This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Sleeping with Strangers

This Magazine Staff

I just returned from a weekend in the States; Seattle WA to be exact. My friend Gisele and I drove down for Bumbershoot, an annual cultural extravaganza held on the old Expo fair grounds. Thousands of people, hundreds of shows, long lines and sun sun sun.
But wait, bragging about my fabulous weekend is not the point of this entry. Bragging about staying for free in a two bedroom apartment in Capital Hill is.
Being the frugal minded adventurous sort, we decided we’d rather blow our money at the high-end outlet mall than pay for a hotel room or even an uncomfortable twin bed in a hostel. So we emailed a few fine folks on the recently resurrected couchsurfing website and scored ourselves a free place to stay.
If you haven’t already heard about you should check out the website. It’s all about making the world a smaller, friendlier, more inviting kinda place. And if the existence of such a site isn’t remarkable enough, the site crashed and basically died in June (there were notices that almost all the data was lost and the creator couldn’t take it on anymore), only to be resurrected by a group of hard-working volunteers in Montreal in just two weeks.
Usually the point of couchsurfing is to stay with locals, meet them, hang out with them, tip toe around their apartment when they go to bed super early, and find out all the cool things about the city you could never find on your own, but we lucked out and our host was gone to Burning Man all week. He left his apartment key at the bar around the corner from his house and his door key under his mat. We stayed 4 days and 3 nights in his centrally located apartment, went for coffee at the local cafe, watched his 6-foot boa try to get out of her cage, hung out in the hair salon he’s put into his second bedroom and never met him.
So thanks Eric, your apartment rocks! Enjoy the six-pack of fat tire we left you.

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