Now, it’s been a long while since my last “Crazy Travel Stories” post, as I’d gotten sidetracked by other posts that I’d wanted to put out beforehand. Any case, it’s back again, and today I’ll be sharing once again another Couchsurfing story back from my travels last year in France.
Back in December of last year, I spent my two-week winter holidays solo traveling around the UK and Ireland, which although cold was nevertheless a good time. I was nearing the end of my two weeks and after a few nights in London and a day passing through Canterbury, I headed over to Dover to spend one night there before catching the ferry back to France the following morning. In advance, I’d gotten in touch with a Couchsurfer who lived in Dover, and he agreed to host me that time, which was nice since that it was so close to New Year’s and it would’ve been difficult to find others around who could host then.
I took the regional bus from Canterbury to Dover; however, the bus was late (by about 20-30 minutes) so I ended up arriving in the town later than expected, around 18h15 when it was already dark (ugh, winter season is not kind on exploring places, since you have a time limit before it gets pitch-black at 17h00!). My Couchsurfing host actually picked me up from the bus station upon arrival, which I appreciated and together we headed over to his apartment about fifteen minutes away.
At first, things were pleasant. My host (let’s call him “Randall”) was polite and friendly, a bit quiet but also because I was kind of shy, too. He was respectful, to say the least. We made it to his flat (located in a hilly residential neighborhood) where I dropped off my stuff and together we headed out again to get some groceries for dinner that night, as I didn’t have much food on me after spending almost two weeks traveling non-stop. Bought the groceries, returned to the flat, and proceeded to prepare dinner. I also took a shower in the meantime.
We had dinner together in the living room, chilling out and talking some more in order to break the ice and everything. I was still trying to warm up to the host, as I’m sure that he was with me. Along with the dinner, we had port wine, which he offered to me to share. It was my first time trying port wine, and while super strong, was nice and sweet (the way I like wine).
Now as you know, with alcohol there comes responsibility (or the lack thereof it). In other words, nine times out of ten something will go down after having a glass (rather, a whole bottle) of alcohol. Whether good or bad, only time and our decisions will tell.
Anyway, after I had about two glasses of the port wine, Randall poured me another one, saying that “you need to relax a bit.” True, I tend to be an uptight person, but his forwardness was a bit of a surprise. And the fact that he poured me another glass made me a bit skeptical of his motives: was he trying to get me drunk and then have his way with me? Do something dangerous like rape, even murder? Oh my god…
…yes, I have a wild imagination. But really, nothing bad actually happened, I assure you; I think Randall just noticed that I was still quite nervous and reserved to talk with him, as I didn’t really keep the conversation rolling. He was just trying to make me feel at home, I suppose, which I appreciated. Eventually, I slowly let my guard down, and over time became more friendly with him. Our conversations got easier, and we even laughed a bit together. After we finished the port wine, I would say that I was just a bit tipsy.
Randall then proceeded to bring out his weed, which for me, being a non-smoker and non-cannabis user, kind of took me by surprise. Not like I don’t like people who use pot (I have friends back home who do it), but it does make me uncomfortable being in the same room with the person, let alone inhaling all of that pot smell (which I don’t particularly enjoy). But again, Randall was respectful and had a window open above the couch he was sitting in to blow out the smoke from.
More drinking continued even after the port wine was finished. Randall decided to bring out some homemade cider which he tried making and we drank that. It was not very good, but hey, it was still alcohol, so why not? It was also a huge bottle, so of course, I was well on my way to getting hella drunk.
We continued talking, drinking the cider and Randall smoking his herb. I asked him if this is what he does with all of his Couchsurfing guests, and he said yes, basically. While some Couchsurfing hosts do things like take their guests out in town to restaurants and monuments, Randall says that he basically gets his drunk and/or high, which I found to be quite minimalist, but to each their own, eh? Again, I was drunk at this point, and I didn’t really care.
After a while, we ended up popping in a film to watch for the night, Rain Man, which I’d never seen before until then. I guess it was the perfect movie to watch, especially when you’re essentially getting wasted and high, in some respect. I kept drinking as Randall kept smoking and drinking, and at a certain point, I was so drunk that I didn’t even remember the two-plus hour film ending! At some point, I just got up from my seat and just fell into the mattress nearby that was my bed for the night and knocked out from utter drunkenness. Oof…
Woke up the next morning with a not-too-bad hangover (but still enough to make me groggy and a bit queasy during the first half of the day) and prepared to leave to explore a bit of Dover before catching the ferry in the afternoon. Randall was still sleeping, and so I gently woke him up to say goodbye. We also both kind of cringe-laughed at the alcohol/pot/Rain Man mess from last night, and he said that he was so high that it didn’t matter that it was weird. Any case, we parted on good terms, and I set out, with my hangover, to visit the cliffs and a bit of the castle.
…and there you have it: my one night Couchsurfing with a stoner from Dover! While looking back this experience wasn’t that wild compared to others that I’ve had (which you can check out here and here), back then it was a bit novel for me, since I was new to Couchsurfing and was still getting used to meeting strangers and all. As the old saying goes, you only learn from experience, right?
Thanks for reading! I have more crazy travel stories to tell you at a later date, so until then, take care! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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