Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

Couchsurfers from Russia (216.6)

Most likely the pair of couchsurfers last week are now my farthest-traveled guests. The pair from St. Petersburg needed to stay just one night, and were originally going to show up around 10-11pm.

Unfortunately, I got a call at 10:30 from the second of the pair, not the one I'd been talking to on, saying they hadn't yet left New York City! They'd had trouble with the car rental.

Would it be OK if they still came?

Certainly I could've said no, and they would've understood. Someone showing up in the middle of the night isn't part of the deal. But where would I be stranding them? Having already rented a car, would they now have to find a place to park it and a last-minute place to stay in one of the most expensive cities in the world? Would they have a chance of getting a very-last-minute free couch?

If they really wanted to start driving, I decided I might as well let them come. I told them I would leave the door unlocked, and they could let themselves in. The dogs would wake up and raise a commotion, which would wake me, and I would go greet them, show them to their room, and we'd all go to sleep.

Russian CouchsurfersWe chatted for just a couple of minutes when they arrived at 4am, and none of us was moving very quickly in the morning. They helped me walk the dogs, which gave us some time to chat, and I made ham and swiss sandwiches for us for breakfast.

The actual couchsurfer I'd been in touch with doesn't really speak English! He'd been using the Russian equivalent of Google Translate for his original request and the follow-up messages. Not a bad approach, though it meant once he was here, we had very limited ability to talk to each other. Luckily, his friend was absolutely fluent. He teaches in an English school, helping Russians learn English. He spoke with an accent, but such was his facility with English that he was able to switch into "stereotypical Russian" accent (think Yakov Smirnoff) and even into a somewhat passable Londoner and Scotsman.

We were able to talk about my visit to Russia last summer, and they were interested to see my Russian visa from the visit, stamped in my passport. And then they headed off, and I left for work. I'd suggested they go to Lincoln Street Diner for second breakfast after meeting up with fellow travelers who were staying elsewhere, and I learned later from Chris that they had.

I guess the couchsurfer from India is from a comparable distance away. Have I ever had any from Asia? Oh! I guess the pair of women from Australia must hold the record.
Tags: couchsurfing

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