Friday, November 30, 2012
The second half of the list of airbnb guests who stayed with us.
Sara & Allesandro | Zurich, Switzerland | Both low 30s
These guys were just the best. Allesandro was a super-talkative Italian, whose knowledge of US sports and pop culture was mind-blowing – like he could name random NBA 90s role players and any celebrity ever kind of mind-blowing. His English was 99% perfect, partly as a result of the fact that he once worked as a nanny (or as he joked “child technician”) in the States. Sara was much more reserved and not as confident in her English, despite the fact that she would correct Allesandro when he said tiny grammatical errors like “I work on a bank” instead of “I work in a bank.” They also brought us Swiss chocolate. They really could not have been nicer.
Christelle & her friend | Paris, France | Both low 30s
Our only guests to speak to us in Spanish. Nice people.
Victoria & Anna | Moscow, Russia | One was 23, the other was 30
We fucking hated these girls, even though at the end of the day they were decent guests. They smelled like old spaghetti and because of the cultural differences and their poor comprehension of English they just laughed at us all the time. It was meant as a way to diffuse uncomfortable situations, but it always came off as rude, even though they did not mean it to be. They’d never had a BBQ in their lives and they requested a BBQ dinner with the really, really shitty grill on our roof. Despite our efforts, Sarah and I couldn’t get out of this dinner and it was just a terrible experience that involved them laughing at me, adding to the frustration as I tried to light some damp charcoals.
In the end everything went OK and they even gifted us a kitschy Moscow fridge magnet, but we still hated them.
Alena & Alena | Prague, Czech Republic | Daughter: 25ish Mom: Normal mom age
Really sweet mother and daughter who told me they were both named Alena so I rolled with that. They brought us a mini bottle of Becherovka, which was a nice gesture despite the fact that it has sat unopened in my pantry for the past three months.
Rozenn & Sami | Nants, France | both late 20s
The door to our guest bedroom is very narrow because the room is small and the only way to fit everything is for the bed to block one of the two thin entry doors. This was never a problem until a rather-large Sami showed up had trouble fitting through the door even when he tried to squeeze in side ways. It was awkward, because saying “Oh, I’m sorry you’re so fat, let me try to help your thought the door,” isn’t really a nice thing to say and there was nothing we could really do.
Tanya & Rhonda | Carrboro, North Carolina | late 40s
They told us that in North Carolina they live in a housing co-op thing that I barely understood, but I pictured to be like the “others” commune in Lost. They were super nice, but it was weird that they brought Tupperware of eggplant parmesan lasagna from their home in NC. One kinda looked like Terry Gross, the other looked like a jolly lesbian aunt that I always wish I had.
Kateryna | Moscow, Russia | early 20s
She had a really weird profile picture. She wasn’t that weird in real life, at least from the 10 words we exchanged.
Linda & Florence | Lyon, France | early 30s
If we could have, we would have kept them as roommates forever. They were just two very kind girls, I don’t even have an example of their kindness, they were just so appreciative and nice to be around. They gave us a set of small windowsill cactus plants.
Lau & Anna | Copenhagen, Denmark | 29 & 25
The initial airbnb messages were a bit shady as they claimed they didn’t have a credit card so they wanted to pay us in cash. They also had zero reviews and their profile picture was just an image of a bottle of Coca-Cola, but for some reason I automatically trust any Scandanavian who isn’t named Anders Behring Breivik, so I accepted their request to stay with us.
They were pretty much the exact type of super-race I expected Danes to be. Spoke perfect English, couldn't have been nicer, and they were both very good looking. Lau was in the process of completing his Master’s degree and opening his own coffee/wine bar decorated with vintage Norwegian furniture. Anna was younger and just finishing her undergrad degree in Danish studies, she was not sure what she was doing in life, which was reassuring to see even that even Danes can have uncertainty in life (although when they do, they attach themselves to legit people).
Nicole & Milo | Melbourne, Australia | 31 & 30
They were an Aussie version of Sarah and I. They had just finished spending a year in London for the main reason of traveling around Europe. Nicole loved supermarkets, which is also Sarah’s pastime. Milo was a former Quicksilver backpack designer. I really like backpacks. We all love 30 Rock. We had some great meals together, played some Qwirkle, went out dinner, it doesn’t get much better. Sarah and I were devastated when they left.
Monica | Sublimity, Oregon | 50 something
She was visiting her daughter and son-in-law in Belfast before she decided to pop over to Barcelona. For someone who lives in a tiny town 60 miles southeast of Portland, Monica had some good stories. Her daughter grew up in Oregon and was always fascinated by the IRA, so the second she could, she split to Ireland. There she met her future husband, who as fate would have it, is actually a member/former member of the UDA. Monica told me he had spent 8 years in jail and she tries not to ask him about it, even though her daughter told her he was sentenced for trying to smuggle bomb-making material into Ireland to kill some pesky IRA members.
Yasia & Sasha| Minsk, Belarus | Our age-ish
Yasia’s brief airbnb profile says she’s a LARPER. A quick wiki later and I accepted her request. Unfortunately – and fortunately – Yasia and her boyfriend were almost never in the house so I never got to ask her about her LARPing career.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Starting July 1 we put our extra bedroom on airbnb to make some money and friends. Here’s a list of our past roommates:
(Names | Where they’re from | My guess at their ages)
Bev & Neil | Griffith, Australia | In their 50s
Our first guests were celebrating their second honeymoon because they said their first honeymoon sucked. Since they were staying at our modest place, I can’t imagine what their first honeymoon was like.
They were both great people, but Neil would talk forever. While we were sitting on our roof drinking beers, Neil went on for 15 straight minutes about his friend’s candle holder. I dazed off at one point and when I returned to paying attention he was still going about the candle holder. In all, he was a great guy and not nearly as weird looking as his profile picture depicted. Also one of his profile reviews said “Neil is like boy enthusiastic (…),” which meant to say that he was enthusiastic like a young child, not that he was enthusiastic for young boys.
Bev stumped our BCN knowledge when we didn’t have a good response to: “Do you guys know a good spot to rent a segway?”
In Barcelona when a building is torn down within a dense city block, the remaining wall is either left in tact with a fascinating outline of different wallpapers, interior walls, and fixtures, or the remaining wall is covered in a thick burnt-orange-hued paint, that I assume is a foam to keep the wall from deteriorating more. The orange walls are rather common. Yet Bev was blown away by their beauty and asked me several times where she could find more.
Ilona | St. Petersberg, Russia | 25
She was a professional hairdresser who exchanged a total of 5 words in the 2 nights she stayed with us. She was nice though. These were her profile pictures. I really enjoyed clicking back and forth between them.
John Cox | San Francisco, California | 50
Man. We fucking hated John Cox. He ate all our cashews without asking (he later replaced them) and he broke the door on our laundry machine (which he paid us for). But those are two big offenses none the less. He stayed at our place for a week, after he had lived in San Sebastian for a month, as he was on a sabbatical according to his airbnb profile. Over a meal I asked him what he was on a sabbatical for. He gave me a vague answer. Later on Sarah yelled at me and claimed that it’s not OK to ask people why they’re on a sabbatical. I thought it was fair game since he publicized it on his profile page. Truthfully, I’m still not sure if reasons for sabbaticals are OK to discuss or not. However, if I’m ever on a sabbatical, please feel free to ask me why.
Behnaz & her boyfriend whose name I forgot | Lund, Sweden | Both 27ish
The girl’s profile said she was a professional badminton player. This really intrigued me; I had a million questions for her and I had dreams of taking her to the beach and hustling people in games of badminton (despite the fact that nobody plays badminton on the beach). Unfortunately they were just at our place for two nights and we never really got the chance to hang out. Also Behnaz wasn’t really Swedish, she was Iranian, but I guess it made for a better transition to our next guest.
Hila & Gal | Haifa, Israel | Both 30ish
Gal was as awkward a Jew as they come – a real great guy, just quite uncomfortable to be around. I was cool with it though because it had been months since I had seen a real life Jew (aside from the half-Jew in the mirror), so I took what I could get. His wife/girlfriend/whatever was real nice and she told us she lead woman’s circles. They also brought us these peanut butter puff snack things that were insanely delicious. Hila was the only guest to cry in our house (at least within an ear’s shot), but that was a result of their rented car towed, which is a reasonable reason to cry in my book.