I can. I can utilize this knowledge in my work and gain one-time experience that can help me in the near future to get the job in the similar field

Some Criminal Justice Jobs

Information Security Officer

There are number of certifications one need to complete for working as an Info sec Officer. The training companies like Info sec Institutes offer the job specific skills like ethical hacking and data recovery. The certification programs needed for this position are CISSP training, C ISM, I TIL Certification, Comp TIA certification, etc.


Paralegals are responsible for drafting various documents for lawyers and handling the preliminary interviews of candidates. They also perform research on legal codes and judicial decisions. The knowledge of law is necessary for working as a paralegal.

The skills required for working in this position are:

• Brilliant written and research skills
• Strong knowledge of law
• Excellent organizational skills
• Excellent customer service skills

Crime Scene Investigator

Crime scene investigator is the most popular and sought after career in US. The competition for it is extremely fierce. The requirements for working as a crime scene investigator are:

• Age should be within the range of 23-37
• Citizen of US with a valid driver's license
• Possess a 4 year degree certificate from accredited university
• Fluency in language
• Fighting skills, knowledge of handling various weapons, and have mobility

Apart from these jobs, there are many other career opportunities provided in this field. You need to know the basic work profile of each of these jobs and design your objective statement and resume accordingly.

Samoa – An Itinerary For a Week In This South Pacific Paradise

If you are looking for a beach vacation on a tropical white sandy beach, overhung with coconut palms, then this is your island! Or should I say ….. islands. Upolu is the main island where Apia, the capital, is located. Savaii, the bigger island is quite a different experience, and not to be missed. There are several much smaller islands dotted along the coast.

While you will want to spend much of your time on one of the glorious beaches, there is much more to do in Samoa. Below is a suggested itinerary for a week .You would be best to hire a car for sightseeing. You will want to take time each day to relax around a pool, or at a beach. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many wonderful, open air restaurants and RELAX!

Day 1 – Arriving at Faleolo Airport, you will instantly feel the heat! Consistently around 26-27 degrees celsius, night temperatures rarely drop below 23 degrees. It is about a 45 minute drive into Apia. You will immediately start to relax, with your first experience of colourful villages and crystal clear turquoise water stretching to the white foam of the reef. Once you have settled in, it is a good time for a brief wander around the town, or sampling a Vailima beer, around the pool. Enquire which night the Fiafia is held. There are usually only one or two nights weekly when hotels put these on, so you need to plan in advance.

Day 2 – Morning – Explore Apia, including the markets. There are two markets – the Beach Rd Market on the waterfront near the Tusitala (Kitano) Hotel is for

  • clothing
  • lavalavas
  • tapa cloth
  • carved wooden goods including the traditional kava bowl
  • jewellery made from shell, coconut husk and seeds

You will find that generally they do not bargain. Ask if they will give you a cheaper price for two and they will invariably reply that their boss is not here today so they can not do this. It is worth walking down to Marketi Fou the fruit market, where you can wander amongst the locals as they do their normal daily shopping. Samoa does not have tropical fruits such as pineapples and mangos year round. They have two three week seasons annually. Bananas and oranges are always available, with other fruits such as passionfruit, guavas and vi fruit at different times.

Afternoon – If you are keen to snorkel, Pololo Deep is on the edge of town and the only beach near Apia. You will find it best at mid to low tide.

Day 3- Morning- Visit Vailima, home of Robert Louis Stevenson, on Cross Island Road. He was Samoa's much loved Tusitala – "teller of tales", and lived here for the last few years of his life. You can look through the wonderful colonial house which has been restored, and do the 40 minute walk to the top of Mt Vaea, Stevenson's final resting place, with magnificent views over Apia.

Afternoon – After lunch it is a good time to take a forty minute coastal drive out to Piula for a cooling swim in the freshwater natural pool, which flows into a cave. Situated in the grounds of a beautifully renovated church, you can enjoy the pool, looking out to sea over the narrow rock wall, that separates the two. The pool closes at 4. o'clock, when the local women bring the washing from the boys church boarding school down, and the fish come out from their hiding places.

Day 4 – All Day – Hire a car and drive over the hill, through the rainforest.Have a look at the Bahai temple at the top of the hill, then go and down to Coconuts Resort where you could have morning tea or lunch. Leaving Coconuts, follow the coast road back to Apia, via the many villages and beaches.If you have time to detour to Togitogi Falls, they are beautiful.Or you may like to come back via Papasea – Sliding Rocks. Best when there has been a lot of rain.

Day 5 – Morning – Take the car ferry to Savaii. There are many accommodation options from beach fales at Stevensons or Janes, Savaii Lagoon ….. a middle option or Le Logoto for a more luxurious experience.

Afternoon – Only 2 kilometres along the road is Satoalepai village – where you can swim with turtles. This is a very beautiful place, and while the turtles are in captivity, they have a big pool, and are well cared for. They are very friendly, and it was a highlight of my trip.

Day 6- All Day – Drive around Savaii – Plan to stop at

  • Saleaula Lava Fields – an amazing insight into the effects of the eruptions of Mt Matavanu between 1905 and 1911.
  • Alofaaga Blowholes – You will need to check the tides as you will want as near to full tide as possible for the best viewing of the blowholes.These are some of the best you will see anywhere in the world! You will pay $ 5WS each which includes a local guide.
  • Carry on to Vaisala Hotel via villages, and beaches. This is the best option for a meal, unless you take a picnic basket.
  • Stop at the ruins of the village destroyed by Cyclone Ofa.

NOTE: You will want to allow plenty of time for photo stops. This is a very photogenic country, and Savaii has some wonderful spots for photographers to indulge their hobby!

Day 7- All Day – Experience a night in a beach fale. This could be on Savaii, or after taking the ferry back to Upolu, around the coast where you have several choices of beach fales. If basic is not for you, you may prefer upmarket Seabreeze Resort at Paradise Cove, with excellent snorkelling and probably the best view of live coral on the island.

Day 8 – To Airport

Do Learn To Speak Spanish CDs Work?

There are plenty of language self learning programs on the market these days. Some are quite expensive and some seem like a reasonable price but surely the ultimate judge of value for money is whether the product has managed to teach you to speak Spanish. Can you learn to speak Spanish from just a book and/or a CD or MP3? Well, kind of. This article will cover the advantages and disadvantages of using an audio language course to learn Spanish.

To begin, I think if you only have an audio course then you are learning the language the way you learned your native language. Babies and children learn their mother tongue by listening and repeating what their mother (and other people) say to them. This is usually the method adopted with a Spanish MP3 or CD. Words and sentences are spoken and you listen and repeat. Although it is not exactly the same as learning as a child (as you may have your native language on the course too) it is an approximation of this method and can be useful.

This is opposed to the standard method of learning a second language, where you learn to read, write and understand grammar at the same time as learning to comprehend and speak. This method is not instinctive but I think people want fast results and by jumping in at the deep end they feel that this is the way to go. Some people get the language but many people languish because they are lost in the grammar or overwhelmed by the amount of information they have to take in.

Secondly, learning from an audio CD can help your pronunciation. In many ways pronunciation is more important than grammar when you first start learning a language. If you want to speak to people to practice what you have learned (and you should), they will forgive your grammatical mistakes and get the meaning of your words. However if your pronunciation is bad they will simply not understand you no matter how sympathetic they are. This can really dent your confidence when first starting out. Believe me, talking to Spanish speaking people is the key to improving your skills so you don’t want to shy away from this because of poor pronunciation or a bruised ego.

Finally, a major advantage of learning Spanish from an audio CD or MP3 is the ease of use. You can listen to it in the car or doing the housework. You can repeat the words as you jog round the block or do the grocery shopping (even though people might think you are mad talking to yourself).

To some extent this is true. However, in my experience you can’t devote your full attention to more than one thing, especially when it comes to a new language. Michel Thomas has many audio only courses and he advises (in the introduction to the courses) that you don’t do anything else but listen to the audio. I tend to agree with him, especially on the first few listens.

If you have listened to the audios half a dozen times then it gets easier to multi task but initially I would say it is not a good idea.

So can you learn Spanish from a CD or MP3 ? I think they can give you a grasp of the language but you have to learn a lot more before you will be considered fluent. Being fluent requires a fair degree of confidence too. And you can only have this confidence if you use the language regularly and have made a few mistakes along the way. Even so, an audio course is a good starting point and is convenient for many people that have busy lives.