Sunday, April 4, 2010

Couch Surfing in Salta

Happy Easter, everyone! Buffy, Granddad, Pam, Mom, Dad, Mooch, Neen, Chloe- wish I could be with you today. Here at Iguazu Falls, things aren't very festive, though we may make eggs for lunch in honor of the holiday... anyways... hmm... let's talk Salta...

I've been a member of couchsurfing.org for a few years now, but, in Salta, I finally had my first CouchSurfing experience! A little about CouchSurfing, from their website:

CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Since 2004, members have been using our system to come together for cultural exchange, friendship, and learning experiences. Today, over a million people who might otherwise never meet are able to share hospitality and cultural understanding.

CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. These exchanges are a uniquely rich form of cultural interaction. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. "Surfers," or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. We also give more people the chance to become travelers, because "surfing" lowers the financial cost of exploration.

In fewer words, the website lets you search for generous people all over the world who have some free space and are down to host travelers.

My search for a CouchSurfing host in Salta led me to the profile of Luciano Paludi, a couchsurfing.com member offering up an extra bedroom in the home, right in the heart of Salta, that he shares with his mother and his dog, Duke. Rives and I were ecstatic when Luciano promptly responded to our request to stay with him for a few nights. We were in!

Luciano on his balcony (taken from his couchsurfing.com profile, since Rives' camera is AWOL)

Even though our bus got in a few hours late, Luciano was all smiles when we arrived at his doorstep last Monday night. Our private room with a double bed was absolutely ideal, and we were also allowed to use the family's kitchen and laundry room! During our four days in Salta, Luciano showed us around town, took us to his favorite empanada* spot, played us excellent traditional Argentinian music on his guitar, and walked with us up the 1070 steps of Cerro San Bernardo hill, which overlooks Salta from 883 feet above.

View from the hilltop

We couldn't have had a better experience, and we're totally sold on the CouchSurfing project. Hopefully, once we're back in Seattle (or Brooklyn this summer??), we'll be able to return the karmic favor and host some surfers!

*One aspect of Rives and my journey that his, shockingly, been omitted from the blog thus far, is our empanada habit. We're total empanada junkies. Empanadas are about 30-50 cents a pop and are available on almost every street of almost every town or city we've visited. Rarely does a day go by without at least one empanada purchase. I'm getting hungry just writing about them. Expect a full post about them soon.

1 comment:

  1. happy easter to you too! much love from the clan xo

    ReplyDelete