(Sorry, this is kind of long. And not particularly interesting. However, the good news is that nobody died…)
So, a recent guest was an older European couple. The lady does not speak English, so I interacted mostly with the gentleman, who was also the person in whose name the place was booked.
It was quite clear early on that this gentleman was a bit of a character. He first booked for one person. Then rather than changing it to two people, he wanted to pay me in cash. I said no. He then spent some time trying to change the reservation and complained to me that he didn’t understand how the Airbnb interface worked.
After several attempts, and cancellations, he succeeded.
Eventually, he wound up booking for two different visits, spaced a few days apart.
He then sent me quite a lot of very chatty messages, all of which I replied to. I kind of felt like an unwilling pen pal.
However, the day before he arrived (Saturday 20th Aug) I still had not heard from him. I’d sent him messages on Tuesday 16th Aug, Thursday 18th Aug, and Friday 19th Aug. On Friday I contacted Airbnb. On Friday, at around 8.17 pm, he called me up to tell me his train was arriving at 6.30 am, and he would be checking in at 10 am. Which he duly did. In hindsight, it seems he was not happy about having to wait till 10 am. Note that normal check is at 4 pm.
As it turns out, this gentleman had a phone which he couldn’t access the internet with, though he had got himself an Indian phone. Which, however, he doesn’t seem to pick up often. He said something about it running out of charge.
Not much actually happened while he was here (only two nights). I made the mistake of giving him my laptop to use to send email. Later I discovered it placed outside, switched off. I assume this gentleman just turned it off; apparently he didn’t know that you need to shut down computers properly, or else it can corrupt the filesystem. I tried telling him, but I don’t think he got it.
Also, the evening he arrived, he called me while I was out to ask for directions back to my place. (It’s always fun to try to talk to strangers with Bombay providing an accompaniment in the background.) I texted him directions. Shortly afterwards, he called me again to tell me that he had deleted the messages, and to send them again. (You can’t make this stuff up.)
Then, the evening he was to check out, he hadn’t filled out Form C, which is this thing the Indian Govt makes lucky people like me fill out when foreigners are staying. So, I filled it out with him sitting there. He clearly wasn’t happy about it, and called it “annoying”, Which I thought was uncool. Fortunately, everyone else so far has filled this thing out, and not complained about it.
So, he was supposed to be coming back here today, Fri Aug 26th. As of Thursday evening, he hadn’t contacted me, so I sent him a text message at 7.56 pm, and then he responded at 8.44 to tell me he had missed his train and would be coming on the 27th. So I contacted Airbnb again, to tell them about that. Sigh. Here are the text messages verbatim.
Hi xxxx, you are due to arrive tomorrow. Please let me know what time you plan to arrive. Thanks. Faheem Mitha
Hi faheem we have missed a train so we have been forced to change our program we will arrive the 27 in the morning i tell you more details later regards
Hi xxxx, I received your message that you have missed your train and will be arriving on the morning of the 27th. However, I have received nothing since then. Please update. Faheem Mitha
As i told you we ll arrive tomorrow at 0730 regards
Will you be arriving at CST at 7.30 am? You never said anything about 7.30 am earlier. When do you plan to check in? Faheem Mitha
As soon as possible at 0800 as we arrive at Cst i hope we ll not have to wait untill 1000 as it was the case the first time
No, he hadn’t told me he planned to come at 7.30 am. I haven’t replied to that last one, because I would have a hard time staying polite. But I guess he’s arriving here at 8 am.
Ok, so, would you guys be happy to host this gentleman? And it is unreasonable for me to feel a mite peeved? Frankly, I’m relieved he will only be staying 3 days - I don’t really want to find out what would happen next.
I currently have one review pending from his previous visit. And I’ll have a second to write in a few days. The question is - does this gentleman cross the threshold of having to warn hosts about him, or is he mostly harmless? He’s definitely more work than I would like - maybe if I was charging 5 star hotel rates. But I’m not. Please advise.
Oh, and he has 5 reviews. All positive. I guess he didn’t set fire to anyone’s home. Apparently reviews really aren’t reliable. And this gentleman says he is a retired military officer. I would have thought military people would be more together.
(If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations. I said it was long.)