83E. Goodwill Ambassadors

20140430-202807.jpgThere must be a magic sign that follows us around that tells everyone “Americans”. We don’t even open our mouths, yet people speak to us in English. This includes the ranting, crazy, German lady who called one of us a very nasty name in English – based on her word choices we know she was not speaking to Brent or Brody. We are aware that our behavior informs people about America – hopefully we are making more positive impressions than negative.
Negotiating for foreign apartments has all been done over the internet and we have been more than happy with our experience using Homeaway and Airbnb. Usually things go smoothly with the transactions but there have been a few bumps. Our apartment for Prague was canceled a couple of weeks ago, the owner broke his leg and could not host anyone. This evening we met up with him to get our refund – he was the nicest young man and was very flexible in getting us back what we paid including money transfer fees. Although I had been in contact with him, a little part of me thought that we might never see our money again. Luckily the websites have lots of controls in place so fraud can be difficult.
Speaking of difficult – there is an owner of an apartment in Hamburg who does not like me very much. Like the Prague apartment, it was canceled, here is the note she wrote to me…

I’m sorry I had to cancel your pre-booking, we’re some problems with the apartment and it wont be possible for anyone to stay for a while. I’m sorry about the inconvenience.

Since we had paid already, I asked about a refund and she replied…

I do not have to refund you.
You’re making this hard, I was asking around to see if I could receive you but you’re not helping.
Search for a new place, I cannot have you here

American ambassadorship failure! I imagine this is more likely a case of not speaking the same language. I assumed “cancel” meant “cancel”. My making it hard was essentially me researching and sending her the information of an owners responsibility to properly cancel a booking so a refund could be processed. I did get a refund as well as a credit to my account for the trouble from airbnb. I bet she still talks to her friends about the terrible family she was lucky to not have to host.

Our owner in Paris is also going to be down on Americans after our stay. Clearly we had a misunderstanding on what was to be done with the keys when we left. The translation of certain words also makes it difficult for us to understand what the guy is talking about. As instructed, and like we have done at every other apartment, we left the keys on the table and closed the door behind us. Not long after our stay we received this cheery note…

Thank you for having left the keys in the locker before clapping the door and go.
It was impossible to open the door afterwards and we had to call the locksmith.
It cost me 80Euros to get the door open.

I don’t know if we were supposed to leave the key in some locker, and he is being sarcastic, OR if he is now referring to the entire apartment as a locker since it was locked up tight. In either case it didn’t look like he was in an understanding mood so we replied with our facts…

We were very specific in asking Jenny what to do with the keys upon departure. Our instructions were to leave the keys exactly where we did.
Perhaps it would be of benefit to you to write down instructions and leave them in the flat so that there is no confusion between you, your agent, and renters.
We enjoyed our short stay in the flat.

Brent would not let me add that perhaps he should consider getting an extra key made (it’s called risk management). But with his next response it was evident that he was not interested in any advice from the likes of us…

Well, Jenny certainly NOT told you to leave the key in the locker … and I am certainly not going to write an instruction about NOT leaving the keys in the locker because 100% of people over the world ….less one apparently … know that it is then impossible to open the door from outside..
3 flats, 4 yeas, approximately 100guests each per year. Total 1200guests..No boday had done that before and you don’t even apologize. CONGRATULATIONS

A part of me wonders if this is a joke. A French stereotype is that the French can be rude – maybe this is supposed to have made our trip authentic? We didn’t respond to the French guy although I wanted to so vary badly and congratulate him on his math skills. And incorporate the word “no boday” somewhere.

The girls have put together a vlog for our stay in Cologne – if you have about 5 minutes check it out. And Scarlet is aware that chewing gum while vlogging is a bad idea.

Girls’ Vlog
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jqVUv5-JSc&feature=share(Click here)


One response to “83E. Goodwill Ambassadors

  1. PANIC ! PANIC ! You have faithfully reported you are now in the Czech Republick and your host has given you back your rent money, which means you are homeless! Furthermore you MASTER DESTIATION SCHEDULE slavishly followed by you addled parents indicates you should be in Munich which at last check (who knows what Putin may have invaded lately) was still a part of the Federal Republic of Germany.
    Now we fear one of two things which may happen:
    One) We receive an email indicating you have all lost all your money and passports and require $3000 by wire to the Bank Of Nigeria for emergency kidney transplants.
    Two) Even worse the Zagreb apartment arrangements fell through but you found a real good deal in Kiev as a substitute, see you all in June !

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