When ever a traveler stays at someones home, he (or she) is representing the enture bike-travel-community. So be correct and be honnest.
Unfortunatly I have a nsaty experiance myself with a "less correct and honest" couple. I would like to share it, not to point a finger (although I am really pissed about it) but to explain exactly what I mean.
A few years ago me and my wife were visited (in Thailand where we lived at the time) by a biking couple from Switserland. We picked them up from the airport, took them into our home and tried to make their stay a nice one.
Unfortunatly the girl recieved some bad (medical) news and had to leave for Switserland asap. It took some time to arange it all, but a few weeks later she left. Her boyfriend and her bike stayed behind.
The boyfriend stayed an other month in our care. We coked for him, shared our 2-room appartment and when he finaly left we took care of there bikes.
All was well so far... untill we received the next months phone-bill. It was at least 10 times higher than usuall, so we asked at the phone-office what was wrong.
Well... It seemed our nice visitor (the boyfriend) had made several international phone-calls and 70 (!!!) times he connected to the (dial-up) internet. Ofcourse he forgot to mention that to us when we brought him to the airport.
I send them an email in which I explained we were not to happy about that phonebill... and received an emidiate awnser: Ofcourse they would pay the bill, but they wouyld do so when they came to collect their bikes.
We left Thailand before they came to collect their bikes, but we made (solid) arangements for them (which also cost us a bundle) so their bikes were stored safe and sound untill they came back to pick them up.
Ofcourse they "forgot" the phonebill when they collected their bikes. They forgot it when they arived home in Switserland 6 months later, and they forgot it the next year... untill I stumbled onto their old promise to pay that bill.
So I send them a mail and, very friendly, reminded them.
Ooops.... Suddenly I was told that they had paid it already (and we never even met).... Later I was told they had already paid it twice (but how then???)... and in the end (when I told them exactly what I thought of them), they transfered the amount by bank and let charged all the bank-cost to that payment... We reveived exactly 0,72 cents.
Now, I don,t care to much about that money.... but my my feelings have taken a blow.
We took them into our (small) home for two months. We helped them any way we could. We never asked for any payment or any help (nor did we receive any help like washing the dishes or cleaning the house). We accepted a 20 euro payment for initial phone-cost... no more.
And this is how we were rewarded, by sneeky use of the phone for international calls.... and then the refusal to pay them...
I hope these are the only "sh&
ed!-travelers I ever meet.
For all the others... My house is always open, for as long as needed (as many of you know).
Have a good 2009 with manny miles of tarmac, dirt and fun.