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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Couch Surfing

I've always been intrigued by the idea of couch surfing, but have never done any surfing myself. One of my good friends is an experienced couch surfer & has lots of great stories to tell of his experiences. The idea is to connect with people through the Couch Surfing website who can offer you a free place to stay for a night or two while you're traveling. When you get home, you can offer your own couch to travelers, & thus build up good karma the world over.

In addition to lodging weary souls, the Couch Surfing community in Shanghai also meets for social events. Tuesday evening they met at a bar close to where I live, so after classes I took the bus over to check it out.

The bar is a hole in the wall right next to Fudan University. It's apparently pretty popular with the college crowd. When I got there it was filled with foreigners. In fact, the only Chinese people there were the owners of the joint. They served huge beers for 10 RMB (about US $1.40), & the extensive menu offered Western food at rock bottom prices. I got a decent-sized veggie burger & a plate of fries for 16 RMB (about US $2.30). Nom nom nom.

The couch surfing group was interesting as well. I met an Austrian, a Finlander, a Brazilian, & several Americans, including two people from Arizona, of all places. Some had just started traveling, others had been traveling for years, but they all had interesting tales to tell. Maybe some of them can give me some good advice on traveling within China so I can start taking advantage of my days off.

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