Shit Happens

DSC01029.JPG

This blog entry about the events of Sunday, October 26, 2003 was originally posted on October 27, 2003.

DAY 8:  I checked out of the Crossroads Hostel while everyone was still asleep and brought all my gear to class.  Class was more of the same — more verbs and vocabulary, and conversations with Rosa that went off in tangents.  During the break, I met a new student, an English girl on her first day of class, who — unlike everyone else I met so far — actually thought I was Asian and not Latino.  (She had just flown in to South America after six or so months wandering Southeast Asia.)

After class, I was picked up by Blanca, the woman whom I would live with for the next week, as set up by the school.  From what I’ve heard from other travelers, living with a family is essential in learning Spanish — if you go to a hostel, you revert back to English and forget everything you learned that day.  Immersion is the key and I was ready to dive in.

Her apartment was just half a block from the school in a building above shops and restaurants.  Her place had four bedrooms — one for her, one for her 21-year-old daughter Gabi, and two for students.  My private room was fairly big, with a twin-size bed, a desk, and armoire space.

It was just me and Blanca when I got there in the afternoon — that is, if you don’t include a scruffy black dog named Cometa and a cat that I forgot the name of.  Blanca didn’t speak much English at all, which was exactly what I wanted; no choice but to speak Spanish.  She was surprised I was taking a class because she thought my Spanish was pretty good.  In fact, she thought I was Haitian because she knew some Haitians spoke Spanish.  She showed me around the house and explained to me that there was something up with the plumbing, but a plumber was coming to fix it soon.

I went out for lunch at my usual restaurant that none of the gringos frequented.  For just two gold coins and a 50 cent piece, I had churassco, a traditional Ecuadorean meal with a decent sized steak, two eggs, a salad, fries, rice and a juice.  I filled my stomach as I wrote my daily notes in my notepad entirely in Spanish, so I could get the practice.

It started pouring and I found refuge in an internet cafe and finally got around to sending a mass announcement for this blog via Evite.  I digested my massive lunch pretty fast because soon I ran off back to the house to take a major dump.

YOU KNOW THAT AWKWARD FEELING you have when you take a dump in your buddy’s house, no matter how close you are?  Well, imagine that awkward feeling when you’re dropping four big logs and realizing that the plumbing doesn’t work. 

After I wiped my ass and threw the paper in the nearby garbage — not in the bowl, which is common in the Andean countries since paper usually clogs up sewage pipes —  I stood and looked at my four big turds and wondered what to do.  Luckily I realized that Blanca had filled these big basins of water in the bathtub, and I used a nearby bowl to flush the toilet by water displacement.  It took four bowls — one for each turd.

I settled into my room and looked out my window as the rain fell (view above).  The rain let up after about an hour, and so I just set my laptop up to render a video for a client back in New York, put on my fedora and took to the streets to wander.

WEARING A FEDORA in a mountain village is one thing, but in the city, it didn’t really help me blend in at all.  In fact, Navid told me that with my glasses on, I looked like I was trying to look more like Elvis Costello than an indigenous person.

I decided to give myself a mission and find a place that sold mini luggage locks, so that I could lock my bigger cameras to my security cable.  It’s such a bitch lugging them everywhere in a big city.  Using my Spanish, I asked some woman for directions and surprisingly understood them — even though I couldn’t find the place she spoke of.  No matter, I found a camping equipment store — with padlocks in a display case — and conducted the entire transaction in Spanish without stumbling on words.  Pretty soon I’ll have enough confidence with Spanish to order condoms.

Back at the house, I chilled out until dinner time.  I met the other student, Ani, a German surfer-turned-pediatrician, looking for work in a hospital in Ecuador.  We sat at the dinner table with Blanca and Gabi, who had just come home from school.  Dinner conversation was completely in Spanish — even when I spoke with Ani, although at one point, I had to explain something to Blanca in Spanish via the little German I knew.  We touched the usual get-to-know you subjects:  Where are you from?  What do you do?  Have you eaten fried guinea pig?  I’ve discovered that many Ecuadoreans do NOT like cuy, it’s only a traditional dish served and eaten by a select few.  Most people, including Blanca and Gabi, can’t get over the fact that it’s a rodent.  I told them that it tastes like chicken, but still couldn’t get over the fact that guinea pigs are pretty much rats without tails.  (Okay, now it sounds pretty disgusting.)

After dinner, Ani approached me about the no flushing situation — apparently he had a turd situation too — but I told him about the water displacement thing.  He told me he was considering leaving due to the lack of plumbing, but couldn’t bare to disappoint Blanca because she’s such a cute old lady. 

Gabi went to do her English homework while Ani and I went to do our Spanish homework.






Next entry: When You’re Sliding Into First and You Feel Something Burst, Diarrhea…Diarrhea…

Previous entry: Money Matters




Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “Shit Happens”

  • still can’t believe you ate a cute little guinea pig. =( what will you think every time you pass a pet store back in the u.s.? and that shitting description was a little too personal for my taste. i wonder if that contained bits of the poor guinea pig. =P so you think you’ll have a little dog when you hit asia?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  01:57 AM


  • u should have taken a picture of your poo…it was be really nice to see “four big logs” as a link…hahaha…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  01:58 AM


  • Thanks for the graphic description of your excrement E! I feel a lot closer to you now!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  03:07 AM


  • *Laf* Very nice E. I remember one time my cousin, sister and I did that exact thing, but filmed it. I believe the comment in the video was “It was wide”. Then my nanna came up that weekend and wanted to watch the tapes. We had to go through all our videos and tape over anything that had to do with bodily functions and fluids. I’m sure none of you wanted to hear that, but while we were on the subject! haha

    Its great to hear that your Spanish is going so well. Good Job Erik! : )

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  05:04 AM


  • Hey boy! Just finally had a chance to read the blog…and I mean every entry so I’m caught up. Sorry I couldn’t be at the going away party - perhaps I should have gotten the drunken monkey call!!!
    Your Quito experience has brought back fond memories. I stayed at Crossroads - the owner is an American from Michigan if I remember right. And I did all my emails at Papaya for 40 cents an hour. A bit of advice - make sure you keep some travelers checks on you and some american dollars stashed away as you will run into the ATM situation again in certain places. Especially the Galapagos…maybe there’s an ATM now but when I went the machine would only take VISA cards…and I didn’t have it set up for cash advances. I had $300 in travelers checks and $100 cash stashed away and I ended up in situations where I needed them all. But mostly in all big cities down there you will find ATMs.
    Be careful in the old city - with all those cameras you’re a big mugging target - this is one time to be glad people think you’re a native.
    Oh, a regarding hoping your site becomes a cult thing without the cross dressing….well, um, have you forgotten about your little pink bra episode??
    Anyway, glad I have you to live vicariously through. Put my other email address on your instant messenger list - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    And BTW, managing a hostel is some hard ass work man!!! 14 hour days, little sleep…but hey the beer is damn cheap and beats the jacket and tie world anytime. Let your readers know they always have a place at USA Hostels Hollywood!!!
    hugs,
    Maria

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  05:59 AM


  • ok, that was too much information about your turds in el lavabo!

    sounds like you’re a pro at spanish already:)

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  11:12 AM


  • hahaha…...I know exactly what you mean with the turds….hahaha. What’s wrong with a little toilet humor once in awhile. You do look like Elvis Costello with that fodora on!!
    Rod Rodd from the Price is Right croaked. Come On Down!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  11:51 AM


  • Da las gracias para la “turd” visual.  That’s great you’re picking up the language.  Do you plan to learn the languages of all the countries you go to?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  11:53 AM


  • Hey, weren’t you supposed to interview the families that you get to live with? And Haitian? That would be one of the last things I’d mistaken you as… then again, a Puerto Rican mistook me for being a Latina the other day.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  12:10 PM


  • elvis costello rules!
    don’t forget to make a pass at gabi.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  12:17 PM


  • to my dismay, McDs do NOT serve cuy. Neither does BK or Wendy’s. I would suggest not even asking for it because it could lead to a rough man-handling and expulsion from the premises.

    “Hi, i’ll have a cuy w/o cheese, fries and a diet coke.”

    “What do you mean you don’t serve fried rodents? Popeyes does!”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  01:42 PM


  • There’s nothing more funny, other than monkeys, than a good shit story!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  04:58 PM


  • stupid me… i DID think of taking a shot of the “four big logs”...but not until after they were flushed down.  isn’t that always the way…

    the toilet works now, so everything’s good now…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  05:02 PM


  • Jen:  yeah, i thought it was weird when i was just assigned a family, but its okay….  i have the option to leave them if i want, but they seem very nice and i can’t beat the commute… location! location! location!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  05:04 PM


  • I got your book today…the post office pulled through.

    I’ll have it waiting for your autograph!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  06:12 PM


  • My coworker, who has been following your blog too, wants to know if your surrogate family (with the 21-yr old daughter) knows that you are striving to buy condoms?

    Could this be your next mission?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  06:31 PM


  • I’m glad you didn’t take a pic of the turd (but I’m sure Uday would have loved to see it)!!!  I too, like others, have caught up with all your blogs!  It’s great that we can all read and be with you on your journey.  Do you think fried guinea pig would be good with patis?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  08:13 PM


  • is gabi hot

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  09:34 PM


  • Gabi’s okay…she more of a little sister type…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  09:58 PM


  • ditto that.  is gabi hot?

    where’s the pix?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/27  at  10:00 PM


  • hey erik where the hell are you? Up for a trio out of quito over the weekend? I’m pretty sure the cuy was resposible for ultra buyant turds-  mismo aqui!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:02 AM


  • navid:  dude, where you been?  i been knocking on door 16 every chance i get and you’re never there…  anyway, about the homestay…its really good…you are surrounded by spanish and have no choice but to learn it…  lots of food too, and private room….  but i guess it depends on who you get… (you can always switch though)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:48 AM


  • navid:  i was thinking cotopaxi this weekend…well, maybe not to climb but to see at least.  it’s a three-day weekend here for Day of the Dead, no?  i’m not sure if we have school on monday or not yet…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/28  at  12:50 AM


back to top of page


SHARE THIS TRAVEL DISPATCH:


Follow The Global Trip on Twitter
Follow The Global Trip in Instagram
Become a TGT Fan on Facebook
Subscribe to the RSS Feed



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:
When You’re Sliding Into First and You Feel Something Burst, Diarrhea…Diarrhea…

Previous entry:
Money Matters




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.




Spelling or grammar error? A picture not loading properly? Help keep this blog as good as it can be by reporting bugs.

The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
All written and photographic content is copyright 2002-2014 by Erik R. Trinidad (unless otherwise noted). "The Global Trip" and "swirl ball" logos are service marks of Erik R. Trinidad.
TheGlobalTrip.com v.3.6 is powered by Expression Engine v2.8.1