Couch Surfing, Montauk!: day 1

Trip Start Oct 30, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Christian's spare floor mattress
What I did
Couch surfed
Partied!
Beach
Sailed in the Atlantic
Almost got arrested by Coast Guard (they got my friends, instead :()

Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, August 1, 2011

What is "couch surfing"?

It says it's a way to "create a better world, one couch at a time" -- a non-profit website where users can find listings around the world of people offering open couches and/or extra beds for travelers looking to crash for a night, without any expense.

Last week, another girl in the newsroom, Katie (who's Australian), asked if I'd be interested in getting out of the city with her for the weekend. Explaining my tightness with finances (having gone upstate for two days last week and then touring the city with family immediately after), she proposed a place, right on the beach that would be absolutely free. A hotel manager had his room listed as a coach surfing location. 

TOTALLY IN

Grabbed a Hampton Jitney bus from Lexington after work, Saturday afternoon. Took about 3 hours to get out there (and it was cold and a little uncomfortable) but made it by 7pm: changing, exploring the sun setting beach in our backyard, and then "partying" with our host Christian, and his several friends. 

I had always wanted to go out to Montauk after seeing the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind" (was an instant, absolute favorite of mine). The scene where they're playing in the snow along the beach or where they meet along the train platform and as well in the train cars. ^_^ It was my complete inspiration for running out to Far Rockaway beach in Queens this past winter, getting to see the ocean shore with snow along its shore (there's a post earlier with many pictures if you haven't seen them).
 
Montauk was gorgeous. Classy, natural, green, quaint, charming. It's an absolute must for exploring for anyone who is able to put a few days (and dollars, finding a hotel room) out there -- notably the summer.
 
Meeting & hanging out with several people who worked there and had been there over the winter, we learned how the population (a coast guard told us) changes from 3,000 to 300,000 people. Another girl (working as a bank teller) said that there's an increased alcoholism rate during the winter as it gets so deserted, especially when people are relying on their summer earnings to get through. She said many people in fact go on welfare or unemployment, like a seasonal relief (no actual idea if this is true, of course).   
 
But for the summer...
The summer was hopping. It was "cool," as Katie and I frequently described it, with late-twenties, early thirties Manhattan-types wondering the streets and bars where live bands filled the air. The beach actually differentiated in seeming more family oriented -- lots of young parents and children, without the snobish, "shut that child up" reaction but, "wow, look how high that boy got on that lifeguard stand."
 
Staying with Christian, being a hotel worker at four different places around Montauk, we had the in at many of the best spots. Our first night he took us to an uber classy club -- kind of resembled a "Bahama Breeze" restaurant or the outside of an Abercrombie and Fitch. Inside, MTV was on the outskirts of one of the dance floors, pointing cameras toward the boxed in mass of dancers who constantly threw and spilled drinks on one another, soaking the dark wood floor and girls' dresses (probably the men's attire too but they weren't the ones who showed any kind reaction to it). 
The men all wore polo shirts, button ups, with leather flip-flops or Sperries ("boat shoes"). The ladies wore heals and dresses. Cocktail attire, but light and flowy for the beach scene.
Outside, lit paper lanterns hung down from giant trees that covered candle lit picnic tables, ping-pong tables, and even a tire swing. People were everywhere.

After dancing for a while inside, Katie and I explored outside here, wondering over to a man who was about to film a "stand up" in front of his camera and crew.
Katie approached him.
"Can I be in your standup?" she asked
"My standup?" the man either didn't know what she was referring to or was surprised she knew what that was.
"Yes," she responded, suggesting that she could even be interviewed if he needed someone to interview. 
"I want it for my reel," she told me on the side.
The man wasn't interested, but still lightly acknowledged her.
She asked them who they were reporting for. I didn't hear but they did converse for a moment more. 
"Well I work for CNN," Katie told them.
"You work for CNN," the man repeated with a laugh, looking away from her and back toward his camera.

^_^ Loved it. 

Pulled Katie away and that's when we met Russell and Matt. Two amazingly attractive, tall men, chatting in a group toward the middle of the garden. Both from Manhattan, out in Montauk at a house they had rented for the month. Things came together as they so happened, and they and their friends became additions to the rest of our night, hopping, however, to the next place in town, "The Memory Motel" (which yes is a motel, but none of us stayed the night there -- it's in fact better known as a crazy, wild dance scene. (Which I should have taken pictures of the next day after it was all cleaned up. Was amazing how many people fit in such a small place -- both in and out). 

Wonderful, incredibly fun time. Made it back to our room by 4:30, I think someone said. Had hoped for at least 2am so we could hit the beach by morning, but 4:30 ended up not being so bad after all...
 
Day two of trip to come!!!
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