Erik Gets Shot In Colombia

Erik gets shot point-blank in the stomach by a .38 caliber handgun while wearing a fashionable bulletproof leather jacket designed by Miguel Caballero, the “Armani of Bulletproof Apparel.” Miguel Caballero himself conducts the demonstration at his headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia. (This video corresponds to travel dispatch, “I Got Shot In Colombia And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt,” from December 2007.)

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Rendezvous In Bogota

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour"
Posted December 28, 2007

DAYS 28-32 (PART 1): This trip has been dubbed “The Central American Eviction Tour,” but there really should be a starburst icon next to it saying, “NOW WITH JAUNT TO BOGOTA, COLOMBIA!” for that’s where my travels took me next.  Originally I was to rendezvous with my Colombian-born friend/co-worker Monica, as she had planned to bring her new daughter Valentina home for the holidays so that her father, who couldn’t be there for the birth in the New York, could bask in the glory of grandfatherhood.  We had been planning a Christmas rendezvous since the summer, and it was all set — I even booked my ticket before her.  However, at the last minute, Monica regretfully backed out for financial reasons (but not without extending her family’s hospitality, which would come in time).

“That’s typical Monica,” her friend Claudia said in a later conversation.  Monica’s college friend spoke of other examples of this predicament happening, like the time Monica had invited all her Colombian friends to come to New York — only to have to go away the week everyone planned to visit.

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Classic Colombia

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour"
Posted January 04, 2008

DAYS 28-32 (PART 2):  The Colombian capital city of Bogota is like two cities in one: the classic, colonial area to the south, and the modern, commercial and residential area to the north.  It was in the former that Steph and I had decided to base ourselves, to do the tourist sightseeing thing before crashing at Monica’s brother’s apartment in the residential north to see what “real” Bogota life is like, outside of the tourism bubble.

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New Friends In The New Bogota

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour"
Posted January 06, 2008

DAYS 28-32 (PART 3):  Every Bogotan (or is it Bogotian?) that Steph and I knew had wondered why we had chosen to stay in the grimier neighborhood of La Candelaria for our initial stay in the Colombian capital.  They didn’t know that it’s because it’s where most of the Lonely Planet guidebook-toting tourists were led to by “the book,” as its authors chose it as a place to be for its museums and colonial architecture.  But just like you, the reader, seldomly going to touristy neighborhoods wherever you live, you wouldn’t really see the appeal. 

“Most of the people live in the north,” Monica had told me, explaining how the northern part of town was the modernized residential and commericial area, the real heart and soul of the city — that was even perhaps a bit safer.  (It was evident immediately on our first time driving through, when Steph and I marveled at families walking out on the streets at night.)  The north was where her family and friends lived, and most people of the college-educated class, including Camillo, the Colombian animation producer from Vancouver that Steph had befriended on the flight from Houston.

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One Crazy Night

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour"
Posted January 07, 2008

DAYS 28-32 (PART 4):  Ask any Bogotan for a recommendation of where to go, and there’s no doubt that the phrase, “Andrés Carne de Res” will be mentioned with lots of encouragment and enthusiasm.  “What is it?” I asked Monica once.

“I can’t really describe it,” she told me.  “It’s an experience.” 

Once I had gotten there, I knew exactly what she meant. 

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I Got Shot In Colombia And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour"
Posted January 10, 2008

DAYS 28-32 (PART 5): I’d once used my press credentials to land an interview with the Maharaja of Jaipur, India, and this time, in Bogota, Colombia, they would come in handy again as I set forth to interview Miguel Caballero, a successful Colombian businessman whose eponymous clothing company has been featured in The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Wired, CNN, BBC, The Discovery Channel, and (where I discovered him), the travel show Globe Trekker.  Why he receives so much attention from the press is obvious; he has made a name for himself around the world as the premier fashion designer of bulletproof clothing, so much that BusinessWeek has hailed him as “The Armani of Bulletproof Apparel.”

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Christmas In Colombia

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour"
Posted January 15, 2008

DAYS 33-34:  I was going to title this entry “Christmas in Bogota,” just like I had titled my 2003 Christmas entry, “Christmas in Cusco” (Peru), but with my affinity for alliterations, I’ve chosen “Christmas in Colombia,” because it has a nice ring to it.  Besides, I didn’t have Christmas in the city of Bogota anyway, but in its suburbs (the name of the town escapes me) where, at Monica’s relatives’ house, I spent the holidays with my Colombian hosts’ extended family.

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Ocean’s Three

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour"
Posted January 16, 2008

DAY 35: I had one day left in Bogota between Christmas Day and my departure date for Panama, and it was slated to be a day to catch up, repack, and recompose myself from a week of settling down in one place — all before getting back on the road again, like Willie Nelson.  That morning, instead of watching the TNT Latin America continuous loop of Spiderman 2 and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (both dubbed in Spanish), I set off to run errands with Victor Hugo.  He brought me to a laundromat for me to get my clothes cleaned, and after lunch with his parents, I was off to two malls with Hugo and Gloria — the first of which I went to a barber and got a much-needed haircut

Other than the moment I watched a couple of guys try to play Guitar Hero III on a demonstration XBox 360 (they sucked), the mall, as always, was a sort of generic experience like anywhere in the world (not that I minded).  However, this time it would soon involve a small caper.

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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,,, 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.

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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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