The Beginning Of The End

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This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, February 23, 2005 was originally posted on February 28, 2005.

DAY 494 (4 days since last Singapore entry):  Flying across the equator from Jakarta back to Singapore was just one leg in a long gradual journey back home.  However, there were still ten days left until The Return To New York, and I had no intention of letting the fun of travel let up just yet.

“Welcome back,” Jean greeted me back at the Walkers’ Inn, my home away from home in Singapore.

“Hey, how is everything?”

“Okay.”

I had arrived back at my usual place where I was the first, second, and only customer, and again I had the entire inn all to myself — the big dorm, the TV lounge, roof garden, kitchen, and computer lab.  I made myself at home and scattered my stuff around, walked around in my socks, and then plugged my iBook into the internet to work the rest of the afternoon with Jean in the office. 

It wasn’t a dull all-work day though; we took a couple of breaks together, first out for lunch (chicken rice balls), then out later for a walk down to the post office so that I could mail back Henricus’ (Jakarta) cell phone charger that accidentally got mixed up with my computer cables.  We stopped in at a locally famous food stall selling ah balling peanut soup, a hot dessert soup with peanuts and sweet filling-filled pastry balls.  It tied me over until dinner later that night.

“So do you have any suggestions [on what to change or improve about the Walkers’ Inn]?” Jean asked me before I head out for dinner that evening.

I thought.  “Just posters.  And you should have a bulletin board.”

“Oh yeah, I got one already.”

“Hmmm… I can’t think of anything.  I was here and I didn’t need anything.”

“Yeah, but you’re easy.”

“Yeah, I know.”  (She had me at “Hello… the internet is free.”)  As usual, she’d go home and trust the inn to me until I left early the next morning. 

“Have fun on your last night,” she said before my departure from the last time we’d see each other as far as we knew. 

“Yeah, last night in Asia.”

Whoa, last night in Asia, I thought after saying it out loud.  Suddenly the realization of the inevitable end of my Global Trip sunk in.  It set me into an anxious and melancholy mood, an almost suffocating feeling I hadn’t felt since the night of Day Zero, the night before I started this crazy adventure

I bid Jean farewell and good luck, walked down the stairs, and closed the door behind me.


THE BEGINNING OF THE END continued in the company of more Singapore residents; I was scheduled to meet up with Budi (who I met in Krabi) again, this time with his no-longer-sick wife Shwita.  “Hey there,” I called to them as I noticed them cross the street from our meeting point near City Hall. 

“Oh, hey!” they said.  The pair was dressed up to party and I knew my last night in Asia would be fun-filled.

We started off dining at Zac’s restaurant, Curry Favor, not only for yummy Japanese curry dishes, but to briefly meet up with Zac and my former Lycos producer Carol, who had a gift for me:  do-it-yourself mix for Singaporean laksa and chili crab so that I could take the “Uniquely Singaporean” culinary experience home.  The Singaporean couple couldn’t stay long for they had a previous engagement to attend to, leaving me with the Indonesian expatriate couple for “Last night out in Asia,” Budi said.  “How does it feel?”

“It feels pretty weird.”  Every time I was reminded of the end, I started to get that “sinking in” feeling again.

“Don’t worry, your last night in Asia is going to be a blast.”

Blast off of my last night in Asia began at the Long Bar, where there was hardly an Asian face to be seen; the place was “tourist central” where busloads of foreign tourists continued pouring in that evening as they did every.  The reason being:  the Long Bar was where the original Singapore Sling cocktail was invented, and from what we saw, it seemed to still be the top seller; almost every table we saw in the bar (including ours) had ordered them.  Seeing the angmo (foreigners) with the same cocktail wasn’t so shocking though; the thing that was shocking was the fact that there was litter everywhere.  Peanuts were complimentary and the shells were all over the floor in piles.  Very un-Singaporean.

Next door was the Raffles Hotel and Arcade, which wasn’t an arcade in the video game sense; it was a shopping arcade surrounding a garden courtyard with chic outdoor cafes and a really good evening jazz band.  Wandering Raffles’ was also a touristy thing to do, and Budi led me around almost in tandem with a real tour group going through to overhear some information.  He learned for the first time with me, just where the suites of the hotel were.

We left the tourist bit and entered the Ex-Pat Zone at the new Liberté bar for drinks with their fellow expat friend Janneke, who I had met my first night out in Singapore before.  With her were two new faces, fellow travelers Koen and Marc, Janneke’s visiting Dutch friends making their way through Singapore in their jaunt through southeast Asia.  After rounds of drinks we eventually made it up to the New Asia Bar on the 72nd floor of the Swissotel, the tallest hotel building in town, to end the night away dancing and drinking with the Thursday party crowd of Singaporeans and ex-pats.  While to me the club’s vibe felt like being at a wedding reception dance floor more than a nightclub, it was fun nonetheless; the Tiger beer flowed from pitchers and the view of nighttime Singapore from above provided a nice final memory of my last night in Asia.


THE NIGHT WAS FUN but the morning after I was back to my melancholy “sinking in” feeling of anxiety with the harsh realization that my 16-month trip around the world would be over soon.  I sat on a bed alone in the inn at “stupid o’clock” feeling a little “lost in translation” (picture above), but pulled myself together to get ready for my early morning eastbound flight ahead.  I autographed and left behind my last copy of the Hyenas… book for Jean to wish her good luck on her new hostel (and to finally get that book on the shelf of any hostel since I hadn’t seen it anywhere in the world), finished my tea, and left the entry keycard on an empty bed.  I put on my pack and looked at the empty and lonely hostel the same depressed way I once did when I looked at my empty apartment in metro New York for the last time, after I had packed it up and moved out to save money for the trip in the first place.

Sigh.

I turned off the lights and closed the door behind me like Sam Malone on the series finale episode of Cheers and moved on.  The ending had already begun.

SAVE THE DATE; DAY 503 IS COMING.  MARCH 5, 2005, NYC.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TRAILER. 
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Next entry: The Day That Never Happened

Previous entry: Cops And Comparisons




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Comments for “The Beginning Of The End”

  • First!  wow, i can’t believe i’ve been reading this blog for over 16 months.

    i’m coming Saturday, but i might be a little late. :(

    Posted by Alyson  on  02/28  at  05:33 AM


  • ALYSON:  There’s no such thing as late as long as you’re there!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  05:39 AM


  • you know, i was thinking about it, and i feel your pain.
    i know what it’s like to go through something amazing, and then have to come back to “ordinary life”.

    it’s only the beginning though, not the end.  there’s lots of good and exciting stuff to come. keep dreaming and never settle.

    Posted by Alyson  on  02/28  at  05:52 AM


  • ALYSON:  I never said I was going back to “ordinary life.”  wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  06:04 AM


  • ha.  you know what i mean. i would have said “back to the states”, but i didn’t want to make it sound like it’s a bad thing to be here.

    Posted by Alyson  on  02/28  at  06:17 AM


  • hey erik

    whats yr plan then for when you get back to nyc? straight back into the grind of work? surely not?

    have been reading but think i must have missed that part.

    sorry i wont be able to make it to DAY 503, am coming to nyc in sept to kick off my own rtw though, and i hope to be able to meet the man & the legend then.

    hope the party is big.

    rlj

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  06:54 AM


  • Erik…..you look very melancholy and maybe a little hung over??

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:04 PM


  • wow…this all seems so “surreal, but nice” (quoting “notting hill”). “surreal” b/c i can’t believe it’s almost over, but i’m glad i caught on w/this blog around may or so of last year and got to “follow you” for about 9 months or so.  i kinda know how you feel b/c the longest trip away from home i had was last april when i went island hopping in the philippines for 3 weeks (plus squeezing in ALL relatives)...but when it was all said and done, that sinking in feeling took over me…i had to go back to NJ, back to the grind of corporate america, back to “normalcy”.  it took me so long to get over jet-lag and the trip itself.  i didn’t even finish my blog for it b/c i couldn’t get over it being over (linked to my name).

    now that you’re back in the western hemisphere, have you gotten over jet-lag?  how long do you think it will take you to get back to “normalcy”.  wait, how do you define normalcy now that you’ve traveled the world?

    i guess the “nice” part is seeing and being with your friends and family again.  but, what are we BHs, SBRs, etc to do???  oh the agony of thinking about not being able to get all excited to check your blog for new entries…

    Posted by stephanie  on  02/28  at  12:31 PM


  • Erik:  So many of us have travelled vicariously through you for so long that we too have that melancholy feeling…........what can I say but thanks for the memories!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:58 PM


  • The look on your face says it all.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  01:08 PM


  • the look on your face is the same look i have every morning commuting to work. =P

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  01:31 PM


  • Oh, this entry is making me sad :(  I can’t believe it is almost over.

    Posted by Liz  on  02/28  at  02:19 PM


  • Don’t worry guys.  I have a bunch of crap for Erik to do for me now!  ha ha ha…

    but yeah, nothing exciting to read about….

    what to do after TGT2? just do it yourself! (or do the TGT1 and put those paid days off to work)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  02:36 PM


  • dood…nice pic..and its sooo perfect!

    If you only had a bathrobe on and a queen size bed…that wouldve been an awesome homage to Lost In Translation.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  02:49 PM


  • Erik, I could go on and on about how much I’ve enjoyed this blog.  It’s really the little random things that make it great.  Here’s a few of my favorites, just off the top of my head:

    -Being in Buenos Aires and telling the tango instructor that you’ll “take the tango to Africa” and them saying, “uh, please don’t…”

    -sleeping in a Yurt

    -The chinese Colonel Sanders picture and ALL the pictures of your meals!  As a culinary student, I appreciate all the food talk.

    -Making us feel your pain when you were sick and taking poo pictures

    -The Shawl!

    -your escapades with Lara, being in carnival

    -when you talked about playing Luther Ingram for panda porn

    -when your friend at home sent you money to buy a strange girl a beer


    Thanks from travel addicts everywhere!  You have a great attitude, I think that’s the key thing.  I’m sorry I can’t make your party (too much work and school!) so I hope you’ll post pictures of it.  I hope I can meet you someday, and the fellow blog hogs too.

    OK, that’s my official sappy statement.  (Felt like I had to make one!)  I have enjoyed every post and every postcard.  I still have them all.  But we still have a week to go!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  02:49 PM


  • {This link has been broken up to accommodate the frame, so cut and paste twice wink}

    http://images.amazon.com/images/
    P/B0001I1K32.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  02:50 PM


  • Normal is all relative… where did I see that - oh, a book I just read on my 11 hr flight across the Pacific… strange.

    I’ve only been gone 6 weeks and I don’t understand LA traffic (who does, anyway), and am off to try NYC traffic instead.

    Oh, and THE DUTCH - they’re EVERYWHERE!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  05:04 AM


  • SARA:  WOW… you brought me back to things I totally forgot about… my fave from your list is:

    Being in Buenos Aires and telling the tango instructor that you’ll “take the tango to Africa” and them saying, “uh, please don’t…”

    FYI:  D503ers all get to meet the guy who got the Irish telepathic fondling…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  05:45 AM


  • Almost forgot about telepathic fondling! Good stuff, the whole trip long. This entry was a real downer. I’m depressed, fer sure. Thanks.

    As for my favorites…
    ? the food pics—that’s been great (most of the time)
    ? the injuries—hey, you gotta show us the “pain” of travel
    ? blue-footed boobies—no critter can top those!
    ? blowing up TNT in that old mine
    ? EVEREST—need I say more?
    ? that trip up the Nile and then hanging out on the Red Sea.
    ? being IN Carnivale, and the running of the bulls (almost)
    ? weilding a machete, searching for the Lost Ark & train jumping—very Indiana Jones
    ? the really great photos: the camel caravan shadow; your reflection in the salt flats; most of the Egypt pics; that great Great Wall pic, winding off into the distance…so many more.
    ? and my 5, that’s right 5 postcards from the road.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  09:33 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.


Next entry:
The Day That Never Happened

Previous entry:
Cops And Comparisons




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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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.
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