Friday, 19 April 2013

Quintessential of couchsurfing - in NY with Rob

Rob was not my first choice to couchsurf with. Someone I have already met in Kuala Lumpur, was, but he was not able to host us. In Rob profile, he said, he run in marathons, and that he baked his own sourdough bread. OK - that would be very interesting. Still, requesting a couch in NY is really a case of touch and go. The case of too many surfers and too few hosts. The same as London, Paris and Tokyo. Rob answered, "Yes, I've a couch for you two." Actually it was better than a couch, he had a sofa bed for us. Right in his living room. He wrote us that he would be late coming back from work on the day of our arrival and directed us to a nearby cafe, should we needed something to eat while waiting for him. I had a salad and a huge mug of coffee while Digi had hot chocolate with cookies at the cafe Rob recommended. It was raining in New York, then.

It rained everyday in New York
(at Wall Street)

Later we walked to the Rubin Museum of Art, which was not too far from Rob's apartment. Rob lived in a walk-up one bedroom apartment on the 4th floor. His kitchen in his living room. We felt at home right away. He later took us to a grocery a couple of blocks away from his place. I loved it. Yup, another grocery with everything. I was then beginning to feel the significance of being in New York. If you can think of something you want (to eat) - NY has it. What struck me most about NY was how it felt like a small walkable village, instead of a mega world city. Or maybe having a host made all the difference?

It was no brainer to make us chicken curry for dinner. I was able to get all the ingredients needed, including kafir leaves and lemon grass. We spent our first night with Rob talking about little things, and including how to train for a marathon. "You gotta train well, six months at least, and better still a year." I will have to check on him, if he is running this year, and wish him the best, and may he be in good hands.

We stayed with Rob for three nights. On the last night we went to bed early because our bus to Columbus was to depart in early morning. Rob went out (being Friday night) to have some fun time. Before he left he told us to open the door for two more couchsurfers - from Spain. Rob's new couchsurfers guests arrived, two girls who had just finished their tour of USA and on their way home. They both soon went out again, though, looking for Rob. Digi and I went to sleep. While asleep I heard low voices, Rob and his Spanish guests were coming back from their night out. Rob whispered, "Go back to sleep S, we are fine." I just mumbled something and went right back to sleep. When I woke up in the morning I found Rob sleeping on the floor, by our feet, in a blanket on another blanket. He had given his bed to his other two guests. I woke Digi. We tip toed around sleeping Rob, showered, brushed our teeth, got dressed, drank some milk and eat Rob's sourdough bread. Maybe not in that order. Then gently, I woke Rob to say thank you and goodbye. Ooh I almost forgot, I got him to pack for us his sourdough starter, made in NY, the evening before. Thank you, Rob, you are an angel in disguise.

Alternative Foodie

8 comments:

  1. Rob sounds like a wonderful host. I'm glad you had a good time in NY, but it looks like it rained a bit while you were there.

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    1. It rained on the day we arrived, and good sunshine the next day with a little rain. And rained again the following day. But yes, we still had great time in New York.

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  2. i have never made that kind of bread--but love it--does sound like a super host and trip--even with the rain :)

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    1. Rob said, just put out a mixture of flour and water in the room ... for weeks, until the good bugs takes over from the bad smelly bugs, then it needs to be kept in the fridge. After that just a matter of keeping the good bugs happy - keep feeding more flour. But you also have to keep throwing away some of it unless you are baking everyday or we can end up with big amount of starter. This way of making sourdough starter will make our bread unique, because the bugs are different from places to places. I have yet to try this method. Wonder how Malaysian bugs taste like ;)

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  3. We have something in common: we home educate our children, and the last time our family visited NYC, it rained for three days! Happy A to Z!

    MakingtheWriteConnections

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    1. Hi Jarm, thank you so much for coming our way. Home educating kids can be very challenging when we run out of activity ... but on the road, rain or shine can always be exciting. New York rain, on those days of our visit luckily was not pouring all the time. So we still managed to walk everywhere.

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  4. Couchsurfing sounds very interesting. How do you get into it (safely)?? New York is so much fun! Sounds like you and your son had a nice time with a nice host.

    Chontali Kirk
    chontalikirk.blogspot.com

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  5. Hello C Kirk, welcome to nuttybean. It is wonderful to see you on our page. Yes we had a great time with Rob, as well checking iconic places and sights of New York - Times Square and also the Natural History Museum by the the Central Park.

    As for Couchsurfing, we started as host way back in 2008, and our first guests, two young men from Belgium, had then already been couchsurfing a couple of years earlier with extremely positive references by both their couchsurfer hosts and especially so by their couchsufer guests; and they also have a well self written informative profiles. And your gut feeling said, good men here. Later, as get to know more of couchsurfing, and have the community support, we open our house to more new surfers but always with the knowledge of other families member or other local couchsurfers. When we started traveling and being a guests ourselves; I only request to couch with someone who already has many references and always positive, preferably a family. Or request a couch with someone we have already met or surfers who have already stayed with us. That must be our rule no one. Our number two rule is always to let other people know who is/staying with us or who we going to stay with, including their full name, phone number, email contact and addresses. Rule 3: always have a back up - meaning you know where to go should your couch did not materialized. It also mean you have enough fund to cover emergencies.

    Others, more adventurers may relax their rules, but being female and traveling with a young child (we first couchsurfed in 2009, and my son was only 9 years old then), we kept to our rules religiously. Many recommendate to beginners is to get in touch with their local couchsurfers community, and find opportunity to met them. Still it is not the requirement though. We only joined our local couchsurfing community much later. My own advice is start slow. Take your time and see if couchsurfing is your thing.

    Wish you the best C.

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