Back To The Future

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This blog entry about the events of Thursday, February 10, 2005 was originally posted on February 13, 2005.

DAY 481:  “So I’ll see you in about a month,” Noelle said before boarding a shared songthaew that would take her back to Krabi Town so she could get to her morning northbound flight back to Bangkok to continue her travels with with her backpacking hippie mother.

“Yeah, see you on Five Oh Three,” I said, remaining on the sidewalk in Ao Nang.  My transport southbound to Malaysia wouldn’t come for another hour. 

Noelle and I parted ways, thus ending her appearance on “The Trinidad Show” — at least until the upcoming “one big night” back in New York City on March 5th (save the date and R.S.V.P.!).  It wasn’t just the end of my travels with her, but with my travels in Thailand for that matter, for I would end my day on Penang Island, the island off the northwest coast of the continental Malaysia.

A MINIVAN PICKED ME UP and brought me to Krabi Town where we picked up other travelers headed south.  To my surprise, it wasn’t all backpackers — in fact it was an all-Asian bus.  The only other “backpackers” were these two Korean girls who were also making their way all the way across the border.

“In Thailand, 3:15.  Malaysia, 4:15,” a Thai man that was talking with one of the Korean girls explained.  It wasn’t until he mentioned it that I realized I’d be driving over a time zone one hour ahead — one hour into the future, if you will — a time zone I hadn’t been in since the Philippines.  We rode about three hours to the southern Thai city of Hatyai to fill out our immigration forms at a tour office (with time zone clocks just slightly off, picture above), then hopped back onto a different minivan to take us across the border into Malaysia and back to the future.


I HAD DEBATED WHETHER OR NOT to go to Penang in northern Malaysia or to go straight to Kuala Lumpur, due to the new reports of the violence on the Thai/Malaysian border that had been bubbling since October 2004, but from what I saw, everything was A OK.  (Leave it to TV news to over-dramatize the events.) 

Traveling into Malaysia wasn’t just going “back to the future” in a time zone sense, but in a technology sense.  Modern Malaysia, from what I was seeing thus far on the three-hour road trip to Penang, boasted rest areas and electronic sensor toll plazas.  When the driver turned on the radio, I saw that I was also “back to covers of The Village People’s ‘Y.M.C.A.’.”

The sun set in the west as we journeyed at speeds of over 88 km/hr to the mainland town of Butterworth, where we caught the 15-min. passenger car ferry ride to Penang Island.  Immediately I saw how Muslim a country I was in when I saw the people in Muslim attire look off to the distance to see the nighttime Penang skyline.  I felt a sort of peace again, like I did on the Muslim island of Zanzibar.  As I once said before, it’s only the Muslim extremists that are crazy; the rest are peaceful, upstanding people.

It was late when we arrived in the backpacker area of Penang’s Little India district, but conveniently enough we were dropped off by the guesthouse I was looked up in my guidebook, which was conveniently next to a 7-11 and an internet cafe.  Mostly everything was closed already — not because it was late, but because of the long Chinese New Year weekend — but that didn’t matter because a yummy Halal food street vendor was open nearby.  “Back to the future” also meant “back to street meat” for me, a lunchtime favorite during my New York dot-com days. 

I had an internet session with a can of Malaysian Kickapoo soda (tastes like Mello Yello), feeling like “the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades” — until a heavy downpour came from the dark sky.  And so the future wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be — not a flying car in sight — but hey, I only went ahead one hour for crying out loud.

SAVE THE DATE; DAY 503 IS COMING.  MARCH 5, 2005, NYC.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TRAILER.
PLEASE R.S.V.P. WITH YOUR HEADCOUNT BY POSTING A COMMENT HERE.






Next entry: From All Over The World

Previous entry: On Tap




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Comments for “Back To The Future”

  • GREETINGS FROM K.L., KUALA LUMPUR!  Finally I’m caught up to the country I’m currently in. 

    MORE TO COME as the countdown to 503 continues…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/12  at  11:50 PM


  • VIVIAN:  I sent you an e-mail…  I’m at the Red Dragon Hostel in Chinatown on Jalan Sultan…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/12  at  11:51 PM


  • Mmmmm, Joy Juice.  Wait, that sounds a little odd.

    “the people in Muslim attire look off to the distance to see the nighttime Penang skyline” and ” next to a 7-11” pics are 404.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  12:37 AM


  • Why does it say Joy Juice? I mean, how is Mello Yellow akin to joy juice?

    I found the Irish Pub in Chiang Mai - that’s my goal, to find all the Irish Pubs in the towns I visit!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  12:46 AM


  • Joy Juice - I love it!

    Posted by Liz  on  02/13  at  01:48 AM


  • I guess you will have been to all the continents AND all the time zones once you get back. cool. That meat looks pretty scary.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  02:14 AM


  • MICHELLE:  Yup, all time zones, too!  As for the meat, LOVEPENNY, MARKYT and I will have to take you to the best Halal street meat in NYC, right near the W hotel, and you’ll soon be lovin’ it.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  02:41 AM


  • hi erik!
    what do yout hink of the red dragon hostel? it looks promising on the web and i thought about crashing there on my trip as well.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  05:12 AM


  • DENNIS:  re: Red Dragon.  It’s nice and clean; looks like it was converted from a fancier hotel.  Bit pricier than the other one I was recommended, but there’s central air instead of a fan.

    “[There is] no pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater… than central air.” 
    -Jason Lee as Azrael in “Dogma”

    Don’t fall for the scams of the busboy by the Red Dragon cafe who claims to be the general manager.  I heard him get reamed by his boss this morning for scamming the Westerners.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  05:44 AM


  • Ah, the memories. Downing a Kickapoo Joy Juice after an afternoon of football with my mates (soccer to you Yanks) while growing up in Singapore.  The soda’s name comes from a comic strip.

    Cheers.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  07:43 AM


  • so, you want some Joy Juice?

    nice!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  12:35 PM


  • The only good thing about the cube farm (free T1 Internet) cutout yesterday! So I couldn’t finnish reading durning the WHMMR.

    Then I put the wrong cover page on my TPS report! And to top it all off, we’re fresh out of Joy Juice!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/14  at  02:17 PM


  • I found some good ass street meat on 39th and broadway….he hooks it up with red beans and rice!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/14  at  06:20 PM


  • Fantastic. Street Meat here i come!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/15  at  12:48 AM


  • How do you get “street meat” and “joy juice” into a single entry—and still not mean sex?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/20  at  04:35 PM


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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.


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From All Over The World

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On Tap




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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