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5 Best Places to Go Heli-skiing

Furthermore from Equinox, March 2017

A round-up of the best places to find powder via helicopter. (Furthermore from Equinox, March 2017)

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ENTRIES FROM THE GLOBAL TRIP BLOG CHRONICLES

A Day Without Steven Slater

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 17, 2010

DAY 1:“The flight’s been canceled,” said the distraught voice on the other end of my cell phone, as I stood in line to board a flight at JFK International Airport in New York.

“What?! What happened?” I asked.

“There’s a plane malfunction.” 

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Chilly, Chili, Chile

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 19, 2010

DAY 2:  “Oh, it’s a little cold here,” Emily said, only wearing a sweater and a scarf when we went out for dinner in the evening around 10:45, merely an hour after she had finally arrived at the hostel (after being in transit for close to 40 hours).  She had been sitting down for so long on the plane that all she wanted to do was go out and walk.

“It’s chilly in Chile,” I said with a smirk, acknowledging the pun.

“That was pretty bad,” said Jay, our welcomed third wheel of the night that we met at the hostel.

“That’s actually my Facebook status right now,” I said.  “That I traveled all the way to Santiago to confirm that pun.”

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Chilean Graffiti

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 20, 2010

DAY 3:  “Take a picture of that one,” Emily requested as we strolled along a side street on a bright, sunny day in Santiago. 

“I got it,” I replied, snapping a picture with my Cybershot TX-5, which we agreed was the better of our two point-and-shoots.

She was referring to a rundown corner building with graffiti on it that she found interesting — one of many interesting works of street art we found as we spent the first part of the day seeing things in the Chilean capital that she’d missed since she arrived a day late.  Little did we know at the time that the street art in Santiago was pale in comparison to what we’d see later in Valparaíso. 

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Speaking Spanish By The Seashore

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 22, 2010

DAY 4:  After breakfast, Emily intended to ask Enrique, our host, how we could take the bus from Valparaíso to the resorty beach town of Viña del Mar (just a few miles north along the coast) to the best of her non-Spanish-speaking ability.  However, the only thing that came out was, “Uh… autobus?

I interjected and asked with the best of my I-only-know-the-present-tense-of-verbs Spanish, what was the best way to get to there.

“[The metro is the best way,]” Enrique told us in Spanish, giving me his electronic rechargable Metro card.  “[Here, take my card.  It’s one thousand pesos per person.  One thousand for you, one thousand for you.  Put two thousand on the card and then swipe in, then pass the card to her.  It’s the best way.  Just give me the card when you’re done.]”  I translated to Emily.

Vamos!Emily announced.  “[You] like that?”  We smiled.

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Adopted Families

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 22, 2010

DAY 5:  “[When you go to Mendoza, go to this restaurant called ‘Petrona,’]” said this American college kid who had been studying abroad in Mendoza, Argentina.  Emily and I had met him as he was on vacation with his Minnesotan mother and sister at the empanada place in Viña del Mar.  “[Look for a bearded guy named Mathias and tell him you met a guy named Robert.  They sort of adopted me as their son.  They’ll be excited that you met me.]”  Robert gave us an address and I said we’d look his adopted father up when we journeyed into a bonus country on this “Chill Out in Chile” travel blog: Argentina.

Not that it is a completely different country; without political borders, regions are regions, and Mendoza, Argentina isn’t too far from Santiago — Chile is a thin country after all.  Emily had intended to go eastbound through Mendoza to meet her friend Ina and eventually work their way to Buenos Aires for New Year’s — while I headed south to Patagonia — but we had such a great rapport that me going with her to Mendoza for a quick jaunt into Argentina only made sense. 

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25 South

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 24, 2010

DAY 7:  “Excuse me, are you going to Puerto Natales by any chance?” I asked the lone gringo waiting by the curb at the small airport in Punta Arenas, Chile, around dusk. I reckoned he spoke English with his baseball cap and The North Face bag.

“Yeah,” he spoke in his American accent.  We were both seemingly stranded, with the look of hopeful uncertainty in our eyes, wondering if there was in fact a bus to Puerto Natales, about three hours northwest of Puntas Arenas airport (the only major airport in the southern Patagonia region on the Chilean side).  So far, all the taxi touts were asking us if we needed a ride into the city of Punta Arenas twenty minutes away, trying to psyche us into thinking we had missed the last bus to the other town.

“No gracias,” the new voice said in a semi-American-accented Spanish.

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Die Hard With A Christmas

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 29, 2010

DAY 8 (CHRISTMAS EVE):  “I’m Chris,” said a young, blonde outdoorsy North American guy at Base Camp, a combination tour office, information center, camping equipment rental store, and recycling center in Puerto Natales.  “I’m the expedition guide here on the Base Camp side.”  We were in the building next to Erratic Rock, the popular American-run hostel I’d moved to, across the street from the Plaza O’Higgins.  Chris was leading the daily three o’clock information session for anyone in town wanting to learn about trekking in Torres del Paine National Park, which many believe conveys the quintessential southern Patagonian experience in a short period of time. 

In the room with me were five Americans (including my new friend John), three Germans, one British guy, one Argentinian, one Indian, one Romanian guy (with a French passport), and about a dozen post-army-service Israelis who were planning to trek in the mountains of Patagonia instead of going out for Chinese food and a movie on Christmas.

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I’m Dreaming Of A Grey Christmas

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted December 30, 2010

DAY 9 (CHRISTMAS DAY):  It’s funny how most of the Christian world embraces the snowy image of Christmas, regardless of the fact that that many Christians live in a tropical climate zone or in the southern hemisphere where it’s summer in December, and that Jesus Christ was born in the desert.  In Santiago, I saw many images of Santa Claus and snowmen in the pedestrian malls, all on a 70°F day.  Fortunately for Chile, there exists a region of ice and snow within the country — part of the second largest continuous ice sheet in the world (after Antarctica) — and I was determined to get there by day’s end for a truly unique “white Christmas.” 

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Eat What You Like

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 03, 2011

DAY 10:  Everyone in camp was still asleep when I awoke around eight in the morning, which gave me a moment to myself.  I walked down to the overlook of the Grey Glacier to admire it, alone with my camera, as a gentle Patagonian breeze passed through.  This is nothing like I’ve ever seen before, I thought to myself.

And then, across the sky, near a break in the overcasting clouds, a grand rainbow appeared — a glacial rainbow all the way — which not only thrilled me, but inspired me to make a parodic home video.

What does this mean?

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127 Minutes

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 03, 2011

DAY 11:  “Where’s Felix?” I asked the missing German’s other half, Simone. 

“I don’t know,” she answered with a bit of worry in her eyes.

“FELIX!!!” the others called, looking for him in the Valle Frances, nestled in between the Cerro Paine Grande and the peaks famously known as Los Cuernos (The Horns).  A small search team went out up and down the trail; we didn’t know if he was ahead or behind us after he had strayed off the trail to go rock scrambling towards a waterfall.

“[If he’s gone,] here’s his last picture,” Florin said to Simone, showing her a photo off his DSLR. 

She chuckled with optimism.  “[Felix trekking in Torres del Paine.]”

“No,” the wisecracking Romanian said.  “He will be anonymous.”

We trekked on, hoping the German attorney from Stuttgart would turn up soon.  We looked behind us down the French Valley, and asked trekkers coming from the opposite way if they’d seen him.  The problem was, he was sort of hard to find, being in camouflage.

“Have you seen a German wearing all tan?”

“No.”

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The Fellowship Of The W

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 04, 2011

DAY 12:  “Shit, there’s a hole in my sleeping bag,” John said, waking up in our tent with literal cold feet that morning.  “Well,” he said, clearing his mouth of morning grogginess, “that’s what duct tape is for.” 

Not only did he tape his sleeping bag closed, but the plastic trash bag we kept stuff in, to waterproof our things within our backpacks.  He was truly a Mountain Man out there in Patagonia to rough it — a Mountain Man without a shower I may add.  Perhaps his stench was what denied him a hot breakfast from the mess hall in the refugio, even though he got there within breakfast hours.

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It’s Always Sunny In Patagonia

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 05, 2011

DAYS 13-14:  When the European explorers “discovered” three distinct rock formations in southern Patagonia in the late 19th-century, they were first known as “Cleopatra’s Needles.”  The trio of rocks were so admirable, they inspired others to come down to gaze upon them, and over a century later, I had come to make the pilgrimmage myself.  Over that century-plus period of time, the “needles” were renamed “Torres del Paine” — torres meaning “towers,” and paine meaning “blue” in the indigenous Indian language — and the park that surrounded them was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  The designation of being “blue” was due to the fact that in certain weather and lighting conditions, the towers do in fact have a blue hue.  However, they would change different colors depending on how the sun hit them — the most dramatic color shift at sunrise.

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New Year’s On Easter (Island)

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 05, 2011

DAY 15 (NEW YEAR’S EVE): On the lonely day before Christmas Eve, I wondered if I would meet anyone to have a Feliz Navidad with, but I had totally lucked out in gradually assembling a motley crew with non-Die Hard-related John McClain.  When I woke up alone in Santiago on that December 31st, 2010, I again wondered if I would meet anyone for the next red-letter day, someone to kiss and ring in the New Year with. 

“Looks like the plane is full,” I said to the striking blonde sitting next to me on LAN Chile Flight 841, bound for airport designation “IPC.”  I had noticed her by the gate in Santiago’s airport; she stood out from the crowd of what appeared to be mostly American, British, French, and Chilean family groups, plus one big middle-aged/senior tour group from high-priced luxury outfitter Lindblad Expeditions.

“I thought no one would be here,” she answered me.  Both of us had wondered what type of people would fly to IPC on the morning of New Year’s Eve.  With the ice broken, we hit it off in a conversation for the upcoming flight across the Pacific to Isla de Pascua — translated in English as “Easter Island” — as I sat comfortably in Seat 32L. (“L” is for “Lucky.”)

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From Head To Wed

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 07, 2011

DAY 16 (NEW YEAR’S DAY): The first day of the year is always a time to let go of the past and make resolutions that, let’s face it, usually go by the wayside by the end of January.  It is also a time of renewal and new beginnings, and for some of us on Rapa Nui, there would be an exchanging of vows by day’s end.

“Alright, permiso to rock,” Renee requested as we made way to Rano Raraku near the other end of Rapa Nui from Hanga Roa.  I had met my “harem” early that morning at Kaimana Inn for our first day of the car rental share that bound us together, although already bonded from New Year’s celebrations (and the social lubricant of alcohol), we hardly needed a contract to keep our group intact.  The girls had packed up the SUV with parasols and beers — as well as Pattey’s bag of tricks — and soon we bid farewell to the Rapa Nui family who ran Kaimana, plus the little shy girl next door.

“Easter Island, twenty eleven baby… woo!” Leigh-Anne proclaimed as we started the first adventure of the new year.

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Early to Head, Early to Rise

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 07, 2011

DAY 17 (PART 1):  “It’s like we’re in a vortex or something,” Leigh-Anne said at 8:30am, without referring to the odd time-warping things that happen on Lost (which I never really followed).  She was referring to the fact that both of our iPhone 4’s alarm clocks mysteriously didn’t go off at 5:30am as planned, even though they were set and hadn’t failed us before.  (Later we learned that it was due to a 2011 bug on Apple’s popular smartphone, and that there were many others in the world annoyed about the major wake-up malfunction.)

Our reasoning for getting up at 5:30 was like most reasons to get up at stupid o’clock: to see the sunrise.  We all had planned to get up before dawn, drive over to Ahu Tongariki, site of the fifteen moai, just in time to see the famous stone sculptures backlit by a dramatic sky.  I had woken around 4am when I heard a downpour, but went back to bed, confident I’d be awaken again in an hour and a half so that we could assess the situation — but it was Apple’s fault that I got an additional hour of unwanted shut-eye.  (Goddamnit, Steve Jobs.)

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Just Another “Easter” Sunday

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 07, 2011

DAY 17 (PART 2):  “I’m amazed that this place hasn’t exploded with all of us here,” said newlywed Pattey, as we sat on the steps of Iglesia Hanga Roa, the island’s Catholic church that Sunday morning.  Traveling with a lesbian couple shunned by archaic doctrine, one might not think we’d end up in such a place, but Pattey was keen on seeing what it was like from an anthropological perspective — a throwback to her Irish roots.  Besides, Kati had mentioned to me that the guidebook recommended Sunday mass for its scene, with all its lively singing.  Anyway, there was nowhere else to go because pretty much all of Hanga Roa was there at church, including all the tourists around it seemed — if not, they could hear it all on the loudspeaker throughout town.  Perhaps attendance was high because the chisel-chested beefcake local surfer stud that all the girls swooned over was there, helping his grandmother.

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It’s Not A Lonely Planet

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: Chill Out In Chile"
Posted January 08, 2011

DAYS 18-19:  Fifteen moai.  Six travelers.  One stone platform.  Take two.

“Our sheik is leaving us,” Pattey told the rest of the girls in my “harem.”  It was true, it was my last day on Rapa Nui, but I still had all morning to wrap up loose ends, the main one being a photography session of the sunrise at Ahu Tongariki with them, since the plan had been botched the morning before.  The colors of the sky were different this time when the sun rose just above the ahu, with more blues peering from behind the clouds — not that it didn’t make for another spectacular show.  And if there wasn’t a good show, Pattey was prepared to make it one, this time bringing glow sticks from her bag of tricks.

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ABOUT ERIK R. TRINIDAD

When he’s not making a living as an interactive/motion designer or playing with fast food, Erik R. Trinidad is a travel writer, blogger, video host and producer focusing on adventure and culinary content. His work has been featured on National Geographic Intelligent Travel, Adventure.com, Discovery.com, Saveur, Condé Nast Traveler, and Hyenas Laughed at Me and Now I Know Why, which also includes the work of Tim Cahill, Doug Lansky, Jennifer Leo and Rolf Potts. He has also referenced his travel experiences in his solo book, Fancy Fast Food: Ironic Recipes with No Bun Intended.

For over ten years, Erik has traveled to the seven continents of the world — from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo — with a curiosity for exotic foods and a thirst for adventure (and writing material).  In his travels, he has been mugged at knifepoint in Cape Town, extorted by corrupt Russian police on the Trans-Siberian Railway, stranded in tornadic storms in the American midwest, and air-lifted off the Everest Trail by a helicopter that was thankfully paid for by his travel insurance.  But it hasn’t been all fun; he has also donned a tuxedo amidst the penguins of Antarctica, paraded with Carnival-winning samba school Beija Flor in Rio, run for his life at Pamplona’s “Running of the Bulls,” cage-dived with great white sharks, gotten shot point-blank in the stomach in Colombia (while wearing a bulletproof jacket), and above all, encountered many people around the world, including some Peruvian musicians in Cuzco who learned and played “Y.M.C.A.” at his request. He loves the irony that, after everywhere he’s been, he has never been to Mexico.

Erik writes stories and news articles when he’s at his base camp in New York City, and continues his blog when he is on the road — provided he’s not occupied tracking down lost luggage.

Additional news/article clippings at ErikTrinidad.com.



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Read about Erik in this feature article from Filipinas magazine by National Geographic Traveler Associate Editor Amy Alipio.



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