Thursday, November 29, 2012

Denver: Surviving the Storm

Shortly after Jordan and I had high-tailed it out of Kansas (or should I say Missouri?), he got yet another yes from a host, named Sam. Jordan claimed that it was because of his request, whose first line read "SAM SAM YOU'RE OUR MAN!"

Sam said that although he already had another surfer at his apartment for the next few nights, he was going to make an exception for us because of the enthusiastic request and that we were both feminists. This just kept getting better and better. Now the only problem was that we now had two yes' and one decision to make.

"Says who?" said Jordan. "We are staying in Denver for two nights– why not stay with Constance for tonight and Sam tomorrow night?"

Why not indeed? 

So in the end we decided that that was the best choice and also would allow us to get two different perspectives of Denver. When we had been planning the stops for the road trip, we settled on going the longer route to the mile high city because of all the great things that we had heard. The few extra miles would be worth it, we agreed.

Now if you are ever unfortunate enough to make the drive from Kansas City to Denver, I would just like to warn you that it is the most uneventful thing that that you will ever witness. Seriously, it should be considered a form of torture.

After our 47th Cracker Barrel billboard and yet another endless stretch of prairie lands, Jordan and I were getting manic. It got to the point that Jordan started to take Instagram shots of the little Chinese baby that was on the to-go bag from lunch.

Yep. This happened...several times. 

Then came the storm.

We had switched off by then and Jordan was behind the wheel when we started to realize that the clouds ahead of us were beginning to look suspiciously dark. I checked the Weather Channel radar on my phone and we were heading straight into the red zone.

"Shit," I said, just as it started pouring cats and dogs. There was lightening striking from all four corners, the thunder was deafening and I was clutching onto my dashboard monk for dear life. I tried to say words of encouragement to Jordan, but they came out as more of whimpering sounds. Thankfully, Jordan pulled it together for both of us and remained calm throughout the entire experience– even when we couldn't see two feet in front of the car.
The entire storm lasted about 15 to 20 minutes, but it seemed like a lifetime. I was convinced that we were going to die and we weren't even halfway across the country. It was almost (key word here is "almost") worth it however, to see the sun setting after the storm. It was the most mesmerizing thing I had ever seen. It was like seeing the wrath of Zeus and the beauty of Aphrodite back to back.

Going into the storm and then the aftermath. 

By the time we reached Denver, it was dark and Jordan had just got in contact with Constance to get her address. We picked up some beer on the way to her house, as a nice welcoming present.

Constance met us in her parking garage and she was the exact image of her picture. She had this great smile and radiated warmth so that you instantly made felt at home, especially from a long drive.

We hauled our stuff to her apartment, which she lived in with her boyfriend Nick. Constance said that we were Nick's first experience to Couchsurfing, and that he was a little shy and quiet. She, however, turned out to be the mother of CS in Denver and proceeded to tell us all about the community they had in the city.

The Couchsurfers in Denver were all very close knit, apparently, and as a group they all participated in regular mixers and outings to meet and interact with new people. Constance herself had just hosted a CS "girl's night" where they made facial scrubs and did their nails.
Jordan and I had not yet explored this part of the CS website and thought that it was fascinating that you could join a group online and have all its members function as a family. 
We were quickly beginning to realize that CS was way more than just a forum– it was a community of people with similar beliefs and philosophies. The reason that I liked the concept of Couchsurfing so much was because it dispelled all taboos of the "stranger danger" idea and flipped it upside down. It taught us to welcome strangers with open arms; it was way more than just opening up your couch to someone– it was teaching people to trust each other again.

Constance, Nick, Jordan and I sat at their dining room table, drank the beer that we brought and smoked hookah while exchanging thoughts on Couchsurfing, Denver and what it had to offer. Constance even got so excited that she started writing down a list of things that we had to do before we left, starring the ones that were the "musts" and color-coding the ones that had good food.

Constance's list of things to do in Denver. 

It was getting late and Constance had to work early the next morning. She made sure we had all the pillows and blankets we needed, and Jordan and I settled onto her two comfortable couches.

"Just knock on my bedroom door if you need anything," she said after she bid us goodnight.
Jordan and I looked at each other and reveled in our luck at having three great hosts in a row.

This is the life. 

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