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I Couchsurfed New York City!

Written on: Monday July 14th, 2008

A journal entry from: World Tour 2008

   The major reason for choosing North America as the next destination after Southeast Asia was to visit Tom. My american friend I met during my exchange year in Lausanne 2005-2006. But I ended up making so many new friends in NYC.

The first Couchsurfing event was a picnic at the free New York philharmonica concert in Central Park. The huge lawn in front of the stage was absolutely filled with people. At the end of the night there were around 50 Couchsurfers on the picnic blankets that someone had laid out early to get the good spot. I even met an indian that I had met earlier in Bangkok this April. When I saw him I just said 'Hi There you are!' I wasn't even surprised, in couchsurfing meetings I keep running in to same people in different countries, even continents. As the motto of couchsurfing says ' The world is smaller then you think'. The music was really good but it acted like a background theme to the little party we had. Maybe that was the purpose of the concert. Although I think it would be really expensive to go see them in their concert hall in New York.

Every thursday night they have pub meetings at a bar called Revival. And there I got free food, and the chance to talk with people from all over the world. Before taking the subway home at 4 am I was talking with 3 people from Colombia, apparently it is a beautiful country I should visit. The best thing was the ride home on the subway. It runs 24h in NYC. Obviously it's the perfect place for homeless people to be, inside a train going back and forth between two end stations all night. This was what I saw at 4 am:

A young black girl around 4 years old. Her blue t-shirt went all down to her feet. Her face was round and compact. In her right hand a teddybear almost dragged forward on the dirty platform floor. Holding her left hand a middle aged tall black man with a white hat and a white tanktop, blue jeans? He was also smiling while he suddenly disappeared leaving her all alone on the platform.

  • Mr Johnson, where are you? she was shouting with a smile on her face.

She must have asked three four times before he jumps up behind a trash can, she starts laughing and even I am surprised that that big man could hide completely behind that trash can. They start talking about something that I don't remember and both of them seem happy. A father and his daughter ( I suppose) in the middle of the night, spending their night in shelter from the hard world up there.

The train comes and they get on, I get on at the other side of the cart and can't really believe or forget what I saw. Two happy homeless people, one of them a child? That is something I would never see back home in Uppsala. I guess the subway that runs 24 hour must be their inspiration in NYC for many of the hollywood movies coming out..