Back to Reality

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This blog entry about the events of Saturday, January 17, 2004 was originally posted on January 19, 2004.

DAY 91: “Hey, check out the flavor of shampoo,” I instructed Sam in the bathroom of the hostel.  I was referring to the packet of shampoo someone had previously left.  Sam looked over and read it: “placenta.”  We figured it was for that fresh “newborn” feeling in the morning.

OUR FOURTH AND FINAL DAY IN DALI WORLD started with stops in other pueblos modelos (model villages), including the one where Gilbert and Kate the Aussie stayed in — both of them were traveling solo in individual jeeps as all of their other passengers went off to Chile.  We continued down the bumpy desert road as wild llamas ran across the plains to get out of our way.  Sam and I continued to jot quick notes to translate into journal entries later — a technique she was grateful for me teaching her — all the time continuing to listen to the same 80s songs from the jeep’s speakers.  We knew the playlists by heart and knew the next song off the top of our heads. 

We stopped in the model village of San Cristobal for a snack and pee break and continued onto Amaritas for lunch.  Betty the cook impressed us with a simply-made tuna salad.


OUR FOUR-DAY TOUR technically could have been completed by the night of the third, but the tour companies add on the fourth day for transport just in case the rivers are too deep to cross due to unpredictable rains.  Besides, crossing a river without a bridge is best down in broad daylight.

Two rivers had to be crossed to get back to Uyuni — the first wasn’t too deep at all and we rode through like it was a big puddle.  However, the second waterway was about four feet deep, so Primo stopped the Land Cruiser at the edge to figure out what to do.  Coincidentally, the tape automatically switched over to the beginning of Side B with its forceful opening guitar riffs of Survivor’s “Eye of The Tiger.”  It felt like a Rocky moment.

“Let’s just crank up the music and go for it!” I suggested — but Primo wasn’t so foolish.  Instead, he opened the hood and rewired something with the battery and then took his jacket off and wrapped it around the engine block to help keep it dry.  We hopped back in the jeep, turned off the radio to conserve the battery and head down into the river.  The brown muddy waters came almost up to the windows, but Primo, a master at the wheel and the stickshift, continued on until we made it to the other side of the water passage.  We cheered at the other side, surprised that no water leaked into the car.  Primo took his jacket back from under the hood, like an old-fashioned gentleman who had just laid it down over a puddle for a lady to walk over.

“We have to play ‘Sunshine Reggae!’” Zoe suggested from the front seat.  “Miss DJ” put it on and we all sang along in celebration.  Later we learned the celebration was warranted; Gilbert’s truck had stalled in the river and actually shifted with the current for a short while.


ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF UYUNI, we made a stop at the Train Cemetery.  Everyone but me hadn’t seen it yet, but it was good for me to go a second time; the first time I didn’t go as far as the locomotives.  The locomotives made for some interesting photos, including a cheesy one of me playing engineer taken by Sam, and an action-packed one taken by Zoe (picture above).  The six of us sat around the graveyard of scrap metal with my last bag of Sour Skittles.  Zoe, an industrial design graduate, sat with her sketchbook and drew out the ironworks of the once mighty vehicles.


AS WE LEFT THE SURREAL LANDSCAPE of Dali World and went back to reality, we also left the music of the 1980s.  Within proximity of a broadcast, Primo turned on the radio for a change of musical scenery, possibly in hopes to shut us up from our singalongs.  It didn’t work though because we just sang along when Daft Punk’s “One More Time” came on.


ONE MORE TIME we went to celebrate on our last night in Uyuni together.  The six of us met up in a pizza place where Gilbert, back from his crazy river crossing, joined up as well.  There was no electricity in the restaurant, and the waitress said there were no pizza available.  We argued that others had pizza at their tables and that the gas-powered oven was still working, but she explained they were out of ingredients.  We settled on pasta, which was very good anyway.

Pascal, Suzanne and Esther went their own way, so Zoe, Sam, Gilbert and I continued on for the rest of the night.  They accompanied me on a walk across town to check out the buses for the next day, only to find out the offices were closed.  We walked back to the town center with a funny little dog we called Benji, who followed us all the way to — and inside — the Kactus bar for a round of drinks.  He sat under the table as our adopted pet.

I sat with Gilbert, Sam and Zoe at the table, reminiscing about our trip, still wondering about Mr. Lilliput and Gulliver.  We exchanged e-mail addresses and I even signed Sam’s “yearbook” — a small book she kept for people to leave her messages. 

That night I slept in a comfortable bed back in civilization, away from landscape of Dali World.  It was a surreal feeling to be back in reality.






Next entry: Hard to Get High

Previous entry: Goodbye, Mary Poppins




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Comments for “Back to Reality”

  • ALL:  There you go, six in a row without commercial interruption.  I’m, as the British say, “shuttered.”  Marinate on that for a while.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  07:39 PM


  • thanks E for updating. This Blog hog appreciates it.

    btw, First! (since Erik doesn’t count).

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  08:03 PM


  • awesome work man! Great pics! ... onward to Carnival!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  08:06 PM


  • train scene = back to the future 3…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  08:15 PM


  • MARKYT:  Yup, Sam quoted the movie before I did:  “Is this a hold up?”  “No, it’s a science experiment.”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  08:25 PM


  • 1.21 Gigawatts!!!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  08:53 PM


  • MOELICIOUS:  What the hell is a gigawatt?!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  09:00 PM


  • 1.21 gigwatts dood….back to the future….

    “a bolt of lightning”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  09:21 PM


  • ALL: so what’s everyones new wallpaper???

    i’m using: AFTER ANOTHER DRIVE THROUGH DALI’S DESERT

    it’s awesome!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/20  at  12:45 AM


  • I’m waiting for the results of the poll… (clouds on the ground or the llama 3 way)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/20  at  02:01 AM


  • OMG, a Moelicious Post! Td0t… clouds on the ground.  E., keep up the great work… and stop giving us so many wallpaper pics that I can’t choose!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/20  at  04:57 PM


  • MARKYT:  I’m using “photo” from “Goodbye, Mary Poppins”

    Posted by Alyson  on  01/20  at  05:50 PM


  • Actually, I just switched my desktop to the picture of Villa Mar…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/20  at  07:03 PM


  • so many pics?

    so who’s gonna create an archive of all the desktop worthy pics and create a zip file for everyone?

    (not it)....

    haha

    my visa is only for 5 years…aww nuts…what does someone have to do to get 99 years on my ish?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/20  at  07:19 PM


  • MARKYT:  Don’t worry…I’m saving the good ones for the next “Would You?” slideshow…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/20  at  07:21 PM


  • Erik…SHIET!!!

    new would you?...yes!

    gonna look for your thing tonite so i scan it…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/20  at  07:29 PM


  • Sniff…so emotional reading over your Uyuni trip account…so much fun…so many laughs…miss you guys…and Mr Lilliput too of corse! xxxx

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  02:28 AM


  • SAM:  Aww, my sentiments exactly…  Well, I suppose there can always be another trip on Gulliver’s Travels one day in the future…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  01:13 PM


  • the photos are incredible…i am continually in awe of your journey…

    glad to see youre managing pizza/pasta vs grub from a log wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/24  at  01:44 AM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Hard to Get High

Previous entry:
Goodbye, Mary Poppins




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

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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.

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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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