It’s 6 AM and the neighborhood roosters are starting their routines. It doesn’t phase me as the neighborhood dogs were barking throughout the night. I’m staying with a wonderful Couchsurfing host named Marie. I wish more people couch experience Couchsurfing. After I graduated college my best friend and I packed our bags and went abroad for 5 months. Before we left a friend of ours told us about this new social network for travelers, called Couchsurfing. All over the world there are millions of people who are apart of this community that love traveling, meeting new people, and learning from new cultures. Before you get to a new place, get on Couchsurfing, search for people in that city, read their profile to learn a bit about them, and see if you could surf their couch. Sometimes it’s just a couch, or floor space, others its a spare bedroom. More than the shelter for the night, it’s an opportunity to meet wonderful people.
The home I’m staying at in Guaymas is a lovely place that Marie has built by herself over the years. The property has beautiful gardens, trees, and 3 dogs, 4 cats, and a few turtles. Marie has taken all of these animals in off the streets which usually requires nursing them back to health.
After having a cup of coffee Marie and I walk downtown to do some shopping and get breakfast. She has a scooter that blew a fuse so we set off to find a replacement. We visited several shops and finally found the one she needed. I don’t know how this shop owner can find anything in here, but somehow he does.
Marie has lived here for 18 years and she’s such a friendly person that everywhere we went people were stopping to greet us. We stopped by her friends restaurant in a cafeteria for breakfast. We sat down and she suggested I have a bowl of Birria, a Mexican stew made of pork and spices. It’s served either as a taco or as a soup. The flavors in this little bowl were incredible. Don’t forget to add some fresh lime juice, cilantro, and onion to complete the flavor.
That afternoon I thought I should try to get my vehicle import permit sorted out. Marie gave me directions on a piece of scrap paper and I set out to find the Audana (customs office). If you follow my Spot tracker you’ll see I did a few circles this afternoon. Just going off the map she gave me I found myself on the highway but out in the middle of nowhere. I was sure I had missed it somehow. So I turned around. I stopped a gas station and asked “cuantos kilometers a aduanua” He replied “tres kilometers” So off I went again. After going 4 kilometers I decided he didn’t know what he was talking about and that the building with all the trucks stopped at it must be it. So I turned around. I pulled into the parking lot and asked the guard at the gate where I could get Temporary Vehiculo permit. He said “cinco kilometers” up the road on the right. Where google maps when you need it! I got back on my bike and rode south, 5 kilometers passed but I thought the guard was so official and confident in his answer that he couldn’t be wrong. 7km passed and I see a sign for vehiculos permits. The building looks deserted but thankfully there was a car in the parking lot. After getting copies of my title and passport, paying the $59 fee and the $400 deposit, I had my Temp Import Permit! Now I just have to remember to check my vehicle out of the country when I leave so I get my deposit back. No one else seemed to know you could get your TVIP that far south in Sonora but you can! There were a few moments were I thought I might have to drive all the way north to the border at Douglas. But now I’m all set.
It’s a Saturday night and Marie asked if I’d like to go to the beach town of San Carlos to hang with some of her friends. We stopped at the convince store to pick up some drink and snacks, and to my surprise they sell Peace Tea here! I can’t even find Peace Tea everywhere in the US. Peace Tea Razzleberry is my preferred high sugary fake tea of choice. $ .99 of refreshment.
We hung out on the beach drinking cervezas then went back to her friends condo where they made quesadillas and we watched La Voz, Mexico’s The Voice. I had never seen the show in the US but it was entertaining. Her friends gave me some Spanish tips. It’s not quesadilla, it’s que-SA-dIYA! They told me that Sonora girls are known for talking with a lot of authority and spunk. I think they’re the equivalent of New Jersey/Philly/New York girls.
The pictures are wonderful! Marie seems like a wonderful host!
Brad and I should host a couchsurfer, but how do we know if they’re going to be cool or not? Looks like you had fun with Marie! Is she retired? That bowl of food looks delicious!
Dan Ford says
Jaime, sign up for Couchsurfing. Just create an account. Fill it out. Add me as a friend. I’ll be your first reference. You can see people’s before surfing/hosting with them.
I just know you were an excellent guest as well. Glad there are many people like Marie willing to share their space and their time. I’d say you are off to a great start on this your biggest adventure yet!
Glad the trip is going well Danné! I bet that soup was good, but you know my thoughts on that already! haha
Good journeys to you mañana! Keep up the great blog too!
Oh Señor Ford!
Bobby Klein says
That soup looked soooo good! The house looked awesome as well.
Sheena Souza says
I like Marie :)
Hey, sounds like you made a long report about me :) jajajaja — Hope this trip will bring you answers ….. Take care and enjoy :)
Kris Liebsch says
Do you happen to know if Marie is still Hosting on Couchsurfing? I have just registered and looked to see if she is still there, but did not find one named Marie. I am looking to visit Guaymas later this summer. How do you obtain a reference without having used the Couchsurfing service before.
Thanks for your help.
Dan Ford says
One thing you can do now that you’ve just registered is look for events in your community posted on Couchsurfing. Meet other CSers then you can start getting and posting references. You could also try looking for other CSers in your area and ask if they want to hang out, go for a motorcycle ride, or other things. It’s a community that’s about more than a couch, and there’s plenty to get involved with. Good luck on your travels!