Sleeping Around: A Couch Surfing Tour of the Globe
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Shamelessly freeloading his way around the world, cadging free food and accommodation wherever and however he can, Brian Thacker is a 'couch surfer' par excellence. This is extreme travel at its most 'out there'.
gaggle of prostitutes. ‘You married?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘That’s okay. You can call me your wife’s name, so there’s no confusion.’ One woman, who was acting as a pimp for her daughter, tried to cajole me back to her place. ‘I’m not interested.’ ‘It’s okay,’ she said. ‘You can sleep on the couch.’ A couch? Hmm? ‘Thanks anyway,’ I said, ‘but I think I’m done with couches for the moment.’ EPILOGUE The couch surfing wave just keeps getting bigger and bigger. When I made my trip there were 150 000
beer all over the dog, smooching and groping Louise’s best friend in the middle of the lounge room, then collapsing in a drunken stupor underneath the pool table. I felt so embarrassed the next day that, after much apologising, I packed up and left. Back at the barbecue no one had collapsed yet, but many were on their way to getting seriously intoxicated. The wine had run out and they were now drinking a wicked concoction of Drambuie, Johnny Walker, ice and fresh cloves. At least if I did fall
international flight schedules. All that was left to do after I’d booked my tickets was to choose a host who was happy to choose me as their guest. My simple criterion was that I wanted to stay with folk who sounded interesting—I had to get a book out of it after all and I guessed that I wouldn’t get much of a story if my host got home from work at seven every night and crashed in front of the TV. I wanted people who really lived their lives and were happy for me to live them with them for a few
‘Where to?’ the taxi driver said, rubbing his hands. ‘I live at the deCode Genetics Corporation.’ I had trouble focusing on the taxi meter. It wasn’t because I was that drunk, but because it was spinning so fast. I also got quite a shock when I stepped into Smári’s apartment and caught an eyeful of four legs entwined on the bed and Smári’s little white bottom bouncing up and down. We were both wrong. It seems couch-surfing hosts do get it on with their couch-surfing guests. I excused myself
climbed out of the auto-rickshaw and into another world. We’d entered the slums. We walked briskly across a small bridge over a stream that was grey with oil and filth. Fetid rubbish piled a metre high lined the banks as naked laughing children splashed in the knee-deep water next to a bloated floating dead dog. It was a dismal assault on the senses. This was like the slum of slums. The ‘slums’ in Soweto looked like middle-class suburbia compared to this. As soon as we entered the squalid maze,