After Timbuktu

This blog entry was originally posted on August 07, 2006.

It’s been roughly four months since my “Escape from Mali” — the ending of an emotionally draining, albeit memorable journey through the western African nation of Mali to the legendary-turned-anti-climactic city of Timbuktu (all of which have been immortalized in The Global Trip blog “Trippin’ to Timbuktu”).  Since then, life has returned to a state of normalcy — if you considering working in a youthful NYC interactive advertising agency being “normal,” sending funny YouTube and ytmnd.com links to friends and coworkers all day.

Well, that’s not all that has transpired since; there were some definite stateside aftermath events left over from the Mali trip.  For one, Joanna, the British blonde I met in Mopti, rang my doorbell unexpectedly one Saturday morning when she was in town and decided to look me up.  She admitted she thought it was weird that I, a virtual stranger, had willingly given her my home address, but she figured it’d be my own damn fault if she turned out to be a psycho.  She wasn’t after all — at least the weekend she was in town — and in fact, if anything she was well-connected; within two hours of her ringing my doorbell, I had been invited to brunch with her friend, coincidentally the Deputy Consulate General of the U.K.  That night I was invited to a house party at his fancy luxury Upper East Side apartment to hobnob with British, Mexican, and Singaporean aristocrats over fine wines.

As for my relations with Van, my excellent-turned-somewhat-shady guide in Mali, we’ve kept in touch — sort of.  I had given him my work number and one day he called me out of the blue to catch up — but I was in a meeting at the time, and had to call him back.  After a four-day game of phone tag, we finally spoke, and it was just a friendly courtesy call to see how I was doing since I left Mali so abruptly.  On top of Van wondering how I was, he was wondering when I would get around to making a website for him and his business.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt one last time, I made him a simple two-page site in English and French, which he was happy to have:

http://www.geocities.com/van_modibo_ballo

After sending him that, I thought the hassles would be over, but he has since bugged me for a Jay-Z DVD, despite me trying to explain to him that DVD region codes are different depending on country and anything I send him from here wouldn’t work over there.  Also, in one “urgent message,” Van asked me if I could please send him some money so that he could buy a new computer for his new business.  I politely declined.


WITH ALL THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS of Mali, it’s no wonder I compared traveling through it (during the low season) to one of the harder levels of a video game.  For my next trip, this time around I’m resetting the console and doing something a bit easier: Europe again (my fifth time now).  For six days, I’ll be visiting my friend Jack (from the Spain episodes of TGT2) who currently lives in Spain the Sylvina, one of the Uruguayan girls he met on my trip.  We’ll all go to Buñol, Valencia for La Tomatina, the world-renowned tomato throwing festival.  From there, my travels will take me to Greece for two weeks, where I’ve never been, to see the sights, check out the island life — both day and night — and hopefully do some fishing and octopus diving.  I’ll end my trip off in Munich, Germany for the first weekend of the ultimate celebration of inebriation, Oktoberfest.

In true Global Trip style, I haven’t packed or prepared anything yet, although I did invest in a guidebook (picture above) and some Greek language CDs so that I might be able to strike a conversation with a local out in the isles.  So far I am retaining none of the information; the only Greek I know right now is “Gyro with white sauce, please.”

Anyway, sit back, and get ready for another three-week-long The Global Trip travel blog fix.  The Trip begins August 26th.

Special shout-out to my “Livin’ On A Prayer” karaoke partner Lia Vakoutis for her photo of Santorini, Greece used in the background!  (The tomatoes and beer stein photos are courtesy of a Google image search.)






Next entry: Liquids On A Plane

Previous entry: Epilogue




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Comments for “After Timbuktu”

  • This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Posted by markyt  on  08/08  at  06:04 PM


  • So, I came back to the site to get the web address to give for a friend
    and what do I see…

    AN UPDATE!WICKED!

    Another blog - I’ve been waiting for it. And what a fantastic birthday
    present for me! (Aug.26 is my BDay)
    Can’t Wait!!!!

    -yes! I’m finally the first post (technically)

    Posted by Kay  on  08/09  at  06:43 PM


  • KAY: Welcome back. Welcome home. I’m amazed that you posted; I haven’t
    officially announced this blog yet! Spread the word…

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • WHEAT knows a lady you can practice greek with at the diner on Route 4
    West…

    haha…“can i get some lemons?”

    Posted by markyt  on  08/10  at  05:42 AM


  • erik: i will! you have a huge fan base on thorntree…i will have to
    remind them!

    Posted by kay  on  08/10  at  09:41 PM


  • I hit your link in my favorites list by accident and found a new
    entry…excellent! Looking forward to reading about Greece. And tthis
    tomato-throwing affair.

    How did you manage all these vacation days so soon after Mali?

    Posted by Dan 3  on  08/10  at  09:43 PM


  • KAY: Yes, please, alert the troops…

    DAN3: The beauty of being in the freelance creative scene in NYC. I can
    enter and exit The Matrix as I wish. (I just don’t get paid when I’m gone.)

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • Fun times… I just looked at flickr and saw some new pictures… well,
    A new picture and was like WTF?!? Anyway. have fun!! I return to the
    grid in two days. Kind of.

    Posted by tallgirl

  • <http://www.blogger.com/profile/05087591227757317086>
    Erik,
    What is it about this virtual community…I started getting some vibes
    that something was going on over here and sure enough, when I check
    you’re planning another trip. Will be checking in regularly.

    Will also be referencing the Thailand Cambodia Vietnam pages as the wife
    and I will be headed there in Nov.

    Will shill for you on Sand and Tsunamis as well…

    Later…

    Posted by Dave and Melody  on  08/12  at  04:13 AM


  • Looking forward to reading… and so sorry you won’t be here for Henry’s
    one and Elzee’s 28…we will miss you!

    Posted by Aviva  on  08/13  at  04:27 AM


  • Ooohh a new Global Trip to read about and follow! And with Spain and
    Greece too, two of my favorite destinations! smile

    In Greece though, I only got to do Santorini. There are so many other
    islands I want to go back for. So I will live vicariously through you
    until then.

    Posted by christine

  • <http://www.blogger.com/profile/05087591227757317086>
    Erik, if you get a chance, I’d recommend Turkey. Never made it to Greece
    myself, but when I was in Turkey, my buddy and I met a few girls who had
    been. They said they liked Turkey even better.

    FWIW, there are more Greek ruins in Turkey than Greece…awesome cities
    like Ephesus, Troy, and of course Istanbul.

    I think you might be able to take a ferry from Lesbos (come on…tell us
    you’re NOT going THERE?) to the Turkish side…Ephesus alone would be
    worth the trip.

    Posted by Dave and Melody  on  08/13  at  02:45 PM


  • Dude, It’s gyro with extra white sauce…

    Posted by Rachel  on  08/13  at  10:29 PM


  • f-harry???s-toe…did you learn that greek phrase?
    (i???m jealous)

    - cheeky

    Posted by Anonymous  on  08/13  at  10:44 PM


  • I found your original TGT site thru Never Be Complete….and have been
    reading furiously ever since. I’m almost done and was completely
    depressed, only to find this. Made. My. Day.

    Sherie

    Posted by Anonymous  on  08/14  at  07:40 PM


  • Hurray! The blog is back! Looking forward to new entries smile Especially
    since I’m not going anywhere this year *cry*

    Posted by Liz  on  08/15  at  05:26 PM


  • Hi Erik! Greece is my favorite, I’ve been twice for three weeks each.
    Some crazy beaches there, color me jealous! Early September is a great
    time to be there.

    Posted by sara  on  08/20  at  09:21 PM


  • HELLO EVERYONE! I have to say I am AMAZED how many people have posted
    thus far, especially since I haven’t really announced this blog yet. I
    guess I really do have some faithful fans out there. Don’t I feel special?

    We’re coming in on less than a week before the Trip. I’m still not
    packed yet. But what else is new?

    As always, each new entry should reflect the events of the day before,
    so you might not see an entry until Sunday night, or even Monday, in
    time for the WHMMR. (I’m taking the red eye to Paris, Saturday night.)

    So sit tight for another week! In the meantime, you can read my entry in
    the “Inside The Global Trip” blog I just posted:

    http://blogs.bootsnall.com/eeyartee/

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • I found The Global Trip a few days ago. I haven’t read everything yet
    (I’m saving some for later) but I’ll follow your new adventures in
    Europe. Have fun.

    And if you need a place to get some croissants and a cup of coffee in
    Paris on Sunday morning, send me an email.

    Posted by Ben, from Paris  on  08/23  at  07:20 PM


  • Hey Erik! I’ve been looking forward to this since your email last month.
    I passed the word around so you should be hearing from your Canadian
    fans very soon. Let’s hope Tdot makes a guest appearance this time! Bon
    voyage!

    Posted by Janice  on  08/24  at  05:37 AM


  • Erik! Thanks for the e-mail update! I’m back from the first leg of my
    trip until feb so i am soooo happy to have something to look forward to.
    Best wishes for safe travels!

    Posted by funchilde  on  08/25  at  01:49 AM


  • Europe? EUROPE?!! You wuss.

    Posted by Office Samurai

  • ET - don’t forget the hotel kouros on naxos. ask for vasillis and tell
    him mississippi sent you. you’ll have a home cooked meal and some
    facinating conversation. He used to have a cat named bukowski.

    Posted by Chez Lounge

  • Safe travels!!

    Posted by Aviva  on  08/25  at  06:41 PM


  • Have a fantastic trip. I’m not much or a “reader” myself, but if there
    are pictures, count me in. Also, can you send me money so I can buy a
    computer for my business?

    Posted by Matto  on  08/26  at  02:39 AM


  • Ummm, yeah that’s cool, ok, when you come back let’s watch

    Jackass 2 <http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/jackass2>

    Posted by bil Chamberlin

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This blog post is one of eighteen travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: Trippin' To Timbuktu" (originally hosted by Blogger.com), which chronicled a trip through the West African nation of Mali in March-April 2006.
one of twenty-five travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: Tomatoes, Grease & Beer" (originally hosted by Blogger.com), which chronicled a trip to Spain's wild Tomatina festival, Greece's awe-inspiring islands, and Munich's world-renowned Oktoberfest in August/September 2006.

Next entry:
Liquids On A Plane

Previous entry:
Epilogue




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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