Movin’ Right Along


This blog entry about the events of Thursday, November 06, 2003 was originally posted on November 07, 2003.

DAY 19:  I had my last breakfast with Blanca in the morning, which was a good and bad thing.  A good thing in that I was getting fresh food and a lot of it served to me on a ceramic platter with no effort on my behalf.  A bad thing because — just as every morning I’d been living there — it was way too much food for me so early in the morning and I almost had to force myself to eat the whole thing.  My stomach simply can’t handle a huge plate of fruit three inches tall plus an egg and bread and juice and a cafe con leche.  I think for once I would have actually preferred just having some McGriddles.

Before Blanca went off to work, I said my goodbyes.  She told me where to leave the keys and wished me a good trip and luck in my writing.  She was always proud of the fact that a writer was living in her house; it was her dream for Gabi to become a writer until she enrolled in hotel management.  So as a souvenir, I gave her an autographed photocopy of my published story.  And she couldn’t have been any happier.  (Well, she never had McGriddles in the morning, so maybe she could have.)

I did some web design work for clients in Boston and Portland, and uploaded it at the German computer nerd’s internet cafe.  I cleaned my room and packed my bags and walked back to school to say my goodbyes.  I noticed there were bags all packed and ready to travel in Navid’s classroom, and thought maybe he’d leave Quito with me after his class.  He told me they were actually Mike’s (My Spouse in Air Quotes), who was planning to go to Baños for the weekend and that he might go with me.  But Mike was busy somewhere flirting with some girl in some cafe somewhere.

A Japanese guy walked in, all disheveled and pissed off from being stuck in traffic.  I figured he was a student there for quite some time because he was pretty fluent in Spanish.  However, he spoke Spanish in a Japanese accent with the inflections of an angry samurai.  It was like watching a kung-fu movie dubbed in Spanish.

I waited for Mike to show up while playing cards with school directors Carmen and Fernando, and this crazy Japanese woman who was always there just hanging out.  We were really getting into a game of Cuarenta, getting loud and rambunctious when the Japanese Samurai Guy came storming in.  “ESTA ES UNA ESCUELA! NO ES UN LUGAR POR JUEGAR LAS CARTAS!”  His nostrils flared up like a Sumo wrestler who had just been told to go on a diet.

We all apologized but then secretly made fun of him as we continued to play cards quietly.

It was getting late and the daily afternoon rain was coming and I didn’t want to wait for Mike any longer.  I figured perhaps traveling by myself on a bus would be more secure than tagging along with an obvious gringo anyway.  I hopped in a cab and went off to the bus station to find a bus for Baños.  The taxi dropped me off on the street near the station, but I managed to get lost trying to find the entrance.  I was trapped in some maintenance area until I asked a guy how to get inside.  He permitted me to go through his office into the main lobby as long as I bought a ticket from his company, but I was lured by another one that was just about to leave.  I left the two to argue in the hallway as I hopped on the bus bound for Baños.

NAVID NOR MIKE WEREN’T AROUND to accompany me, but my old friend La Gripe came back for the ride.  The combination of bus fumes and the rain really got me sick and I just sat on the bus for four hours all feverish.  It’s an awful thing when you have La Gripe; you just hate everything, from the bumpy ride, to the annoying teenagers who are sitting near you, to the ultra-cheesy Spanish love ballads they play over and over and over.  And you thought elevator music was bad.  Despite all the previous warnings I had gotten that a tourist should never fall sleep on a bus, I just passed out anyway, holding my bag.  I knew I blended in anyway because the teenagers tried to strike up a conversation with me like I was one of them.

The nap did wonders because it helped pass the four hour ride and made me feel a little better.  I was dropped off in the commercial district where the streets were lit up and everyone was out and about.  I checked into the first hostel I ran into and got a nice big room with cable TV and a private bathroom with hot water, for just seven bucks. 

In less than ten minutes of wandering down the block looking for a place to eat, I saw Hugo, the crazy Dutch guy from my school back in Quito.  He was sitting outside of a pizzeria with his friend Alberto, just drinking beers.  “Ey, Hugo!”  He pulled up a chair for me.

We had dinner and drinks as we caught up on our latest adventures.  Alberto was funny because he had dropped out of Spanish school, and was always at a loss for words.  Whenever he couldn’t think of the word to use, he’d just saying “shitting” or “fucking” while using air quotes, or just say “Choco Loco.”  For example:

Me: “What’s around here to see?”

Alberto (in a Dutch accent): “There’s…uh…‘fucking’ things to do.  Choco Loco, Choco Loco!”

We sat and people watched, waving a hello to all the pretty chicas.  However, it wasn’t all pretty chicas.  “It’s so typical Dutch,” Hugo said.  He noticed that about every five minutes a Dutch person would walk by.  “I hate it.  I didn’t come to South America to see Dutch people.”  But sure enough, he’d see another one walk by. 

As the night progressed, fewer and fewer people roamed the streets and all the stores closed.  The two of them were staying at a family run hostel of which the owner also owned a bar around the corner.  We chilled out there for the rest of the night as four teenagers danced to the 50 Cent album in the back.  The owner tried to hook us up with some girls, but they didn’t seem interested and just left. 

Hugo and Alberto went off to another bar, but I just went back to my hostel to rest up because I was still a little grippy.  On TV, I switched between a cheesy softcore and Sesame Street until I fell asleep.

Next entry: Hot Bath

Previous entry: Ecuadorean Jedi

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Comments for “Movin' Right Along”

  • Erik! I haven’t gotten an email yet!! okay my friend, if this fixation on your poop continues I’ll be sick myself….if you are still sick it’s time for the Cipromycin…Immodium doesn’t cure, it just stops everything up and lets it fester longer…trust me on this….don’t take it unless you absolutely need it to get from point a to point b…take cipro 2x a day for 3-4 days and you should see a difference….. anyway…despite the travelers tummy, i’m jealous as hell…but i’ve plenty of my own drama here in the hostel…omigod…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  04:05 PM

  • Hey Mr. E..Ria is right, take care of your tummy, else I may have to change your name to Mr. P! It has been great travelling with you voraciously in cyber space. (May lots of thrilling adventures await you—The great guru dusty speaks)—influenced largely by PC and Ant’s recent blogs.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  05:24 PM

  • that’s funny, in spain they had sesame street on before AND after the porn.. they also had this wierd disney movie about tiny people living in walls .. and the porn wasn’t softcore.. definitely cheesy, but not softcore..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  06:15 PM

  • damn that 50 cent guy…here’s everywhere…and seasame street porn is better…grover and maria getting it on at the fix it shop, while luis is watching gabby….oh yes…i said it….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  07:58 PM

  • RIA, DUSTY:  Tummy all better now… In retrospect, I’m thinking it was the food from my host family…  but I’m back on cheap backpacker dives and I’m fine now…  Thanks for your concern!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  08:19 PM

  • I thought La gripe and “Travellers tummy” were two different types of sickness?

    I’m sure you probably know this by now.  But I did some digging and Ba?os is known for their hot springs so you should check that out.  They recommend going to the springs outside of town, less people and great views.  And the best known of the therapeutic hot baths is the Piscina de La Virgin, which is next to a waterfall.
    There’s also the Salasaca indian market, horseback riding on the foothills of the volcano, and the forests of the Amazon Basin.
    If I were with you I’d do all of that.  smile


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  08:22 PM

  • RINA:  hahaha.  you must be reading the Lonely Planet book…everyone here has it and knows the same exact info…  It’s almost an ongoing joke… I’ll tell someone “oh i heard there’s this…” and someone will say, “oh, you read that in the lonely planet too, huh?”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  08:33 PM

  • I think it’s funny when Europeans swear! This Sweddish guy at work throughs F-Booms into sentances like its going out of style!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/07  at  10:10 PM

  • la gripe really likes you. i hope that was its last visit.

    how far is banos from quito? 

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/08  at  05:58 PM

  • ELAINE:  Ba?os is a four hour ride south from Quito…seems a lot longer when you’re sick…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/08  at  09:17 PM

  • Hey Erik!
    Just caught up on some entries.  I’m loving it sooo far!  you are missing nothing in NY.  everyone just got excited and ran to the window cause apparently there were snipers on top the GM building.  We don’t know who the imporant person in town is…maybe Britney or P. Diddy??!!

    Question:  What kind of laptap do you have? I am getting one and yours seems to be kick ass and portable, obviously.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/10  at  04:51 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 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,, 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:
Hot Bath

Previous entry:
Ecuadorean Jedi


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