Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Surfer Quality going down?

I took in another couple from the open Couch Request my preferred way of hosting and as usual had a more than positive experience with them. They cooked a fantastic Italian meal within minutes of walking through the door and were such nice people I was sad our time together was so short.

When my couch is set to yes I am not short of personal couch requests but the quality is less than desired. Shall I share, let's assume it goes descending 1 - 10.Bear in mind I'm just printing one page because I cbf going through everything

#2 was the OCR I was talking about above.
#3 clearly not reading my profile requested a month in advance, I declined and said to ask again in one month
#5 defies my usual rule of over 25 and is a 20yr old German girl but I am very positive about her profile and request.
#6 Another request to far in advance but very personal and nice and someone I would definitely host I asked her to request again 2 weeks prior.
#7  20 year old french girls with nothing in their profile and can't even mention my name in the request. I dislike hosting under 25 european backpackers generally and they must have a very good request/profile to consider them
 #8 I considered hosting her but she requested only a day or two in advance. Also her request pretendeded it was personal when it clearly wasn't. I dislike that kind of message
Why I'd Like to Meet You
You look open mind, easy going and as a local you know the best spot in the city and can show me around a bit if you feel like. Just a general good vibe about your profile. Sweet day! 

really? do you really think that I believe that message was sent just to me. I understand copy paste but please try and at least put my name and maybe ONE sentance of personalisation.

#9 Her entire profile is in Italian. Her references is in Italian. Honestly when you are travelling an english speaking country make the effort to write in english!!!! Or don't request from non-italian speaking hosts!
Also this is why she wants to meet me:
Why I'd Like to Meet You
You are in darwin? Would you be willing to accommodate? If you need more information ask me everything what you want. Also if you want I can give you my contacts for me to know better, perhaps through facebook or skype. We are polite and respectful, we have a great desire to meet new people and to experience a magical trip! Both me and my boyfriend speak Italian and French ... we're not very good with English but want to learn! I hope you understand what I have written!
See you soon!

Sure its nice enough but its not giving me a reason to really choose her.

#10 Also too short notice and another impersonal message. But actually I considered hosting her if I had more notice I probably would have!!!


Fact is a year ago I Ioved to take fresh new profiles and was full of positive experiences but now I can see the surfer quality is so diluted I am much more ruthless in my decisions. And since that my quality of surfer (except that one crazy guy) has been impeccable. I no longer accept requests from new profiles unless the request & profile is absolutely outstanding. I need at least one reference to choose my surfers and they can't just be generic "X was a good guest clean and friendly"

If a surfer is a GREAT surfer than say that in the reference now I often choose my surfers based on the glowing references. And vice versa as a surfer be personal about your references. In this destroyed community we need that extra information to make the right choices. I am somewhat guilty now of choosing surfers who have something in their references about their cooking haha. And people who host are also considered more carefully.

So do I believe the surfer quality has gone down? No, I still think there are incredible couchsurfers out there and will continue to be for at least a year but with the increasing number of sexual predators & freeloaders flooding the system this will become less and less and eventually these good people will migrate to other websites and the new potential awesome people will be flooded with negative experiences and give up before they ever experience the true magic of couchsurfing. Soon the community will just be left with those grim few who hold on wishing for a better way. There is no sustainability with the current model and the destruction of community built with love by volunteers is evidence of a failed corporation.

Soon all that will be left on couchsurfing is 5 million 20 year old couchsurfers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I got an abusive email

Well sadly I can't post the email here since its private & will end up with me being kicked out of CS although I kind of want to be kicked out of CS lately.

I can however write my reply.

Dear Angry Guest,

Perhaps you should report me since it is in your opinion that I have behaved very non ambassador-like.

If you do recall I did talk to you face to face about leaving two days early every extra cost incurred with your tour was your own choice not of my doing. If you were happy to stay in a hostel I don't understand why you spent the money to change the tour. You argued and attempted to manipulate me into letting you stay even asking "How many surfers?" you then went to my mother and mentioned it to her despite my decision already been made. As a surfer that kind of behavior is inexcusable and I suggest you actually take critical advice because it sounds from several people who have since contacted me that my reference to you is perfectly justified. They were just scared of retaliation but I hope now with my reference there more people are not afraid to speak up. Or perhaps you learn that something you are doing is not right. Attempting to bully me will not fly I stand by my decision and your very hateful email just inspires me more. I wish I had believed your negative it seems you are the one unable to take criticism not me.

I think you fail to realise that your reference speaks more about you than it does about me So I don't mind if you leave it there, I don't mind the abusive emails. I know I am right. There is a reason my references are glowing and not just two lines of generics.

Take a deep look inside and look at how you approach couchsurfing.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Kindness Boomarang

I won't lie to you, every time I hear these words about the difference I made in someone's world it makes me smile inside to know I was the one who made that difference.

I spent a large part of my life relatively selfish, I was more interested in video games than making a difference. I was never a bad person but I was never the kind of person that I wanted to be. Lately I am focusing on at least one selfless act a day. Sometimes the acts are small and unnoticed sometimes people notice. I don't care so much who sees what I do, I know that each time I do something good for someone they might be inspired to do something good for someone else.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jungle Party vs Full Moon Party

After an epic first night I was ready to repeat for my second night. I don’t remember what I did during the day so I guess it wasn’t that memorable but it wasn’t long before we were making our way up to Kangaroo Bar once again. As the actual full moon party was the next night our local haunt was taken over by a large amount of nationalities leaving one table in the middle of the bar free. I was more interested in setting up against the balcony again and scanned for an opening.

Its funny you know how the paths you take, the choices to make lead you to a particular destination and it makes you realise if just one factor had varied everything would have gone a different way. The table I saw that looked most promising already had two guys sitting at it. But I’m Amanda and the simple fact of a table already being taken wouldn’t stop me. I walked over and asked them ever so politely if we could sit with them.

And little was I to know at the time the two guys would become our partners in crime for the next 24 hours. Alan from South Africa & Max from England proved themselves to be more than worthy of our time and we chilled for several hours drinking, smoking weed and just chatting. Two guys from Israel also shared a joint with us and we talked for a while but they soon disappeared the chilled atmosphere and funky beats we so loved to follow the path to a more mainstream party.

I was desperate to attend a bar I had heard good things about that was on a different beach so I eventually persuaded the others to give it a try. We stopped briefly for some food and then made our way down to the main beach on lookout for a taxi boat. We found one but the guys wanted 200 Baht and I refused to pay more than 150.  Frankly we were all to drunk and stoned that we were almost about to give up the party on principal, we brought a bucket and chilled by the water. The drivers wanted a full boat to maximise their money potential and since no one else seemed to want to catch it they strode over to us and offered us the deal firmly informing us that we didn’t tell anyone else we paid 150BAHT. We accepted and were on our way!!! The boat ride was absolutely epic we crashed through the waves on this tiny vessel becoming drenched in sea water I was absolutely smashed(drunk) at this point living life in a completely ad-hoc way, no fear, no regret only the moment I was living in stuck in my head. As the boat neared the beach it didn’t appear to be slowing down and I began freaking out a little. Pointing out to my group around me that we had better hold on we did and the boat smashed into the beach.

Crazy boat ride

We got out of the boat and were messing around like the drunks we were and all the party goers abandoned us leaving us with one guy who told us that we needed to follow this path to Eden. It was a dark beach surrounded by forest and hills so we graciously accepted his lead only to lose him as we stumbled up the stone stairs cut into the hillside. We made our way to lights and music to discover it was someone’s house & not the barbut they kindly pointed us in the right direction.

Stumbling upon Edens bar we were delighted to discover a havan of everything I love. A chilled out bar you could buy any drug under the sun from, with awesome beats and a crowd of people that appealed to my inner hippy. It was my paradise. Heather had nothing glowing under the black lights on her at all and became depressed she was not dressed correctly. Since I was happily black light appropriate in my shirts and shorts we swapped shirts and her drunken stoner grin emerged. Weed was purchased and frankly I barely remember my sister & sam moving from their little corner by the table a constant stream of joints pouring from their fingers. Well perhaps not their fingers since neither can roll to save their lives. The lovely Alan attempted to give them lessons at some point and all I did was move between the stoners and the dancefloor.

Chilling at Eden

Money was an issue since there was no atms and we had barely brought enough to get us home so the drinking abruptly stopped! I met an Austrian guy when he passed me his joint and we talked about a million random stoner things that I can’t even remember any more. As the music kept glitching the groups all moved to Guys Bar where our party soon died and the boys decided to go home. Heather and I were now buzzed on MDMA so opted to stay but maybe less than an hour later I collapsed and we made our way to the beach. We got lost and ran into two girls who had been taken to the wrong beach by the corrupt locals lucky for us since we were wandering around the forest and could have ended up anywhere. They showed us where the beach was to catch the boat back to Haad Rin but there was not enough people and we didn’t have 3000 baht to hire the whole boat. So we lay down on the beach sleeping somewhat waiting for a way home. Eventually a very energetic guy from Wales sat down next to me telling me his life story in about three seconds, I don’t think I’ve met many people who can talk that fast without breathing.  He talked some guy with a 4WD into taking us back to the beach and soon there was about six of us sitting in the open tray of this car flying through the Koh Phanagan jungle.

The sun was rising slowly, evil sun.
I was at the front and had a horribly clear view of what I was getting into. The road was dirt with the occasional muddy spot the track unlike anything I had ever seen before. Some of the paths were so steep I had to hold on for dear life in order not to fall out the bottom of the tray like that scene from Titanic where the ship is sinking and it teeters vertically on the water for several minutes. And the bloody driver tore through at impossible speeds beeping seconds before he went round a blind corner. I knew all he needed to do was slip on the mud and we would roll likely killing all six of us becoming yet another Thailand statistic.
We survived (if you didn’t realise) and as we rolled into town the two young German guys in the rear jumped out and ran away as fast as they could. The guy wanted us to pay their fares but I had no idea who they were and I needed sleep. Heather & I walked back to our hotel slowly. The daylight on our skins.

I should have searched for my earplugs and dropped some sleeping tablets because I was woken up by the music blaring outside my window at about 12pm. Meaning I had, maybe 3 hours sleep – if I was lucky. When I wake up I have a hard time falling back to sleep.
I was really really sick. I threw up all afternoon and dozed in and out in my bed until finally getting up about 7:30pm. We had plans to meet our buddies Max & Alan at a restaurant. It turned out Heather was just as bad as I was and we stumbled into reality feeling so sick. I have never had this before and could only assume I had been poisoned by whatever drugs I had taken the night before. I have been told MDMA can have those side affects but I have taken A LOT of MDMA in my life and not once have I spent the next 24 hours vomiting. Also Heather was along side me in the hangover so I have no idea what happened to us. We had eaten a very similar meal before the adventure but our symptoms only included vomiting and not the other end. So I ruled out food poisoning.

Anyway we were struggling to eat, vomiting minutes after devouring anything and ended up in Max & Alans room to get our glow paint on. Heather decided to wait it out in the room with Sam. and Alan, Max & I made our way to mellow mountain. I took a beer with me as I was attempting to get into party mode but it was a serious uphill climb my entire body protesting the affront. Max & Alan grabbed shakes and before long Max wandered off on whatever adventure the night brought him – I never did see him again. Alan stuck by my depressing side and I struck up a conversation with two young people from Leeds a girl and her boyfriend. They were tripping hard but the girl told me how refreshing it was to meet a real girl and not some bleached up bikini bimbo. 

Mellow Mountain Dance floor

As my Dj friend was coming on we manoeuvred downstairs to dance. 

Heather & Sam showed up but Heather was still passed out unable to get the strength together. Alan decided he needed to smoke and went to go back to his room but realised he would forever lose us the mission in his state to serious and returned to drag us from the music with him. We went back to his room and Sam had decided to buy out an entire street food stall. I was thinking my body was finally on the upwards stretch and decided to partake having not eaten for over 24 hours. Sadly the weed and the strangly delicious fatty pork was my downfall and my sickness overtook once again. I needed to sleep and they locked me  in Alans room for an hour coming to wake me back up and drag me out to the party.

After dragging me away Alan soon ditched us deciding we were bringing down his trip and poor Heather was stuck with two people not interested in partying at all. So we made our way to the mellow mountain took some mushroom shakes and watched the sun rise.

After walking back to our hotel room about 8am we were to experience the absolute chaos that lay before us. I looked at the ocean to a guy floating face down his friend repeatedly kicking him towards shore as he floated back & forth in the tide, maybe it was the mushrooms but it felt like several minutes passed before I eventually decided something was wrong and made my way over. But just as I took my steps the guy floating sat up laughing at his abusive friend.

Walking back to the hotel

On one stage hundreds of people still danced hard a topless girl screaming and grinding against a naked guy oblivious to everything around them. There were plenty of people sitting along the beach watching the ocean slide back and forth barely keeping their eyes open, rubbish was strewn everywhere I was thankful for my sandals protecting me from the glass.

And the party is still going

This kind of attitude towards complete chaos and destruction of such a beautiful place made me realise how little I enjoyed these kinds of people. I love to party, I love chaos but can’t it be intertwined with respecting the world around you. What is happening with this backpacker generation? I much preferred the drum & bass hippy beats and chilled out people of my jungle party the previous night than the 30,000 drunken revellers bopping out to club mixes before passing out in the piss filled ocean. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

houston, we have a problem

Well I'm taking my mission to the Couchsurfing Facebook, I think my comment will get deleted but its a really positive message don't you think????