Couchsurfing Rookies

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Couchsurfed at Azareth & Daniel's casa

Flag of Mexico  , Baja California,
Saturday, December 3, 2011

After a painstaking 24 hours, door-to-door-across-the-sea-and-far-away, we were happy to finally reach our destination. We were even happier when warmly welcomed into the home of Azareth and Daniel, our first ever Couchsurfing (CS) hosts. They made it clear from the get-go: "Mi casa es su casa". Although Daniel swears that nobody ever really says that!
They're a lovely couple with a super-smart 4 year old son, Cesar. Elisa, Azareth's 18 year old cousin, lives with them while studying. They kindly showed off their pretty town and invited us along to their family activities. We helped celebrate Citlali's 21st birthday (Azareth's sister) at their mum's house and feasted on her Pastel Azteca (see below). The winter nights are cold but the days are sunny. So one day we ventured out to a beautiful lagoon-like beach called Balandra with Elisa and Cesar. Taking turns chatting with Elisa in Spanish and English was challenging but good practice! 

It's truly amazing that most Mexican food consists of similar ingredients, yet their creativity in using those ingredients is limitless! Having been in Mexico for 2 months already we were surprised to discover just how many dishes we hadn't yet tried, let alone heard of! Azareth took the time to enlighten us by either cooking them or taking us to their neighbourhood speciality spot:
  • Tortilla soup - tomato-based soup with crispy corn tortilla bits *crispy goodness*
  • Chilaquiles - tomato-based broth poured over nachos, served with refried beans and fried egg. *great way to start the day*
  • Champurrado - a thick Mexican hot chocolate drink with a cinnamon twist *YUM! now I'm always on the hunt for it!
  • Flautas - rolled tortilla filled with mashed potato/meat, deep-fried *kinda like a croquette*
  • Mollette - torta bread topped with refried beans and cheese, then grilled. *Mexican grilled cheese sandwich*
  • Pozole - broth made of pig's head *the first cenaderia (dinner restaurant) was closed and the second didn't have any so we still haven't tried it*
  • Menudo - broth made of cow's stomach *not a fan, reminded me too much of barley soup at school*
  • Pastel Azteca - a Mexican lasagne layered with fried tortillas, cheese, veg, poblano chile, corn and cream *yum!*
  • Papas Rellenas - baked potato mashed and topped with chopped grilled meat (carne asada), cheese, corn, mushrooms and cream. *The ultimate comfort food that Elisa recommended*
Staying with Azareth and her family was a great introduction to the Couchsurfing community! Every host and household will be different and that makes it intriguing. It seems the key to a successful experience is a relaxed and adaptable approach by both parties. Also to share things about your language, country, food and culture. Definitely the case in this casa!

Muchas gracias por tus hospitalidad - Azareth, Daniel, Elisa, Cesar and Pantofles (the phantom cat) - y por el bienvenidos en tus casa! We enjoyed our stay and will take you up on your offer to return if we're ever in town again :)
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