Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stories from the Couch: July 13 -17

CouchSurfing during the World Cup took on a different face in South Africa as she hosted the world. Many CouchSurfers in the Stadium Cities were unavailable to host either to having family and friends in town, wanting to earn an extra buck, or simply being overwhelmed by the amount of requests from experienced and inexperienced CouchSurfers from all over the world. However, the Harrington’s were fortunate to find one more than gracious host awaiting them in Port Elizabeth (PE), South Africa. The couple first met Elaine when she came to pick them up from their BazBus drop off, entirely too late in the evening. Their host however was all Welcome and Hospitality: ” there’s tea on the counter, here are your beds, would you like a muffin? Let me introduce you to the other surfers.” These moments left the Harrington’s confident again in the power and beauty of CouchSurfing.

Over a period of four days, Mike and Melissa experienced not only the hospitality of their host, Elaine, but also of the other CouchSurfing guests. Randy and Nathalie from France were quick to give Mike and Melissa a ride their first morning to retrieve their tickets. Tracy from Australia shared valuable information and great conversation upon arrival and the following day during a driving tour of the city conducted of course, by our host. And a few days later, JB from Alabama continued the sharing of information and enthusiasm. It did not take long for Mike and Melissa to feel at home and comfortable with this group of CouchSurfers – happy to experience the peace and comfort that is found in CouchSurfing’s brand of hospitality.

The couple’s time with Elaine was well spent, learning some of the history and sites of Port Elizabeth. A driving tour even led the couple, their host and Tracy to the beach where some of Germany’s team was taking a pre-game walk! On top of Elaine’s initial generosity the couple was also thrilled to discover Elaine lived across the street from the FIFA Fan Park where they would be able to catch a shuttle to the stadium and watch the final match on Sunday free of charge, on a big screen with hundreds of South Africans and visitors from around the world.

Following the excitement of the World Cup and the moving on of all Elaine’s other guests, the Harrington’s host once again outdid herself by driving the couple to and around Addo National Park near Port Elizabeth. The day was spent looking for Elephants, spotting Kudu, Warthogs, a Water Buffalo, Jackyl, Dung Bettle and finally numerous elephants. Their final day was brought to a close with a fat juicy steak at one of Elaine’s favorite PE restaurants. With their bellies full and their hearts content, the Harrington’s laid down for their fourth night in a row of deliously wonderful slumber.

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