ENTRIES FROM THE GLOBAL TRIP BLOG CHRONICLES

One Writes in Bangkok

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 14, 2004

DAY 355:  “Won’t you be relieved when you get home and you don’t have to move on anymore?” Liz asked me the morning I left Tokyo as we walked to the train platform.

“I can’t wait ‘til I don’t have to write anymore.”

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One Night in Dhaka

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted October 14, 2004

DAY 356:  “I need to get to Kathmandu as soon as possible,” I asked at multiple travel agencies in Bangkok.  The answer I got:  “Not ‘til Monday.”  (It was Saturday.)

“Is there anyway you get me there sooner?” I pleaded.  I sounded like a desperate contestant on The Amazing Race who was in last place — but one travel agent, Ms. Kook at Nancy Travel, had an option for me.  “There is a flight.  Bangkok, Dhaka, Kathmandu,” she told me.  “But it’s stand-by.” 

“Let’s go.”  I even paid the extra twenty bucks to get me off the waiting list and guarantee me a seat in a higher class.  Ms. Kook simultaneously worked multiple telephones and a fax machine like an overworked secretary, but made it happen.  By three in the afternoon, I had tickets for a flight that evening at eight for Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the airline would put me up in a hotel for the night (included in the price of the ticket), before taking me to Kathmandu the next day.  I’d get to Kathmandu a whole day earlier than if I waited for the Monday flight.

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All Roads Lead To Bangkok

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 22, 2004

DAY 397 (42 days since last Thailand entry):  In India, I had a somewhat unique experience unlike the average backpacking Brit on “gap year” between high school and “uni,” what with my “press credentialsopening doors for me, and my invitations to stay with modern Indian families instead of backpacker haunts.  However, it was inevitable for me to put on my hiking boots and get back on the Backpacker Trail since I was headed back to southeast Asia.  When you’re on the budget travel circuit in southeast Asia, all roads inevitably lead to Bangkok, a place that one t-shirt I saw proudly proclaimed is the “mecca of backpackers.”

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Thai By Night

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 22, 2004

DAY 398:  From what I’ve gathered, it seems that what the Thai hotel and restaurant managers do to keep out Thai touts and Thai whores away from their legitimate Westerner-catering establishments is to assume that all Thai people off the street are unfavorable.  A big sign at the front desk of the Sawasdee House where I was staying read:

NO Thai people permitted in the hotels rooms.

“That’s a bit harsh,” Paul commented.

Every time I went up to my room I anticipated getting stopped and questioned of my nationality, but fortunately it never happened.

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Mallkings

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 23, 2004

DAY 399:  “I hate it when [travelers] say you can’t get a real [Thai] experience in a big city,” I said to Paul as we rode in a souped-up air-conditioned taxi across town.  “What, like fake Thai people live here?” 

Paul agreed with me and said that there’s nothing out there that says a little village can’t evolve into something bigger.

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Moderation

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 24, 2004

DAY 400:  Paul and I met in the Sawasdee House’s trendy-looking ground floor restaurant that morning, the same way we did every morning in Bangkok thus far.  It had become our Central Perk (from Friends), our Monk’s Cafe (from Seinfeld).  He nursed his bottle of water while I sipped on a Thai iced coffee.  Cold coffee, for Paul, wasn’t a concept he could grasp — but to each his own taste.

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So An Englishman, A Scotsman and An American Don’t Walk Into A Bar…

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 26, 2004

DAY 401:  “Sometimes I have to stop and think of what you’re saying,” Paul told me as we walked Ratchadamnoen Road, a main thoroughfare in Bangkok with elephant-shaped shrubs, archways that honored the king, and the United Nations building.  I had used the word “block” (as in “down the…” and “New Kids On The…”) and Paul had to think about what I was saying; he told me the British used “street” or “road” instead, and gave directions in a town or city not in “blocks” but in meters.

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Kicking Ass

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 27, 2004

DAY 402:  Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, is a free-for-all martial art invented in the 15th century by the Siamese military as a way to keep the troops fit in hand-to-hand combat.  Nowadays the style of fighting is seen in stadiums, movies and even in fighter video games.  With punches, kicks, grabs, holds — anything but headbutting — it is boxing meets karate meets wrestling.  When the bell rings in Muay Thai, you can literally kick your opponent’s ass.

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Giving Thanks

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 27, 2004

DAY 403:  Thanksgiving Day.  The American holiday that celebrates the first harvest produced by the first European settlers (who wore big funny hats so big they needed belt buckles of their own) with the help of the indigenous people (wearing big funny hats with lots of feathers).  Today the holiday often skips over the part in American history when the European settlers murdered off the indigenous people almost to the point of extinction, and goes right up to the point in history when big inflated balloons parade down New York’s Broadway.  This is followed by the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, a gathering of family and friends over a meal, usually with a turkey, whose meat is often so sleep-inducing, most people pass out before the Sears Family Movie gets underway on TV that night.

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Sunshine On A Rainy Day

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 30, 2004

DAY 404:  The overnight express from Bangkok to Chiang Mai continued on its way through the northern Thai countryside when I woke up that morning.  It was a casual morning of reading, writing and eating the breakfast served to me by the train attendants, one of which was a cross-dressing “ladyboy,” a common personality-type in the Kingdom of Thailand.  The morning was just like any other morning I’d had in recent history but with one difference:  for the first time in about two months, it was raining.

Rain, as I usually say to people who see it as a hindrance to their day’s plans, is “just water” and I knew that even with precipitation falling from the sky, I could find a little figurative sunshine.

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Recipes

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted November 30, 2004

DAY 405:  I grew up with a love of cooking.  I remember using a Sesame Street cookbook and making banana bread one day that pleased the family and since then I’ve like to cook since, up through my young adulthood when I got my own apartment.  When I got a Showtime Rotisserie as a housewarming gift, I swear I made a whole chicken every other day; it’s so easy when you can “set it and forget it.”

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Facing Fears On The Non-Tourist Trek

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 02, 2004

DAY 406:  The standard tour that everyone seems to do out of Chiang Mai is a three-day excursion of trekking, elephant riding and rafting, offered by every tour agency, hotel and guesthouse in town.  The funny thing about this three-day tour is that most places advertise it as the “non-tourist trek” to attract the independent traveler set from doing the cardinal sing of doing something “touristy.”  Of course a tour agency offering a “non-tourist trek” is a bit of an oxymoron.

I say, doing something “touristy” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and so began Day One of the three-day trek through the jungles of northern Thailand.

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Pineapples and Four-Legged Friends

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 04, 2004

DAY 407:  I have faint but fond memories of my parents taking me to New York’s Bronx Zoo as a kid, about twenty-five years ago.  Not only was it one of America’s more decent zoological preserves where I got to pet animals in the petting zoo section, but it was the place where I had ridden an elephant my first and only time — until Day Two of my “non-tourist trek” through the jungles of northern Thailand.

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Whingeing Down The River

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 05, 2004

DAY 408:  Of the many uses of bamboo — panda food, decoration and crafts, scaffolding for Hong Kong skyscrapers — one of the most fun is raft making.  When I originally heard that Day Three of my northern Thai jungle trek would be spent mostly in a raft, I imagined it being the inflatable rubber kind.  I was mistaken when I saw the bamboo rafts at the river on the edge of the village, which Boon and Sawit prepped up that morning by adding on extra bamboo to support our group’s weight.

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Chiang Mai In The News

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 05, 2004

DAY 409:  Everyone in my little Chiang Mai clique decided to “take a day off” to rest and recuperate in the city after being in the jungle for three days.  Despite the beautiful weather outside, I spent most of the day indoors at the desk in my room writing and sorting out photos, all while listening to my eclectic music collection:  the Linkin Park Live in Texas CD, Stevie Wonder’s greatest hits and an assortment of MP3s like the underground hip-hop classic, Akinyele’s “Put It In Your Mouth.”

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The Occidental Tourist

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 05, 2004

DAY 410:  In independent travel culture, some would argue that booking any sort of a tour is a cardinal sin (right next to eating at McDonald’s), as it is counter-productive to experiencing the real reality of a foreign culture.  Lot, Claire, Hans and I were interested in seeing the Karen hill tribes of the north, near the Thai/Myanmar/Lao border, known for its long-necked women with bronze rings around their collars.  We explored the different options of seeing them independently but in the end, the most cost-effective way to see them was just to book the standard one-day tour with an agency, which not only included the hill tribes but all the tourist traps on the way to break up what would otherwise be a boring four-hour drive.

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The Power of Geography

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 06, 2004

DAY 411:  My family has a history of geography contests.  When I was in the seventh grade, I was chosen to represent my middle school in the statewide Geography Bee, proudly run by New York Knick-turned New Jersey senator Bill Bradley.  I made it to the semi-finals, a written test with a bubble sheet answer form, but didn’t advance because, from what I suspect, I used a No. 3 pencil instead of the required No. 2.  Either that, or my Power of Geography simply ran out of steam.

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M.M.B.B. (the Many Meetings Back in Bangkok)

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 23, 2004

DAY 429 (18 days since last Thailand entry):  It kind of feels like I’m going to my second home, I thought as I flew over Cambodia on my way back to Bangkok.  It was to be my third landing in Thailand’s capital city, one of the region’s major transportation hubs.  As I stated once before, on the independent travel circuit in southeast Asia, “all roads lead to Bangkok.”

Each previous experience was different.  The first time I simply caught up on writing during a one-day layover en route to Kathmandu.  On my second time, I did the “backpacker thing” of beers and banana pancakes with Manchester backpacker Paul.  This third time would bring another kind of experience, one I was really looking forward to.  As the saying goes, “The third time’s the charm.”

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Excess Baggage

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted December 23, 2004

DAY 430:  To the uninformed, the Philippines may seem like “just another southeast Asian country,” with people that look like the people of other nearby countries.  This is a complete falsity, of course.  As my Let’s Go guidebook perfectly puts it, “the Philippines has been permanently thrown out of sync with the rest of Southeast Asia.”  The Pacific archipelago nation has a history unlike any of the others around, as it was a former Spanish colony eventually sold to the United States.  Catholicism is the dominant religion, not Buddhism, and traditionally, no one uses chopsticks.  Let’s Go continues: 

Described as a hodgepodge of “Malay, Madrid, and Madison Avenue,” Filipino culture fosters a range of ethnicities, languages, and lifestyles among which natives have found unity and an unparalleled love for life.  Their willingness to drop everything for a basketball game or a cockfighting match reflects the national philosophy of bahala na, roughly translated as “whatever will be, will be.”  At the heart of the Filipino tradition is a strong sense of community; Filipinos can’t bear doing things by themselves and, above all, value family, friendliness, and personal loyalty.  This cheerful attitude, along with convenient transportation, numerous English speakers, and inexpensive locales, makes the Philippines a budget traveler’s paradise.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Welcome to the Philippines.

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Blog and Reality

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted January 26, 2005

DAY 461 (31 days since last Thailand entry):  This here weBlog has become and integral part of my trip — more so than I originally thought.  Maintaining it not only has given me a sense of purpose in my wanderings of the world (and given my brother an unneeded second job), it has raised funds and connected me to many people that I never knew before.  (In fact, most of the commenters in recent months I’ve never met; you SBRs out there shouldn’t be afraid to “be a stranger” and break the silence.)

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Same Same But Different

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted January 26, 2005

DAY 462:  There is a phrase on t-shirts that many of the backpackers in southeast Asia wear:  “Same same but different.”  It is a phrase often uttered by tour agents and touts when trying to get a foreigner’s business.  “Same same” as in “we’re just as good as the next guy;” “but different” as in “but we’re more special.”

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Pretty Fly For A White Guy

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted January 28, 2005

DAY 463:  One of Noelle’s first impressions and observations of Bangkok — specifically in the Khaosan and Patpong districts — was that, “There are a lot of white people here.  I hardly see any Thai people.”  True, Khaosan and Patpong are the tourist areas were real Thais wouldn’t have a need to go to — in fact, the Sawasdee House where I was staying still had its sign up saying, “NO Thai people permitted in the hotels rooms.”

White people have been coming to Bangkok for centuries (not that there’s anything wrong with it) way before the song “One Night In Bangkok” became a one hit wonder.  One noteworthy white guy who came to Bangkok is one Jim Thompson, the American who came to Thailand and became famous revolutionizing the international hand-woven silk trade.

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Supergirls

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted January 28, 2005

DAY 464:  “We’re in Bangkok.  We can’t not see one,” Oklahoman Ellen said to her husband Kevin the night before at dinner.  She was of course referring to the famous sex shows of the red-lighted Patpong district, another one of Bangkok’s signature attractions even if you’re not a total perv.  That night we went to go see one and discovered it was a rather interesting and enjoyable show that involved a lot extraction of items from a particular female body part.

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The Two Backpacks

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted January 30, 2005

DAY 465:  It was advised by numerous parties to travel overland from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia with a transport service set up by a tour agency, in order to ease the transition at the border crossing.  What I did not hear until after the fact that it was probably best to go via boat, but alas, the road trip that was supposed to be twelve hours ended up being close to twenty.

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Staring Out The Window

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 08, 2005

DAY 472 (one week since last Thailand entry):  “I think that one of my favorite things is staring out the window,” I said, staring out the window of a bus from Phnom Penh to the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville.  Sihanoukville was just one stop on a long two-day overland journey back to Bangkok that we managed to do in one long 18-hour day.

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The Fifth And Final Time

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 08, 2005

DAY 473:  Twelve days before, just two minutes before my introduction of Noelle as a “character” on the Blog in Bangkok, I ran into a recurring character one last time:  Paul from Manchester, who I had met on the Everest Trail in Nepal (before my unfortunate near-fatal incident), and again, by chance, in Delhi International Airport en route back to Bangkok.  Our third encounter was also by chance, but in a way it was no real surprise. 

“All roads lead to Bangkok,” I told him.

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Volunteer Work

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 08, 2005

DAY 474:  “I’m in a Toyota pick-up truck in Thailand!” an excited Noelle said in a Toyota pick-up truck in Thailand.  We had just arrived in Krabi’s bus terminal after a two-hour bus transport from Surat Thani — the hub town where the overnight train dropped us off earlier that morning — and were now headed to Krabi Town, the popular resort town where divers, rock climbers, sea kayakers, and plain old sunbathers came in droves — that is, before the catastrophic Asian Tsunami of December 26, 2004.

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A New Homebase

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 11, 2005

DAY 475:  “This is one case that Let’s Go let me down,” Noelle said.  She had listened to my anti-Lonely Planet rants and brought over the latest Let’s Go guidebooks for Southeast Asia and Thailand, and was quite pleased with them — until she discovered that neither book had maps for Krabi Town or Ao Nang, nor did they really explain how far away they were from each other.  Contrary to our thinking, the beach of Ao Nang was miles out from our guesthouse in Krabi Town.

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The Cliffs Men

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 11, 2005

DAY 476:  “Don’t you want to get good at [rock climbing]?” Blogreader/friend Cheryl once asked me in a New Jersey rock gym a couple of months before The Global Trip 2004 began. 

“No.  If I got any good at it, it wouldn’t be funny [to write about],” was my answer.

That was then, this is now.  Sixteen months later, I really wanted to embrace rock climbing and get really into shape.  Finally, an activity that works out your abdominals in a cool-looking, adventurous way instead of the ridiculous use of an Ab-Roller.  Really, using the Ab-Roller just looks silly, like dry humping the carpet, don’t you think?

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Hit And Miss

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 12, 2005

DAY 477:  “I charred my back and need 1 day to rest it on a moto. smile” Noelle wrote on a note for me to read the day before when she arrived at our room before I did.  While I was off rock climbing, she had gone diving and sat out on the upper deck during her surface intervals for too long, and when I saw her I saw the result:  her back had cooked red like lobster.

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Superday

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 12, 2005

DAY 478:  “The worst day of diving is better than the best day of working,” was the saying silk-screened onto a t-shirt that I saw some guy wearing that morning.  We were on a boat off the coast of Ao Nang at the beginning of a three-dive day that was sure to be better than one sitting at a desk in a corporate cube farm, indeed.

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Searching For A Third Nipple

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 12, 2005

DAY 479:  Every tour office and guesthouse in the Krabi province has posters up for the “James Bond Tour,” a tour of Ao Phangnga National Park, filming location for scenes in 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun, starring Roger Moore as Agent 007.  Although I could have gone diving with Noelle, or rock climbing again, I signed up for these “James Bond Tour” in hopes of getting more interesting writing material for the Blog.  (Besides, I’d already been to the location of Octopussy).  However, as much as I thought the “James Bond Tour” would bring the region alive with tales of secret agents and the filming of actors playing them, it was a James Bond tour more shameful to Ian Fleming as the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team was to the Olympic Games of Athens 2004.

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On Tap

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted February 13, 2005

DAY 480:  Noelle had been taken in by a group of British divers that were on the ship during her two-day PADI Advanced Open Water certification course.  The night before she had gone drinking with them for happy hour at nearby Bernie’s, while I stayed in and worked, the Blogwriting nerd I am.  During happy hour, Noelle had befriended a British couple that invited her to share the cost of a private longtail boat to go snorkeling at some of the five islands off the coast of Ao Nang.  I was invited as well, to split the cost four ways instead of three, and gladly accepted.  We were to meet the British couple at The Irish Rover in the morning at eleven o’clock.

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Back To The Future

From the trip blog: "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World"
Posted 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.

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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.



See Erik talk about travel in an American Express ad:



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



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.
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