Saturday, July 23, 2011

hotel amanda

i just wanted to save $20. but somehow i ended up scrubbing toilets and shampooing carpets for $2/hour.

it all began when i booked our first apartment in Copenhagen. the website i used said i could get a $20 rebate if i listed my property as a rental as well. muahahaha, i'm totally going to do that, i schemed. i'll throw together a quick listing, pop it up for two weeks until i get my money back, then delete it. badaboom badabing, twenty smackers back in my pocket. nobody comes to Winnipeg, i''ll never hear a peep from this sham of an ad.

a couple of days later.... a peep. and then another. and another. and another! what the hell? this wasn't supposed to happen. no one was actually supposed to request reservations. i didn't even post photos of the room! (although i was required to include at least one picture, all i had available was one of the living room.) this was very unexpected. i had reassured blair that this listing was just for show, we wouldn't ever have guests.

but maybe it'd be kind of fun... nah, blair would never go for it...

to my incredible surprise, he didn't immediately nix the idea. sure, it might be weird having strangers in the house for a few days at a time, but we were lured in by the idea of the little extra income. so, i accepted my first reservation. and then a few days later, my second. oh boy... no turning back.

we had only 3 days between returning from Denmark and our first guest arriving. the rental space was a disaster zone. no one had used this space in about a year and a half. it was cluttered with all the junk we didn't want to throw out but didn't want to look at. it was coated in so many layers of grime i could barely tell that the stairwell railing was once painted white. the carpet in my brother's old room was spotted with spills and stains. the bathroom... well, do you know that disgusting toilet in the movie Trainspotting? what had i gotten myself into?? i was in over my head.

so for 3 days i came home from work, went immediately to the 3rd floor, and cleaned until close to midnight. in the end, i stood and surveyed my work with pride. it was a complete transformation. i mean i'm not a miracle worker, it wasn't the Ritz, but it was definitely a clean, habitable space that i could put a price-tag on. hurrah!

then, the day of check-in, my guest cancelled.

the first night only was non-refundable due to the last minute cancellation. but yeah, one night of payment puts all those hours and hours of back-breaking work at about 2 bucks and hour. our next guest is due to arrive wednesday, and at least i was smart enough to change the cancellation policy so that if he's a no-show, i still get 50% of all nights. i still have enquiries coming in, but i just really don't know if all this headache is worth it.

all this over a stinkin' $20 rebate. yeesh!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

there's something rotten in the state of denmark

Hello from Denmark! I'm feeling quite sleep deprived and although caffeine is keeping me awake, my brain definitely isn't working at full capacity. Although the first half of my holidays was a lazy, relaxing, sleep in til whenever week in the sun, the second half is a go go go travel and see and do as much as you can, sleep when you get home week.

The first flat we stayed in was close to the central train station. we walked past the sex shops, strip clubs, kebab and shwarma shops, fashionable boutiques, trendy cafes, cool pubs, and fruit stands. We went for a walk around and i took pictures of the hundreds and hundreds of bicycles everywhere. I'd heard about it, but it really is more than i expected. very neat.

we noticed that lots of people were walking about with beer, which is always a novelty when you come from a place where that's not allowed. so we joined the locals and grabbed a couple of Carlsbergs for our walk. at night our street was full of people. a few prostitutes loitered around the sex shops advertising ''erotic lifestyle'', a crowd of questionable men stood about the doorways. further down, groups of friends sat on stoops chatting and drinking their beers. people lined up for kebabs, cyclists rode by, and the occasional car passed. we sat on a stoop and people watched.

the next day, after not getting enough sleep, we hopped on a train to Helsingør. It's famous for its castle - Elsinore castle from Hamlet. It was cool, as castles usually are. The town was very cute too, with all the cobblestone streets and patio restaurants. Then, to make use of our 24 hour train pass, went to a town further north and sat on a bench on the beach, stunned at how those crazy Danes were swimming while we sat in our sweaters. Finally, we stopped at Hillerød and walked to a cute cobblestone (of course) square that overlooked another pretty castle on a lake.

tried not fall asleep and miss our stop on the train back to Copenhagen.

yesterday was a miserable rainy day. i had so much fun! we took the train to Malmo, Sweden where i met up with some old friends i hadn't seen in about 6 years. yes, the weather sucked, but the company was fantastic. we wandered about the city, stopped for coffee just to get out of the rain, napped, and finished the night with a delicious dinner at my friend's flat. i even tried some traditional pickled herring (that wasn't the delicious part) and some salty licorice (nor was that). I had such a good time, i didn't want the night to end!

now we're back in Copenhagen in our new flat. it's so nice! unfortunately, the weather is NOT. it's another miserably cold and rainy day. not sure what we're going to do... kind of puts a damper (haha, punny) on our boat tour plan, or rent bikes plan. i enjoy walking around soaking up the atmosphere, but i didn't want to be so literal on the soaking part.

anyway, time to venture out again, rain be damned!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


ahhhhhhhhhhhhh... so relaxed. mind moving at half speed. i love holidays. i'm not quite through week one of my two week vacation and it's niiiiiiiiiiiice. you can tell how nice and relaxing it is because of all the elongated worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrds. yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, like i'm all dopey :)

this first week has been a wonderful few days of sleeping in, lazing in the sun, reading, visiting with family and friends, enjoying the farm, etc etc. oh how i could get used to this! damn work and the need to earn a living. sunday night we're off to Denmark for a week. that week will be jam packed, busy busy and will whiz by. And then... back to work. where i'll start daydreaming of the next holiday.

i don't really have anything to say at the moment, i just thought i'd check in. but i don't much feel like sitting in front of the computer right now. i sit in front of a computer every work day, and i will back in front of a computer soon enough. bye for now, perhaps i will have a chance to write from Denmark.

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