Day 6 – True Couchsurfers

Cork Travel Blog

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Sept. 10, 2007:  Day 6 – True Couchsurfers

 

Over the night two Couchsurfers had responded to our requests.  So, we had a free place to stay that night!  It was going to be Justin’s first Couchsurfing experience too.

Unfortunately we had no place to store our bags and carried them around all day until Tania (Couchsurfer for that night) text us and said we could store them at her apartment.

We didn’t get the text until around 3pm, and so from 10am-3pm we lugged our backpacks all around Cork, exploring the sites (churches, fort, Beamish brewery).

 

The streets were much busier, and we found the nice sections of town.  My opinion quickly improved. 

Justin couldn’t help but use the “Beautiful Girls” song torture technique a few times while we walked.  I admit I used it once…ok, maybe twice.

We were supposed to meet Tania at Charlie’s Bar at 7pm, and at around 3pm that seemed like a long ways off.  We were sitting across the river from Charlie’s Bar when my phone rang;  it was Danielle!

At first I didn’t recognize her voice because I had no idea who would be calling me.  But I should have known since who else would be calling me besides Danielle.  It was good to talk to her.

Pretty soon after I got the call, Tania text us about how we could store our stuff at her place.  We were so happy!  We sprang up from our seats and rushed over to her place where one of her roommates let us in.  We found out we’d be staying in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment with seven other people that night.  These were true Couchsurfers.

At 7pm we waited outside Charlie’s Bar until about 7:15pm, and then headed to her apartment thinking she might have forgot. 

Tania was there, along with four other people; Tom (Australia), Leana (Latvia), Alexandra (Germany) and another girl from Latvia.  They then offered us some of their dinner; spaghetti!

Tom and Justin hit it off quickly, discussing and trading music.

  Tom was crashing on their couch for awhile since he and the rest of his former flatmates had been kicked out of their place for no other reason than their landlord going crazy.

Alexandra was crashing there for a bit while she studied and traveled. 

The four girls who live there permanently are all from Latvia minus Tania who is from Portugal.  There were colorful handmade posters on the walls translating useful phrases in English to Latvian and Portuguese.  One that stands out in my memory is Preitkaa (spelling?) for cheers in Latvian.  Another is the translation in Portuguese for “Where’s my tampons.”

These ladies were true Couchsurfers in every sense of the word.  Regardless of how little space they had to offer, they had had about 61 Couchsurfers in the past year.  They had all their names written on a few pieces of paper on the wall, along with the thank you letters some had left.

  They told us how they had hosted an Ireland Couchsurfing party for all the Couchsurfers in Ireland.  About 50 people were in their apartment that night, and the party went until the wee hours of the morning.

At around 9pm we all went out to a popular pub called Au Brog.  To meet up with their other flatmates.

At the pub, we met a few more friends of theirs; one from CA who had moved out here 4 years ago.  He had just returned from being in the US for 4 months to see if he could fit back into American society;  He hated it and couldn’t wait to get back.  We had a good conversation about some differences between Ireland and America; Ireland’s income tax is around 10% for minimum wage workers, everyone gets at least four weeks of vacation per year with 1 holiday per month, health care is free, minimum wage gets about 340/week and rent in Cork is about 70-120 (for a REALLY nice place) per week.

Leana bought me a beer even after I tried to persuade her not to.  She said she told me she would buy me one if we came out earlier.  After she gave me many frowns and stern looks, I finally agreed to let her buy me one.  In return I added a fake tattoo of a Dodo to her leg (she thought they were funny when she saw them on the back of my ‘business’ cards that I handed out to them earlier).  It came out pretty well despite the fact that prior to that I had never drawn them on a shin before.

 We all walked back around 1:30am.  Sleeping arrangements:  Justin and I on floor with sleeping bags and pillows (thanks girls for setting them up for us!), Tom and one of the Latvian girls (whose name I forget) on cushions, rest in bedrooms.

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photo by: sarah_82