How is that OK?
In my last post, I wrote about the concept of allowing…allowing for new experiences, allowing for vulnerability, allowing for the opportunity to face a new world in a place in which I don’t speak the language, know how to convert money, know a lot about the culture, know a lot about the demographics, know about how to even get around. And I was going to put myself in that situation for thirty days. What’s the worst that can happen?
Today is my seventh day of what was supposed to be a thirty day adventure. Yes, what was “supposed to be,” yet turned out to be an aborted adventure. It will amount to a nine day adventure.
I research. A lot. Since this was to be a new type of adventure, I really researched. Joined a Yahoo discussion group comprised of people who either visit or are expats in this particular city, San Miguel de Allende. I spoke with people who have visited, subscribed to a well known international publication and read up on the demographics, culture, population, climate and whatever else I could find.
Since I was planning on staying for a month, I decided to integrate myself into the community by renting an airbnb apartment. I chose to be a bit out of the city as I heard many times that it is a noisy city and events can go well into the night. Although I live in the fifth largest US city in a well populated central area of town, mixed residential home/apartments/condos and commercial real estate, it’s pretty quiet where I live. Advertised as a quiet one bedroom detached unit in a three apartment complex a bit out of town (“an easy twenty to thirty minute walk into town, close to buses and taxis”), it seemed perfect, so ahead I went. Negotiated a good price for what is considered a long term stay through airbnb.
I also heard that the streets are mostly cobblestone and/or big rocks held in place via concrete, so to be sure and wear good solid walking shoes. Check. yes, fine, it IS a twenty to thirty minute walk to town if you are in really great physical shape, which I am. If not, well, prepare for a hell of a walk on very unstable surfaces up hills. Not your average stroll in a park! Some days I put as much as seven miles walking in one day.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a lovely couple who serve as the airbnb’s host’s property managers. They were warm and cordial, and assisted me in settling in. It was late Friday afternoon, and my host assured me she would meet with me Saturday morning to explain how things work here. Which she did, and invited me to ride with her around the neighborhood to show me around and to an adjacent neighborhood. She had told me she had an appointment in a short while, so dropped me off in that neighborhood and told me I could either walk home or take a taxi or a cab. Hmmmm, ok.
I did a bit of grocery shopping, had some food and returned home via taxi. Perhaps you will recall I don’t speak much Spanish nor do I understand the peso conversion very well, but what could I do? Hailed a taxi and was brought home.
In my airbnb description, a small laptop working table was mentioned as an amenity, and I quickly discovered that there was no table and no clock in the apartment. Who doesn’t have a clock???? So I emailed my host and requested both. She assured me that she would bring them over. My new neighbor friend and I went out walking and upon my return, I noticed a small table had been placed inside , and she had sent me an email saying she set the microwave clock for me.
Unbeknownst to me, my host had entered my apartment without my consent or permission! Imagine that! And she accused me of leaving the apartment unlocked, saying that she thought it would be ok since it was unlocked.No, I don’t think so. It was unlocked. I don’t leave my premises unsecured.
How is that OK?
That is a clear personal safety issue, a betrayal of trust and a violation of our contractual agreement through airbnb. Now, if it was an emergency, ok. But this was hardly an emergency.
How is that ok?
It was time to escalate this situation to the Safety Team at airbnb, and let me tell you, those people are good. They got right on it, and wanted to know if I felt safe in my apartment. Quite impressive. Wonderful and concerned response from a few different people in the company and escalated my concern immediately.
One thing to note: My host never apologized for making me feel unsafe; actually, she attempted to turn it around by saying “And I don’t know if you can do it but if you would put yourself in my shoes and think about it maybe you will have a different perspective… When you asked me to get you a table and a clock I got them as quickly as I could, And thought that you and I were on friendly terms…”
How is that ok????
Put myself in HER SHOES? Really? What about her putting herself in my shoes, a single woman traveling in a foreign country????
Friendly terms? Seriously? We are not friends. This is a contractual business arrangement. Why on earth she thought we are friends is beyond me.
So, for that and a few other reasons, I have come to realize that my time here is finished. Soon I will share my observations on why this isn’t the place for me, as I certainly would not allow her to displace me. She is just a bad seed who obviously has no respect or integrity and her negative vibrations don’t resonate with me at all.
I just don’t see how that is ok.
What are your thoughts?