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Archive for the ‘CouchSurfing’ Category

Kauai

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Merry Christmas, or as the Hawaiians say, Mele Kalikimaka! Last week I found myself on Kauai, Hawaii on a rather spontaneous trip to meet up with Mary and Teresa, the Peace Corps volunteers I met in Vanuatu through CouchSurfing. (Val, another Peace Corps volunteer, and John, Teresa’s boyfriend, also made the trip.) Although we unfortunately didn’t have much sun, we fortunately didn’t have much rain either, so we were able to spend most of our time outside hiking, scuba diving, and lazing around on the beach. Mary, Teresa, and Val represent the best of the Peace Corps, and their zest is quite contagious. 😉 Thanks again, guys!

Lumahai Beach on the north shore of Kauai.Mary, Val, Teresa, and John on Lumahai Beach.Mary and Val on the Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail.Mary doin' the helicopter.A dwarf eel at the Brennecke's Ledge dive site.Teresa, Val, and Mary in Lihue.  Merry Christmas!

‘Upolu Redux

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Following Ofu and American Samoa, I spent a night CouchSurfing in Apia with Paul. Paul was a fantastic host, and our Friday night program included the Zodiac Bar (where I quite coincidentally bumped into an Australian friend) and Paddles Night Club. On Saturday we toured the island in Paul’s 4WD with Dave (another CouchSurfer) and Henrik. Indeed, it was another extremely positive CouchSurfing experience!

It really is a small world…  Meeting Kelda at Zodiac Bar.

On the way to lunch.

Henrik on Lalomanu Beach.

Paul presenting Dave a cake for his 26th birthday.

Pentecost

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

After Santo, I disappeared into the remote jungles of Vanuatu (and believe me, they were remote). First came the island of Pentecost (named after the day Captain Cook sighted it), known throughout the world for its tradition of naghol, or land diving. On Pentecost, I spent five incredible days hanging out with Peace Corps volunteers in the villages of Ranwas and Pangi, and each deserves a post to itself.

At this point, one might wonder how I got in touch with the Peace Corps volunteers. The answer is as simple as CouchSurfing and making one lucky (and expensive!) phone call to Pangi’s village phone to contact Mary, the Peace Corps volunteer stationed here since 2006.

Mary: the friendly Peace Corps volunteer in Pangi.

Bergen

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

In order to get better acquainted with the Norwegian culture, I utilized the CouchSurfing netvork to not only find a couch to sleep on, but also to meet a number of other CouchSurfers for conversation, drinks, and lefsa. Below are some photos from Bergen!

Brynjar and Julie (one of my hosts) playing in the leaves on our tour of Bergen.

Watching a concert in the underground Hulen concert hall.

Bergen, with more typical weather.

The (expensive!) nightlife in Bergen at Rick’s.

Brann, Bergen’s soccer team, won their first championship since 1963.  So, there was a parade!

Brynjar and I cooking up some salmon pasta during my last night in Bergen.

Henriette (my other host), her boyfriend, and their cat after the salmon dinner.

The Cinque Terre

Monday, October 15th, 2007

After Pisa, we CouchSurfed with Ernesto in La Spezia before we entered the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre (literally the five lands) consists of five coastal villages along the Mediterranean and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With Ernesto’s help, we planned a five hour visit of the Cinque Terre combining trains and hiking. John and I started in Riomaggiore, and to make a long story short, trains were delayed, hiking trails were closed, and we were soon “stuck” for two hours in the second smallest village of Manarola.

I’m sad to say we had become “checklist” travelers – we were focussed on getting out of Manarola and continuing down the Cinque Terre in order to see as much as possible in our five hours. Once we realized this, we were finally able to open our eyes and see the amazing scenery surrounding us. A valuable lesson learned, the two hours we spent hiking around Manarola were some of the best spent in the Cinque Terre.

After Manarola, we visited Vernazza and Monterosso before it was time to master public transportation.

The sky begins to clear.

The way is closed; our plans change as we become “stuck” in Manarola.

Facades in Manarola.

Vernazza from the hiking trail.

Monterosso during the off-season.