Disbanded Until The Bay

This blog entry about the events of Sunday, December 02, 2007 was originally posted on December 05, 2007.

DAY 13:  When I started this trip the day before Thanksgiving, I anticipated traveling solo, not knowing exactly if that seemingly random person I’d been chatting with on-line would actually meet up with me.  SBR Camilla did actually appear, and we got along fine, and so I had been traveling with her for twelve days since that afternoon we met at the basketball court on Caye Caulker in Belize.  Together, we traveled for a few days until we encountered “the Berkeleys” Jim and Tilu, who were also worthy companions to travel with, all the way from Tikal and down through the jungle to Antigua, Guatemala. 

But like all good things, it would all come to an end.

OUR LAST DAY IN ANTIGUA was a casual one, a day of decompression and catching up.  Camilla used the second day of her two-day vacation extension to do a little shopping, find a box to carry all her extra souvenirs in, and attempt to find a bank that would exchange her leftover Belizean dollars — all whilst avoiding the continuing flirtations by volcano guide Glen, who was still lurking around for her.  I spent my time in our room — now decorated with a Christmas stocking on the door by our hotel manager (picture above) — and out in the courtyard catching up on this blog with my laptop.  (It is hard work after all, and I didn’t want to fall more behind than I’d already become.)

Since all work and no play make Erik a dull boy, Camilla and I did go out and stroll around town — it was a nice sunny day after all, and I wanted to take advantage of it since reports from my friends at home told me of cold weather and snow.  We went to the British backpacker supply store, checked out a couple of churches, and sat out with beers and bagels in quaint sidewalk cafes, people watching and discussing life and travel like modern day characters of Hemingway’s Lost Generation.

Jim and Tilu had left Antigua two days prior for a weekend trip to the markets of Chichi, but told us they’d be eventually be back in the Guatemalan travelers’ hub for Tilu’s birthday before we all went our separate ways.  In the late afternoon, Camilla and I were strolling by the Parque Central, looking to appease a nacho craving, wondering if we’d ever see the Berkeleys again.


“Well speak of the devil…”

As if on cue, the Berkeley couple appeared at the next street corner.  We caught up on our latest adventures, our day trips and theirs, and it was nice to see some familiar faces.  “Is it your birthday today?” I asked Tilu to confirm.

“It’s my birthday.”

“Happy birthday!”  I gave her a hug.

“We’ll have to go out for drinks later,” Camilla suggested. 

“Do you want a coffee drink, or a drink drink?” Jim asked.

“A drink drink,” I answered. 

After a snack of mediocre nachos, followed by a mediocre Guatemalan mushroom and cheese fondue that didn’t stay completely melted.  (It was no Swiss fondue.)  Camilla and I went out with Jim and the Birthday Girl to one of the few places in town open after nine o’clock on a weeknight, the restaurant/bar El Sabor del Tiempo, a rustic place that played modern lounge music.  Over drink drinks, we talked about our time together, and our future travel plans, and in the end, we closed the bar out at the relatively early time of about ten.  Walking back to our hotel, we were one of the few people out and about, just like we had been in Flores.

The Berkeleys had a room across the the courtyard from our room at the same hotel, and so we said our goodbyes there — they would be up at stupid o’clock for a flight to Honduras.  “Thanks for everything,” Jim said, shaking my hand.

“Come to the Bay Area,” Tilu invited me.

“Soon,” I told her.  “I have too many people in the Bay Area that I haven’t visited yet.” 

“Well now you have two more,” she told me.  “Come and I will make you a good Indian meal.”

“I’ll be there sooner than later then,” I said with a smile.

THE NEXT MORNING I said my goodbyes to the third new person I have in the Bay area, Camilla.  First, we had a final breakfast back at the fancyish Cafe Condessa, all over one last Lost Generation rap session on topics such as travel, careers, relationships, general motivation (and the lack thereof), and other things that people go through in the drama of the so-called “third life crisis.”  Moreover, we talked about the inexplicable weirdness of being in the limbo of independent travelers stuck in a backpacker’s world we increasingly become alienated from as we get older. 

“This is sad if we’re depressed while on a vacation,” she said — although perhaps she was more sad that it was coming to an end.

“Maybe I should just die young,” I told her, smirking — it was my recurring line of our Lost Generation conversations.

WE WERE HAPPY TO DISCOVER that our final farewell would not be right after breakfast, for the minivan that would take Camilla to the airport was the same one that would bring me to the bus station afterwards in Guatemala City.  We hopped in yet another minivan promptly at nine, only to be driven around for forty minutes picking up other passengers.  Perhaps it was the family of three from Tennessee that detained us the most, when the bellhops of their fancy hotel had to strap their five big suitcases (for a ten-day trip) to the roof of the van.

The constant delays, including the morning traffic of Guatemala City, didn’t help the increasing urge to pee in my bladder, and in Camilla’s as well.  Once we pulled up to the curb of the airport unloading area, I rushed off to a baño while Camilla watched my bag.  I came back and returned the favor — only the driver was about to pull away without giving Camilla her luggage off the roof rack.

“Esperas,” I told him to wait.  “Mi amiga no es aqui.”

“[We can’t wait, it’s already eleven,]” the hectic driver said in Spanish.  “[We have to go!]”

I kept the door open to stall, playing a confused tourist.

“[We can’t wait!]”

“[But my friend is not here.  Her suitcase…]”

Finally Camilla came back, just as the driver was going to close the door and speed away.  Instead he went back to the roof, untied her bag and box, and left them for her on the sidewalk.  During the minute of haste, I said my abrupt goodbye to Camilla who look disoriented and really confused.  “They were going to leave.  Goodbye,” I said, quickly hugging her.  I jumped back in the minivan after the most anti-climactic goodbye ever, and the van sped off into town to keep others from missing their buses, leaving Camilla alone on the curb.

Fortunately I had said a better goodbye to Camilla back at the hotel before we realized we’d be on the same shuttle to Guate.  “Well, it was nice to finally meet you,” I told her, knowing our time together was basically our introduction, the first time we’d actually met in person. 

“I know!” she said, hugging me back.

Characters of “The Trinidad Show” may come and go, but they are always with me in the back of my mind, especially since they are immortalized on this on-going epic of a travel blog.  My goodbye to Camilla wasn’t so much a farewell, but more like a see-you-later since I knew I’d be in the Bay Area one day soon, especially since I had a good Indian meal waiting for me.

Next entry: Logos

Previous entry: A Three-Hour Tour

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Comments for “Disbanded Until The Bay”

  • GREETINGS FROM LA LIBERTAD, EL SALVADOR…  I’m only in town for a few moments since I’m not based here, but in a secluded surf camp 6 mi. down the road—perhaps a bit too secluded with not much communication.  At least there’s electricity.

    ELISA:  I’m be surfed out soon, so I’ll go call your cousin…  So sad you couldn’t meet me here!

    Posted by Erik TGT  on  12/05  at  07:58 PM

  • ELISA: Erik TGT just told me to tell you to come down for the weekend if you can, so you can visit your grandmother too…

    Posted by markyt  on  12/05  at  09:13 PM

  • E - I need the correct link for “all work and no play make Erik a dull boy”

    I fixed the link to SBR…

    Posted by markyt  on  12/05  at  10:20 PM

  • When are you going to make a book of all your blogs, Erik?  I’d certainly buy it, even though ive already read them all.  It’d be a helluvabigbook though.

    This blog feels like the 16 month one a lot, really loving it.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/06  at  09:54 AM

  • “drink” drinks are the best

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/06  at  02:35 PM

  • Eric, I hope things are going well.  I am glad that you did not mention that i had to borrow $100 bucks from you.  By the way my atm card worked just fine in Honduras.  Back at work today.  Tilu told me that the name of the restaurant in Monte Verde is called “Sophias neuvo latino cusine”.  Make sure you have a mojito or 2 before dinner.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/06  at  05:53 PM

  • JP is a piece of work. I really do wish I could be with you two - I sure do miss mi aubela too.

    I can’t come for the weekend - I am going to Guangzhou next week! yay for me!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/06  at  05:59 PM

  • MARKYT:  The link is in Indonesia.

    IAIN:  Thanks for the kudos… yes, like I said, this trip is ¨back to basics¨.  I´ve actually printed out my big 16-month blog… at 6 pt type, its about 2 reems of paper, thicker than a dictionary. 

    BERKELEYS:  Glad you’re home safe.  And that your card works too.  Hope to see you soon!

    ELISA:  Aw that’s too bad.  Oh well, maybe I’ll meet you back in China next year for the Olympics… my friend Sam (Moscow entries) is already booked to go.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/06  at  06:43 PM

  • I’m on the outside now!  And this comment officially breaks my SBR status.  Needless to say, I am having a bit of an identity crisis.  Maybe I need a dose of the Berkeleys this weekend smile!

    Erik, thanks for stalling the shuttle driver… he growled, “Ay, chica” at me when he had to get my bags off the roof.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/06  at  08:20 PM

  • 6 pt font? Ow - my eyes hurt just thinking about it.
    I cannot wait to get back to SE Asia… only 4 months to go… oh wait - that is depressing.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/07  at  04:01 PM

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This blog post is one of thirty-nine travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour* (*with jaunt to Colombia)," which chronicled a six-week journey through Central America, with a jaunt to Bogota, Colombia.

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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.

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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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