'Ello Love

Ben had been told whilst in Toronto not to expect much from Oshawa, but with 3 nights CouchSurfing on the cards, could this small town in fact be a hidden gem?

This post is potentially unsuitable for Grandparents and may result in some degree of disappointment

My night out in Whitby with Laura left me the next morning with a headache that rivaled that of my surprise leaving party and despite sleeping until noon and having a cold shower it still had me feeling as if I had just been dug up...

...and so when the first thing my next host Colin said was "hope you're up for a few drinks tonight?" I was forced in to making a concerted effort not to be sick right there on the spot.

But to my own surprise it was less than 3hrs after meeting Colin that I had in front of me a tanker full of beer and unsure whether to be proud or ashamed all I can really say is that it paved the way for the twelve or so hours that would follow.

OMG... Peanut butter & banana sandwiches!
Colin was my 4th host in as many days and with a 2-night stop scheduled at his place in Oshawa I was particularly looking forward to be able to take off my backpack and feel like I had a real chance of actually getting to know the host I was staying with. In addition, it would also provide a good opportunity to sort out my accommodation for the 2 following nights which at that point I still yet to do.

Anyway, fast forward a few hours and that evening I am sat in the family living room belonging to one of Colin's friends alongside half a dozen or so testosterone filled, hockey loving guys, who, determined to get as blind drunk as possible before leaving to go to Riley's had me wondering just what on Earth I had let myself in for.

However, I should say that despite the overzealous hormones I can't falter their hospitality and most entertaining had to have been Paul, who utterly obsessed with getting me to say "'Ello love", thought these three magic syllables were how all English men attract their ladies for which at that point, still unaware of my persuasion, they were very keen that I do!

And so like farm animals being herded into the back of a trailer en route to the abattoir, we all lept into this people-carrier expecting the next few hours to be carnage and I'd have guessed at that point getting slaughtered in the literal sense may actually have been a cleaner experience for us all.

But what a turnaround.

Things looked up in fact before Colin and I even reached the entrance to the bar as we both lay witness to a young "lady" attempting to gracefully climb a fence who inadvertently displaying more than she would have probably liked had unknowingly handed me the perfect opportunity to share with my new friend the British slang term "clunge." And just like when I first heard it on the TV show The Inbetweeners, Colin new exactly what I meant... it was truly a magical moment.

And from that putrefying moment onwards things just got better and better.

The bar we were in was split over two floors and sat at a table sandwiched between a blind man playing the piano and the bar, I got to meet many more of Colin`s friends who, all eager to chat made for fantastic company throughout the night.

As with the night previous the last hour or so admittedly remains a little blurry but after last orders were called at 2am we (and by we I mean me) stumbled the forty-five minute walk back to Colin`s where I am told I apparently made quite the big deal of taking my first public urination outside of the UK and was (again, I emphasise the word "apparently") very selective when it came to identifying my "target" for which this shall remain undisclosed. A moment to be bestowed I am sure.

Cheers James
That done, the morning after was slow but with the Sun shining brightly Colin and I headed to meet Jess and James for a much needed heavy breakfast before later that afternoon going to the gym where with three nights worth of toxins to sweat, I ran and I ran and I ran until everything I wore was soaked right the way through.

But if the aim however was to clear out my system it was rather redundant for that night I somehow managed to find myself once more with a drink in my hand - though this time at a local Tavern that had me feeling very close to home with the style quite similar to that of a traditional British pub. The night that ensued was a merry one and joined by both new faces and familiar faces I had another really enjoyable night out with Colin and his friends.

My final day with Colin was made all the much better for waking up without a hangover and with the Sun shining once more I found myself that afternoon at a driving range where I quickly demonstrated I should never attempt any form of ball sport. In fact my performance was so embarrassing that other golfers at the range, especially those close to where I was stood seemed to be having increasing difficulty focusing on their own drives for the want of laughing at mine.

With the humiliation over, my last night in Oshawa was alcohol-free and spent down at Jess' where we simply hung out, watched a film and simply enjoyed one another's company. Whilst sitting there I thought back over the three days that had now come to pass and felt so very grateful for having the opportunity to stay with Colin who it turned out had not actually before hosted anyone through CouchSurfing - though you really would never have guessed.

Not only had he shown me a good time and introduced to me to many new people, Colin was simply a pleasure to be with; very grounded, a good sense of humour and a warmth that I can't quite describe.

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And it was thanks to Colin that I met Jess and James, both of whom were amazing. James, an avid musician and band member was, like Colin a pleasure to be with and Jess has to be one of the most gentle, kind and loveliest of girls I have met in a very long time.

I really don't know what it was about these three in particular but I left Oshawa the next day feeling like I had made some really good new friends and sincerely hope that this isn't the last I see of them.