Ok, what gives?
So, I toss an end pearl into a random dragon-gate-thing in the End and *POOF*, I'm teleported to some random location out in the End. Except, there's no ground below me.
I fall and fall and fall and "kscherer fell out of the world".
The only portal I trust is the eastern portal. I've lost too much stuff to even try any others. Fortunately, I am in the process of collecting the last of the End loot I am after, and will no longer have need to venture there. Unfortunately, the End is finally fun to explore, with more than just trees to go after. I dare not try any other portals unless I am totally naked.