while in toronto i stayed with wendy (she’s a great host; i will be leaving A+++++ [to use an ebay term] feedback), who had a spare bedroom and bathroom. this was my first time using airbnb to stay with someone — previously i’ve stayed in a real b&b in amsterdam and rented an entire apartment in athens. the way her condo is laid out, there is a clear separation between the guest area and the rest of the house, which i think made interactions a bit more awkward since from the front door you can’t really see anywhere in the apartment, just hear people who may or may not have heard you come in. so i kept wondering:
- are you supposed to say hi when you return and you can hear the host in another part of the house? are you supposed to say bye when you leave for the day? (i didn’t, mostly because i felt like i would be interrupting something, but in hindsight i probably should have just shouted out “bye!” or something…)
- how much interaction are you supposed to have with them? (clearly this is dependent on your personality and that of the host, but are there proscribed rules of engagement?)
- i didn’t have an occasion to use the kitchen or watch tv, but if they are specifically listed as amenities in the listing and they are not home (and haven’t talked about it previously), would it be weird to rummage around for pots and pans to make dinner or fiddle with their remotes to figure out how to work their tv setup? (i say yes, it would be weird; don’t touch!)
luckily wendy is a seasoned host so i think she’s seen the whole gamut of guests and always approached me (which was perfectly fine) to ask what i had planned or how my day went.
of course i’ve lived in communal situations before — dorms, apartments, shared houses, etc., but in this situation you are dealing with people you barely know, and you’re in their private spaces. of course they are opening them up to you as a guest, but still. i don’t think i’m the most socially awkward or inept person (i hope), but there is still something slightly taboo about it for me. on the other hand, i’m too frugal to pass up deals the likes of which you can find using this service!
in a couple months i will be staying for almost a week in a roommate situation in hamburg, where there are even more sociological complications brought on by the fact that i won’t have my own bathroom, so i guess we’ll see how that goes. wish me luck!