My Big Fake Gay Wedding


This blog entry about the events of Tuesday, October 28, 2003 was originally posted on October 29, 2003.

DAY 10:  In South America, I’ve noticed that most of the hot showers are electric.  A pipe runs to a shower head which is connected to two electric wires, which run a power switch.  As water enters the shower head, it heats it before it comes down.

The problem I’ve found with this is, when a fuse blows in the house, like it did in the morning, the water immediately gets freezing cold right when you have shampoo all in your hair.  I blamed my iBook in the bedroom, which had been plugged in and rendering a video file for a New York client for the past two days.

If it’s not one thing with clients, it’s another.

After breakfast, Ani and I went to class like two German and Filipino-American half brothers leaving our Ecuadorean mother.  I sat down with my tutor Rosa at our table for our usual lesson.  I brought out my notebook to show her my homework, and all of a sudden she started crying.  Jesus, was my grammar that bad?

Apparently something in her personal life as intruding on class time.

“Que paso?” I asked.

She whimpered, “Nada…nada…la pasada…”

I didn’t know what to do, so I just behaved as usual.  We eventually reverted back to normal class stuff, which was good for her because it got her mind off of other things.  Three pages of verb conjugation has that sort of affect on people I guess. 

I met my German brother Ani after class and we walked downtown to the house of South American Explorers, a long-standing, reputable non-profit organization founded in Ithaca, NY (of all places), which aims to provide practical and informational advice to visitors of South America.  Ani and I went there because the Lonely Planet book said they had walking tours every Wednesday and we wanted to join up.  We found the house (picture above) and I immediately recognized it from a Globe Trekker episode on PBS.

It’s the off season (aka rainy season) in Quito, so there weren’t many members around to set up a tour.  However, I ran into Judy, my one-night roommate on my second night in Quito, who had joined in Ithaca before heading south.  She was just hanging out and looking up stuff.

THERE WAS AN AMERICAN GUY there looking into membership, and the director of the place, an American gringa named Mary Ann, started giving us her spiel on the benefits of membership.

“Basically, we’ve been around for 25 years, as a resource to those traveling to South America.  South America always gets a bad reputation from the media, and we aim to change that.  Did you know that the United States and France labeled Ecuador as their number one most dangerous country to go to?  In spite of that, you came down here anyway to see it.  The only way people will know that South America is a beautiful place is by you guys going back and telling people.  However, there are a lot of tour companies out to rip foreigners off, and we want to let you know what people have been saying about places before you do business with them.  We give you that facts and you decide.  We want you to have a good time here, so you can tell people back home.  We’ve also got offices in Lima and Cuzco.”

“Wow,” I said after her long-winded speech.  “The US and France actually agreed on something.”

ALL OF THE VALUABLE RESOURCES provided come at a price:  a $50 annual membership fee.  “There’s a list here of reputable tour companies that give discounts to South American Explorer members.  Most of them are 10% off.  A $400 trip to the Galapagos, and you already get forty bucks back,” Mary Anne pitched.

I was intrigued, as was The American Guy.  Ani was skeptical because he wouldn’t have any use for them after Quito as he was headed northbound. 

“It’s fifty bucks per individual,” she said.  “But if two or three join up, it’ll be $40 each.”

Janet the Latina office secretary started getting the paperwork ready.  “For forty dollares, you will sign up as a couple,” she said.  The American Guy and I looked at each other.

“So I guess we’re getting married then, huh?” I said.

“Yeah. Sure.”

“What’s your name?” I asked.  It was the least I should know in a pretend marriage. 


“I’m Erik.”

We shook hands and were hitched.  On a backpacker budget, you’ll do anything for a discount.

MY NEW HUSBAND/WIFE/LIFE PARTNER (take your pick and say it with air quotes) had just arrived in Quito the night before and was staying in the Old City.  Originally from Long Island, he had lived and worked in New York and California and Miami, until he quit his job and flew to Quito for a long-term trip all around Latin America. 

Janet gave us the tour of the multi-level clubhouse, including the lounge with a fireplace, the library, the kitchen and the map room.  I got many excursion ideas, including a river trek through the Amazon rainforest from Coca, Ecuador to Iquitos, Peru.  Ani, although he didn’t join, went around the house with us, and managed to peek at the medical volunteer listings.

Ani went home to take a nap, so Mike and I went walking around, despite the slight drizzle.  Mike only knew the Old City, so I played tour guide for his first time into GringoLand.  For lunch, I turned him onto the little restaurant that none of the gringos went to.  The food, although as good as it was before, didn’t bode well with my quesy stomach, and I ran off to the bathroom.  But there was no toilet paper so I just had to concentrate all my energy and make my ass do a reverse swallow.

The two of us went looking at the recommended tour companies with weekend excursions — rafting, mountain biking, kayaking — and discovered that membership really does have its privileges.  Afterwards, we just wandered around aimlessly.  We went looking for a movie theater that the Lonely Planet book had mentioned, but it didn’t exist anymore.  (FYI:  So far that makes four errors in the Lonely Planet book.)

During our stroll, I discovered my new fake spouse was quite the catch.  He was an All American Pretty Boy-type, about 6’0”.  If I had to compare him to a famous person, I’d say a cross between Carson Daly and Ray Liotta, but not really.  Well, he was no Don Knotts.  He was getting cat calls from ladies on the street, giggling and yelling, “Hey Guapo!”  At one point, two girls showed their pace down to hear our conversation and I noticed one pushing the other to just approach him and say “Hello.”  They were too shy and just giggled away.

I left my husband/wife/life partner in air quotes in GringoLand and went home for dinner.  Dinner conversation with Gabi, Blanca and Ani was quiet, until I starting about las malas palabras (bad words).  That spawned some interesting Spanish conversation.

Dinner was good, but still reacted as a laxative and I ran to the bathroom again — this time without my camera.

Next entry: The Secret of My Success

Previous entry: When You’re Sliding Into First and You Feel Something Burst, Diarrhea…Diarrhea…

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Comments for “My Big Fake Gay Wedding”

  • marriage…ummm….need i say more…FISH….PESCADO….no LOL for me on this one…but still good…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  03:05 AM

  • That’s it! I cannot sit here and armchair travel anymore!

    Erik, you’ve made South America my next next destination (I’m booked for Asia in April).

    BTW… the new term you coined yesterday is GREAT! Rest asure, I will employ “air quotes” whenever I use it!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  03:34 AM

  • pescado… yo man 24 was hot last night..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  05:04 AM

  • hahaha…congratulations! jen did say you would come back married… i guess she was right. where will your first discounted excursion be?? is that the honeymoon? ha!

    your german brother is pretty cute…

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  10:46 AM

  • Yesterday “ass vomit” today ass doing a “reverse swallow.”  Put some tissues in your pocket in case of emergency.  What if you couldn’t swallow it back?  That could have been the casue of a divorce, and you don’t want that, do you? =)

    Take a pic of your husband/wife/life partner in air quotes.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  11:26 AM

  • congratulations!

    where are you guys registered?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  12:44 PM

  • damn, i thought u were gonna propose to me.  now i guess i have to marry lance.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  04:10 PM

  • Where are the wedding pics!? Hey, if things don’t work out between the two of you send him my way! ; )

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  05:37 PM

  • Td0t:  wow, all that enthusiasm and I haven’t even left Quito yet!  spread the word of my blog on the BnA forums…  let’s try to get more readership!

    jenn:  my “spouse” is traveling for at least six months before working his way up Central America and Mexico…you’re just gonna have to use that timeshare down here sometime soon

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  07:34 PM

  • NAVID and/or MIKE (or anyone else in Quito):  interested in a two day mountain biking trip at Cotopaxi this weekend?  i’m registered at the Biking Dutchman on Mera and Foch…i need 3 more people for them to go…  if you’re down, register for the 2-day cotopaxi trip at the office…you’ll see my name on the list…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  07:43 PM

  • i forgot to mention about 24?! did u hear about it yet? and i hope you guys make it as a couple, it’s so hard these days to find the right man! wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/29  at  09:22 PM

  • that’s wierd, i had a shower mishap today too.. nobody told me they were shutting the water down in my building at 10 when i happened to be in the last stage of my shower.. my suitemate had to hand me cups of water from the still working faucet to rinse myself off…
    glad you’re having fun despite the diarrhea..
    oohhh and i told my friend tom about you and your blog and he says you’re his hero.. i told him i felt the same =D

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/30  at  12:14 AM

  • Hey, what happened to day 11!?! This is what I look forward to when I come into work… now I actually have to do some work.. boo hoo…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/30  at  04:38 PM

  • hey…just wanted to say hi…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/17  at  05:45 PM

  • Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.

    Posted by Hughes Patrick  on  01/20  at  07:58 AM

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    Posted by Play Cash Bingo Online  on  01/27  at  05:40 PM

  • WOW, Bingo this time. you are really getting spammed good.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  05:55 PM

  • yo this page has a couple spammers, you may want to delete them when u get a chance…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  06:06 PM

  • Erik might not be able to do anything about since bootsnall hosts the blog.  There are easy ways (if you know what you are doing) to fix this… can you ban IPs with your login Erik?  That would be a start, but you really need to get bootsnall to employ one or a combination of these fixes:

    * Upgrade their MT installation to v2.661
    * Use the MT-Blacklist plugin
    * Employ a comment waiting script to confuse the spam bots (it wouldn’t really affect everyone else)
    * There are also other, more intensive fixes as well…

    While we are on the subject, what version of MT is bootsnall on Erik?  If it’s pre v2.64, they also need to make sure they patch their mt-send-entry.cgi file or remove it completely.  If not, it’s open to spammers using it to route emails.

    Posted by Tony  on  01/27  at  07:03 PM

  • TONY:  BnA is on MT 2.63…  They DO have a spam-block list with HUNDREDS of IPs blocked… unfortunately, as random X-Wing fighter once said, “There…are…too… many of them!”

    Austin Powers says, “NERDALERT!”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/27  at  10:23 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:
The Secret of My Success

Previous entry:
When You’re Sliding Into First and You Feel Something Burst, Diarrhea…Diarrhea…


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)

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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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