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Photo of 3 people standing by a car in Augusta Maine

This post is a continuation of the post Goal Achieved: First Glimpse of Maine, so check that out if you want to see the story of how we arrived in Augusta, Maine.

pen writing Thank You on a card

Couchsurfing Etiquette

Now that we were in Augusta and introductions with our host for the evening were out of the way, it was time to get dinner. I was starving. This would be the 1st time on the trip that we splurged on dinner. I suggested that we go out for dinner and later learned that Shrikant, our host for the night, had planned on preparing a traditional Indian meal for us. It’s a shame that we missed out on the experience of a homemade traditional Indian dish, but it was time to splurge on our fist meal out of the trip.

I suggested a meal out for a couple of different reasons. The first is because I was hungry and it seemed like the fastest way to get food into my belly. Second, it’s part of the culture to do something nice for your host when couchsurfing. I was out of tea, (what we had been leaving as a thank you gift), and even though we just met, Shrikant didn’t seem like a jam and blueberry kind of guy so my thought was to take him out to dinner.

There are many ways to show appreciation to your host. I never put an expectation on my guests to do, buy, leave or provide anything when they stay, but they often do. I’ve had guests that have shoveled snow, tied ribbons with me, left me all varieties of food, taken me out for a drink or two or have simply shared their stories and experiences with me. Each one of these experiences valuable in it’s own way.

I recognize that the people we were staying with opened their homes to us. They didn’t have to do that, and they didn’t have to do it free of charge. I felt it important to show appreciation along the way so tonight the idea was dinner, on us.

Desi Kitchen, Hallowell, Maine

We went out to Desi Kitchen in Hallowell, ME. It was a short drive from Shrikant’s place to the restaurant and gave us a chance to see a bit of the area. It was dark so we didn’t get to see much, and unfortunately, this was not a location that we were spending more than one night in. This was as good as it was going to get. It was all we were going to get to see of the area.

We parked on River Street and got to see the local river hangout. It looked like a fun place to have a happy hour drink. If I make it back to the area, I will be doing that. I’m all for any relaxing experience near the water I come across.

We walked down the street to Desi’s Kitchen. It was a pretty small place but it was packed. We patiently waited our turn for a table. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long. That was good because I like to eat and did I mention that I was hungry?

Shrikant was kind enough to walk us through the menu and make some suggestions. Admittedly, I haven’t eaten much Indian food. I’ve had it a few times, but it’s never been my go to. I usually choose Italian or Mexican if I’m stepping outside my American roots. That said, the food did not disappoint.

I highly recommend the Chicken Tikka Marsala and the Lamb Karahi. Both options were excellent. Don’t forget the side of Garlic Naan bread when you’re ordering. Yum Yum Yum. This is exactly what we ordered and it was more than enough for the three of us to share. I was stuffed.

Monopoly Game

Winding Down

We headed back to Shrikant’s apartment and settled in to watch a movie. It was on the screen but no one was paying any attention to it. This was the only night during this trip that we even had a TV turned on with an option to watch. It’s interesting, I find my TV on a lot at home but this adventure showed me that I don’t need it. I don’t even miss it when it’s not there. As I mentioned, we didn’t even really watch it this time. Instead, we were having great conversation that kept us all engaged.

Sleeping surfaces consisted of a bedroom with a twin sized bed and a living room with a futon. The movie, that we weren’t watching, ended and Brandee was ready for bed so she took the bedroom.

She headed to bed while Shrikant and I got out Monopoly Deal. I love games and this was a new one for me so that was fun. We played a few hands, I never did win. It’s a good thing I’m not overly competitive.

Rise and Shine

In the morning Shrikant was up when we said we’d be up. He prepared something of a feast for us for breakfast. After all, it is the most important meal of the day.

If you’re still reading I’m going to let you in on 2 little secrets. This was a great stop. Our host was fantastic. He was kind, respectful and easy to visit with. His home was clean and tidy. Even after leaving, neither of us have any complaints, but this particular stop added a bit of humor into things. It also demonstrates why Couchsurfing isn’t for everyone.

Once we were tucked away in the car, Brandee shared with me that the twin-size “bed” in the bedroom that she slept on was actually a box-spring. There was no mattress.

I thought I was being nice and offering to take the couch for the night. Turns out I was the lucky one and we both had a good laugh out of the situation. When I asked her why she didn’t sleep on the floor instead she said “I didn’t think of it”.

Oh the adventures you can have and the stories you can share if you open yourself up to the experience. We discussed it before we left and decided not to bring an air mattress with us. Having one would have been a great solution for this situation and one I’ll be talking about at a later time.

Pro tip: Unless you’re comfortable sleeping on the floor, it’s always a good idea to bring an air mattress when couchsurfing.

Be sure to stop back next week to see hear more about one of our favorite stops on the trip.

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