Hi, we´re from Texas

At brekkie we meet Tom and Chip, from the UK and they´re having to go look for somewhere else to stay as there´s no room here for them, we tell them about USA hostel and wish them luck. We also meet David, a guy from south LA who´s here for the weekend for a friends leaving do – he´s off to Afghanistan shortly – the friend, not David. He´s a funny guy saying we should claim to be from Texas as most people wouldn´t know that we weren´t!

HHmm…. Starbucks for some better Wi-Fi and some research as we need to be clear on transport options… Can we buy a car here? Are there many available? How quickly could we do this? If not what are the alternatives? Hire a car? What costs are involved? Could we take it out of state? Out of country even, Canada? Could we do car delivery? Is there any going the way we want to go? How much time do you get?

We also book a hotel near the canon service centre so we can get the camera in for fixing. Figuring that we have enough time to put it in and go off do some stuff, then return to pick it up when Angie comes down and we meet up for the lift back to hers…It´s not much more than the hostel we´re in now, we get it on a two night special, it has a pool and is near a mall and transport to/from canon centre is doable from it, what more could we ask for?

Starbucks is pretty noisy and so we decide the hostel might be quieter now, as most people will be out doing stuff rather than sitting in clogging up the bandwidth on the Wi-Fi, and head back. There´s actually a network cable which proves genius, with that and some credit or use on one of the hostel PC´s we are more efficient in our research.

We are still racking our brains trying to overcome the accommodation cost nightmare and are suddenly reminded of “Couchsurfing” – while chatting to a couple of women by the PC´s over lunch, Carolyn and Becca. They´re from Portland and are down for the weekend. They do a good sales pitch on Portland if we´re p that way we should stop and have a look.

Bernice considered joining couchsurfing before we left the UK but based on some flippant research on how many couchsurfers there were in Reading at the time, she dismissed it, that and the fact we started the whole trip sailing and didn´t know when we´d have use for it. But now, it might just be the answer, a low cost accommodation option but even better, a great way to meet new and local people. The idea of turning up somewhere new and right away hooking up with locals and seeing the interesting parts through their eyes is definitely a reason to try it.

Trying to work out why we never thought of using it whilst in South America, all we can come up with is that when you get on the hostel circuit and are having a great time relatively cheaply you don´t really think outside the box. Plus the other naïve reason we deduce is that our Spanish wasn´t good enough, in hindsight it would probably have helped improve it! A decision made we set to work setting up a couchsurfing profile, that we can build upon over the next few days.

When we´ve had just about enough of admin for one day, we realise we could have got some laundry done at the same time, we didn´t feel quite so guilty when we find the hostel laundry room is closed, out of order and we should use one a couple of blocks away. Dilemma – should we go get it done now and keep tomorrow chore free, or should we leave it and tackle it early tomorrow… Let the gods decide, find the laundry and see when it´s open…. It is in fact diagonally across from Rock Bottom and it just so happens to be happy hour time, easy choice do it now whilst monitoring it from the happy hour 🙂

There are quite a few Indian restaurants in town and we´ve been trying to organise out eating portions well enough to be able to go for a curry, and tonight´s the night! So after a quick turn around when we take the laundry back we go for a curry, see if it´s more like we´re used to than the one we had in La Paz, Bolivia!

It´s actually ok, certainly better, but not the best. You choose what heat you want from your dish when you order and hot wasn´t really very hot. Also our idea of nann bread wasn´t really the same. But curry is curry and we managed not to over order, just about anyway. A couple of choice bars afterwards: “The Beer Co.”, with its huge selection of craft beers and whiskey, and “The Gaslamps Tavern” a more locals place where we were given a freebie rap CD, finished the evening off nicely!

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