After my bad experience in Berlin, I was looking forward to getting Prague and settling in for a month, getting some work done as well as sightseeing.
And it started off fine. The first week was great. The place I was staying was like a semi-apartment. I had a mini kitchen but shared the toilet and shower. Things were a bit rough around the edges but the price was cheap. Although I can't believe that in over 30 reviews, no one had mentioned things like the shower room not having a lock!
I really didn't see anyone else n the house except the owner. He'd talked to me about a few things and mentioned that I should try to close my door quietly if I used the toilet after 10pm. That struck me as strange. It's one of those things I'm very conscious of because I've had door slamming house mates and know how annoying that is so I didn't think I'd make that much noise but was very aware of making as little noise as I could after that, being that it was an old house and very creaky.
About a week into my stay, I woke up at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep so decided to head out for some sightseeing. It's insanely bright at that time of morning.
As I left the house, I noticed a woman watching me from one of the windows of the house. She was crouched down behind the planter box on the window sill like a creeper. It worried me enough that I went back to my room and double checked the locks.
Next thing, I was doing some work in my room about 10.00 at night and someone is screaming on the stairwell outside my room. I went out to see what was going on because it sounded like a full-on domestic dispute. The creeper woman banged up the stairs and started screaming at me to be quiet because I was waking people up. She obviously had no sense of irony.
By that stage, I was getting wary of even leaving my room if I heard anyone else around. When you have grown up with someone who is very volatile, you don't handle random aggression well. I'd not slept for more than 4 hours in one stretch since I'd arrived at the house.and my mum had been rushed in for emergency surgery so my nerves were pretty taut anyway.
Then, Saturday morning, I had a shower and the crazy woman was laying in wait for me. She began screaming at me in part Czech, part English. Something about leaving the bathroom door open after I showered, as far as I could make out. She kept opening and slamming the bathroom door and yelling.
I politely asked her to not scream at me and she went nuts - yelling abuse at me and carrying on.
i ended up walking off, pretty damn upset by this point. I wasn't even sure who the woman was. I knew the owner's wife and daughter lived in the house but I hadn't met them and who else would be screaming at me for breaking some rule I'd never been told about?
Even without that incident, I'd intended to stay at a hotel for the night. The house had no air-conditioning and was a heat box. With temperatures in the low 30s, my room was about 10 degrees hotter than outside and seemed to just get hotter at night. I couldn't open the window without being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I had a heap of work that needed to be done and figured a good night's sleep would do me good.
So I left the house for the night and sent the owner an email about the situation, still not sure if the woman was his wife.
If you've ever been in a situation where you are really stressed, you'd know that you don't even realise how stressed you are until you get away. I spent a night in that hotel, being able to go to the toilet when I wanted without worrying about someone abusing me. I realised I had to get out of that house.
I booked elsewhere and went back to get my stuff. The closer I got to that house, the more I felt like throwing up.
As I walked up the stairs to my room, the owner's daughter called out to me. She wanted to talk. I told her I was moving out and I'd booked somewhere else. She told me her father had been trying to see but I hadn't been in my room. Even if I hadn't stayed elsewhere, did they expect me to be in room all the time? There was no reason he couldn't have emailed me instead of just trying to talk to me in person.
She apologised for the incident but in that 'sorry if what happened upset you' kind of way. She was quite nice about it but insisted that the woman, who was a guest that lived there long term, just spoke in a loud voice sometimes and maybe I'd miss understood. Seriously, I've had people talk to me in a loud voice before and I've had people go on crazy rampages. I know the difference.
Then the daughter said maybe it was the heat. She said it was the first time something like that had ever happened but then said other things to imply it'd happened before. The whole discussion was a bit like she was going into damage control mode, maybe worried that I'd want my money bad or that I'd leave them a bad review.
She promised me that woman wouldn't do it again if I stayed there. I'm not sure how you can promise that about someone who is mentally unstable. I'd constantly be on tenderhooks waiting for it to happen again.
The whole 'apology' left a bitter taste in my mouth, like she was trying to put it back on me rather than upset a tenant providing a long term money supply. On one hand, I know they can't be fully responsible for one of the other guests but, at the same time, I want to stay somewhere without the risk of being abused.
So, I moved out my second Airbnb place.
I haven't cancelled my booking yet. I found out after the incident in Berlin that if you cancel your booking, you can't leave a review. I think that is a big failing of the Airbnb system. If someone has a situation so bad that it makes them move out of a place, I want to know that when I book.
I feel bad because I've recommended Airbnb to people. I've been a big supporter of their site. And I've had good experiences with them in Japan and in Europe last year. One of my friends said he had severe holiday envy of my trip last year but now he's glad he's not with me.
It makes me wonder if the site has gotten too big and there are a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon with the sole intention of earning a quick buck. Also, guests being too lazy or not wanting to hurt a host by leaving a negative comment in their reviews.
I've stayed at around 15 or more Airbnb places and it's only these last two that have been an issue.
I have a few places already booked on the site so will go ahead with those bookings but if shit keeps happening I won't use the service again in future. It just isn't worth the hassle.
I really hope this doesn't happen again. I'm not sure my nerves can handle it.