Pee On The Trees


This blog entry about the events of Saturday, November 01, 2003 was originally posted on November 02, 2003.

DAY 14:  After breakfast, I updated The Blog at the German computer nerd’s internet cafe around the corner.  Outside, all the stores were closed for Sunday and even in GringoLand it looked like a ghost town.  Arne said it reminded him of the movie 28 Days Later.

In hopes of finding people out and about, Arne and I walked to the Parque El Ejido, on the south end of Avenida Rio Amazonas, home of the weekly Sunday markets.  On the way there, a woman approached me and asked for directions in really fast Spanish.

I’ve discovered that 80% of blending in as a local is to just pretend to understand what they are saying — even if it’s all in one ear and out the other like a telemarker’s pitch.  I stood there for a moment pretending to think I knew where she was referring to and simply entertained her with a “Yo no se.”

THE MARKETS AT PARQUE EL EJIDO were similar to those at Otavalo, only not nearly as big.  Vendors sold the usual things:  clothes, crafts and cheesy souvenirs one can buy for friends back home so they can unethusiastically say “Oh, thanks” before putting them on their office desks to collect dust for years until they rediscover it’s there when they get fired or laid off.  On the outskirts of the market, local artists and painters displayed their works, including contemporary and surrealist ones. 

“You know why there are no people sitting under the trees?” Arne asked me.  I looked around and sure enough, no one was leaning under a tree reading a book, mediating or making out.  “It’s because people pee on the trees.”

This I believed immediately because a couple of days before I had been in the park and see it myself.  In fact, on our way back down Amazonas, we saw a random guy just peeing on the sidewalk.

We walked to the other end of Amazonas to the Parque La Carolina, a much bigger park full of Ecuadoreans.  I realized that’s where everyone went.

Inside the park was a man-made lagoon (picture above) filled with paddle boats.  The lagoon was a great addition to the park, but it was all fun and games until someone’s dog fell in and couldn’t get out — which was all fun and games until that person’s other dog fell in to save the first dog and couldn’t get out.  The two dogs doggie-paddled for their lives until a human chain was formed to drag them out.

I got a foot-long hot dog with the works and a Coke for only a buck and ate it on the bleachers that overlooked a big skatepark, where a troupe of BMX bikers were putting on a show by jumping over willing participants laying on the ground.  Then Arne and I just leisurely walked the entire length of the park, passed many fields for multiple simultaneous game of soccer

Still, no one was sitting under a tree.

BLANCA MADE A DELICIOUS SPAGHETTI for us when we arrived back home.  As usual, Cometa was snooping around near the table, looking for scraps.  Arne and I really lucked out with Blanca and her homecooking because I had heard stories of other host families that only served rice and beans everyday.  Navid told me that his first night with his host family, the father simply came home from work with a bucket of KFC.

After dinner, Arne and I went to Zocalo, the trendy bar in Gringoland with the fancy drinks.  We sat near a roaring fireplace — it was a bit nippy outside — and discussed over a couple of rounds our plans for the future in life and in travel.  We made tentative plans to meet in Rio and Berlin and toasted with a ”¡Salud!”

On the way back home, we noticed Navid at a computer at and dropped in for a visit.  Just as every night I ran into Navid at an internet cafe, I had walked in on an informal session of internet sex he was having with a girl in the States via Yahoo! Messenger.  Each night I’d arrive, he’d write “Oh, Erik is here now,” but this time I decided to intervene for a bit:

Girl: ...i am thinking of you (naked!)
Me:  this is erik
Me:  put your clothes back on
Girl:  seriously?
Navid: seriously…Erik and friend are here
Navid: they just read that
Girl:  hello Erik…I am enjoying your blog
Me: thanks
Me: get a room you two

Arne and I walked back home to leave Navid go about his cyberstud ways.

Keep the comments coming guys!  Save all your compliments from Instant Messenger and post them here!

Next entry: Mallrats

Previous entry: Erik Vs. The Volcano

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Comments for “Pee On The Trees”

  • Congrats on your first week as an expat. I’ve been catching up on your blogs & I’m impressed that you can keep up with it so deligently. I just returned from a month in South-East Asia that included Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore & Cambodia & I’ve only managed to write the initial blog of the trip that started at an internet cafe in NyC. Keep up your blogs !!! It’s a great excape for many of us that are stuck back in the states in between cubicles. To the GlobalTrip “Salud!”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  06:18 PM

  • Sim:  thanks!  the blog is my sole purpose of the trip; it makes me do at least one interesting thing per day, plus its great writing practice…

    spread the word of the blog around!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  08:03 PM

  • Okay, I’m totally impressed with the VOLUME you’ve been writting. I just caught up, please see my previous notes. You’re a hoot. This is great stuff. Tomorrow’s my first day back at PH in 2-weeks. By the end of the day, I promise many more folks will have bookmarked the BLOG. It’s already my homepage. I feel like I need to take some Spanish lessons now, after butchering Italian these last couple of weeks, it would be a total disaster. Keep up the writing and the pics. Oh, and that hat… didn’t Kojak have one too?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  08:06 PM

  • Christy:  thanks for being such an active commenter…  that more comments than the two old muppets in the balcony!  keep em up…  it’s what i like to see!  fwd away!

    (this goes for the rest of you too!)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  08:16 PM

  • go navid!  you are a world-wide cyber pimp!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  08:52 PM

  • So how do you get your photos onto the web. Did you find an internet cafe that will let you hook up your camera?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  09:07 PM

  • Erik, I must say how impressed I am! The quality and quantity of your posts have been impeccable!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  09:55 PM

  • hi eric,
    you probably recognize me by face, i also went to rutgers newark, anyways glad u visiting ecuador, my parents are from there, anyways i was in quito a couple of months ago try to visit some of the museums in el centro,  there is wax museum somewhere near the presidential palace, also visit all the churches there, they are beautiful.  You’d probably done so, but just giving u some suggestions, the parks that youve gone are nice dont really know of any others althought there are small one the city.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  11:09 PM

  • go Navid….go Navid…..go Navid!! Keep up the good work with the blog!! I wanna get that surrealist painting of the naked woman!! Perfect for my living room.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/03  at  12:49 PM

  • bawahah. i like how the second dog tried to save the first one. just to let you know, you can’t sit under the trees in flushing meadow park either.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/03  at  12:54 PM

  • Couldn’t you have just saved the time and trouble of this trip by going to Epcot?  They have a kick-ass “World Pavillion” which I’m sure is the same as the real thing.

    Posted by matto  on  11/03  at  03:26 PM

  • does Navid practice safe cybersex?  stop cyber cockblocking.  haha, this is good stuff!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/03  at  06:41 PM

  • Thanks for the comments, people!

    KYLE:  it depends on the cybercafe…some let you hook it up, some don’t…sometimes they only have one computer with a USB port, and its not always available…but so far there have been enough internet cafes in Quito for me to choose from that its not a problem…  that might not be the case when I leave here, so I’m actually thinking of buying an adapter which lets you use Memory Sticks in a 3.5” floppy drive…

    EDWIN:  are you edwin from BnA, or allan’s friend?  anyway, glad to see you’re all caught up…  as you probably figured, most of your questions were answered in subsequent entries…  thanks for the suggestions and spread the word!

    NAVID:  look at that, you have fans already!

    MATTO:  shhh… i AM at EPCOT…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/03  at  07:18 PM

  • hey eric
    am allan’s friend. ............el jardin, is a very nice mall, check the other ones that are near by if you havent so…...........tell, me have there been any riots….........they call it Paros or buyas or something, it occurs if the price of something goes up…......anyways if all of a sudden u begin to smell a sort of gas smell which gradually increases as your eyes begin to tear, run…..........your near a paro…........just college students throwning rocks and stuff a t cops….... smoke a cigarete, it will neutralize the smell…...............

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/03  at  10:35 PM

  • peeing anywhere in public is fun….and it’s global of course….i love peeing on the street….no free MATRIX tixx….boo hoo…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/04  at  01:11 AM

  • if you go paddle boating, don’t drop your camera in the water…like i did in the dirty canals of amsterdam—arg!

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/04  at  03:00 AM

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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.

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