Warning: there is a lot of “then I did this and then I did that” in this story, but hey, at least you can read all the things that I did! A little bit of Dutch but the rest is in English.
In Newark was ik bij Franklin in huis. Hij vroeg me waar ik heen ging en gaf de suggestie om een tussenstop in Baltimore te maken. Ik vond dat een goed idee en paste mijn Couchsurfprofiel aan. Niet veel later kreeg ik een bericht van Henrik, een Deense jongen die samen met Ruby, een Australische meid die hij via Couchsurfing ontmoette, naar Baltimore te rijden en vroeg of ik mee wilde.
Een dag later ontmoetten we elkaar en reden we dwars door het drukke Manhattan richting het westen. Ruby had al een host gevonden via Couchsurfing met haar vrouwelijke charme. Samen met Héctor gingen we Baltimore downtown in om de coole haven te bekijken. Henrik en ik hadden niets kunnen vinden en besloten om AirBnB te doen. Voor mij was het de eerste keer dat ik via AirBnB ergens zou verblijven. Het huis waar we aankwamen rond middernacht was simpel en niet echt schoon. We verbaasden ons over het vet in de keuken en de matrassen zonder hoes. Anyway, het was te laat om de eigenaar te bellen en we legden ons er maar bij neer.
De volgende dag gingen we op weg naar Washington, DC.. Roadtrip, yeah! We stopten bij een vet coole supermarkt, genaamd “Mom’s Organic Market”. We kregen er gratis hele goede koffie, ijsthee en water voor onderweg.
Switching to English
“This has made my day already,” Ruby said and that meant that we did not have to be afraid of screwing up the rest of the day. The day before we tried to buy food at a service station but we could not find anything edible in the midst of soda’s, fast food, snacks with all sorts of crappy ingredients, so we were super happy. I remember the look on Henrik’s face when he tried to eat the sandwich he bought there for 7 dollars. “It is a bit dry,” he said. I started to laugh and felt is was somewhat of an understatement.
We arrived in Washington, DC – where I wanted to stay the night – rather quickly and found ourselves parking for 17 dollars. Ruby went her way to see the monuments and Henrik and I went to the National Air and Space Museum. There were so many museums there and they were all free. It was so cool! I saw the Wright brother’s first ‘airplane’ and many more things. Around noon we had our garlic bread with humus that we brought and after that I sat in front of the Capitol to read a book that a friend of mine gave me written by an former religious guy that ended up in the Big Brother house in the UK.
I actually got hooked by the book and I ended up all emotional because the story resonated so much. I did not want to change that experience for any cool museum or visit to whatever monument! While reading I started wondering why I was worried about my next destination or about anything. I felt truly supported and loved; it was really a cool moment and worry did not seem an appropriate feeling. At the same time, I just knew I where I wanted to go tonight and how: to Richmond by bus or by train. So, I got myself a ticket for the Antrak train. Ruby and Henrik dropped me at the beautiful Union train station in Washington.
There I was, sitting in the train passing beautiful lakes and forest. I would have never seen this if I’d hitchhiked! I still did not have a place to stay and decided to get stressed about it, haha. I sent some requests through couchsurfing but at the same time the wifi and 3G connection let me down. That is what I thought. Actually, they helped me to enjoy the view but it was kinda hard to acknowledge that, so I missed some of the enjoyment that could have been mine.
I decided to relax and that was such a better place to be in. What could I do? Stress would not help me get a bed. What the heck, I can sleep anywhere, can’t I? Not long after that I got a message from a guy that I could stay at their place. (Later, he told me that he saw that I had hosted other people in my own house and wanted to return the favor.) But then, I found something else to worry about. I got the train to the wrong station! It would take 2 hours to get there by bus and a taxi would be damn expensive! Oh boy. My host suggested I would take an Uber which would cost me about 20 dollars.
I tried to install the Uber app myself so that I could get my first free ride but both internet connections would not let me. Again, I missed being relaxed and enjoying my train ride! In the end, I decided I would ask an Indian looking guy across to me to see where they would go and if I could go with him. He explained the whole Uber thing to me and let me on his 4G connection to download the app. About 10 minutes before the train would arrive I ordered my first own Uber ride and it was a cool experience! I chatted with the driver who had just started driving for Uber.
I arrived at the small house where a lot of people where hanging out. I felt I came into the middle of a small community. I had nice talks with the guys later that night and the next morning. I left my bag at my place to explore the city. Travis, a friend from Virginia Beach would pick up me and my luggage later that night in Richmond and we would travel to his house in Virginia Beach. Sitting in a coffee bar, I read and enjoyed the rest of my book. Just before I was about the leave, a guy came in, ordered a drink and started to read a book. He looked like a traveler. When I headed out I asked him if he was from around. He was not and we ended up chatting. He read a book from a guy that I know and that was a surprise. We had some cool conversations while we walked to the train station where he would take his bus.
Around 8PM my friend arrived together with his girlfriend and we got to a very cool part of Richmond, called Carrytown. It had a great looking theater (www.byrdtheatre.com) which was actually a cinema and many cool shops. We ate some burito’s at a great Mexican place (www.dontlookbackrva.com). Our waiter was a guy with the longest and craziest cool dark hair curls I have ever seen! We arrived at the house exhausted and late.
The next few days I would explore some malls, stay in the house, watch some cool YouTube videos, went out for lunch at Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, made potatoes, vegetables and meat (very Dutch), pizza and sandwiches. We watched Ex Machina, visited Norfolk where we ended up in a video rental shop with video’s from every era and country. The place was packed with movies!
Tomorrow, very early in the morning, we will drive out to Charlotte, about five hours away. Travis and his girlfriend told me they love Charlotte and thought about driving me up there and hanging out there. Wow! Did not hitchhike a single mile, yet! So cool.