Wednesday, 3 October 2012

B&B with a difference

Monday 1 October

As I told you in my last posting we were going to have guests for the night, and I was going to tell you more about it.  So, we did our housework and shopping as planned.  We did have a bit of a dilemma as to what we were going to put out for breakfast: Australian, American, Continental?  We decided it would be best to not overdo it and take the main ingredients of a Buffet Breakfast.  That was easy.  By mid morning we were ready for our guests to arrive.

However, let me explain what this was all about.  As I mentioned before, we are members of the ATC (Affordable Travel Club).  This club is based in America and was originally meant for members to have inexpensive holidays or short trips.  It’s like a barter system, but you do pay a little for your B&B (a real barter system works without payments).  So, you can travel and request an overnight stay (with a maximum of three nights,  I believe) with any ATC member, but you are expected to receive other members when they put out a request.  We were introduced to this club some years ago by good friends in Australia.  They loved to receive people from overseas, but didn’t travel much themselves anymore.  We started with the same idea, but like the best plans laid by men and mice…. It never worked the way we had anticipated it.  We never had any visitors!  Then, just over a year ago I discovered they had a ‘house/pet sitters wanted/offered’ list as well as a ‘house exchange’ list and that is how we established our first exchange in The Netherlands last year, New Zealand earlier this year and the current one in New York.

What happened next was, that Dave and Diane received two requests from couples from other States here in the US for a night’s accommodation each, while they themselves would be in Australia.  Since we are ATC members as well Diane asked would we take them while we were here, and or course, we would.  So, that’s how we happened to get visitors while on our exchange.  We were a bit nervous at first, but in the end it was a great experience and we’re only sorry that we don’t get that many requests in Australia.

Back to yesterday’s story.  Mid morning we received an email from Friday’s couple announcing their intended arrival time.  Suddenly I realised that I hadn’t heard anything from Monday’s couple, so…… would they actually arrive???  After three misses (not turning up without cancellation) by visiting backpackers in Australia I thought the worst.  However, I shouldn’t have worried.  At around 2pm there was a knock on the door and here they were, Sandy & Stan from South Dakota.  It appeared they had rung twice, but hadn’t left a message… 

They only came in for a brief hello and were off again, wanted to see the Niagara Falls before dark!  Hell, those Americans are fast!  The first time we took a day to look around, went back for another afternoon and are going back for even more, and here they are, just wanting to have a quick look…  Anyway, Frank and I had another quiet afternoon, and had dinner at home, because Sandy & Stan were going to have a quick bite at Niagara Falls before returning later in the day.  Which they did at 8pm.  By then Frank and I had had dinner and were playing Tri-ominos, a game we have become quite addicted to. 

It appeared that their planned ‘quick bite’ had not happened, so they were happy with toast, fruit and juice and afterwards we settled down with a glass of beer and wine and had a lovely time together.  What did we talk about?  Travel, of course!  They had seen just about as much of the world (or as little) as we have, but different places, so we had enough stories to share.  By 11pm they were ready for bed, but not before we had promised to pay them a visit if we would ever come back to the States.  Oh yes, and we had to take pictures too!  I was silly enough to forget to change the settings on my camera, so I haven’t been able to crop the photograph and end up with a good close-up.  I had to use the self-timer to get all four of us in the picture!

It ended up a much later night than planned, because friend Nellie from Melbourne wanted to have a chat via skype, and since we hadn’t spoken for a while Frank poured us another glass and we had a nice chat till it was really time to go to bed.

This was a memorable night indeed and we are looking forward to meet our next ‘guests’ on Friday.

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