This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

So...what can you get for $35 in Boston?

One day...
My college student son left his bank of handmade servers, monitors, laptops and homemade computers which have made his bedroom a thermal hot spot on the NSA's satellite map.  He made this rare personal appearance to ask if I had heard of AirBNB.   I pled ignorance lest I be implicated in some diabolical scheme to hack into something I didn't understand. Apparently he and a virtual acquaintance had been looking for cheap places to stay during their pilgrimage to the Fortress of Solitude. 
(Yeah, penance for my sins, I got it)
   It turns out that AirBNB is a legit business which advertises privately owned rentals throughout the world.  It is an interesting idea and I promised to check it out when I had an opportunity.  They wanted really cheap places to stay and I thought what better place to test it than Boston?  So that was a challenge.  I had looked at the website, searched Boston and found daily rentals available from as little as $35 to $500 per night.  Now my imagination was piqued.  What can one get for $35 per night in Boston? In case you haven't heard, Boston ain't cheap, or inexpensive or even barely affordable.   So 35 bucks sounds just impossible.  Fully expecting a roach infested hovel in a crime ridden slum full of hookers and junkies, I booked it.
The house was located in Sommerville, a lower middle class neighborhood which was full of close, well maintained houses.  It looked as if Peter Parker had grown up there.
  I was shown a three bedroom flat, with common living, kitchen and bath areas. 
 Strange, the photos I took were exactly like the ones the owners posted on the website.  

The place was very homey and so immaculate I found myself straightening and picking things up
 like a neurotic raccoon.

 There were 4 others staying there.  I didn't meet them for a day and a half because we were all busy.   I felt as if I had the place to myself.  The second evening I met a couple from Rochester NY visiting Boston for a wedding and a pair of independent jewelry makers from London who were traveling on business.  We were all in the apartment together late one night which provided a chance to sit up, discuss and solve most of the worlds problems engaging our various points of view.  I think the historical society of Boston will  have to register the home and  install a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
    Overall I was very pleased with the experience.  The price was great, the place clean, the neighborhood safe, quiet and convenient.  The experience was very much like the family owned hotels I had visited in Europe.  Simple, private bedrooms with common baths on each floor and a friendly, well furnished living or sitting area to share.  

AirBNB will be the first place I look when credit card touring, or any other type of travel for that matter.
One thing that I noticed was that the tenants were either foreign or had traveled extensively abroad.  The big deal in America seems to be the need for a private bath.  That is how Europeans differentiate between "American" and European lodgings.  A fair comparison would be the Holiday Inn in Sommerville which would have charged me $200 per night.  I would not have used the room anymore, would have missed some very interesting companionship when I did and would not have had a kitchen,
but for the extra $495 I would have a personal space to do pooh-pooh.

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