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Value For Dollar, Air bnb

March 13, 2017 1 Comment

I was a travel agent for many years, and have not lost my love of hotels. There is nothing like a stay at a first class establishment to make you feel pampered and rested. I prefer to save up for a special stay if I want to stay in a hotel. When they converted the Waldorf-Astoria to apartments last week I was really happy I had stayed there a couple of times. Once I talked the sales representative into giving me a two bedroom suite for the price of a double room. It was spectacular, and I will never forget it. The Sunday brunch was also to die for.  Five star hotels are memorable, but they are not the only way to have a special vacation.  Since air bnb started I have used it for particular locations. Sometimes the most important aspect of the stay is the exact location.  Air bnb has expanded my choices when I travel to include a large and growing number of private homes, guest houses, and rooms for rent to paying customers.  I used to rent private flats in other countries, and it was tricky.  Now this has become easy and safe for all involved parties. Air bnb connects renters with exceptional spaces to rent.

The company carries insurance for both the renter and the property owner.  There is a vetting process, and the reviews are made public.  If a guest is undesirable and is reviewed as a bad prospect, other owners will not want to rent to him.  Conversely, if an accommodation is reviewed as less than perfect, prospective renters can take this into account when deciding on a rental.  I have only had one property that worked out well for me but I declined to review because I thought it was not appropriate for most travelers.  I have been around the world and have a pretty wide range of tolerances, but this is not the case for all clients of air bnb.  The base of customers and rentals is growing, which means there are new places on the rental market all the time. I keep some wish lists of properties for future reference.  This helps me check certain cities for my dream accommodations quickly. There are many choices, and trip planning is a sport for me.  I can get lost in the air bnb site for hours, just doing research on new locations.

I go to Tempe, Arizona at least once a year for a weekend.  I like to live like a regular person in the neighborhood when I am there.  I don’t always cook, but I like the option of a kitchen for flexibility.  This is one of the major advantages to hotel life in my mind.  Each host is different, but generally the renter is given free use of the kitchen, and normally the outdoor barbecue, if there is one.  If nothing else this allows me to store any produce I pick up at framers markets, and gives me a place to make my coffee in the mornings.  Hosts almost always provide coffee and tea.  Some go all out with gifts of food and wine for the traveller. I have moved in to find a case of fizzy water and other goodies left by the previous tenant.  The host describes what is provided so there is little chance of surprise.  Being accurate in the description is an important issue to the company.  I find they are all good at that.  Obviously, some personalities will fit better than others, and staying in someone’s home is intimate.  All my hosts have been just right for my tastes, usually leaving the premises, and leaving me alone.  Many will leave a key or a lock box for convenience checking in while they are at work.  My recent stay at Larry’s place in Tempe worked out very well for my needs.  I would recommend his property for anyone.  He is friendly, but low key.  His very well presented guide book helped me navigate the area when I arrived.  It was  very helpful.

Larry's yard

Larry’s yard

Larry

Larry

The referral and vetting system is similar to Uber or Lyft.  If you use my invitation link to sign up , you will receive a discount of $40 on your first booking.  I will be rewarded with $20 in credit after you take your first trip.  It is a win/win situation. Have you tired using air bnb, gentle reader?  It is becoming much more popular all the time.

#WeekendCoffeeShare Tempe Edition

March 4, 2017 9 Comments

If we were having coffee today I would invite you to sit by the pool at my fabulous air bnb accommodation in lovely Tempe, AZ. I am visiting the home of the Sun Devils because I love this town, even though the ASU/UofA traditional rivalry demands that I not.  I have no wildcat loyalty, except during basketball season.  I am glad to show you around this history filled place to share the reasons I find it so fascinating.  I think you will agree that Tempe is worth a visit.  We will stop at Tempe Farmers Market for our take out coffee and then take off for the Desert Botanical Garden for a special festive day.

I came up this weekend to attend a big opening party at the Desert Botanical Garden for a new butterfly pavilion.  I am dressed in my Tucson Botanical Garden Frida shirt so I can be easily identified as a Tucsonan.  I plan to spend the greater part of the day at the gardens, which are extensive and have good wifi throughout the space.  I have a reservation to eat brunch at the restaurant inside the garden.  This will be the kind of solo travel day that really makes me happy.  I can stay as long as I want, which is always much longer than any other person wants to stay at a botanical garden.

Thanks for going to the party at the Desert Botanical Gardens with me today.  I was particularly delighted that a group of artists were painting all over the garden.  They all had different styes and personalities. It added a wonderful dimension to the already great day. I enjoyed every moment of the time.  I took a real camera as well as two iPods, and used them all.  I am very pleased with the volume of photos, as well as the quality.  I plan to use some for fiction and poetry inspiration in the future.  I hope you also had a good time seeing all the wildflowers and cacti in bloom.  The desert is a flamboyant place, especially in the springtime.

Let’s take a break in the shade and enjoy some lunch at Gertrude’s Restaurant, inside the garden. I want to hear what is happening in your life.  What is happening with your writing these days.  Do you have new projects? How is the seasonal change where you live (if you are not at the equator)?  I enjoy keeping up with the coffee crowd.  If you, gentle reader, want to take part in this digital coffee drinking party each weekend, check in with Nerd In the Brain.  Please feel free to read, comment, or submit your own coffee share post here.  The group is diverse, worldly, and sophisticated.

#WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare

 

 

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare, Spring Farming

February 25, 2017 8 Comments

If we were having coffee I would invite you to once again sit by the wood stove, which has been cranked up for a couple of days. This short cold snap may be the last time we need to burn wood this year. The quick warm up has caused all the trees to go into blossom mode. My peach tree is in bloom, and the apricot and grapefruit are budding up. Since I still had a large crop of ruby-red grapefruit on the tree I needed to act quickly to get them picked. It stresses the tree and the fruit will start to lose weight if I leave it much longer. I picked about 100 pounds, and took them to the farmers market. I am a member of a coop sponsored by our food bank that allows us to drop off our produce to be sold at the coop table.

It is great because small growers who do not produce enough to want to rent their own table use the coop to sell their fruits, herbs, and vegetables. I joined last year when I had too many grapefruit at the end of the season, and think it is a wonderful service to the community.  I take extra herbs and citrus that turn out to be more than we can use.  Others are doing it to increase income from home gardening.  I came back to the market at the perfect time!! Tomorrow there will be a party at a brewery downtown hosted by the Arizona Small Scale Farmers Alliance, a ranger and farmer meet up.  This will be a very fun event for me.  I plan to attend and find out what is happening in local farmer land.  I have also made my plans for wildflower safari to Tempe and Scottsdale in the beginning of March.  One of my Air bnb hosts up there has a miniature farm with free range chickens and organic gardens.  Guests are invited and encouraged to eat the produce and eggs.  That will be interesting to see as well as taste. I want to see what farmers do in Scottsdale.

My trip to Maricopa County will include the opening of a new butterfly pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens for which they are having a party.  It will be wildflower as well as citrus bloom season up there, so the sights and scents will be very exciting.  On Sunday I will visit the Museum of the Musical Instrument, where I will see the exhibits at leisure the attend a classical matinée concert by the Phoenix Symphony.    There are special exhibits about 20th century guitar art, and another about Woodie Guthrie. I could easily spend an entire day there.   I am enthusiastically looking forward to my weekend away, not very far from home.  I plan to purposely take some botanical/architectural images to use later as prompts for poetry or fiction.  There will be plenty of subject matter from which to choose.  I am still writing fiction once a week to Sue Vincent’s photo prompts, which gave me the idea to capture a few of my own for future use. April is poetry month and I always use an image with each of the 30 poems, so might as well prepare.

If we were having coffee I would be seriously pushing the grapefruit juice, and sending a few fruits home with you when you go.  I want to hear about your week and writing projects.  I know many of you are still in winter, and are probably getting tired of it.  My early spring farming issues might not inspire much sympathy if you are still snowed in.  Think of it this way.  Soon you will be able to enjoy the blaze of color and flash of Phoenician spring without leaving home.  I will bring it to you on coffee share. I only wish I could transmit the amazing aroma of citrus in bloom.  It is sweet and uplifting beyond measure.  Thank you for visiting this week. Take some spring vibes home with you.

If you want to join other writers and digital beverage drinkers visit Nerd In The Brain to hook up with stories from around the globe each weekend.  Feel free to read, comment, enjoy, or submit a post of your own here.

#WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare

Sonoran Light by Bruce Munro

March 11, 2016 4 Comments

 

Last weekend I drove to Tempe to enjoy the light art show at the Desert Botanical Garden.  Bruce Munro installed this impressive exhibit which has been a popular temporary addition to the gardens.  Sonoran Light is incredible, immersive, and impossible to capture on a camera.  I have made an attempt above, but I highly recommend that the gentle readers see it in person.  The Field of Light is the most expansive of the installations.  It has vast sections of the gardens covered with light strings on the ground that change color and illuminate a large hill seen from a distance. There was a concert last Friday which was sold out, but still audible in the Field of Light, adding to the night’s special quality.

I arrived early in the day and took advantage of the day pass for just $5 added to the evening ticket price.  For a total of $30 I had hours of botanical fun in both day and night lighting.  There are many details not visible at night that I loved seeing during my day trip.  I took an Uber to the evening show, and was so happy I did. The parking lot becomes super jammed for the event, and I was tired from my hours of walking during the day. I happily waited by the entrance for my Uber driver while others drove themselves home.

saguaros

saguaros

lighted arch

lighted arch

field of light

field of light

IMG_7093

Chindi

Chindi

Chindi

Chindi

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