Monday, 23 April 2012

Dirty faces, dirty places

So my 11 year old just wandered casually into my bathroom and caught me applying an Enriched Mud Facial Mask to my poor, wrinkly old face.

 'Yuck! what on earth is that stuff?' she asked.

 'It's a special face mask which is supposed to draw out all the impurities,' I told her, loftily.

 'What are 'impurities'?' she said.

 'It's sort of the muck and dirt on your face, trapped in the pores,' I replied. 'This mud is supposed to suck it all out then you wash it off and your face is all glowing.'

 'Oh, I see,' she said, knowingly. 'So you clean the dirt off your face by putting on more dirt. Right.'

 Ah, the wisdom of youth, innit tho.

 Speaking of dirt, since I last blogged we had a wee schlepp over to Brussels to mooch about some wonderful city sights and show the children where we spent our first wedding anniversary. Poppet was in the oven cooking that time so I was looking forward to sampling some beer this trip and not having to waddle around the cobbles looking like a Teletubby. In fact, we went for a drink in the very bar where we finally decided on the baby names. It was everso nostalgic, sitting there with a Belgian beer each, and Pickle belching the alphabet for everyone's entertainment.
So proud.

 The break was very good, though majorly marred by the dirty apartment we rented. We used a web site called AirBNB which helps people rent out their places to fellow travellers for a sizeable fee. The place looked nice on the website but the offerings are not visited or vetted by AirBNB, pretty much anyone can plug their places and let the buyer beware, while the web operators sit nice and cosy in the USA not giving a flying toss what state they are in.

 The 'Class and Cosy' flat we paid for turned out to be filthy.

Now I don't mind making up my own bed when I go to stay somewhere, after all, the first thing my mother had to do every time she visited us in France or Hungary was wrestle with a duvet cover. But I DO object to having to remove someone else's soiled bedding first... Yes, seriously. We booked weeks in advance, the guy knew we were coming, but he didn't even vacuum the carpet.

When we complained AirBNB sent us some unnecessarily wordy explanations as to how this was regrettable but a bit of dirt didn't amount to a 'violation' or misrepresentation of the apartment since the furniture did actually look like what was on the photos. I took my own photos of the same furniture in close-up, especially the bathroom fittings and their covering of mould and pubes. I'll let you have the link it you like, but prepare a hanky first.

 After much emailing these guys would not back down and the owner went curiously quiet so I have had to content myself with a cutting review of the property which now sits on the guy's website, perhaps you'd like a read. Let this be a lesson to anyone I ever come to stay with!

Bugger, I'm never gonna be invited anywhere ever again am I?

'What a treat for your hard-earned trip to Brussels!! This apartment offers you the bona fide 'living like a student' experience from the moment you walk in the door! All the authentic touches of the classic adolescent males living away from Mum have been provided in nauseating detail! Bed linen that hasn't been changed in weeks! And in a nice dark colour to show up every stain! Dust so thick you can write your name in it! Dust bunnies so advanced they deliver Easter eggs! And that's just the bedroom! 

 But this apartment has fun in *every* room! You want to check out the local food? Take a look in the kitchen sink, its all there in the plughole for your examination! Traces of previous culinary endeavours can also be found on the work surfaces, floor and cutlery! No effort required to peruse the cooking utensils: several cupboard doors are missing so you can just lean right in! 

 Worried that the showers won't work? All the evidence you need that regular bathing has taken place is right there in the bathroom! Accumulated dirt and body hair from every ablution has been generously preserved both in and around the bath-tub and especially underneath the clever wooden floorboards! These, and the humidity from the stoic rejection of any form of ventilation, have given rise to an amazing display of mould and mildew in every corner, of a quality rarely seen outside of the average festering public toilet! Oh, and the toilet itself is no disappointment - evidence of its sustained heavy usage has been conserved on every surface! 

 To full immerse yourself in the realistic scruffy student experience, simply unpack your clothes into the generous storage spaces and watch your possessions become coated in weeks of carefully accumulated dust and dirt! Relax on the leather sofas and take in the ambiance of the bustling Turkish district outside, which never fails to entertain with regular commotion, day and night! (Which is fortunate because in true student digs style, the TV rarely has a signal, though the DVD player works fine.) 

 So book now and try for yourself the delights of living, eating, washing and sleeping in other people's dirt and grime! It's definitely THE way to take a break and reward yourself and your family for months of hard work!'