Evening light on the canal, Amsterdam.
The view from our window...
...and through the trees.
Back from a lovely time in Amsterdam with much to report. Will fill you in on some travel notes later this weekend, in between brocantes/lunches/dinner with some charming visitors.
Speaking of which, I came across a wry draft post I wrote three years ago, after some exhausting and frustrating experiences with house guests. I enjoy entertaining guests who are seasoned travelers with reasonable manners. But certain thoughtless visitors tend to treat their hosts as though they're running an unpaid B&B, expecting them to cater to their every whim.If you want never to be invited back to someone's home, may I suggest:
- Ask your hosts to make dinner reservations for Saturday night, then turn up too late to change clothes and get to the restaurant. This forces your hosts to rush to the grocery store before it closes AND cook dinner, even though they were already dressed up to dine out. Yea, you've disrupted their plans!
- Cut the rinds off your cheese and put them back on the cheese tray, rather than on your own plate.
- Dip your baguette in your wine glass (!) and drip wine on the white embroidered tablecloth.
- Put your coffee mug directly on a glass-topped table, ignoring the coasters.
- Ask if you should tell an off-colour tale at dinner. When told "No!" do it anyway, leaving everyone with unpleasant images lingering in their minds. Later, repeat the same stupid story.
- Drink too much and constantly ask for your glass to be refilled - even though another bottle of wine has been opened and it's not the same vintage that's still in your glass.
- Start eating before everyone at the table has been served.
- Come to a beautifully-set table in your bare feet, even though your host and hostess are dressed in elegant attire.
- After a long, hot day walking around the city, take your shoes and stinky socks off and leave them under the coffee table; then put your dirty feet on a cream linen-covered chair.
- Be served seconds, then, after a cheese course and dessert, ask if there's more food.
- Offer to "help with the dishes," then bring two plates to the kitchen and leave the rest for the hostess to clear, wash, dry and put away. Linger in the small kitchen and try to converse with the hostess, while she is washing said dishes and considering locking you on the balcony.
- Eat greasy potato chips (you brought with you) straight from the bag, while sitting in an antique linen-covered chair.
- After your shower, hog the bathroom while putting on makeup, even though there are two perfectly-nice mirrors in your room.
- Arrive with four suitcases for a six-day stay, but forget important prescription medication. Wring your hands, but refuse to see a French doctor. Complain until your hostess begs a pharmacist to give you medication like the one you were prescribed in your home country - even though you didn't bring a copy of your doctor's prescription.
- Insist you're getting up early to run in the park, then go back to sleep after the wake-up knock on your door. Expect your hosts to revise their plans to accommodate your delayed schedule.
- Leave your bed unmade, clothes thrown everywhere and the door open while you're away during the day.
- Argue about international politics or religion during dinner and manage to offend everyone.
- Talk to yourself constantly, as you move around the apartment.
- Shout from one room to the next and expect your hostess to 1) hear you and 2) respond, when she is washing and drying crystal glasses.
- Spend an hour on the computer writing email, every few minutes complaining loudly about the British keyboard.
- Enter or leave the apartment without closing the front door behind you.
- When your hostess escorts you to the metro, buys your tickets and shows you which train to take, don't offer to carry her heavy grocery cart up or down the metro stairs.
- Bring your children to dinner, even though they're not invited.
- Refuse the host's offer for painkillers and a lie-down for your headache, then stand up in the middle of dinner and insist you have to leave immediately.
- Turn up an hour or more late without phoning and expect the hosts to wait dinner.