What Exit?


This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, October 20, 2004 was originally posted on October 26, 2004.

DAY 368:  “Ohaiyo gozaimas!” greeted the Nepali hotel clerk in Japanese when I finally showed my face downstairs that morning.

“Uh, no, I’m not Japanese.”

I went out to a table in the backyard garden cafe.  The waiter gave me a note left by some Korean guy to pass on.  “This is from your Korean friend.”

“Uh, no, that’s not me.  I’m not Korean.”

What the hell?  Altitude sickness must have been my Kryptonite because in my weakened condition, I no longer had the super power of blending in as a Nepali.

IT WAS THE FIRST DAY OF SEVERAL DAYS I’d need to recuperate after The Incident on The Everest Trail, and I was to take it easy.  Most of the legwork I had to do was taken care of by Naba from Himalayan Glacier, who met me that morning, still with his business suit and cell phone.  As I ate breakfast outside in the garden cafe, he explained that Nepal was in the middle of Dashami, the big national ten-day festival to honor Durga, the demon-slaying goddess.  Most of the celebrations took place in the mountain villages, away from the city.

“It will be quiet around here,” Naba told me.


Naba and I hopped in a cab to go back to the Nepal International Clinic in town to have my blood pressure checked out since it was high the day before after the rescue.  The receptionist in front recognized me and greeted me with a letter that Dr. David wrote for me to justify the helicopter rescue to my insurance company.  Dr. David wasn’t actually there though — he was out in the mountains to celebrate Dashami with a friend — but I was assigned to the doctor-on-call, a Dr. Johnny. 

Dr. Johnny took my file and escorted me to the little patient room in the back.  Right away he saw the address I put down, the only address I could label “permanent” having lived like a nomad out of a bag for a year:  my parents’ address in New Jersey.

“I’m obliged to ask you, what exit?” he said.

I smiled.  Is it possible that I went through the entire rescue ordeal so that I might cross-promote my side venture WhatEXIT.net on The Blog?  What Dr. Johnny was referring to was an inside joke that the people of New Jersey have when they leave the state and meet other New Jerseyans. 

New Jersey is such a diverse state of different cultures — yes, there is more to New Jersey than gangsters and toxic waste dumps — and you can usually tell what kind of person someone is by what exit they live off of from one of two major highways that cut through the state:  the Garden State Parkway and the famous New Jersey Turnpike.  People around Exit 12 (Rahway) usually have the stereotypical accent that pronounces it “New Joisey,” while people around Exit 8 are usually upper-class residents who attended Princeton and just settled in.  There’s almost more than likely a Bon Jovi tribute band playing off of Exit 63 (Belmar) every night, while Exit 4 (Wildwood) seems to be the designated vacation spot for the Quebecois who drive down from Canada every summer.  (In case you were wondering, Tony Soprano enters the Turnpike at Exit 16W in the introduction to HBO’s The Sopranos.)

“Eighteen W,” I answered the doctor.  (It is the last exit on Turnpike before the George Washington Bridge that goes to New York City.)  “Are you from Jersey?”

“I’m from Connecticut, but I’m familiar with the exits,” he said.  “There’s Newark…”

“Fifteen W.”

“...and that IKEA…”

13A, I answered in my head — but we cut to the chase and wrapped the blood pressure band around my arm.

“Looks like everything’s normal,” he told me.  He said the high blood pressure from the day before was probably from the steroid they gave me in Pheriche to get my blood going.  I told him that I remembered that I was on the anti-malarial drug Lariam at the time I got sick on the mountain, and although there were no exact answers, we theorized that it might have had something to do with the fact that I never really got a warning altitude headache.

NABA BROUGHT ME BACK TO THE HOTEL, where he had me switched to the lower level so that I didn’t have to strain myself climbing up and down stairs all the time.  My new room had a view of the garden in the back (picture above) and a big comfy bed where I pretty much slept and vegged out the rest of the day.

Before that happened though, I had one more meeting to attend to:  the meeting with the helicopter service that rescued me from the higher altitude.  The pilot came to the hotel and gave me the bill.  It came to a whopping $3881.25 (USD), which hopefully my insurance would cover.

“How was our service?” he asked.

“Good,” I said.  “Well, I’m alive.”

One thing about riding in a rescue helicopter (as expensive as they are) is you get to go places fast — much faster than those people stuck in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike anyway.

If this is your first taste of this Blog, please forgive me for how lame this entry is; I didn’t have much going on as I was recuperating from an almost-fatal incident on the trail to Mount Everest, which you can read about here.

Next entry: Slowly But Surely

Previous entry: Die Another Day

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “What Exit?”

  • Still milking the almost died thing?  grin

    Next time you should rent some porn so you have a little more excitement to talk about.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/25  at  08:37 PM

  • Nice that you were able to recuperate and it was quiet…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/25  at  08:42 PM

  • being at a nicer hotel i guess it’s less likely for you to pass a nepali….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/25  at  09:25 PM

  • I always wondered what “WhatExit” was about!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/25  at  11:01 PM

  • Erik - not every entry has to be thrilling and exciting!  The ‘lazing around days’ are just as interesting to me.

    Posted by Liz  on  10/26  at  07:13 PM

back to top of page


Follow The Global Trip on Twitter
Follow The Global Trip in Instagram
Become a TGT Fan on Facebook
Subscribe to the RSS Feed

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 BootsnAll.com. 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, RickSteves.com, 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:
Slowly But Surely

Previous entry:
Die Another Day


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.

Spelling or grammar error? A picture not loading properly? Help keep this blog as good as it can be by reporting bugs.

The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
All written and photographic content is copyright 2002-2014 by Erik R. Trinidad (unless otherwise noted). "The Global Trip" and "swirl ball" logos are service marks of Erik R. Trinidad.
TheGlobalTrip.com v.3.7 is powered by Expression Engine v3.5.5.