“I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake-up letter.” — Steven Wright.
While traveling, I am forever curious about the locals, how do they perceive life, what are their values and what kind of environment do they live in; that is one of the reasons I am drawn to AirBnB. I spent hours on it, browsing and peeking through other people’s house. Trash your binocular, sign up on AirBnB! Staying at and experience AirBnB-ing at least once is one of things to do on my bucket list. I tried to convince my friends to do it while we were in Australia, but they preferred hotel and we went with the biggest vote, hotel. So when I had a chance to AirBnB-ing in Shanghai (I was staying alone) I booked it almost immediately after I bought the ticket.
A few days before I reached the owner messaged me. They said something came up so they wouldn’t be in the house, hence I got the whole place for myself! YAY!! Or so I thought.
On the day, Yin’s dad dropped me off with a remark that it was an old neighbourhood; he found it strange that I booked a hotel here, “It’s not a hotel, it is a..”, I started to explain. I walked pass metallic trash booths, a signature look of Shanghai apartment complexes (trash dumped in front of the apartments), into an old three story apartment complex. Later I found out that it was a historic lane house called Lilong, dating back to Golden Age 20s Shanghai. When I finally found number 53, I gave their neighbor a call to let me in.
The door was opened, and I saw a long hallway but nothing else. Apparently their place was on the third floor, and there was a tiny staircase on the left. I immediately realised, I had to lift my thirty kilos luggage upstairs. The staircase was small, with tiny steps and made a cracking sound every single step I took. It was hell! Don’t know how long did it take for us to reach up while the neighbour watched without giving a hand, such a gentleman he was. Upstairs, he passed me the keys and a torch. Torchlight? Why torchlight? I remembered thinking. On the contrary, the house was really nice, as pictured on the website, cozy with a dash of vintage. I began to like it.
Then, I saw it, a cat. A fat cat. In the ad, they did mention about having a cat, but for some reason I thought they would leave it with the neighbour but no. I was about to share the whole place with the cat; the neighbour would come and feed it every day. You guys, I am a cat person; I love cats and want to adopt one as soon as I settle down. I would love to share my living space with a real cat (I have been sharing it with Miaw), but this one, I.. It.. Um.. It looked unfriendly, opposite of what was mentioned in the ad.
It gave me the look when we reached up and immediately growled when I tried to approach it. Ugh..
I put my things in the room and came out for a late lunch. I spent the day roaming around Shanghai and finally went home before stopping by at the Starbucks nearby for some peach blossom tea latte. A dark alley greeted me once I turned into the entrance. The street lights, if there were any, haven’t been turned on yet. I stumbled and searched in the dark, which one was the apartment? Phew, I found it! I put the key in and opened the door. Another dark space greeted me, but this one pitch black without the moonlight, that time I knew why I was passed a torch light! I braced myself, went it. The doors bang itself on my back and the steps made cracking noise. It felt like straight out of a horror movie, and I, my friends, am scared of ghosts. I could not take it anymore. F@#$ this, I thought, I turned back and stormed out. I decided to sleep in a hotel room for the night, only when I almost got into the taxi I remembered, I needed my passport to check in, and I left it in the room. $%#@@#$*!!! So I went back, climbed three stories stairs in the pitch dark (the torch made everything look even scarier) and reached the place. Only to be greeted by the cat. The fat cat.
The evil Garfield hated me and well.. the feeling was mutual. It kept jumping here and there while hissing, running pass me from nowhere over and over AND again as if it knew, it would startle me. Whenever we could see each other, It would stare, like STARE stare. A couple of times, knowing I was walking to the bathroom, the cat blocked the way to the bathroom. WHAT KINDA CAT DOES THAT?? I locked my bedroom door all the time, didn’t even get to sit in the living room nor watch TV (it was her area) and went on bathroom breaks late at night hoping it would have slept by then. It didn’t.
Three nights and it was finally over. I dragged my luggage down in the pitch dark (early morning flight) while cursing myself each step down. Outside, I inhaled the dawn air deeply, It felt so freaking good to leave the place. Bye bye evil Garfield!
After this, would I consider AirBnB again? Yes, I most definitely would! The good ones will be fun and the bad ones, well if I survived, I would have stories like this to share.
And now, for last week’s giveaway, the winner, chosen randomly, is Elizabeth of Wanderlust. Congratulations Elizabeth! Would you please drop me an email with your address so I can send the combo from Beijing your way. To all who read and participated, thank you very, very much and there will be a next time.