Postcards From A Weirdo


This blog entry about the events of Thursday, November 27, 2003 was originally posted on November 29, 2003.

DAY 40: For my fourth and final scuba dive, I went underwater around Enderby Rock, a popular dive site off the coast of Isla Floreana.  It was a very good ending to my series of dives; I saw two Galapagos sharks, a huge school of baracudas, puffers, and sea turtles — all swimming around a beautiful coral reef grown over lava rocks.

BACK DURING THE DAYS OF WHALING, sailors in these parts set up a “post office” on Floreana Island in which they would mail letters and packages to their loved ones back home.  There wasn’t exactly a postal service or FedEx at the time, so what they did was just pick up the mail of letters addressed to places near their destinations.  For example, if a sailor from London found a letter addressed to a street in London or a nearby town, he’d pick it up and hand-deliver it whenever he got back home.  The system was slow but effective, and with a personal touch.  Publishers’ Clearing House would have hated it. 

The tradition of the personal delivery service is still in use today, only the sailors’ letters have been replaced with tourists’ postcards.  I dropped off my first round of postcards (to those of you who e-mailed your addresses to me) when we landed at the site, appropriately named “Post Office Bay.”  On most of my cards I wrote something to the effect of “I hope the guy hand-delivering this to you isn’t a total weirdo.”  Only time will tell.

We sorted through the piles of cardstock, most of which were addressed to countries in Europe.  A majority of that stack was addressed to people in Denmark, which gave Birgit a fairly big load to lug with her.

As far as the American stack, most were addressed to people in California — giving Navid a fair share to deliver.  I was designated to take the mere four cards addressed to the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area, which I plan to deliver when I can, or face a bad curse according to Tatjiana.  So, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson of Westport, CT; Mrs. Connie Marince of Trenton, NJ; Amy & Joe Red Delicious of Greenwood Lake, NY; and Jeff Benney of Whippany, NJ…if you’re out there, you can expect a weirdo (me) knocking on your door with outdated postcards sometime in 2005 (or until my money runs out, whichever comes first.)  I suppose with that kind of delivery time frame, that puts me on the bottom of the parcel delivery hierarchy, just after Mr. McFeely from Mister Rogers Neighborhood. 

FROM POST OFFICE BAY, we continued down the path to a huge, dark lava tunnel — which always gets me excited because I get to wear my headlamp and pretend I’m a miner.  We crawled under an overhang in the rock and entered the pitch-black darkness and walked to a dead end where, out of all the things Mauricio could suggest to do, we did a group photo.  In a regular circumstance, the “tour group photo” session is quite an ordeal — the guide who takes all the cameras has to sit there and figure out how to use each one, and a typical conversation goes something like this:

Guide:  Did it take?
Tourist:  No.
Guide:  Did it take?
Tourist:  No, I didn’t see the flash.
Guide:  Now?
Tourist:  No.
Guide:  Did it take?
Tourist:  Gimme that thing.

Tour group photos are a particularly longer ordeal to do this completely in the dark with a flashlight. 

“This is taking so long. I think my postcard is in Holland already,” Maartin joked.

After the photo session, Tatjiana suggested to the group that everyone turn off their lights and just sit in the dark for a minute.  What this was suppose to achieve I don’t know — all it did was make us lose focus on an object and make us feel like we were swaying back and forth like we were on the boat again.  I thought it might be funny to, in the middle of the darkness, lay a nice loud fart to spawn a series of immature fifth grader jokes — Whoever smelt it, dealt it is my personal fave — but I had nothing saved up in my reserves.

ALONG THE TRAIL OF FLOREANA, Tatjiana took us to one of her favorite overlooks in all of the archipelago, with a view of the massive salty lagoon where pink flamingos fished for food with their heads submerged in the water.  At the beach, Mauricio was on the lookout for a stingray sighting near the shore, and eventually found one near us under cover of sand.  After my jellyfish incident, I wasn’t really for another stinger attack, so I just chased red ghost crabs along the sand until they hid in their dug out holes.  I saw one taking a dead snake home for dinner.

THE LAST SNORKEL SESSION OF THE TRIP was at Devil’s Crown, yet another piece of geology named after Earth’s number one bad boy.  Devil’s Crown is a collapsed crater in the middle of the ocean, a popular site for harmless shark sightings.  I was on the look for them, hoping I could get a photo of one like James did the day before when one circled around him, but the only excitement I got was when Sean, in a sea kayak from above, yanked my snorkel around by surprise and scared the hell out of me.  (In retrospect, it was pretty funny.)

THE FREE ENTERPRISE SAILED THROUGH THE AFTERNOON along the open ocean back to Puerto Ayora.  We killed time watching bootlegs of Tomb Raider 2 and S.W.A.T. as the boat rocked back and forth, harder than I had felt before.  I actually fell out of my chair and onto the floor, after of which the chair fell on top of me as I rolled away.  Perhaps it was because Manuel was manning the wheel for a while with thoughts of chicas rubias.

As we eased into harbor, I talked with Tatjiana on the portside deck.  I was originally planning to ask her out to dinner in town, but dinner was already scheduled on the ship before disembarkation.  Instead, I tried to get her to come out dancing at night and see where it would lead from there, but she wasn’t too interested.  She was tired and just wanted to go home and sleep in her own bed for a change.  “I am going to work back on the ship at six in the morning,” she informed me.

While I went off to dinner with the tour group, Tatjiana got a ride back to harbor in a dingy.  She never gave me or anyone else a formal goodbye, not even a wave back to the boat.  Perhaps to her I was just another random client in a long line of clients that come and go.  I knew I should have inflated my scrotum for the added attention!  Oh well. 

NO MATTER, I WAS BACK IN TOWN with new friends and what better place to bring friends than the “Los Amigos” hostel where I had stayed the week before.  Rosa and her daughter Veronica were still there with lots of empty rooms for us.  James got a private room, Sean and Sonya got a couple’s room, and I shared a room with Birgit.

“Look at that, it’s Erik,” Gwen said in her Scottish accent.  She and Steve were still at the hostel, in almost the same state I left them — around the common table with box Chilean wine and their guitar. 

“Has it been six days already?” she asked.  “Seems like you just left the other day.”  I felt like I had been gone a month.

We all went down to Limon y Cafe, the bar/club everyone in town seemed to convene at, especially when a lot of ships are in town for the night.  Jorge and Gustavo welcomed me back with handshakes, smiles and most importantly, beers.  The other members of the Free Enterprise were there as well, including Mauricio and Ty (still in his same outfit without shoes), to dance and drink the night away.  We grabbed a long table in the back and reminisced like old naval buddies coming back from battle.

I still had my battle scar from the Portuguese Man of War.

Next entry: I Love Boobies

Previous entry: The Bird Slut

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Comments for “Postcards From A Weirdo”

  • wow! awesome! &, news from other parts: On Todays’ date:

    On Dec. 1, 1959, representatives of 12 countries, including the United States, signed a treaty in Washington setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from military activity.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  12:32 PM

  • wow, that postal thing is pretty cool. i don’t think i gave you my address though, did i? =( i guess i’ll have to make another round of postcards then. i wouldn’t mind a nice postcard from europe or asia….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  01:03 PM

  • Oh well, another day another booby (I mean tourist). She’ll be thinking about you now that you’re gone. So Thanksgiving was a wash, where will you be on Christmas? New Years?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  04:59 PM

  • CHRISTY:  xmas, new years?  i haven’t a clue… any suggestions out there?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  09:30 PM

  • How about New Year’s in Rio? I remember for the millenium they went whole-hog. Besides everyone knows those folks really know how to party! Can you say ‘carnivale’?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  09:44 PM

  • CHRISTY:  I already have plans to go to rio for carnivale in february…  somewhere else perhaps?  on the west coast?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  09:48 PM

  • I also think the postal thing is cool too.  smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/01  at  03:38 PM

  • How about taking Tango lessons and dancing the night away in Santiago, Chile for New Years?

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

  • I’ve heard that the islands off Venezuala are cool - and I imagine that just being in the Caribbean makes them a different breed - could be fun… I’ll be in Nicaragua - come hang with me! smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/02  at  08:56 PM

  • CHRISTY:  santiago is a possibility… right now it looks like it’ll be santiago, la paz, or good ol’ cusco…  I’ll check the south american explorers office in lima and see if they have suggestions…i’ll also take a dump there…

    NOELLE:  when will you be in Central Am?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/02  at  10:01 PM

  • i love the post office bay! that’s great!!! i wanna go there.

    you should have picked up ALL the mail…you’re traveling the world…why not do some deliveringl along the way! haha:)

    i think i know jeff benney from whippany….okay, maybe not, but he prob lives a short 10 mins from randolph.

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/07  at  12:43 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.

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Next entry:
I Love Boobies

Previous entry:
The Bird Slut


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