Hamburger at 2am! So good!
Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
84Trip End Jul 06, 2011
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Where I stayed
Couchsurfed with Amber Hood
The first bus I take on this crazy 18 hour journey has wifi. However, it's not long before I'm dropped off somewhere in Texas at 1am to wait for a connection...........at least I have some new music to listen to.
Day 130 May 13 - There were 4 further changes and a 4 hour lay over in a place in Arkansas called Fort Smith. I have no idea where I am, for those who have ever taken Greyhound in the USA, I'm happy to leave the bus station and wander around Fort Smith. My dream is to find a diner, similar to Percy's in MA, or Hollywood Diner on 15th st Ave of Americas in NYC, a breakfast menu, refill coffee, my mouth is salivating as I walk around the city. Not only did I get some music off Claire, I have also downloaded some Dane Cook comedy sets. So as I'm walking around Fort Smith, people would have seen a ginger gringo laughing to himself or holding a large grin!
Sadly, after 30 minutes of walking around, I find no diner, instead I find a Subway and I resort to a sandwich seeing as they had wifi as well. I need to contact future couchsurfing hosts, figure out my itinerary, and find someone for Salt Lake City, as my host has pulled out.
Ready to put a gun to my head, my final connection to Little Rock is late but when it eventually turns up, I'm only two hours away. The plan was to spend the previous night in Little Rock, wander around Little Rock during the day then hang out with Amber in the evening. But, the Mississippi river prevented that from happening!
At last, after over 18 hours of travelling and connecting I reach the bus station in Little Rock. I wait outside the front door near the taxi rank, a car pulls up and a brightly lit ginger haired girl looks at me and asks 'Tony?' I reply, 'Amber?', 'No, I'm Jessica!'.......then another head leans out and exclaims, 'I'm Amber!'. Amber drops Jessica back at her place of work and Amber and I head for her place to drop off my bags.
She lives in a small apartment in a large townhouse style building. Like other couchsurfers, she has basic cable, she only has TV for netflix and doesn't have Internet. Amber works at a shelter in Little Rock. She helps people that have had a rough time, get back up on their feet and find employment. The job is rewarding but the pay is not, but she is happy and that is what matters the most.
We are having dinner at one of Amber's friends, so we head to a supermarket to grab some beer. I get carded, I want to hug the guy, but then have to try explain my pink driving licence, with the accent, I charm my way into being allowed to purchase the beers. On the drive to dinner, Amber tells me a little of the history of Little Rock, with some civil rights issues back in 1957 where the governor and some irate whites tried to prevent nine African American students from attending Central High School. The federal government finally intervened, sending in the army.
We arrive at the house of Jake, Ben and Shaun. We eat dinner on the back porch while watching their crazy dog Oren chase a ball. The food is vegetarian and tasty. This house also hosts couchsurfers, they tell me of a story of a guy who had left the army, lived in Little Rock but kept moving from couchsurfer to couchsurfer, eventually the community realised what the cheeky guy was doing. It's not within the spirit of couchsurfing to use the site as a freeloading place.
Amber and I leave this house and head to a party. Two guys are leaving town, and are having a party to celebrate leaving but to also get rid of their stuff. It was a fun party, I drank some beers, chatted to some random people, played flip cup, unsuccessfully the first time, but I got better. After a couple of hours, Jake strolls up to me for a chat and says to me 'you know we're the only two straight people in the place?', I didn't know that but it didn't really matter. I talked to the fiery red haired Jessica some more and then the party fizzles out and we head to midtown to play some pool. The weird thing in Little Rock most bars and clubs close at a certain time, but if you are holding a private function, you can stay open. I guess playing pool is a private function?? The Midtown pool hall was awesome! We grab a table with a guy in a wheelchair. He looks like Tom Cruise from Born on the 4th July, but more grey and probably taller than Tom Cruise. We play doubles, my wheelchair friend is terrible but has a knack for potting the black when needed. We play a few games and you can even order a burger at 2am at this place. I wait patiently at the bar, catch some baseball results and enjoy a very tasty burger. Amber orders one too. I meet some more couchsurfers, listen to a live band and overall, have a very fun night!
Amber drops me off at hers as some of her drunk friends shared a car to the party we were at, but the designated driver was too drunk to drive again. Amber being the gracious and generous person she is, is more than happy to go find them and help them out.
I retire to the small sofa and enjoy a good nights sleep.
Miles Walked 0.65
Day 131 May 14 - I have a bus at 11am for Dallas. Amber and I head out to grab some breakfast before I have to board the bus. We park in downtown and head to a cool little market area where you can breakfast from various vendors. I grab some eggs with toast and an iced coffee. It's a shame that I didn't spend longer in Little Rock, I really enjoyed Amber's company. She is very laid back, lots of fun to be around and I enjoyed chatting to her the previous night and all throughout breakfast. She is planning to be in London for the Olympics so hopefully our paths will cross again.
We stroll out of the market area, I get to have a quick glance of the river that flows through Little Rock before I am whisked back to the bus station and am off on my way to Dallas. It's at this point where I hear Man Utd picked up a point at Blackburn and have subsequently become Premiership Champions. I'm very keen to see the other results, I head three different fantasy leagues and with only two round of fixtures left, I'm keen to know if I've picked up some more points.
The road to Dallas, was brief but some young lad from Kentucky was unable to control the excitement of his first bus journey and constantly elbowed me and prodded me with his knees!!