Lodging in the USA, continued.
You can learn about a new place when you stay in a hotel. After all, you can leave the room and go to the museum, to the park, to the steet or to the local market. You can meet with other people, talk to them about what you like and what surprises you in this place.
Everything depends on the attitude and how much you feel you want to do and what exactly you want.
Hotels can be anonimous and might give you more freedom. They can be friendly and open. It is the people who create the atmosphere of the place as well the rules they want to implement.
There is only one thing that cannot be created in any hotel. The feeling that you truly live among local people.
This is what I love airbnb.com for. You can feel and taste a part of authentic life. You can like it or not, some hotel’s facilities might be missing (eg. running water - read on), but you’ll always feel like home. Because you’re going to be home actually. Someone’s home. You’ll learn the rules of this home, you’ll see how people work, what they eat and how they spend their free time. You will even use their kitchen the way you do it at your own home.
What exactly is airbnb?
Generally speaking, it is a network connecting guests and hosts who offer their rooms or whole apartments for a short period of time.
Let’s say you want to go to Spain to get to know local life, airbnb is a godsend.
Security systems are convincing. First, you have to register, add your profile photo and a short personal description so that your host (or guest) knows who you are, what you do, what you like, how you travel, etc.
When you book a room or the whole apartment, you need to provide your personal data, then you are requested to scan your personal identity document with a photo as well as provide a few social media portals in which you’re active. Airbnb needs all those pieces of information for security reasons.
We asked our hosts a few times if they were not afraid before the first guests arrived. Of course they were! However, after a first guest visited them, the fear was immediately forgotten. They all had very positive experience with their guests. No wonder… after all only cool people use airbnb :)
Thanks to airbnb we discovered the part of Manhattan which was not popular among many New Yorkers. The very north of Manhattan, beautiful green Inwood located close to the lovely Fort Tryon Park. Calm, family-friendly neighbourhood where you can hear people speak Spanish. Super-friendly people, scrumptious food, lots of various shops and the subway at hand.
We had a comfortable spacious room for ourselves. We stayed with Ayesha and Joey, a couple who is getting married in October. They will have a 3-day wedding reception. Ayesha comes from Bangladesh and their wedding will be traditionally hindu.
They showed us local shops where you can buy literally everything including eco-products, eco-restaurants, they shared not only their food with us but also some part of their life. Everyday chats and lots of laughter together is something that no hotel will offer you.
In San Francisco we enjoyed the comfort of our own bathroom, a spacious living room and a beautiful view over lush green trees… and we stayed with a warm-hearted and extremely helpful host. Whenever we even started wondering how to pay for passing the Golden Gate Bridge or what time the nearest post office is closed for lunch, she was always there to offer help. We spent each evening chatting, we showed her a few photos from Poland which she liked and said she’d love to visit us some day.
A great attraction was our stay on a ranch in middle California :) thanks to airbnb we found accommodation not that far from western part of Yosemite at a very decent price. We had to drive for about 1,5 hours but still it was worth it. In Yosemite the accommodation was about 5 times more expensive.
The ranch we visited looked abandoned. Built in 1900, it had an amazing atmosphere.
However, as soon as we arrived at the destination, it wasn’t so perfect. For about an hour I was trying to get hold of our host (and it was already getting dark)…
Finally, we got in touch :) he came over to say hello, chat for a while and he bought us a beer-pack, which he chose specially for us (American Guiness). By the way we found that that despite living very close to Yosemite, Erik had no idea what it was, where it was and what was there until his guests started asking about the directions to the park. What he did was google it, print out the directions from google maps and put it on the fridge. He didn’t even bother to go there. He said he didn’t like travelling :)
Our historic rustic house on the adobe ranch was a charming place (it was once used as a dancehall for entertaining, and later as a bunkhouse for ranch workers). No A/C at 40-degrees added to its charm ;) [we were aware of this!]
We used water from big water tanks located all over the ranch. On the second day of our stay there we ran out of water. Erik was unable to fix it until the next morning and do you know what he did?
He came over to us and offered to pay for a hotel room so that we could take a shower. We told him we didn’t need it because we were actually leaving so he decided to give us a refund for our 2-day stay. He was very sorry but he asked us to give him 5 stars and a good opinion on airbnb.
We were pleasantly surprised! Never have I met a person with such an attitude in such a situation. Of course he got a positive opinion from us.
Because you know what? Problems can arise everywhere. How you deal with them is important.
WORDS TO USE:
after all - przecież, zresztą
local market - targ, bazar
depend on - zależeć od
attitude - podejście
anonimous - anonimowy
implement - wprowadzić
facilities - udogodnienia
be missing - brakować
running water - woda bieżąca
read on - czytać dalej
generally speaking - ogólnie rzecz biorąc
guest - gość
host - gospodarz
is a godsend - spada z nieba
convincing - przekonujący
are requested to - jesteś poproszony
personal identity document - dokument tożsamości
was forgotten - odszedł w zapomnienie
no wonder - nic dziwnego
scrumptious - przepyszny
at hand - na wyciągnięcie ręki
spacious - przestronny
lush - bujny
warm-hearted - serdeczny
at a very decent price - w bardzo przyzwoitej cenie
abandoned - opuszczony
get hold of - złapać, skontaktować się z
by the way - przy okazji
rustic - wiejski, prosty
charming - uroczy
bunkhouse - barak
tanks - beczki
we ran out of water - skończyła się nam woda
fix - naprawić
give a refund - zwrócić pieniądze
pleasantly surprised - pozytywnie zaskoczony