The Dating Game


This blog entry about the events of Monday, November 24, 2003 was originally posted on November 29, 2003.

DAY 37: There was a knock on the door at 5:45 in the morning.  It was Mauricio waking everyone up for an early sunrise pre-breakfast land excursion on North Seymour Island, land of frigate birds and blue-footed boobies, birds whose mere name makes little kids — and this author — snicker immaturely.

MALE FRIGATE BIRDS, known by some as “ballsack” birds, are black birds about a foot tall with a chest that looks like a big sloppy red scrotum.  This “scrotum” inflates like a balloon to entice females flying above to swoop on in for a little lovin’.

We encountered a breeding ground of a dozen or so male frigate birds, sitting on branches, all looking above for the one lucky lady who would enjoy their “pleasure.”  Sometimes only one female would fly above, and almost in unison, all the males would go crazy like a group of construction workers when a woman walks by, inflate their big red scrotum-like chests and flap their wings while making “cat calls” that sound like tapping on hollow rubber tubes.  One female came down to one male and checked him out, but then left him stag.  Talk about playing hard to get.  As an experiment, you guys out there should try inflating and waving around your scrotums in a bar and see if you can get any luckier.

BLUE-FOOTED BOOBIES (picture above), another popular bird in the Galapagos (mainly because of its name that — hee hee — makes me snicker yet again), has a different tactic in the dating game.  At the sexual mature age of five, males develop a blue color in their webbed feet, which is used to flirt with women.  They do this by doing a little dance where they show off their feet to prove that their ready to have sex, which is pretty amazing considering that when I was five, I was still trying to keep myself from wetting my pants in kindergarten. 

As an experiment, you guys out there might want to try a similar tactic with a pair of blue shoes on a night on the town.  Do a little dance and yell “Look at my feet!” over and over and see how far you get.  Most likely you’ll have to go to a foot fetish convention to get any results, after of which you should probably legally change your name and telephone number and never talk to those people again.

ALONG THE SHORE OF NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND, newborn sea lion pups were breast feeding off their sea lion moms.  We walked amongst them as they sucked away; one was going back and forth between two teets really fast like he was trying to mix two different flavors in his mouth before swallowing.  Nearby, we noticed a freshly born pup that was only about an hour old.  Pelicans swooped in and ate the mother’s placenta.

The experiments end there because this clearly should not be done in an attempt to pick up ladies.

WE BID GOODBYE TO ANDRE and an Australian couple who had finished their seven-day tour, and dropped them off at the airport on Isla Baltra.  We awaited for their replacements while lounging on the beach.

Baltra was one a United States station in World War II, where atomic bombs were tested.  Although the U.S. has gone — other than the tourists — Baltra’s beach still holds a military base for the Ecuadorean military.  There are still rumors of land mines in some areas.

With this said, there was only a small beach to tan in, which was good enough.  I went snorkeling off the shore for a bit but didn’t see much; perhaps the U.S. scared all the animals away in the area as well.  H bombs have that sort of effect on things.

Sylvain the Spanish-speaking French rastafarian brought along a hyper kite, those kits with two strings that a notch above the cheap plastic kits you get a a five and dime.  His pink sail soared in the air and he controlled the wind like a puppet master, doing spins and crazy turns. 

“Want to try?” he asked me in his soft-spoken voice.  I jumped at the opportunity and felt like a kid again, regardless of the fact that he didn’t say the phrase “blue-footed boobies.”

I took the handles and immediately the kite plummeted down into the sand like a brick.  Carolina ran out to relaunch the kite into the air.  In five seconds of my handling, it came crashing down again, this time almost hitting Carolina right in the head.

“Careful not to kill my girlfriend,” Sylvain said.

I got the hang of it after a while — it’s more or less a balancing act.  I even got to do a few spins.  “You are a champion,” Sylvain said in his peaceful voice.

James was amazed at the high-flying acrobatics and took the reins for a while.  I ran around and relaunched his crashes.

FOUR NEW PEOPLE CAME ABOARD, including Maartin and Diana, a Dutch couple.  They were so amazed with everything, and only with being in the islands for half an hour.  Birgit and I briefed them on the deck with what they could expect to see, including warnings of Portuguese Men of War.  Afterwards, I did a mid-day dive with Navid and an Australian couple.  I managed to see a big sea turtle and white-tipped shark before running out of air.

ISLA MOSQUERA IS A SMALL ISLAND off the coast of North Seymour Island.  Only about the size of a football field, it could probably fit inside Bill Gates’ living room, and that includes the ocean as well.  Isla Mosquera is more or less just a beach with ocean on both ends.  It was the resting ground of sea lion colonies, complete with male “harbormasters” that looked over their prides and charged at any incoming male that would challenge him for all the ladies — or photographers that tried to get an action photo for that matter.

Tatjiana and I took a leisurely stroll to the two sides of the island, avoiding the occasional harbormaster fight that would always end in one male running away like a loser.  I saw many sea lions, pregnant ones, young ones feeding, and of course, the cute little pupsOne particular young pup was lying in the sand, clinging onto life.

“This one is weak,” Tatjiana said.  “He’s going to die.”

It was a sad thought, but that was nature’s way.  Nature made up for it because we stumbled upon a newborn, perhaps just an hour old, still fresh with blood.  The new pup was struggling to find one of his mother’s four teets, and we tried to coach him yelling directions. 

AFTERWARDS, TATJIANA AND I PLAYED CUARENTA on the ship until our nightly briefing.  She started feeling a little sick after dinner and just went to bed.  I watched a bootleg DVD of Die Another Day with the others until the tracking messed up before it was over, making it unwatchable.  I think that maybe 007 won in the end and probably got the girl — all without dancing with blue shoes or inflating his scrotum — but like I said, the tracking was messed up so I can’t be for sure if he did or not.

Next entry: The Land of Land Iguanas

Previous entry: The War With Portugal

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Comments for “The Dating Game”

  • Could wake up everyday to that sunrise, it was beautiful!!!!!  Loved the lesson on mating, next time i’m out and I see a guy inflating his “scrotum” or dancing around in blue shoes, i’ll know exactly what he’s up too. (lol!!)  And i’ll stay away just like the birds did!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/29  at  02:24 PM

  • i see another book in the making for you: The Global Trip’s Guide to Picking Up Chicks. i want an autographed copy when it comes out. =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/29  at  06:11 PM

  • haha!!  that’s why the guys at the clubs are always trying to do dances w/fancy footwork! they’re trying to prove something to us girls! ha.

    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/29  at  09:09 PM

  • Nice turtle Erik!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  04:32 AM

  • Ok, enough. If you don’t get lucky soon this BLOG will be in deep trouble. Horny much? Get that chica’s number from your flight, tell her you’re mad for her and that she should meet you somewhere PRONTO!  Better yet, see if Tatjiana would like to watch your dancing feet. The beaches look romantic, and all those lonely coves to hide in…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  04:34 PM

  • I see how this BLOG is “for the birds”.  wink

    Oh…and poor sea lion….  :(

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  04:51 PM

  • I love the sea lions!  Oh and nice boobies in the previous posting.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/01  at  08:07 PM

  • correction.  Nice boobies in this posting also I kinda like the scrotums!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/01  at  08:08 PM

  • Why is there a mortgage url on your blog?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  06:41 PM

  • refinance mortgage must be the bots….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  06:52 PM

  • oh my, there is also discount crugs and porn stuff up there too! whats going on?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  07:38 PM

  • DTELLA:  Despite that BnA put on blog spam filters, there is no way to catch it all…  Usually when one goes through I erase it, but you seem to have caught this one before me…  I’ll keep it there since you’re so keen on it.  smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  08:30 PM

  • E: things like mortgage and porn really stick out in a blog about travel…hmmm, maybe mortgage more than porn.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  08:52 PM

  • DTELLA:  No, not the “M” word!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  08:57 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 Land of Land Iguanas

Previous entry:
The War With Portugal


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