The Redemption Cookie


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

DAY 71:  I was up by seven o’clock in the morning to see Lara off before she left with her transport to her 4-day/3-night trek to Machu Picchu — a trek I had already done in 2001.  It was her goal to ring in 2004 by entering the “lost” city of the Incas on the morning of New Year’s Day.  She left the hostel by 8 a.m. with her new fleece, the cheesy water bottle holder I got her for Christmas and rations of Twix bars and Oreos.

ALONE AGAIN, I spent my last day in Cusco running errands before leaving on a night bus to Arequipa.  I did my laundry and settled my hostel tab and stocked up on the most important thing on the backpacker trail, toilet paper — known simply by The Ohio Boys and campers worldwide as “T.P.”

Since I had checked out of my hostel, I needed a place to crash for the day, so I decided to give South American Explorers one last chance to impress me.

SOUTH AMERICAN EXPLORERS, founded not in South America but Ithaca, NY, USA, was established to help travelers in South America with suggestions, tips and member ratings on routes and tour companies.  I had joined SAE in Quito, Ecuador thinking it was a good idea, but ever since then it didn’t seem to be worth the $40 membership fee. 

In the Galapagos, my membership card didn’t give me the discounts and free hotel stays I had anticipated.  In Lima — after switching addresses on me to a completely different town — they were clueless when I asked for simple directions.  In their third and final office in Cusco, they were closed when I initially tried to visit.  In fact, the only time SAE really helped me out was when I was lost in Quito with an explosive case of diarrhea and used their nearby toilet before I made a really nasty brown Pollack painting on the sidewalk.

Personally, I found SAE’s strategy to have members look up their provided information very similar to — if not exactly the same as — just looking up information in a guide book.  Without much of their help thus far, I had just discovered things on my own — the essence of adventure travel in the first place.

SOUTH AMERICAN EXPLORERS’ Cusco office was down the block from where I had the Two Women With The Llama flip me the bird two days before.  I rang the bell and they buzzed me in through the door, revealing their beautiful multi-level house with a courtyard, lounge area, kitchen, office, map room, library, roof terrace (photo above) — even a sign that stated the known truth, “Germans Love David Hasselhof.”

They didn’t have to do much more — they had me at “Hasselhof.”

SAE workers Debbie from the UK and Ross from the USA led me around the house tour and asked if I needed anything specific.

“No, I just need a place to crash for the day and work on my laptop,” I said.

“Wow, you’re one of the easy members,” Ross said.  I already knew what to expect out of my membership.

ROSS SET ME UP at a desk overlooking the red rooftops of Cusco and I plugged in my iBook and hooked up my digital video camera and still camera — I felt like I was in some sort of digital lifestyle ad for Sony and Apple.  Although there are high-speed internet cafes with internal memory card readers, microphones and headsets on nearly every block in Cusco, I wanted to use my own equipment to extract that rendition of “Y.M.C.A” I had a traditional Andean band learn and play for me — my hostel had no electrical outlets.  I spent the afternoon in the room as a light rain sprinkled over the city. 

Over the course of the afternoon, new and old SAE members came and went, including a girl from Holland looking up recommendations and two college boys from New York City needing a place to hang out in their five-week stay in Cusco.  I met another British couple in the lounge room who turned me onto a possible cool place to be for New Year’s, as the smell of fresh baked cookies filled the room.  Someone was baking fresh chocolate cookies for the members and I couldn’t resist but partake in one.

Although not worth the $40 in my mind, SAE redeemed itself with my first bite.  That and the fact that I got to use their toilet to take a dump yet again.

TO KILL TIME BEFORE MY BUS, I did my blog duties in an internet cafe as the Incan rain gods brought forth torrential downpours all over the city — not that the locals in the cafe playing StarCraft with headsets ever noticed.  I took the suggestion of Blog Reader Sara and checked out Los Perros, a fancy lounge bar with couches and candles, yet another one of Cusco’s establishments to cater to the modern and hip sectors of the Western World.  It was pretty early for any sort of “scene” and hardly anyone was around, so I just got a beer and went out for dinner.  I got my bags, hopped in a taxi and then my bus, which took me through the mountains under the night sky.

All the friends I had made in Cusco — Lara the Tomb Raider; Tony and Adam, The Ohio Boys; the fabulous Simon and Rich; the young’uns Dustin and Georgie; Brian the Texan; Sue, Axel and Simion from the jungle — had all moved on, and it was time for me to move on myself, to discover new things and meet new people.

ATTENTION USERS SINCE DECEMBER 14, 2003:  We are experiencing technical difficulties with the links to the other sections of  It’s not just supposed to go to the home page with my portrait — there’s plenty more, including this “Would You” slideshow that everyone raves about.  Stay tuned and sorry for the inconvenience!!!

Next entry: New Friend For New Year’s

Previous entry: The (Andean) Village People

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Comments for “The Redemption Cookie”

  • Hey gang, I’ll be NIZ for New Year’s with Heidi, a new character I’ll have to introduce. 

    Until 2004, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/29  at  09:51 PM

  • First!!! (Erik doesn’t count!)

    Where are you LP? I thought you’d put up a better fight now that you’re back to 9-5!

    Erik, I’m glad SAE is redeeming itself somewhat at least!  Happy New year!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/29  at  09:59 PM

  • awww yeah….pics of Heidi would be lovely…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/29  at  11:06 PM

  • blast it! Foiled again….i’ll get you next time Tdot *raises fist in the air*

    heidi? oooh…i likes that name.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  12:08 AM

  • goodbye cusco…


    (i’m jealous)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  01:56 AM

  • You know, if it wasn’t for Heidi Klume none of us would be having such a salacious reaction to just a name! So thank you Heidi, wherever you are!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  02:49 AM

  • good times!

    and as Eddie Murphy would say “Merry New Year Everyone!”

    i’ll be heading up to the mountains for a little snowboarding, although I am “working” tomorrow, so i’ll have a late start on the festivities… soooo sad smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  03:54 AM

  • Erik you big tease - you do a whole entry on nerdy computer stuff, eating cookies and (of course) taking *another* dump, then you leave us hanging by saying you’re going to a new NIZ location with a new person we’ve never heard of? And we won’t find out any details until NEXT YEAR?!

    *imitating Shatner in Wrath of Khan*

    Ah well - Happy New Year everybody! No snowboarding for me unfortunately - I’ll gotta get through a 12 of Pabst and Cartoon Network’s All-Night Adult Swim marathon

    Posted by dunlavey  on  12/30  at  05:54 AM

  • Happy New Year E. & everyone out there !!! May it be safe & joyous… hmmmm Heidi

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  11:53 AM

  • blog y’all next year!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  12:34 PM

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR, erik! can’t wait to see what next year brings for us on your blog. meanwhile, go get drunk somewhere tonight. i know i will. =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  02:16 PM

  • happy new year E! its been great following you on your adventure. have fun and until next year….....

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  04:33 PM

  • Happy New Year, Erik!

    It’s noisy as heck here in JC. (so many helicopters flying over the Manhattan area.. it’s quite annoying).

    Peace! Happiness! and Heidi!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/31  at  03:58 AM

  • fish crew is crunk….kurt at this moment is baggin some chick….we drank for you man!!!  2004: the year of the blog!!!

    tranquilo, tranquilo!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/31  at  07:58 AM

  • Hey guys, I’m back from the NIZ, in an internet cafe with Heidi, but it’s about to close in 10 minutes… Details to come tomorrow…


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/01  at  02:16 AM

  • erik, cannot wait to hear how the new years went smile snowboarding was amazing on new years day! how was everyone elses?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/01  at  02:35 PM

  • Happy New Year Erik!

    Posted by Liz  on  01/01  at  02:43 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:
New Friend For New Year’s

Previous entry:
The (Andean) Village People


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)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

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.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

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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