Couch Surfing in Mendoza, Argentina – Gone Wrong

My FIRST time using couch surfing didn’t go the way I planned!

So, I decided to try something new, maybe learn a little bit more, and meet a local while saving some money as well. I contacted him in Chile, he accepted my request, and when I left for Mendoza, I felt very secure and safe about it. When I arrived in the bus terminal 9 hours later, I contacted him again that I had arrived. He gave me his address to his house, and I took a taxi. I had arrived.

DAY 1

Everything seemed well when I met him. Although the first red-flag was this: I entered his apartment and one bed, and an extra bed frame with no mattress. I also saw no couch, but I thought to myself no worries. I am sure he has an idea for me, like the floor or something.

 

The man who was 29 or 30 I think, gave me a small night tour around the city, we ate empanadas and had a beer, and he mentioned after one glass he was feeling a little tipsy. That was the first comment that sounded “flirty” to me. At this moment I was starting to receive hints of him being gay. ***I SUPPORT GAYS 100 PERCENT***

When we arrived back his place at around 11pm, he invited a friend over. His friend was tall, curly hair and extremely awkward. He was nice, but just kind of awkward. We finally broke the awkward moments in the room when we started talking about famous Argentinian music. The next part was a little strange.

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They noticed I was sleepy from my travels, and while we were drinking wine, they both kept urging me to go fall asleep on the bed, but I did not feel comfortable at this time with his friend there and only having one bed. So I politely declined, and with time, my host finally said that he was going to take a taxi back with his friend -which I did not understand why. *** Another weird thing – He took his portable wifi with him leaving me with NO SERVICE AND NO WIFI. 

There I sat waiting for my host’s return without any internet, service, and clueless of what is happening.

-20 minutes or so later-

My host returned, we drank another glass of wine, and we decided to get ready for bed -this is where it gets really weird.

So, he tells me that he has no place for me to sleep, BUT I can share his [small] bed. Well, like I stated before, I am not against gay people, but I really do not feel comfortable sharing a bed with a stranger. Maybe with a gay friend, but I just met this dude. Anyway, so I came up with an excuse that I move around a lot in my sleep and swing my arms constantly so I did not want to hit him. I asked if I could have a blanket and sleep on the floor.

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He took a few a seconds for my words to process with him. He became furious with me for refusing his offer of sleeping in his bed. I became quite anxious of the situation and did not expect anything like it. He told me that he did not want to be a bad host, and that he INSISTED that I sleep with him in his bed. I told him no repeatedly, and asked for a blanket. With time, he finally gave me a blanket and I slept on the cold floor, but I would rather sleep on the floor any day rather than a stranger.

After laying on the ground for maybe 10 minutes, he asked me, “Why are you furious with me”? I told him that I did not feel comfortable and was not upset with him (incredibly uncomfortable). To be honest, I was a little afraid to fall asleep that night, but thankfully nothing happened.

DAY 2

I woke up normally with everything intact (lol). He told me I could shower, and then we would eat. I showered, and it was strange, the area was incredibly open, which was a little uncomfortable, but it was whatever, it his place and he is offering me his place -so I thought more positively and gratefully (also because it is free).

We started the morning buying breakfast, which were some Mendoza cookies and breads. He took me to the big San Martin Park with some beautiful areas. He introduced me to Mate,20180721_111110_HDR a famous infusion of yerba (not marijuana) and hot water. It is a very bitter drink, but I loved it. I will write a separate blog about Mate alone. The most comparable drink is like a special tea without a teabag, and a straw that filters out the material. It was a really relaxing morning, and I enjoyed it a lot as the sun was shining over the man-made lake and a cool breeze was coming in.

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Later, we went around the city and we climbed Cerro de la Gloria. We had a good time climbing, chatting, and me learning about his city. On top of the Cerro is a large monument of San Martin. San Martin is a famous figure who helped liberate many of the South American countries – although there is some controversy on this. Also on the top are beautiful views of smaller mountain ranges around the city. You can see some vineyards, little towns, a little poverty, and land land land. Many people climb this and drink mate with their family and watch the sunset. We slowly climbed down, and watched the sunset. This is where it got weird again.

He was taking pictures of me, and he kept commenting on my legs. He continued telling me that my legs were so sexy. Although I am flattered that someone likes my legs, I didn’t receive the comments well. I was quite uncomfortable, and told him that was enough of pictures.

When we returned home, he THEN tells me I can have his SECOND mattress to use on my bed frame. So I place the mattress on my bed frame a little peeved that I did not have this mattress the day before. While I was laying in my new comfy bed, he kept telling me not to look so sexy and the way I did, or he would have to come and join me in my bed. Wooh, that was really really uncomfortable and I made the decision the next day, I would leave without a doubt.

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He told me he had to work the next day, so I could explore the city by myself with his keys to his apartment. That was fine by me, so at this moment I decided against my previous decision and stay as long as I could since he had to work. No host, no problems…right?

Wrong.

Day 3

The day started roughly at 5am. He woke up to get ready, and I was awake from his alarm. When he finally was ready to leave his apartment, he approached me. Out of respect, I reached my arm out to shake his hand.

This. Is. The. Turning. Point. 

He grabs my hand, and he pulls me in for a KISS. Argentinians kiss once and sometimes twice on the cheek men and women, but the thing is, he was trying for my lips. I quickly turned my head and he planted a fat one on my cheek. I think he tried this move because I was still groggy from sleeping. I was a deer in headlights. I did not know how to respond, or what I should do. I just sat there. He said goodbye, blew me another kiss, and he left. I waited for five minutes, made sure he was out of sight, and I packed my stuff and left. ME FUI!

The thing is, I still had his keys. I did not have the audacity to leave them in his apartment with his apartment open, but I still had to give them back.

I told him I left for good, and he was sad and upset. He wanted me to return his keys at his apartment at night. I told him absolutely not. We ended up meeting in a public park to…do the exchange haha. I gave him the keys, and no worries. I found a hostel that night and everything was great.

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He then continued texting me to see if I was staying with another couch surfer or a hostel. I told him it wasn’t his problem..He persisted, I ignored. Things were fine.

Until 5 days later……

Day 8 – the final day in Mendoza 

I was leaving for the bus terminal via taxi, when he was standing there in front of the hostel!!!!! He found me and the hostel!! Thank GOD I was leaving! Woooooh. He was paying for everything, and would not accept any type of payment or offering from me, which worried me. I have a big feeling he wanted something else from me in return for his “nice” hospitality.

………

I left him a terrible review, and he denied it. He told me that I was the one coming onto him. If you stay in Mendoza via couch surfing, please message me and I will tell you who he is to avoid him. But I am leaving his name out of this post, because I do not know if I am legally able to say anything bad about him. Either way, be careful out there, and I know that many people have had wonderful experiences with Couch Surfing, and I still want to keep trying with Couch Surfing, because it honestly is a wonderful traveling app.

Either way, I had a great time in Mendoza despite this experience.

next post will be all about what I did and how my experiences were in a fun and positive manner. Check it out next time about the best things to do in Mendoza, especially in the off season!

Thanks for checking in!

Cheers,

Worldwide Chris

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Taking a bus from Santiago to Mendoza – Conflicts, Views, and Tips!

When I travel, I always have some type of “plan”, but I always know things happen to get in the way of the “plan” so I am always ready to be flexible with what happens. I read up a lot on if it was worth buying a bus ticket from Santiago de Chile to Mendoza, Argentina during July. For those of you who do not know, this is the wintering months of this area. In the Andes, there is a lot of snow that can potentially block the pass to cross, so I was going to gamble it. I read so much that the bus trip was worth it due to the views, so I absolutely did not want to miss out.

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The original plan was to stay in Santiago for no more than three days. Well (spoiler alert), I stayed much longer than three days. I actually was silly when I was purchasing my tickets. My first ticket I purchased, I was so excited I did not realize that I bought a ticket FROM Mendoza TO Santiago…..You think I would have learned after getting scammed in at the airport that I would be more attentive…. Anyway! I had to refund it, which I had no problems.

So I bought a new ticket for the following day. I woke up, went to the station, and they told me the pass was closed. I was a little upset, but I knew about this. Went back to my hostel to buy another two nights, as I wanted to recuperate myself. When I tried to get a refund for this ticket, they initially declined my request. They said it wasn’t their fault the pass was closed off with snow, and therefore couldn’t refund me.

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With a lot of fighting, I finally got my refund, and I bought another ticket two days later for Friday. Previously, the bus company that gave me my refund gave me a phone number to check with the status of the pass to see if it would be open or not that day. However, I was checking on Twitter if the El Paso de los Liberadores was open or not. I highly recommend checking this site, if you are traveling during the winter months (June-August), the worst month being July (when I went).  This Twitter account keeps constant updates of the conditions up the pass, and can help you determine what day to buy a ticket! But hurry! The tickets are bought very quickly, as you are not the only person with this issue.

The trip itself

When the time finally came, I was so jacked to being going to Argentina. The bus ride through the Andes to Mendoza lasted about 8 to 9 hours, and let me tell you. It was the most incredible bus ride I have ever been on!!

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The photos I am posting, do not give it justice by any means, but here are some that you can take a look at.

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The mountains were all covered in white lush snow. We passed a few ski areas along the way passing the overhanging chairlifts from above, and we continued up the switchback mountain for what felt like forever.

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CUSTOMS

Arriving at customs was quite a surprise for me as it went much quicker than expected. I read that it can take up to three of four hours, but in my case, it took a maximum of two! I got my passport stamped, even though I forgot my slip that I received in Chile showing when I entered the country, but the lady at the desk was very understanding that I did not know I needed it. She smiled, stamped my passport, and said buen viaje!

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Goodbye Chile

Next step was to check my backpack with the officials. I entered a small enclosed room with about 5 Argentinean officials. They were semi intimidating as they pointed to backpacks and said “ABRELA” (open it) in a strong voice. I told them, that I only had my backpack, and this huge man pats me on the back and says, “only that bag?” and he basicallllly says “go on a head, you are good with a smile”. I mean, I could have been smuggling anything, and he didn’t even check! (For the record, I didn’t smuggle anything – I’m not like that). ****I do not condone trying smuggling either – they checked a lot of other people’s bags***

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I sat on the bus and waited for everyone else to finish up their inspection, and onward we went on the Argentina soil!!!

With a few more hours through the Andes and out of the Andes, I arrived in Mendoza, to share with you my next and unforgettable story that you will not want to miss out on. The next story I will share with you a bad experience couch surfing, and what I did to escape an uncomfortable situation!

Thanks for reading, until next time!

Cheers,

Worldwide Chris

5 reasons why I loved Santiago de Chile!

Has somebody ever told you not to do something because something is boring, not fun, not worth it or something along those lines, and then you do it and it was the best decision ever? That is how I feel about the city of Santiago in Chile. I originally was only planning on going to Argentina for my five week trip, but I found that taking a flight to Chile was cheaper proceeding by bus to Argentina. However, everything I read on the internet advised me not to go to Santiago because it “didn’t offer anything fun or worth it”. Well, I found that to be the most untrue claim, and I feel in love with Santiago, ESPECIALLY THE MOUNTAINOUS SKYLINE OF THE ANDES ❤ 

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  • The city was simply beautiful

Walking the chilly streets of Providencia with leaves falling from the trees giving me a nice memory of the back where I live in Wisconsin but in a city feel. Walking down the streets with elongated city buses zooming by giving me a more relaxed feel of New York or Minneapolis (More of Minneapolis I would say). The streets were fairly clean with almost no garbage laying around. The people all looked nice in their suits and warm clothes and would smile upon giving your own out. The tall modernized looking buildings arched in the sky towering over you.

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  • Cerro San Cristobol in El Parque Bicentenario

A giant park resided north of my hostel which was only a 40 minute walk, so I went to explore on an early morning. It was Sunday, and everyone was walking, jogging, biking, with family and friends and having a relaxed wonderful Sunday morning. This park has so much to offer. This park has its famous Cerro San Cristobol where you can pray, meditate, and have a great view of the city. Also this park has skate parks, a swimming pool, a cable car to take you up and/or down the mountain with spectacular views. Here I met two Chileans listening to a Venezuelan rapper. We hung out and spent time exploring the park and are still in contact today. I hiked through the woods, ran into wild dogs, and even found a botanical garden.

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This park literally has so much to do, and you can spend hours here taking in the sights of the city and enjoying it alone or with good company! Bring your significant other, bring your friends, and have a good time and a picnic! They also have biking classes, exercise classes and other live events!

  • The friendships I made > expected

Out of my whole trip for 5 weeks, I met the coolest and most memorable and kindest people in Santiago. The majority were Brazilians studying Spanish. We shared a hostel in Providencia called Egali. By far was the coolest hostel I have stayed in, in terms of amazing people and atmosphere.

I would come home from exploring the city and people would be people hanging outside smoking, listening to music, drinking wine, and having a good time and always looking for people to join them. When I first arrived to the hostel, a lot of the stores around were closed and I had pretty much no food. A Venezuelan living at the hostel made me dinner that night (I made sure I returned the favor), but he made it without any hesitation.

Not only were there Brazilians, but people from France, who I went skiing with! I also met two people from the United States who were incredibly chill an interesting to talk to. Those two were almost the only people from the United States I met until I got to Buenos Aires, Argentina. After leaving the hostel to go to Mendoza, Argentina, we all swapped numbers and Instagram accounts to stay in touch. Most of them and I still talk here in there almost two months from meeting them. Those times in Santiago were some of the most memorable times of my trip simply due to the people!

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  • Museums, Monuments, Parks,

This city is packed with museums, monuments and parks. People say to only visit here for a few days and nothing more, but honestly I would love to stay there for a month to explore more and see more! Every block has some kind of park that has it;s own character. There was an interactive museum I wanted to go, but heard wonderful things about. There are also interesting looking historical monuments and places located near Plaza de Armas.

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  • Transportation is SOOOOO easy

The Metro/Subway is so easy to work. There are only 5 lines to choose from, and they are all so so soooo easy to figure out. And, if you are not comfortable with figuring it out, the officers and workers are incredibly helpful and will take their time to explain it to you without any type of rush! They helped me a little bit when I was first starting, but I get confused with subways as I am from the country. However, after they taught me which way was which – it was a piece of cake! 🙂

 

Likewise with their buses. They have maps and numbers that tell you where each bus has to go. When I was trying to catch my bus to Mendoza, Argentina the subway was closed at 6am. So I asked someone about the buses on the street in hopes they were not creepy, and they told me how it worked, I grabbed 102 and boom. I arrived  at the central station to catch my bus!

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Needless to say, Santiago has a special place in my heart. I will always be grateful for my experiences in Santiago, the places I went, the places I have seen, and of course the people I met! I remember leaving at 5am from my hostel, and while the sun was rising, I could see the sun behind the mountains shining and casting this orange glow over the mountain range. That moment in my life created a memorable image that will never escape my mind. It was a shame I could not take a picture of it, but I will forever keep that in my mind.

Thank you Santiago, maybe one day I will be back to visit and see more of you and the rest of the country of Chile ❤

Cheers,

Wordwide Chris