Pictured: Jaime Bellos, Patrick Krips and Sam Singh in Edinburgh, Scotland.
We left Morocco to head to Dublin to meet my friend Jaime Bellos. Jaime and I met in undergraduate during our freshman year at MSU. He lived with a friend of mine from elementary school in the dorms and we became fast friends. Our schedules in Michigan have been so hectic over the years; we have actually spent more time with each other overseas than in the US. We have made trips to England, Spain, Greece, Jamaica and now we have added Ireland and Scotland.
Patrick and I arrived at the hostel at the same time Jaime was checking. Because it was Saturday night we decided to hit the town. Since neither had been there before, I took them to the Temple Bar area to show them the madness. On a Saturday night, Temple Bar is taken over by rowdy hen and stag parties- the equivalent to what we Americans call bachelor and bachelorette parties. At every watering hole, you would find at least one group that was making a stop through. Most groups have some type of theme ranging from matching t-shirts and hats to more elaborate costumes including my favorite of a group of 15 guys all dressed up as women in high heels.
At one of our stops we met two people, Robbie and Jennie, who were visiting Dublin as part of legal librarian conference. We started discussing the sites and sharing our stories. As soon as I mentioned that we were heading to Edinburgh next, Jennie offered to put our group up for a night or two at her apartment. Jennie is a member, as am I, of a web phenomenon called Couchsurfing.com. Couchsurfing.com was created to connect travelers with those who live in the community that they are visiting. A member if they have time and are willing to host, can meet people for coffee, show the visitor around town or put them up at their house. It uses a similar rating system as e-bay to rate the person hosting and the person visiting. It is not a perfect platform but my friends that have used it have had good experiences. I had the opportunity to host a recent MSU alum at my house last year. Justin “Bugsy” Sailor was heading back to Michigan after going on a fifty state journey. He documented his journey on a website called the Hometown Invasion.
I told Jennie that we would call her when we were heading to Edinburgh and if she was still willing, we would then cancel our hostel and stay with her. She visited the website for "Singh Around the World" and it added a level of comfort for her and we stayed with her for two nights. She was a great host and we appreciate her kindness.
Pictured: Our host Jennie Findlay and Jaime Bellos.